Robert Saleh: It’s going to be cool to see how Zach Wilson reacts to different defenses

USA TODAY Sports

Given the quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster, it’s fair to assume No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson will take the first snap for New York not only in training camp, but also in the club’s season opener against Carolina.

But head coach Robert Saleh hasn’t yet anointed Wilson as QB1.

That’s not entirely a shock either, since the Jets will have competition at several different positions in Saleh’s first training camp at the helm. He told Albert Breer of SI.com that’s part of why Wilson hasn’t been labeled as the starter.

“The biggest thing we’re trying to do, and call it coachspeak, we’re trying to give all 90 guys a chance to establish themselves as starters,” Saleh said. “And we want to give everybody an opportunity to go out there and play and showcase who they are, give them the ability to see how they match up. So you’ll see rotation, like you saw in OTAs this year. We’d go to the back end and give everyone a chance to be a starter, and step in there with the ones to see how they communicate, see how they work. Same thing with the D-line and linebackers and then on the O-line, at running back, receiver, just having that constant rotation.

“So yeah, the quarterback part is the same, those guys are all going to work. Will [Wilson] take the first snap? Probably. But at the same time, it all comes down to what he can handle, and how he can handle things going through training camp and the preseason.”

But Saleh added that he’s liked a lot about what Wilson has brought to the table in his work ethic, specifically calling out Wilson’s film study.

“He’s a relentless worker,” Saleh said. “And I mean this, there’s guys who watch film, and then there’s guys that watch film almost religiously, and he’s one of those guys. He’s constantly trying to find ways to absorb information and learn. He’s wearing out the quarterback coach with film study. He’s relentless in that regard. His mental horsepower is off the charts. And he has a tremendous opportunity to go out there and be a good football player, because of that — because of his want to learn, because of his want to get better, because of his desire to ask questions that, frankly, he shouldn’t be asking yet. He’s looking at tells already through OTAs. The way he goes about it, he’s interesting mentally.

“And I’m excited to get a chance, when we go to Philadelphia and Green Bay, for him to see different defenses. It’s gonna be cool to see him react, and see how he asks questions, and see how he responds in Day 2 of those practices, it’s gonna be cool.”

As the second overall pick, Wilson has a lot to live up to when it comes to expectations. But from everything Saleh has said heading into the young QB’s first training camp, Wilson will be given every chance to learn and succeed at his own rate.

14 responses to “Robert Saleh: It’s going to be cool to see how Zach Wilson reacts to different defenses

  1. I’m more curious to see how Jets fans react at the point they realize he’s no different from Sam Darnold …

  2. For the #2 pick in the draft in the NY market, Zach Wilson is flying under the radar. Have said it before, the guy flashes with his arm but wins with his brain. I don’t think people have an appreciation for how good this kid’s football IQ is.

  3. “Yes, “given the QB’s on the Jets’ roster……” Another first round QB thrown into the fire and way too early. A career stifled if not ruined. Jets should have brought in a skilled QB to mentor this guy.

  4. yeah – on paper I agree the kid looks really talented but if your offensive line don’t hold up then maybe its your opponents that think its cool

  5. I think Saleh is trying to say, can’t wait to see him against real defenses not the pick up teams/games he was playing

  6. What’s he talking about “cool”?! It’ll be terrifying for a rookie with so little college starting experience to be thrown into that!

    Do NFL coaches EVER learn from the past?!

  7. Almost as excited to see what he can do as I was watching Neo fight Morpheus in the Matrix training exercise.

  8. Cool? Saleh is so overrated as well as Wilson. Well it is the Jets, just another in a long list of coaches and QB’s that don’t pan out.

  9. I know there will be many, many haters until he does something, and that’s expected and deserved. Bring it on, all we can say is let’s see. If you know anything about football, the kid has looked really, really good so far. Smart, talented, hard working, says all the right things. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less. Let’s pick this conversation up in December.

  10. Does anyone else have a feeling that Joe Douglas is more interested in rolling money into the salary cap for next year than anything else. My guess is he thinks this is a red shirt year since he has a new staff and a bunch of early picks in next year’s draft. No experienced backup QB since he doesn’t want to pay $ or picks for anyone and would rather wait to see who gets cut. Being frugal is fine, but low bidding Maye and not having a deal with Wilson yet, is an indication of a tight fisted approach that may come back to bite him and the Jets.
    and of course, other than Becton who has Douglas drafted that makes you feel good? A lot of show me which could mean 3-4 wins. Would that be progress?

  11. That’s what makes a great NFL QB. How he reacts to the defense, and how quickly he makes decisions, and also the quality of those quick decisions. After that, he has to make an accurate throw. The accurate thrower doesn’t help you unless he’s throwing to the right guy. That’s why it’s impossible to judge QB’s based on practice or workouts. That’s why Saleh is saying it will be cool to see. He’s already seen everything else. We all have. We just haven’t seen him against a good NFL defense.

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