Although his team has moved to another quarterback with Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas still wonders if things could have been different if the team continued the development of former No. 2 overall pick Zach. Wilson had handled differently.
“I go back and I look at a lot of things and things that could be done differently, things that were in our control, beyond our control,” Douglas told Pro Football Talk. “And every situation is different. I feel like in today’s NFL, when you take a quarterback in the first round, and you take a quarterback high, time is against you. And you have to see what you got so that you can make that decision.” four-year window, three-year window.”
The Jets ultimately only gave Wilson a two-year trial before making the switch to Rodgers. Thinking about what went wrong, Douglas identified the lack of an experienced mentor for Wilson early in his career as one of the possibilities.
“I think going back, it would have been great to have an experienced quarterback like Joe Flacco that first season,” said Douglas. “But in the end, we made the decision to jump in first with our youth movement. We had so many freshman and sophomore players, new staff. Let’s go in and attack this thing with the youth. We know there’s going to be some are growing pains but we’re all going to grow together I think we saw some benefits of that last year But sometimes you don’t consider the ramifications of playing a young quarterback early in his career And so, I think if I had to do it all over again I probably would have had that veteran in the room early for Zach.
For what it’s worth, the Jets’ plan for Wilson was to have him work with an experienced passing-game specialist during his first season at Greg Knapp. Unfortunately, Knapp, who had 25 years of NFL experience, many of them as offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach, was killed when he was hit by a car while cycling in the summer of 2021. contributed to the Jets’ decision not to have an experienced backup, but that clearly never happened.
We don’t know how Wilson’s progression would have turned out had Knapp guided him, but we do know how things have gone over the past two seasons and the results have not been satisfactory. It got to the point where the Jets benched Wilson in favor of Mike White, then made the decision to pursue Rodgers in the off-season. The team said it wants Wilson to learn behind Rodgers now.
“When the change was made in the second half of last year, the intention was for Zach to reset and really go back to basics,” said Douglas. “And that’s carried through into this off-season so far… Zach has an incredible ceiling and Zach is wired all right in terms of his love of the game, his work ethic, his attention to detail. And so this is a great opportunity for him to shadow one of the best passers of all time in Aaron Rodgers and pick up everything he can from him and get better every day And so I know he’s attacking like no other this offseason. energy level is incredible. It’s good to see him with a big smile on his face and working hard every day to get better.”