New York Jets: It’s going to be a long season for Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson, New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Wilson, New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Jets lost 19-14 to the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, but it will only get worse from here for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.

Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers was rough for the New York Jets and their quarterback, Zach Wilson. The score suggests the game was close, but the offense’s shortcomings were glaring throughout most of the game. The team was missing Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole, but that’s not why there should be concerns.

The New York Jets gave up six sacks against the Carolina Panthers. The offensive line gave up a pressure rate of over 50 percent. Zach Wilson was running for his life on essentially every play and was hit 10 times.

The highest-graded offensive lineman, per PFF, on the Jets was Mekhi Becton, who ended up leaving the game early due to injury.

Even in his first career touchdown pass, Wilson was scrambling to avoid the almost-instant pressure given up by the offensive line.

Not only did the ineptitude of the Jets offensive line hinder Wilson and the passing attack, but it stonewalled their rushing game.

The best game plan for the New York Jets going into this game was to establish the run to set up the pass. The Panthers didn’t have an otherworldy rushing defense last season, and they did little to absolve that shortcoming in the offseason. The Jets should have seen success here, but instead, the opposite was true.

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New York Jets running backs averaged 2.6 yards per carry on 17 rushing attempts. They totaled 45 rushing yards in this game. Quite frankly, there was nowhere for them to run, either.

45 rushing yards is not going to cut it in the NFL. It puts an incredible amount of pressure on Wilson and essentially makes the offense one-dimensional. The Jets offense isn’t the Dallas Cowboys or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If they want to succeed, the run needs to be effective. All of this starts with the offensive line. And it’s about to get worse.

In Week 1’s game, the Jets lost starting left tackle Mekhi Becton to injury. After testing, it was revealed that Becton suffered a dislocated knee and MCL sprain. Becton will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee and is expected to miss about 4-6 weeks.

This is a huge loss for the New York Jets, and bodes negatively for Wilson and the offense. Stepping in Becton’s place should be George Fant, who played 139 snaps at left tackle for the Jets in 2020. At right tackle, Morgan Moses should get the nod. Moses was signed by the Jets this offseason to add significant depth to the position — and it’s a good thing they did.

While the drop-off won’t be huge (Becton has said Fant is a player who he’s learned the most from), the Jets offensive line is already below-average; and Week 2 doesn’t get any easier for the team.

The New York Jets face Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots in Week 2. Belichick is known for his excellent defenses but he also has an incredible track record against rookie quarterbacks, going 21-6 in his career. Wilson will most likely be running for his life a second straight week.

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While Zach Wilson has already shown excellent promise for the future of the New York Jets, the offensive line could make it a long season for the rookie.