New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson spent the first three games of the season recovering from meniscus surgery and a bone bruise that he sustained in the preseason. This kind of thing is nothing new for Wilson, who suffered a PCL injury last year that forced him to miss four games. Wilson is the kind of quarterback that takes a lot of hits, waiting until the last minute and hoping for a big play, and it shows in his stats. Last year Wilson led the league in yardage lost to sacks with 370 while being sacked on 10.3% of his drop backs.
Wilson can’t blame his line either — this is all on him. Last year he was the third-slowest in getting the ball out per NextGenStats at 3.0 seconds per pass behind only Jameis Winston and Jalen Hurts. In his limited time this year, he’s actually gotten slower at 3.22 seconds, well behind second place Daniel Jones. Hurts, by the way, is now firmly in the middle of the pack.
Wilson is quite capable of hitting those big plays if he has the time. So far this year he has hit eight passes of 20 yards or more in just two games, and he ranks 7th in Intended Air Yards (and 9th in completed air yards). He is, in many ways, what people hoped Justin Fields would be, and maybe with a better supporting cast, still can be.
But pressure is absolutely his Achilles Heel:
Zach Wilson locked in when he’s kept clean. Under pressure numbers need to improve bigtime but right now has highest EPA per play when kept clean through week 5. pic.twitter.com/lQ4Nl37i0I— Will Parkinson (@Willpa11) October 11, 2022
While this is a small sample size, it’s still an incredible achievement to be essentially the best quarterback from a clean pocket and the absolute worst when under pressure. The Jets’ offensive line is fairly good, and in general, the amount of pressure you generate on Wilson will determine whether you win or lose. Given the status of Rashan Gary and his toe, this could be a tough matchup for the Packers.