Zach Wilson, 1.9
[please click photo for link to the video]
Brian Costello, New York Post: How can you sum up your overall feelings about the way this season went for you?
A lot of learning, a lot of ups and downs of course, a lot of good, a lot of bad, but I think you can kind of see the talent that we have and where things could be, so I think guys are taking the right approach, especially me, in just going into the offseason with the right mindset of just trying to improve and get better.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert (Saleh) has talked to us in the last week or two about how this place is not going to give up on you and he’s been very bullish on your future here. How do you feel about it given what’s taken place particularly this year? It’s obviously been rocky.
Yeah, it’s been tough and it’s nice to have that. So for me, it’s what can I control and that’s approaching and attacking every single day of just going out there and just giving everything for the guys around me and everything that we play for and really, I’m excited because of the way this year’s gone, I’m excited about the offseason, being able to attack it and know the things that I want to work on and work on those.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Saleh said that he wants you to decompress, get away from football, go read a book is what he said exactly, like what are your plans immediately?
Yeah, I want to get to work obviously as soon as possible. There’s going to be a little bit of that just going home and decompressing, I’m sure kind of putting a plan together, but yeah, I’d say really, I want to get to work, I’m eager to try and improve and find those things.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Now that you’ve kind of had a chance to I guess assess everything that’s kind of happened this year, do you feel like maybe you weren’t necessarily the same after that injury that you had suffered in Philly, like did that knee kind of plague you a little bit throughout the year?
I don’t think so. I would say maybe besides just the stuff of I probably lost a little bit of weight and stuff like that and just not being there maybe, but I think in the NFL, you have the ability to sit and learn almost as well as if you were playing from the guys that are out there just by watching. I definitely had the opportunities to do that and so I would say, was that annoying? Absolutely, yeah, but did it plague anything? I don’t think so, I would never use that as an excuse.
Connor Hughes, SNY: You’ve seen throughout sports in general now, players have more of a say now than probably ever before where if they’re unhappy, they can initiate a change and see a new scenery. For you, the Jets have made it clear they want to keep you here, they want to keep developing you, but if an opportunity isn’t here to start necessarily would you want a change of scenery?
Right, it’s tough because it’s really kind of out of my control and I love this franchise and what they’ve given me in my life and the coaching staff and everybody that we have and so for me, it’s alright I’m going to approach this offseason the way I know how and I’m going to give everything to the guys that have supported me along the way and just try and approach it and attack it and get better and control the things that I can so when things like that come up where ever way things go, I’m able to kind of handle them and be ready for any opportunity.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: (follow up) But do you want to be here?
Absolutely, I do and I think it’s because this is a special place and the people here are special and this locker room is full of special guys that I truly think are people that you’d play really hard for and they’re special.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Do you consider yourself the starting quarterback for next year?
It’s out of my control and for me, I think it’s the same mindset of it doesn’t matter because whether I go in there as the one, the two, the three, I’m going to work to prove that I should be and that’s going to be the mindset, I’m going to go in there and approach and attack every single day like I deserve to be.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: You kind of answered this a little bit, but if it does come down to you have to go out there and compete to be the starting quarterback, is that something you’re willing to do?
Yeah, absolutely, competition brings out the best in everybody and that’s what gets you to this level, is being a competitor and being able to kind of lay it all out there and so for me, it’s I’m open to always, you know there was competition this year, whether they want to say it’s someone else next year, there’s competition always. The best player should always play, so I need to use that motivation to just keep competing.
Justin Walters, WPIX: Is that frustrating to be at this stage in your career and feel like you still have to prove yourself to this team?
No, absolutely not and I think when I got to the NFL, you have that mindset just because you got drafted, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed that position, you have to earn that every single rep, every single year, and so it really goes back to that again. I have to be able to prove that, I have to prove it to myself more than anything, of just going in and attacking it every single day.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Zach, even though you’re going into year three, because of what’s transpired here, do you almost feel like you’re back to ground zero and just kind of starting over again, I mean is it really, truly a career reboot for you as Robert’s talked about?
Yeah, I mean there’s going to be things I adjust. I think this offseason as far as just trying to get myself prepared and it’s obviously the experiences that you have, you understand what you want to work on and get better at and so for me, it’s just how can apply those and get as much repetition as possible.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: There’s a thought out there that this organization didn’t do right by you because they benched you twice after drafting you second overall and that they didn’t do everything possible to make you, to maximize your potential, do you feel the organization’s been 100 percent behind you in your development?
I mean I know that we have the right guys here, and I know they’re making the best decision for this organization and for the team and it’s always easy in hindsight to try to point at what things went what way, but you never have any idea how this season could have turned one way or the other. So, for me it’s again, a big point for me this year was just controlling what I can and again, that’s out of my control and I knew it was and so the thing for me is okay, one of the things I can control is how I attack every single day in practice and how I hang out with the guys, and I think that’s the stuff that’s really important.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Mike LaFleur told us the other day when we spoke to him last week that he felt like he hasn’t done a good enough job for you to develop. He took quite a bit on himself there. What was your reaction to that? I’m sure you must’ve heard his comments, and I’m sure you’ve spoken since then.
I haven’t done enough for him. I wish I played better for him and for everybody in this locker room. The cool thing is that all of us are going to approach it the same way. Everyone in this locker room, Mike LaFleur, myself, we’re going to go back and be like, ‘How can we improve? Let’s watch the tape. Let’s look at the season, the ups and downs of it all. How can we get better?’
Brian Costello, New York Post: When you reflected on the season, I’m sure you’ve started thinking about it, what went wrong in your mind for you?
It’s tough. I think it’s the NFL. I think it’s the best way to explain it — the NFL is what went wrong. There’s a lot of talented people out there, a lot of talented players, good coaching, good schemes, and everything is momentum and runs and sometimes things go well and sometimes things go bad, and it’s those that can finish.
Justin Walters, PIX11: In hindsight, do you think you should’ve started your career as a backup as LaFleur mentioned?
Well, the competitor in me is never going to say that. I was absolutely looking forward to that, and even now, I’m going to be the player I’m going to be because of that. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and an opportunity is an opportunity, and I need to be able to make the most of those.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You said you’re a competitor, so if they come to you in March and say, ‘Look, we’re going to keep you. We like you. We’re going to develop you, but we’re signing Veteran X to be our starter,’ how would you feel?
I’m going to make that dude’s life hell in practice every day. I’m going to go out there and do my best to show the coaches that I deserve to be there. It’s not in a negative way, it’s a positive way. It’s making everybody else better, hopefully, and you should go out there and attack every single day.
Brian Costello, New York Post: In some ways, Zach, does this remind you at all of your third year at BYU when the job wasn’t guaranteed to you and some other guys had played because you were injured?
It reminds you of football — the ups and downs of life in general. It makes you tougher at the end of the day, and you have to be able to put your head down and work and lean on that support of the guys around you. If you keep doing the right things, things will work out.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: This has obviously been a challenging year. What do you think you’ve learned about it, about yourself, and how do you think this year has changed you?
A lot. I’m getting that tougher skin, for sure. There’s definitely things I need to keep improving at, but trusting in those around you. These guys in the locker room, they understand every single day when we come to work. The ability to lean on those guys, your support system. Things that I’ve learned? Where do I start? It’s been a season full of just learning. Technique and everything, I’m going to go back to watching the film and seeing what plays specifically I can do better on. I’m truly excited to attack that.