FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — When the New York Jets entered the 2023 NFL season, they said frankly: They expected to compete for a Super Bowl championship.
Fans were hoping the arrival of four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers would get the Jets to a point they hadn’t reached in 55 years.
Instead, entering the fourth week of the season, the fallout from Rodgers’ ruptured Achilles tendon has left Jets players and coaches answering questions from… last Quarterback to win a Super Bowl with the organization.
Hall of Famer Joe Namath drew harsh criticism this week on social media and on the New York-based YES Network. Namath called the jobs of head coach Robert Saleh, general manager Joe Douglas and quarterback Zach Wilson after what Namath deemed a “disgusting” display.
“Joe Namath is a great, great football player,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “He has every right to express his opinion, and we have every right to prove him wrong.”
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Namath said Wilson would be better off as a backup for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs — the Jets’ opponent this weekend — where he could “maybe learn something.”
“I’m not going to keep him, I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson,” Namath said. “I’ve seen enough. He has quick feet, and he can throw a little. But I can’t believe what’s happening there.”
Wilson has completed just 52.4% of his pass attempts this season, averaging 155.7 yards per game while throwing two touchdowns to four interceptions for a passer rating of 57. The Jets and Saleh insist he has improved since his rocky first two years, but both have these signs The statistic is a career low.
Namath and Wilson met in person at a practice during Wilson’s rookie year, Wilson said.
“Obviously Joe was an unbelievable player, but this locker room is very tight-knit and we are working on getting better,” Wilson said. “I’m working on getting better and I know I need to get better. I promise I’ll do everything I can to keep trying to get better. The focus is just on leaning on each other in this locker room and relying on each other. That’s all we have at the end of the day and we’re just going to keep trying to get better.”
As if to further prove the point, Wilson addressed reporters wearing a black T-shirt with white letters across the chest reading “I’ve Got Your Back.” Identical jerseys were hung throughout the Jets’ locker room Thursday, as if imploring their owners to buy.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Wilson said. “The narrative outside of this locker room is different than the narrative inside this locker room. I really think all the guys in this locker room support each other. I got theirs and I feel like they got mine.
The Jets’ defense has played well while their offense has faltered. The team converted just 10% of its third down attempts in a 30-10 Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and 14% of its third down attempts in a 15-10 loss to the Patriots the following game.
Going up first and second to avoid a rash of third-and-longs is the focus this week at Jets headquarters. Blocking more accurately is also. Personally, Wilson said he needs to “get into the pocket more than anything else” after running away with ways that put his offensive linemen in tough guard situations.
When not to avoid third and long?
“You still have to review your reads but you have to understand that you can lose games on third-and-long by trying to force something and doing something stupid,” Wilson said. “How can I get over my lead and get a positive play to try to get out of the field. When you’re on third-and-12, if they’re not giving you anything down the field, at least finish and let your guy run and let’s play the field position game and try to get on the positive side of things and try to nail it.” Deeply.”
The Jets signed veteran Trevor Siemian on Tuesday as insurance on their quarterback room. Saleh continues to say that Wilson is the team’s starter, but the Jets showed last season that they are willing to bench him in the 2021 first round.
Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett started the interview saying we should get some “positive energy” in the room. He was then asked the first question about what he saw from QB Zach Wilson vs Patriots pic.twitter.com/JUUvduNnti
– Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) September 28, 2023
Finding the right atmosphere Sunday night won’t be easy against the defending Super Bowl champions, who sit in second place by 8.5 points. Per BetMGM. No other team is favored by more than 4.5 points on the road this week.
Once Siemian settles into the offense Once Siemian settles into the offense, roster decisions must take into account Wilson’s playing style and locker room sentiment. Last week’s broadcast showed animated sideline conversations, including from wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Michael Carter. If that content repeats or even escalates, can the Jets continue to start Wilson among a roster more poised to thrive in the NFL than he is?
“How can a coach say the locker room is cohesive?” Namath said. “Are you telling me there ain’t no cats on the defensive end saying, ‘Hey man, what’s wrong with you?’
“It’s not all harmony in the locker room. If that’s the case, they need to get rid of people.”
Hackett doesn’t agree with that either, calling Garrett Wilson’s conversations “really positive” while also saying it’s okay if they’re not.
“I mean, when you’re not playing well enough offensively, and we’re not getting what we want on the field, you want the players to get frustrated,” Hackett said Thursday. “I don’t want guys to be smiling and happy and stuff. I think for me, I didn’t even know it was happening, and even the conversation with Garrett was incredibly positive. He’s fiery, I’m fiery, we’re all fiery. That’s what we want from everyone.” man.
“I think you love passion, and I think we all have to be smart and make sure passion doesn’t hurt us at the same time, so we want to take that and channel it and help us on the court.”
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