Zach Wilson not taking starting Jets job for granted

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Zach Wilson had his second practice as a Jet on Saturday afternoon. But Jets fans are already dreaming about September.

The expectation is that Wilson, who was taken No. 2 overall by the team in the 2021 NFL Draft, will be the Week 1 starting quarterback. But Wilson said that is something he needs to earn.

“Obviously that’s important, but that’s not my focus right now,” Wilson said of starting. “My focus is to learn the offense, keep getting better every single day, do what I can with the guys around me and I think the rest takes care of itself. In this position, the coaches want to play the best player and that position’s got to be earned. I’ve got to go in there and I’ve got to make sure I do what I’m supposed to do and that will take care of itself.”

Wilson has a presence to him. That is clear when you speak to him — even virtually — for a few minutes. He has already been reaching out to teammates and trying to establish relationships. It is hard to take much from the rookie minicamp practices, but Wilson’s throws are on time and have some zip on them. Things will get tougher in a little more than a week when he can participate in organized team activities with the veterans and he could face a defense in drills.

Jets coach Robert Saleh spoke to the media before the second practice on Saturday, but he gave Wilson good reviews for Day 1.

“He did a really nice job,” Saleh said. “The ball was in and out of his hands very crisp. He was in rhythm. He was on time. Players were running the right routes and the ball was barely on the ground. It was a very good first day for him. Now, he’s got to stack it up and get better every day.”

Wilson said he is still deciding what jersey number he will wear, but most likely it will be No. 2. He wore No. 1 at BYU.

“Just mixing it up, doing something new,” Wilson said. “I like any single-digit numbers. I think it’s kind of cool that I was the second pick. I think that’s kind of a cool reason to be able to switch it up. There wasn’t really too much thought behind it. I just think it’s a cool number.”

Wilson is adjusting not only to his new team, but also to his new home. He commented on how beautiful the area around the Jets’ training center in Florham Park is.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is this area is not a city lifestyle,” Wilson, who grew up in Utah, said. “It’s great. If you want the city, you’re close by. You can hop on a train or drive down [in] about an hour, but it’s cool that we’re in the suburbs. We’re kind of away. It’s an easy place to focus on football and just be able to get what you’re supposed to get done.”

In terms of football, Wilson said the biggest challenge right now is learning the language of his new offense.

“[The] terminology is completely different,” Wilson said. “Football is really like learning a language. You’ve got to go in there and you’ve got to work at it every single day to be able to put the words together, to be able to think of them quick and to know what’s going.”

Wilson said he may try to get some of his new teammates together to throw in the coming weeks. He has reached out to the rookies and said he has heard from many of the veterans he’ll be playing with.

“It shows these guys care and they want to win and they want to do everything they can,” Wilson said. “It’s cool that those guys have already reached out. … It’s been exciting to get to know all these guys by name and start to find those similarities we have.”

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