After Sunday’s 19-14 loss to the Panthers, Jets head coach Robert Saleh complimented rookie quarterback Zach Wilson‘s “resolve” after watching him take six sacks and 10 hits over the course of his NFL debut.
Wilson struggled early, but threw two touchdowns in the second half to give the Jets some hope of pulling off a comeback. The second of those scores came a couple of plays after he took a massive hit from Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown that left him feeling like he “got hit by a truck for a second.”
The feeling that he survived a car accident didn’t go away after the game, but Wilson said it was just part of the learning process for a rookie quarterback.
“Yeah, neck’s a little sore,” Wilson said, via Andy Vasquez of USAToday.com. “A little whiplash. But I’ll be alright. . . . It’s tough but it’s part of the job, right? It’s why we sign up to play quarterback. I feel like I’m getting better, experiencing having stuff in your face, you’ve got to be able to play. You can’t just say, ‘Uhhh, there’s pressure, I can’t do my job.’ That’s why quarterback is a tough position to come by. So it’s good for me and I’m going to continue to get better at that.”
Wilson might have found some lessons from the game, but getting pummeled like that on a weekly basis is not going to be a plus for his development. That makes improved protection a clear priority for the Jets as they move forward this season.