Jets' Zach Wilson 'Doesn't Need to Be Tom Brady This Year,' Robert Saleh Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 12: Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets throws a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on December 12, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh isn't counting on Zach Wilson to be the greatest quarterback in NFL history, at least not yet.

"He doesn't need to be Tom Brady this year," Saleh told reporters Wednesday. "If he ends up being that, that's awesome. That's not the expectation. The expectation is for him to continue to climb the mountain."

Wilson didn't break through at BYU until his third season, and he was far from the finished product when he arrived in the NFL last year. His transition to the pros was never going to be seamless.

Even taking that into account, Wilson's rookie season left something to be desired. He threw for 2,334 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 55.6 percent of his passes in 13 starts. The 22-year-old was also sacked 44 times, losing an NFL-high 370 yards.

Wilson finished reasonably strong, though. He had 593 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and an 82.6 quarterback rating over the final four weeks.

Jets receiver Braxton Berrios was encouraged by what he saw from his starting quarterback during OTAs.

"It's a different world coming into Year 2 in the NFL, seeing what he's seen obviously," Berrios told reporters. "We saw that in the first half and second half of the year. And then being reintroduced to the same offense, nothing is truly new to him. He looks a lot more comfortable. Everything's a little quicker and he obviously commands the huddle really well now."

Saleh's comments underscore how expectations around Wilson remain tempered, in part because the Jets aren't expected to be all that good themselves. New York was 26th in Bleacher Report's NFL power rankings in May.

Wilson doesn't need to light up opposing secondaries. A bump in his efficiency and yardage will count as progress.