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Jets QB Zach Wilson shows off ‘beefy’ body, sense of humor at OTAs


Zach Wilson displayed his bulked-up frame and a sense of humor at the New York Jets voluntary organized team activities Tuesday.

When asked by a reporter what he thought about coach Robert Saleh calling him “thick” and “beefy,” the second-year quarterback laughed and zinged a one-liner right back.

“That dude’s beefy,” Wilson said of the rock-solid Saleh. “You ever seen him?”

Jokes aside, Wilson said he was all business this offseason trying to get bigger to properly fill out his 6-foot-2 frame. Wilson said he weighed 208 pounds as a rookie last season and added 13 pounds through weightlifting and an improved diet.

“That’s probably the first time in my life I’ve taken a bigger approach on the nutrition side rather than just the lifting,” Wilson said. “I actually have a written plan of how much to eat, when to eat, tracking everything down to the macro … that’s probably been the biggest difference as far as being able to put good weight on.”

The early results are positive. Wilson appears bigger and more fit. And he said he feels “more athletic” with the added size.

“I feel better for sure, the energy, the ability to have that stamina throughout the whole practice is better,” Wilson explained. “I just think in the long run when we get into a game where we’re actually getting hit and tackled, having some more size on me would help.”

But the new controlled diet hasn’t been without its challenges.

“I do have a sweet tooth pretty bad, so that’s been the challenge, the cookies, the cakes, that sort of thing,” Wilson said sheepishly.

The Jets, though, are impressed with what they’ve seen from Wilson this offseason and believe he will make a big jump from a disappointing first season in the NFL.

The No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Wilson completed 55.6 percent of his passes, threw 11 interceptions compared to nine touchdowns and had the lowest QB rating of any regular starter in the league (69.7). He was sacked 44 times in 13 games.

On the positive side, Wilson played better after returning from a knee injury. He threw five touchdown passes in the final six games and was not picked off in the last five. He also ran for four touchdowns last season, including a 52-yard score against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16.

“You can tell his head is right, he’s in a great mental space,” Saleh said Tuesday. “He’s speaking the right language. He’s saying the right things. He’s doing the right things off the field with regards of who he’s surrounding himself with. We’re really excited where he’s at.”

Wilson is not only growing physically but as a leader, too. He travelled to meet Jets receivers during the offseason for throwing sessions and workouts. And he said Tuesday that he plans to organize a passing camp with the skill position players in July before training camp begins.

“In terms of leadership, I see him stepping up,” guard Alijah Vera-Tucker said.

As Wilson is doing his best to better himself for 2022, the Jets have made it a priority to surround their franchise quarterback with more offensive talent.

The Jets signed veteran guard Laken Tomlinson to help solidify the line. They added not one, but three tight ends (free agents C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin and rookie Jeremy Ruckert) to fill a gaping hole on the roster. And elite playmakers Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft to up the skill level at wide receiver and running back, respectively.

“We’re definitely going to be better,” Wilson said. “I feel like those guys (general manager Joe Douglas and his staff) have done a great job just getting the pieces that we need and now it comes back to … I’ve got to do my job of getting these playmakers the ball.”