The 2021-22 NFL season will be the longest to date after an extra week of games was agreed upon by the league and the player’s union. And while the players and coaches adjust to the new schedule, the Jets are hoping the extra game can be conducive to the franchise’s current rebuild and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson’s development.
It’s been an uneven first season for Wilson. The second-overall pick started the first six games for the Jets, winning just one of them, before suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for four weeks.
As football fans have seen with the Giants and their quarterback Daniel Jones, it would be easy for the team, with a losing record, to protect their franchise play-caller and sit him for the rest of the season, but Wilson knows the importance of the last three games.
“Mentally I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge of playing even at this point of the year. I need it, I think it’s going to be good for us as a team in general,” Wilson said in a news conference after practice Thursday, “I’m really just looking forward to going out there and work on the things I need to get better at. And get as many reps as I can.”
Since his return, Wilson has gone 1-4 and the Jets’ season has been all but lost. However, the development of a young player, especially a quarterback, depends on the number of reps they can accumulate.
Continuing to learn and be comfortable with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense, and gaining a rapport with his receivers, is paramount for Wilson and the Jets and these three weeks could give them both insight on what’s next for the franchise.
And the 22-year-old had nothing but great things to say about his coordinator.
“I think [LaFleur’s] done a good job of keeping the defense on his toes and putting us in a good situation,” Wilson said. “He’s put me in a good situation to get me used to this offense and this game.”
So far this season, Wilson is completing 56.2 percent of his passes, and thrown for six touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Jets will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before ending the season on the road against the Buffalo Bills.
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