With Zach Wilson back at quarterback, the New York Jets have the chance to be “special” on offense, according to coach Robert Saleh. Wilson will make his season debut Sunday when the Jets visit the Pittsburgh Steelers after missing three games with a knee injury.
“I just think for the entire offense it’s got the potential to be special,” Saleh said Friday. “There’s seven first- or second-year players taking reps, playing at any one time. … just the opportunity to have them grow together and click together is fun to watch.”
Wilson is the linchpin to the Jets’ offense. He was the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the Jets have surrounded him with talented, young playmakers the past two years. In his absence, the Jets rank 20th offensively in the NFL and scored five touchdowns in three games.
Back. @ZachWilson pic.twitter.com/ShVdf6c73E
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 29, 2022
The 23-year-old is looking to make a big leap in his development this season. He was 3-10 in 13 starts as a rookie, missing four games with a sprained knee. He completed 55.6 percent of his passes, threw nine touchdown passes and was intercepted 11 times.
Wilson was praised by Saleh and his teammates for making big strides during OTAs and the start of training camp. He sustained a non-contact injury in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and had knee surgery Aug. 16.
He returns to a lineup that now features rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2022 draft, Wilson is tied for the Jets lead with 18 catches. The Ohio State product already has a 100-yard game under is belt after catching eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner, in a 31-30 Week 2 victory against the Cleveland Browns.
Zach Wilson called his namesake “a freak” in admiration earlier this week.
Garrett Wilson continues to impress
Look at the release & separation from the rookie 🔥 pic.twitter.com/lYQnHytyGc
— 𝙅𝙀𝙏𝙎 𝙈𝙀𝘿𝙄𝘼🛫 (@NYJets_Media) September 26, 2022
The Jets also feature explosive second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore, who has caught 12 passes for an average of 11.6 yards per reception. Rookie running back Breece Hall is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and second-year RB Michael Carter is rushing at a 4.4 yards per carry clip. Each has caught 13 passes.
The surprise youngster in the mix is right tackle Max Mitchell. The rookie fourth-round pick was expected to be a backup who would potentially get an opportunity in another season or two. Instead, Mitchell has been forced into the starting lineup because of injuries on the line and has been solid. He has improved each week and had a 69.8 overall grade per Pro Football Focus in a Week 3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Max Mitchell vs. Myles Garrett on the game winning TD 👀 pic.twitter.com/JPNeYngLuu
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 19, 2022
Rookie tight end Jeremy Ruckert has seen little time so far behind veterans Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah, though he is considered a big part of the future.
The Jets’ offense starts with Zach Wilson. They’ll look to take flight with their captain back in the lineup this week in Pittsburgh.