Jets still waiting for Zach Wilson progress despite big win

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HOUSTON – The Jets beat the Texans 21-14 on Sunday to register their third win of the season. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:

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1. Zach Wilson was not impressive in his return from a knee injury. The Jets continued to sell that Wilson could learn from watching other quarterbacks and play a better brand of football when he returned. Wilson made not-so-terrible decisions except to decide Flip the ball towards Ty Johnson And it is being intercepted. But he appeared in a hurry at the start of the game. They had the receivers head overboard or extended from where they were.

The Jets have six games left to take a long look at Wilson and figure out what he needs to work on this season. These six games would not determine Wilson’s future with the team; They are not going to give up on the No. 2 pick after a season. But it would put everyone’s mind around the Jets at ease if Wilson showed some progress down the stretch.

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What does that progress look like?

For me, you need to look at a few things from Wilson. First, he needs to start the game in a better way. This has been the theme of the entire season as Wilson was not playing well early on. His first-half stat line this season: 0 touchdowns, 7 interceptions. The Jets’ coaching staff must figure out a way to pacify Wilson in the first games.

After that, I think Wilson needs at least one game where he dominates. I’m not saying six touchdowns or anything crazy, but there has to be a game where you can feel like Wilson is the franchise quarterback. His best game this season was against the Titans and while he did some good throws in that game, I wouldn’t say he dominated. You’d like to see a game where the Jets win because of Wilson’s right hand.

After Sunday’s win, Robert Saleh said Wilson managed the game well. The Jets need Wilson to do more than just manage the game. They need him to finish a game. Of course, there’s a fine line between trying to do this and too much, and that’s something the Jets need to be wary of.

Wilson’s final six games aren’t going to answer what will or won’t happen, but they could send the Jets and their fans in the off-season feeling a lot better about Wilson if he plays well. .

Zack Wilson scrambles into the fourth quarter
Getty Images

2. I was tough on Mike LaFleur when the offense looked terrible earlier this season, but I was really impressed by him on Sunday. The Jets didn’t put down aggressive offensive numbers. They struggled with Wilson down center. But LaFleur showed great experience and called a really smart game starting in the second quarter. With Wilson’s scramble, LaFleur worked Wilson on the team’s first touchdown drive to complete something easy. He called a short pass to Jamison Crowder and then pushed Elijah Moore past the line of scrimmage. He called the screen and ran the ball to help Wilson go down the field.

Then, in the second half, Wilson dialed a few intermediate throws to Moore, with Lafleur intelligently finding ways to get the ball. He, too, leaned on the running game and the Jets went down the field again.

LaFleur showed creativity on a two-point conversion play with Josh Johnson and a jet sweep to Moore on fourth and one. LaFleur is coming into its own as a play-collar. This was evident even on the day the Jets offense was not putting up prolific numbers.

Elgia Moore runs with the ball against the Texans
Elijah Moore runs with the ball against the Texans
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

3. A few weeks ago we were talking about how bad the defense of the Jets was historically. Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbricht have stabilized the situation against some weak offenses. That’s exactly what they needed to do. The Jets weren’t going to be the ’85 Bears this season. They could not change the roster. But Saleh and Ulbricht made some personnel changes (Quincy Williams in linebacker, Eliza Riley in safety) and have shown a willingness to adjust their plan slightly to help improve defense.

On Sunday, the Jets only dropped two plays of 25 yards or more. This is a huge improvement from where they allowed 175 points over the course of four games. After a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor, the Jets closed the Texans. In the second half, Houston had only 45 yards and did not score.

It has helped keep the Dolphins and Texans in play, but the Jets’ coaches and players also deserve credit for stopping the bleeding on defense.

4. We’ve reached that point in the schedule where you wonder whether it’s better for the Jets to win or lose. Sunday’s win lowered the Jets down the draft order. Would it be better to lose to get a better pick? I always think back to 2018 when the Jets beat the Bills in December. The victory cost the Jets the No. 1 pick, who would have been defensive star Nick Bossa for the Jets.

I fall into the category that winning is never a bad thing. The Jets are a young team and could use some confidence. Drafts usually have good players in the first round. The Jets should be able to find a good player whether they are drafting No. 4 or No. 14.

Disclosure Status

In four games started by Mike White and Joe Flacco, the Jets averaged 435.8 yards and 24.5 points per game. In Zach Wilson’s seven starts, the Jets average 271.4 yards and 14.4 points per game.

amazing snap count

Javelin Guidry made his first start of the season and played all 57 defensive snaps. Guidry had replaced Brandin Echols two weeks earlier when Echols was injured, but Isaiah Dunn started at cornerback against the Dolphins. Looks like it was just a matchup move and Guidry is now the starting corner.

game ball

John Franklin-Myers bounced back from his expensive rough penalty of a passer-by against the Dolphins for a monster game against the Texans. Franklin-Myers had two sacks and one interception at a homecoming game in front of 50 friends and family members.

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