TOJ’s Morning Tea: Why Zach Wilson and the New York Jets Don’t Care That You Wanted Another QB

I’ve been on a short Twitter detox for the last 10 days or so, in large part because the site really lends itself to hot takes not rooted in much objectivity. It’s the gift and the curse, to quote Jay Z’s 2nd worst album, because while it allows you to connect with some really cool people it ALSO gives runway to folks who just love to get their troll on. Some of the trolling is good-natured (shout-out to JJTank, so good at trolling that our own SZ wondered if that was our own Michael Meegan’s burner, for his Andrew Luck tweet that was shared with me), and some of the trolling is exactly why you turned off Skip Bayless after the 911th time he said someone other than LeBron was the best player on the planet. Balanced, as all things should be, right?

Except that balance and, by extension, objectivity doesn’t seem to extend to New York Jets QB Zach Wilson. Yesterday was the rookie’s 7th career start and he notched his first career road win versus a Texans team fresh off a big win versus the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans. Yes, the same Titans team that Zach Wilson also beat almost two months ago. He has had some really bad games (the NE game comes to mind) and two good/great games (the aforementioned Titans game, but he also played some good ball versus Carolina). Yesterday, he didn’t play particularly great, as his accuracy on short throws was a concern, but it was his first game back from a PCL sprain that he very clearly wasn’t fully comfortable playing on. He, also, wore a knee brace for the first time, and you could tell that he’s going to have to get comfortable playing with that going forward. There was rust and a return from injury, so his performance wasn’t anything you didn’t expect from a rookie QB who hasn’t even started 10 games yet is levied with 10 hot takes a drop back.

All you heard while Zach was out was that folks hoped he learned to take what the defense gives him and not force the ball. “He just needs to manage the game”, they said. He then did that in the 2nd half, while the team leaned on the run game, and apparently that was an issue too. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean to manage the game like that.” I get it, I wanted a different QB in the draft too, but this incessant need to tear down the rookie QB the team just took because of that reasoning is wild. This incessant need to spew the hottest take possible for likes and retweets of the people who also wanted another QB is also nuts. Calling Zach Wilson a MAGA boy and saying that the Jets didn’t take another QB because of the color of their skin, when the Patriots really took the QB most likely to be a conservative extremist given where he’s from, is even more nuts than the point before this one. Him being a conservative from Utah means he’s, at worst, Mitt Romney, and not the Antichrist.

Yes, Black QBs get the short-end of the stick, and yes, Justin Fields was relegated to every dog-whistle in the playbook, and, yes, I would’ve taken Justin Fields because he was the better prospect, in my opinion. However, the New York Jets passing on Fields (or Lance) wasn’t some big conspiracy as much as it was the Jets believing that Zach Wilson was the better prospect REALLY early on in the draft process and then moving accordingly. Jets fans refused to believe this, took every sign as a sign the Jets weren’t committed to taking Wilson despite every six signs showing they were, and then we’re disappointed on draft night. If Zach Wilson didn’t go 2nd overall, he was going third overall to Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers: a Head Coach so revered by this fanbase despite him only having one winning season on his resume and who has his own highly touted QB prospect sitting behind his veteran QB as his team remains in playoff contention. The Jets missing on Fields (or Lance) for Wilson doesn’t have to be this death sentence folks are clamoring for it to be.

Zach struggles to complete short passes? So did the QB a lot of you were begging the team to run it back with for another season. That guy couldn’t complete any passes (deep or short) and is now out of a job in Carolina and, probably, the rest of his career. Zach struggles to consistently read defenses? So did Matthew Stafford early on in his career, en route to 20 interceptions as a rookie. Zach still has to learn to take what the defense gives him? So do Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. There isn’t anything unique about Zach Wilson’s struggles through 7 games as a rookie, but you want to make the first seven games a referendum on his whole career. You expect Aaron Rodgers-like play without any of the Aaron Rodgers-like growing pains and without acknowledging how absurdly unlikely it would be for any of these QBs to be one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game. You don’t hold him to the same standard you hold every other rookie QB all because he isn’t the one you wanted.

The real tea is that the issue is you.

Author: Dalbin Osorio

Dalbin Osorio is a Case Planner for Graham-Windham, New York's oldest child welfare agency. He is, also, a student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Dalbin graduated from Monroe College with a degree in Business Administration. A 3 sport utility man in high school (think a mix of Jerome WIlliams, Brad Smith, and Jayson Nix), he joined TOJ in 2013.