Robert Saleh makes feelings clear on Zach Wilson performance in preseason opener

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Robert Saleh (left) of the New York Jets talks with head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2023 Pro Hall of Fame Game
Robert Saleh (left) of the New York Jets talks with head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2023 Pro Hall of Fame Game

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke positively about Zach Wilson, but insinuated that he still has much to work on.

In limited snaps when playing in the Jets first pre-season game of the new year, Wilson threw five passes, completing three for 65 yards, while looking in control of the offense.

Speaking after the game on Wilson's performance, Saleh said: "He was really good, I thought he put it right on the money. Zach did a good job, he was poised, comfortable in the pocket and getting the ball out on schedule - that was definitely something to build on.

"Him rebuilding that confidence and swag that we fell in love with during the draft process... I think he is getting there. I said before he's a rookie all over again in this new system (under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett). There's a lot of learning but he's been attacking the heck out of it."

Although brief, Wilson's performance looked to be a big improvement from what we have seen in his first two seasons. He had hugely struggling after being taken with the second-overall draft pick, when the team hoped he would become the franchise quarterback.

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Last season in particular was a humbling one for Wilson after he was benched from his starting role for Joe Flacco, after failing to take accountability for poor showings.

Wilson started in just nine games last season, with Flacco featuring in five and third-string QB Mike White also playing four - with the team having a strong roster but getting poor play from their quarterbacks.

Robert Saleh makes feelings clear on Zach Wilson performance in preseason openerZach Wilson impressed in the game on Thursday night - a much-needed performance

The Jets made sure that this will not be the case this upcoming season, when they traded for Aaron Rodgers - who will be their starter for as long as he wishes to play the sport.

But with Rodgers coming towards the end of his career, he could be the perfect mentor for Wilson - a talented quarterback who looks to have mechanical issues as a passer while making head-scratching decisions.

Rodgers looked to be calling plays for Wilson at one point, with him having the headset on which feeds directly to the quarterback's helmet prior to the snap.

And Rodgers has already spoken on Wilson having the talent, and will work alongside him.

He told reporters: "The key for him (Wilson) is just growth and learning, and then building everything back up. I think we strip down some of the fundamentals and we see him throw the ball on time, and make accurate throws and good decisions.

Robert Saleh makes feelings clear on Zach Wilson performance in preseason openerAaron Rodgers looked to be calling plays for Wilson in the game

“Sometimes the best thing that happened is what happened, like when I popped my calf and I’m on the shelf for a few days. So then he gets to take a tonne of reps, make some mistakes and learn from them.

“Him and I had a good friendship coming in, we spent some time together off the field, and I have a lot of love for him and even more respect for the way he’s handled things and made me feel welcome.

"And also he’s been in my head pocket learning, asking a tonne of questions in the locker room and in the media room after hours. And I love that, because I feel like that's a big part of my role here. Not just play at a super high level for this team and help us win, but to make sure that he’s ready for when his time comes, and I really enjoy that opportunity.”

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Charlie Wilson

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