One NFL analyst believes Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is ready to make a jump in Year 2.
Dan Orlovsky, the former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, thinks Wilson is in the best position of all the second-year quarterbacks to make improvement. Orlovsky points to the offseason improvements to the roster, Wilson’s improved play toward the end of his rookie season and being more comfortable in his second year in the Jets system.
“If you were going to sit here and say, ‘OK, what are they really missing right now?’ ” Orlovsky said. “I don’t know if you can point to a glaring thing that you go they don’t have this yet for him. I think that they’ve got a complementary team around him that you can sit there and say, the expectations are absolutely that he should play good football.”
The Jets are counting on improved play from Wilson in his second season to go from cellar dwellers to contenders. Jets general manager Joe Douglas spent this offseason upgrading the team around Wilson.
Orlovsky liked the moves that Douglas made and feels the offense is now in position to be potent.
“I think in a very short period of time since he got there, Joe Douglas has taken a bad offensive line and made it a pretty good unit,” Orlovsky said. “I think this has got a chance to be a top-12 offensive line in the league. If [Mekhi] Becton stays healthy and plays to the way we’ve seen him play. … [Alijah Vera-Tucker] is obviously very good and then Laken [Tomlinson] and how Laken fits into this scheme, you’re going, ‘OK, this offensive line has a chance to be a good unit.’ That is going to help any quarterback, let alone a young one, play better.
“Then, the addition of the size on the perimeter. You’re talking [C.J.] Uzomah and then Garrett Wilson. I think Garrett Wilson is going to be spectacular. He is not only going to help but now Corey Davis will be better and [Braxton] Berrios and Elijah Moore will all be better because I think Garrett Wilson is going to be that type of an impactful player. He finally has some people to get the ball to and with some size to them.
“That was my one big thing. Dude, his No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers — Berrios and Elijah Moore are 5-9. How do you want him to get completions in sticky coverage? He now has a little bit more of a bell-cow back [Breece Hall]. Michael Carter is a good player, but not the bell cow.”
Orlovsky compared the situation Wilson is in to what Patrick Mahomes had with the Chiefs in his second season, his first as a starter. The Chiefs had gone 10-6 and made the playoffs in 2017 with Alex Smith at quarterback. The Jets went 4-13 last season, so it is hard to see the comparison. But Orlovsky believes the improvements the Jets have made are that good.
“The Jets were a four-win team that didn’t have four of the offensive guys I just mentioned,” Orlovsky said. “It wasn’t like the Chiefs went out and added everything that offseason. They had Travis Kelce. They had Tyreek Hill. They just plugged the quarterback in. I think that Patrick went into a situation where he had protection, he had pieces to get the football to, he had a good offensive system and a good play-caller. I will sit here and say Mike LaFleur has got to prove to be a really good play-caller. But he’s got a good offensive line. He’s got people to get the ball to and he’s got a good offensive system. That is the foundational starting points for quarterbacks to play well.”