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Why will Zach Wilson take the next step this year?  – Denver Post

The Jets nation is going through the usual offseason flux, and Jets fan optimism has inevitably tipped into delirium. Gang Green appeased its fanbase with a successful offseason, on paper, by fulfilling its obligations to surround Zach Wilson with more talent.

Gang Green is in phase three of the offseason with OTAs starting this week thanks to the momentum they’ve created on the field.

The OTAs will be open to the media on Tuesday but before the OTAs, here’s a mailbag answering questions about Wilson and the Jets.

What makes you sure Zach Wilson will take the next step as a QB? @omarkelly

Shout out to the great Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel with this question. I’m not necessarily confident, but I’m mixed that Wilson is taking another step. I’m a firm believer that the infrastructure surrounding a young quarterback usually makes it or breaks it. The Jets’ offensive plays alone should require more production from Wilson. Wilson’s supporting cast isn’t devoid of talent now with three receivers in Corey Davis, promising sophomore talent in Elijah Moore and No. 10 wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

The Jets have two dynamic running backs in Michael Carter, who led the team in scrimmage yards last season and Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who rushed for 50 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards in three seasons. Free agent signings Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah are expected to revive the Jets’ tight end position that has resided in a coma for the past decade as Conklin and Uzomah combined last season for 110 catches, 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns. And the offensive line on paper can be a top 12 unit.

Now, how many steps will Wilson take? It is to be determined. And the magnitude of the pitch will reveal whether the Jets are a playoff team or not in 2022.

What are the realistic stat predictions for Zach this season @rellyyyrell

During Wilson’s rookie year, he threw nine touchdowns for 2,334 yards with 11 interceptions and completed 55% of his throws. It was a difficult start.

So expecting Wilson to produce a second-year Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson is neither fair nor realistic. If that happens, good for Gang Green, but the norm shouldn’t be a star quarterback.

So my first statline bar is 24 touchdowns, 3600 passing yards, 14-under interceptions, 65 completion percentage, which produces a 90 passer rating.

Looking at 2021 stats for NFL quarterbacks, passer rating would put him in the top 20, total touchdowns would hypothetically put him in the top 15, and passing yards would put him in the top 16 Those are fair numbers for him to accomplish, which is a drastic improvement from 2021.

These numbers are not a benchmark for me, as it will change after observing training camp and OTAs. But he’s expected to become a top-20 QB in Year 2.

Who is making the biggest move, attacking or defending this year? @TimecopMeltdown

I think defense because it was an abomination in 2021, so there’s a lot more room for growth. If the defense keeps opposing offenses at 25 points, some fans will launch a parade after the grueling flashbacks of the defense allowing 40 points multiple times with a 50-burger that battered fans last year.

This unit received the most talent during the offseason. Joe Douglas added cornerback DJ Reed, safety Jordan Whitehead, defensive end Jacob Martin in early free agency. Then drafted Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati and Jermaine Johnson from Florida State in the first round. Gang Green also welcomes Carl Lawson and LaMarcus Joyner who both missed the majority of the season due to season-ending injuries. So that’s six to seven new entrants to associate with the masterpieces of Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers and CJ Mosley.

The additions to the 32nd-ranked defense in yards and points should propel the unit into a top-20 group.

Do you want Zach to run more? If so, how many rushing yards and how many touchdowns? @AjDatboi

I don’t want Wilson running much more. He’s not physically built to be a constant threat in the running game and that could lead to unnecessary punishment and injury. Running occasional read options is good for fooling the defense and throwing them off balance. Or if Wilson breaks his pocket and scrambles for a long run similar to what he did against the Jaguars, that works too.

A composition for the type of run Wilson should do is what the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes does. Mahomes isn’t part of the Chiefs’ running game (he’s rushed for 689 yards in the past two years), but when he scrambles he causes damage as he’s had 47 first downs in the past two seasons . Wilson being a threat in the running game like Mahomes is more effective for the Jets.


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