Zach Wilson, 1.10
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Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, I’m guessing not much has changed since last night when we talked to you, but thanks for doing this. What kind of was your takeaway from your conversations today with Robert (Saleh) and Mike (LaFleur) and all your coaches?
It was kind of really more of just a whole season overview of things to work on, things to do this offseason, kind of just a little bit of everything is really all it kind of was. It was just kind of those exit meetings.
(follow up): What do you feel like in your mind is the biggest thing you need to work on this offseason?
It’s tough to point to one thing. I definitely have a list of things that I want to get better at overall and I’m actually really excited to go in and work on those things and then to come back next year and try to apply those. I think it will be good. We got a good group of dudes that I can do it with as well. I’m going to spend some time with those guys in the offseason, just trying to build that chemistry.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Hey Zach, I know that you’re not the decision maker in terms of who they bring in and not bring in, so to speak, but I’m just kind of curious what you would hope to see built around you, further built around you, as you guys build this year in the offseason, through the draft and free agency?
I have full trust in those guys. I don’t feel like it’s my job to make that call. I feel like I love the group that we have and everybody’s hungry to keep getting better, so I’m just going to keep working with the guys we have in the locker room and just see how we keep building that chemistry together and whatever decisions they make, we’ll roll with.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Zach, do you believe if the right pieces are added to this team and some of the youth that got experience this year takes another jump, do you believe that this team could be one that’s competing or potentially in the playoffs next year?
I wouldn’t say that. I would say, of course that’s the goal to get to the playoffs, to win a Super Bowl. I mean, that’s why we play football. The goal right now is just to keep improving, to take it one day at a time, one step at a time this offseason and all the young guys that got these reps, just trying to bank all those and re-watch the film and try and say, “Hey, how can I keep getting better from that?” The GM, coaches, they all have a plan for us and where they want to take this whole thing. So, we just got to all do our part to try to contribute to that. It will get there if we keep working at it.
Laura Albanese, Newsday: Zach, what do you think are your biggest takeaways or lessons from this season?
It’s tough to say. I would say how can you play within the structure of the offense and then play football just how you know how to play football. I would say trusting the guys around you is huge, I think guys stepped up big this year and I have to have that full trust that they got my back and I always got there. I think that connection between the guys around you is huge and guys battled all year. I think the more I can rely on them, the better we can be.
Brian Costello, New York Post: With your teammates, you talk about working out with teammates this offseason and working on that chemistry. What does that look like? Are you talking about getting together in California or Utah or individually? Kind of, what’s your plan there?
We’ll figure something out. Even as far as just communication, spending time together, keeping up with each other, I think it all just goes really far when you have a good relationship.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Zach, we were talking to LaFleur the other day and he mentioned that John Beck, you guys will be working together in the offseason. I have two questions on that. One, how might those workouts be different now that you’re out of college and in the NFL? Secondly, is there some sort of advantage because he’s been with you for the last few months? So, is there a carryover because he knows the offense, he knows everything like that? How might that impact you in the offseason?
I think the cool thing is John got to witness firsthand, I guess, the struggles, the things I had to deal with as a rookie, the things that we had to go through as a team and so, it’s going to be easy for us to ahead and, ‘Hey, these are the big points of emphasis that we were really trying to work on every single week.’ We can just kind of nail those down and he has a really good understanding, rather than me trying to portray to him maybe the feelings that we had or things that were going on, he was able to witness it.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, when we talked to Robert, I think last week, he kind of mentioned he hoped you took some time away from football. Now, with the season over, he knows how hard a worker you are, but he wants you to take some time. Will you spend some time away from football now that the season’s over?
Yeah, I need to find that balance and I feel like the approach I’m going to take is going to be what’s needed. I’m going to go home, and I feel like I need to get into strength training and just getting my body back in shape right from the beginning, but I don’t really count that as full diving into the offseason. That’s just something that should just kind of be done every day. I’m not going to go out and speed train day one. I got to let my body heal and kind of calm down and my goal is to also just kind of throw the ball a couple times a week, at least early on. To just keep the arm in shape, even if it’s just catching in the backyard at first for a little bit, just to keep everything feeling good and as time goes on, I’ll progressively make that more and more and then we’ll find some time with some other guys and start pushing those work outs even harder. I think it’s just kind of a gradual build into just getting back in shape.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You’ve mentioned, Zach, you’ve mentioned strength training a couple of times. I know you mentioned it yesterday and obviously you just mentioned it again today, how do you believe that will benefit you next year and in what ways will that make you a better quarterback and specifically what kind of weight training are you talking about doing? Is it you’re trying to improve you lower body, upper body, just overall mass or muscle? What are you kind of looking to do there?
I just think overall I can hold my weight on my body and still try and keep some of that athleticism and ability to just take some hits. A big thing for me is I take the offseason lifting stuff, as far as wanting to be strong and all that, very seriously. So, when season comes around and you kind of lose a bunch of that, it’s unfortunate. So, I want to get up there and try and maintain it. I know it will just help in the long run with preventing injury and all that sort of things, as well.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Will your knee require any further attention in the offseason?
Yeah, I think there will always be strengthening towards it, right? I mean, it’s going to be sore, just from different things and so, how can I keep doing speed training to get it just back in shape and feel 100 percent normal to where even the soreness is just gone. It’s always something you can progressively still work on. Even my shoulder from two years ago, that I had saved over 100 percent fixed. There is still maintenance I got to do there and just because it’s something that you’ve had an injury to. So, it’s a very similar thing and I’m just going to work with different people to just make sure I can get that strength back, but it’s really overall the whole body that I got to work on.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Hey Zach, the first part of your season you had, I think, 11 interceptions through six starts and then none down the stretch. Obviously, that was a big emphasis, protecting the ball, for you. Can you specifically say what things that you did that changed the course of that?
Different things, right. I think, for one, the guys stepping up around me. Really, the receivers did a good job of just coming down with some really crucial catches. A lot of times, the ball is not even right there, I got to be more accurate with it, but I thought those guys did an awesome job of just getting me out of certain situations. And then, I think also just putting the focus on that as a team, as a unit, saying, ‘Hey, if we’re turning the ball over, we’re not going to win very many games.’ So, that was a big emphasis for me was just, how can you get rid of just the bonehead ones, right? There’s always going to be turnovers, there’s always going to be interceptions, how can you get rid of just the ones that are never supposed to happen. That was just a huge focus.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Zach, you were talking about how excited you are to work on the things on your list that you have for the offseason. Have you thought about how much different that list is going to be now that you’ve been through an NFL season? Because a year ago at this time, you had no idea where you would even be playing and now you’ve got at least that knowledge and the knowledge of the system and that kind of thing. How different it is going into this offseason with the work that you want to do?
Yeah, way different. I think it was just because of all the things I experienced, things as a team, now the scheme that we’re trying to run, plays that we were going to. I definitely feel like I have a way better idea of what I’m going to work on. I remember when I first got here and I was asked that question, it was like, ‘Yeah, of course I can get better,’ but it’s like in what areas? Leaving college, it was hard to point to one specific thing when we were doing so well and we were blowing teams out, it was hard to just point to one thing. I am really excited to just say, ‘Hey, you know what, these are the things I felt really comfortable with and these are the things I really got to work on and improve on.’ It’s what makes the game so exciting is when you get to work on something like that and then you get to try and apply it once you come back, whether it’s even just OTAs, just to be like, ‘You know what, I really put a lot of time and focus into this and then now I have the confidence to go in and work on that with all the guys and just get it going.’
Otis Livingston, WCBS: In sports, we always talk about guys getting experience and being able to see things differently, things slowing down, did that happen for you because over the last five games you didn’t turn the ball over after having so much struggles in that department early on?
Yeah, I would say as a team, it slowed down for all of us. I would just say, from the backs in the backfield, the o-line up front, the receivers, I feel like everybody was just starting to get a better grasp as a unit. The way that we all worked together, the communication, the more you just play football I think you just kind of get used to it. The trust with one another was just getting better and so I think with each game that kind of went on and learning from different experiences and going through different things, we were just able to kind of grow and just keep getting better as a unit.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Now that you’ve had 13 games of on-the-job training, where is your confidence level in terms of being quote-unquote the guy to get this team to where it wants to go?
I have a 100% confidence in myself that I can play in this league and that I can play well and that I can help lead this team to do some special things and that’s got to be the focus. I do think that’s one area that can always improve is just that leadership aspect, how can I bring guys along and how can I just elevate the guys around me and show them how much I care about them, how much they care about me, and as a unit, we can just be so connected in every way. That’s something that I’m going to just keep working on this offseason is how can I just keep bringing everyone together and just be able to keep improving as a team.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Zach, you talked about going through adversity this season. Just from a personal standpoint, what did you learn about yourself and how do you think going through some difficult times maybe helped you grow?
Adversity definitely leads to success in the long run as far as just when things get tough, that’s when you grow and you learn. This year was definitely full of that. That’s why rookies play, they try to get that experience. You just got to find the positives in it, as up and down as it can be. As tough as it can be, you got to understand that there was a lot of really good lessons that I learned. Look all the way back to Week One and up to this point, so I got to pull those good things out, find the bad things, be hard on myself, make those corrections and just try and apply them as I go into the next year.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Zach, I know you mentioned how you’re not going to speak (Joe) Douglas or Robert (Saleh) about what you think the team needs or anything like that, but during free agency, if you do see that the team is targeting different players, will you go on the recruiting almost? Like will you reach out to any free agents and sell them on the Jets or reach out to guys about potentially joining you here in New York around the league to kind of help in the effort to sign players here?
I don’t think so. I mean it’s not anything I’ve thought about unless that was a conversation I had. I think for the most part, I think I’m right in line with the plan that our GM and coaches have. I’m fully invested in the idea that they have for this team. Really, I’m going to feel 100% comfortable with whatever move they make. Maybe if me having to reach out to somebody helps as far as just an understanding of what it’s like here then we can talk about that in the future when that comes up.