Zach Wilson should've sat behind a veteran instead of playing right away, Jets offensive coordinator admits

Zach Wilson started nine games in his second season in the NFL. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Zach Wilson started nine games in his second season in the NFL. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

It has been another disappointing season for New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. In his second year in the NFL, Wilson started nine games, throwing six touchdowns against seven interceptions before getting benched. That's not the type of production the team expected after it selected Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

If the Jets had to do it all over again, there would be some changes. Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur admitted Thursday that he thinks Wilson should've sat and watched a veteran quarterback before being thrust into the starting lineup.

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The team did the opposite with Wilson. He opened the 2021 NFL season as the Jets' starter. In his first six games under center, Wilson completed 57.4% of his passes, with four touchdowns and nine interceptions. He then missed four games due to a knee injury before returning in Week 12 and finishing the season as the Jets' starter.

Wilson then entered the offseason as the team's undisputed starter. He was expected to open the year in that position but was sidelined for the start of the 2022 regular season due to another knee injury. Veteran Joe Flacco started the first three games of the 2022 season for the Jets before Wilson came back. He then failed to show growth in Year 2 and was benched in the middle of the season in favor of Mike White.

LaFleur said he believes Wilson can still develop, but the Jets "haven't done our job with him."

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It's unclear whether the team will get a chance to right that wrong. After another disappointing year, the Jets can't rely on Wilson as their starter next season. If Wilson stays on the team, the Jets will likely pursue a veteran free-agent passer to take the starting job. Given the team's strong skill position players and defense, a veteran quarterback could be the one piece it needs to make a playoff push.

There's also the possibility that Wilson gets traded. That would be quite the fall for a player taken with the No. 2 overall pick just two years ago, but at this point, a change might be necessary for both sides.