The New York Jets host the Kansas City Chiefs (and, reportedly, Taylor Swift) on Sunday Night Football this week. We all know how it's going to go. The Chiefs are going to steamroll the hapless Jets, Zach Wilson is going to look like the worst QB in the NFL in the process, and Robert Saleh is going to stand at the podium insisting Wilson is still The Guy. Both coach and quarterback will get hammered throughout the week on sports talk radio and television. Then Sunday will roll around and it'll all happen again. Rinse, wash, repeat.
It is getting hard not to feel a little bad for Wilson. He is clearly not in a position to succeed because his skills are not up to par and it's on the Jets for continually trying to force his success. But they aren't even doing that to their fullest capabilities. Instead of calling real NFL plays for a real NFL quarterback they're calling plays for Wilson like they, too, believe he should not be employed as a professional football player. The BYU product has never shown that he can make NFL-caliber throws on a consistent basis but if the Jets don't even let him try then they're hamstringing themselves even further.
Dan Orlovsky spoke this sentiment into the world on Get Up this morning and summed it up by saying the Jets need to stop "babying" Wilson.
"They gotta take the handcuffs off. We gotta stop babying Zach Wilson... We have to stop treating this young man like he's not talented at all. The way that they play football is, 'Hey, just don't give the ball away, play good defense, good special teams, and we'll have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.' Well how's that working out, Jets? When you try to baby a player and you try to hold him back, this is what happens. You don't really actually have the chance to win the football game."
The counterpoint to this argument is that the Jets let it rip last year with Wilson and he was horrific. Giving him the freedom of a normal quarterback led to seven interceptions in nine games. Many of the decisions that led to those picks were the worst you'll see on a football field. The way they're playing now they technically have a chance. Last week against the New England Patriots, for example, Wilson had 157 yards passing and no turnovers. The Jets were within one score in the fourth quarter. They lost, but it was close!
Even knowing that, though, it's getting hard not to ascribe to Orlovsky's line of logic. It doesn't really matter if the game is close with Wilson not having the support of the coaching staff to make anything but the most obvious of throws. Few defenses in the NFL are going to let him score points by doing that over and over again.
If the Jets are going to tell the world Zach Wilson is their guy, they should start acting like it on the field. Otherwise, what's the point of it all?