Jets’ frustrations build as QB Wilson struggles

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets, who began the season with Aaron Rodgers and dreams of a Super Bowl, have reverted to their 2022 script: They have a quarterback problem and frustrated players in the locker room.

Zach Wilson struggled for the second week in a row, two players engaged in animated discussions with coaches during the game and the Jets lost their 15th straight to the New England Patriots, 15-10 on a rainy Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Afterward, star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, upset during a sideline conversation with Zach Wilson and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, hinted that he’s not getting the ball enough. The Jets (1-2), losers of two straight, appear to be teetering already. But they won’t change quarterbacks this week.

Coach Robert Saleh said he’s sticking with Wilson, saying, “Yeah, he’s fine.” Wilson has led the offense to only three touchdowns in nearly three full games, but “he’s who gives us the best chance to win,” Saleh said. “That’s basically the cleanest answer I can give you.”

The only other quarterback on the roster is Tim Boyle, who has only three career starts (all with the Detroit Lions in 2021).

Zach Wilson, who replaced the injured Rodgers in Week 1, was befuddled by the defense. He completed 18 of 36 passes for 157 yards, with three sacks (including a safety). The Wilson-led offense produced seven three-and-outs. He was booed loudly, especially when he threw a 2-yard completion to tight end Tyler Conklin on a fourth-and-10 in the fourth quarter.

It got emotional on the sideline after a three-and-out in the third quarter.

“Yeah, just frustrating — frustration that we’re not moving the ball,” said the quarterback, who walked over to Hackett and Garrett Wilson on the bench and was gesturing with his arms. “That’s what it was. Our defense was stringing together some stops and I felt like it was time to go, time to go, time to put some points on the board. So yeah, just trying to figure out how we can attack.”

Garrett Wilson finished with five catches for 48 yards against the Patriots’ injury-riddled secondary. Asked if the Jets did enough to exploit the secondary, he said, “No, we didn’t. Straight like that. So, I’m sure they’re feeling really good over there on the other side right now, especially the DB room. And they should, for sure.”

He didn’t directly criticize the playcalling or his quarterback, but the second-year receiver — the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year — certainly left the impression he’s not happy with the way he’s being used.

“I feel like I’m in a really good spot as far as my ability and I don’t feel like I’ve been able to put that on display,” he said. “And that’s for multiple reasons. I don’t know what it may be, but I just know I’m ready. I’m going to make sure I continue to be ready. I’m going to make sure that every time I take that field that I’m confident in my ability no matter what’s going on.”

There was another heated exchange when running back Michael Carter got into it with running backs coach Taylor Embree. Later, Carter called it a miscommunication, saying “we hashed it out right away” during the game.

“It’s not as big a deal as it looked,” Carter said, acknowledging he has to “control myself a little better.” Most of the spotlight will focus on Zach Wilson, who has completed only 52.4% of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions this season. The plan was for him to back up and learn from Rodgers, but that changed on the fourth play of the season, when the four-time MVP tore an Achilles.

Team officials have talked up Zach Wilson’s growth as a quarterback, but he doesn’t have the results to back it up.

“We’re still early in the season,” Saleh said. “We knew, even with Aaron at quarterback, there was going to be some hiccups along the way because of a new offense, a new playcaller, new O-line, just new players. Not you’ve got this curveball sent to us and they’re acclimating and they’re going to get better.”

In hurry-up mode, Wilson led a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 13-10. He had three possessions in the last 2:44 to try to pull out a come-from-behind win. Those possessions ended with a safety, a four-and-out and a Hail Mary into the end zone. Wilson completed only two of eight attempts on three series.

In his postgame news conference, Wilson used the word “frustrating” three times, finally admitting, “It starts with me. I’ve got to find a way to be better.”

Source: ESPN

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