Zach Wilson, 5.24

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Connor Hughes, The Athletic: We’ve talked to Robert (Saleh) about you over the last couple weeks or so and he said, “You’re beefy.”

That dude is beefy, have you guys seen him?

 

(follow up) Today he said you were thick. What was the offseason program like to get beefy and thick?

I think it was the first time in my life I’ve taken a bigger approach on the nutrition side of it rather than just the lifting. Of course, every year you do your typical strength training and lifting and running, typically you just try and eat healthy, but I tried to have a written plan of how much to eat, when to eat, tracking everything down to the macro, have somebody help me with all that stuff. That’s probably been the biggest difference as far as just being able to put good weight on.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is that from a nutritionist staff? Is that from someone here? Do you have someone you hired?

I helped get the plan here with our nutritionist Nici (Mense), she does a great job, and then having somebody kind of tailor all my meals, coming up with a meal plan. Kind of like a chef, that’s there to kind of put it all together, but not really fancy chef food, really I’m looking for just someone to make convenient meals at the appropriate times.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Do you feel a difference? Do you notice anything out there?

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

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is your weight up, Zach?

Yeah, I’ve put on quite a bit of weight.

 

(follow up) How much have you put on?

I think last season I probably ended around 208 and I’m about 221 right now.

 

Jeane Coakley, SNY: Is this something you wanted to do after the offseason?

Yeah, 100%. I really don’t want to be over 220, my goal is to kind of try and push a little bit over 220 and then once we hit the summer, try and cut back. I want to play around 218. But that was a big goal, I just feel like every year in season you’re going to lose weight, and so everybody tries to get as big as they can and then you’re going to lose a little bit of weight once training camp and season hits.

 

Ian O’Connor, New York Post: Do you feel like you’ve kept your quickness and athleticism or is there a bit of a sacrifice on that front to gain the weight?

That was the goal. I definitely feel like, from past experiences of putting weight on too, I feel more athletic, faster, the more weight and muscle I put on. That was the goal, I just feel like I’m a better athlete with more weight on for some reason.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Did you have to give anything up, Zach? Are you a fast food guy or a sweet tooth?

I do have a sweet tooth pretty bad, so that’s been the challenge. The cookies, the cakes and those kind of things.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What have these last few weeks been like? I know it’s not full football, but just getting back out there, how you’ve felt in the offense?

It’s a blast to get back out there with the guys, with the additions we have, the little wrinkles that we add within the offense. Then just the challenge of seeing what we did last year and trying to apply it and get better as a unit is a lot of fun. Going out there on the field, remembering the reps that you had last year. How can I improve on them? How can I get better? That’s why it’s really fun, honestly.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: How much more comfortable, I know you spoke about this a couple weeks ago, but how much more comfortable are you? Robert even said today you’re louder, which he takes as a confidence being high. How much more do you notice that?

I think it’s just like every level of football. The more you’ve played at that level you’re just going to feel more confident. That’s the entire unit together, we just feel more confident together and we’re really just trying to take that offensive step to the next level, and I think everybody in general feels more comfortable. The coaches feel more comfortable putting a little bit more on us as well. It is more exciting to come into a year two of an offense rather than year one.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: The additions that you guys have made, how much better do you think the Jets are now?

Absolutely, we’re definitely going to be better. I don’t think we’ll be able to tell until game one, of course, but you can tell the improvement is there, we have the talent, we have the guys. Now, can we tie it all together and be able to put something together.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Zach, a lot of, when young quarterbacks are developing a lot of people talk about surrounding him with talent and putting the pieces around him to create an environment where he can have success. Do you believe that’s happened for you? Do you believe that you have everything that you need to be a really successful quarterback in this league?

Yeah, absolutely. I feel like the entire staff, GM, from the top all the way down, from ownership down, I feel like those guys have done a great job just getting the pieces that we need, and I think that comes back to my job of now I need to do my job of getting these playmakers the ball. How can I let these big tight ends, these really good receivers, these running backs, get the ball in space and let them do what we brought them in to do.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What was watching the draft like, Zach? What was your reaction to everything they were doing?

It was exciting for me really just because I think everyone we picked is exactly who I wanted us to pick. I think as an organization everyone saw exactly what we were looking for and they were able to deliver that, for sure.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What’s the early work with Garrett (Wilson), what have your impressions been of him?

The dude is a sponge. He’s soaking it up, he’s learning a bunch. With being a rookie, just like me last year, you can’t really show exactly what you got until you can line up correctly and be confident in what you’re doing. He’s going through that learning stage still, but he’s a quick learner. You can see the talent jump off the page, he’s a really good player. He definitely has the skills, the toolset and definitely the mindset to be great. `

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Have you noticed Sauce (Gardner), too?

A couple times, we don’t want to notice him though too much.

 

Ian O’Connor, New York Post: You mentioned with the pieces that were added now it’s time for you to do your job. Do you see your job, in the context in trying to win the division ultimately, that you have to perform at a higher level than the other quarterbacks? And, particularly, like Mac Jones for instance because he was in your class. Do you take that as a personal challenge?

I don’t try and compare my play to anybody else as far as other quarterbacks go. I try and look at what I did last year, what I put on film and how I can just keep improving on that. What Mac is asked to do from his coaches is probably different than what I’m asked to do. We all have different schemes, different offenses, so I can’t sit there and compare what we’re trying to do there. I just got to follow with what my coaches are telling me and how can I just improve for what I’ve done.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: How much sharper are you mentally from last year compared to now?

I feel like I’m more comfortable. I wouldn’t say, extremely sharper is the right word, I would just say you’re comfortable, your understanding of what things you need to think about, what things you don’t need to think about. You’re just more efficient within your thoughts. Being able to simplify the game, I just feel like you can see more by seeing less, if that makes any sense.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is that comfort also in leadership, Zach? In terms of last year, you walk in here, you’re a rookie, but now do you feel like you can take more of a leadership role this year?

Yeah, and I think that’s needed, especially from a quarterback. Somebody that can get everybody on the same page and bring them in. I’ve never been the super-vocal type, the guy to get up in front of the team, but sometimes that’s needed. I think it means more when it does come.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Saleh said during OTAs that a lot of it is mental. So, how do you each day stay locked in while continuing to improve mentally?

Just every single rep, just going through that process of where am I taking my eyes, what’s my reads right here, how can I simplify this play and just use every single rep to my advantage because you want to bank as many of those as you can until the season comes.

 

Bob Glauber, Newsday: How much do you think traveling around the country to workout with receivers helped you and helped kind of that closeness that you need with your teammates?

I think it was good, not only for the physical throwing aspect, but just to see those guys, catch up to see how their offseason was going and we’ll plan something like that I’m sure this July as well before training camp gets started. I just think as much time that we can get with those guys is always going to be a positive thing.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: July, you mean you’ll get the whole offense together kind of thing?

Typically, every year you do a skill position offensive thing. The o-line won’t come out because those guys aren’t running routes, but we’ll do a throwing somewhere and we’ll plan something and get everyone together.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: You seem to have become a hockey fan, Zach. What’s that like?

It’s interesting, I never watched hockey my whole life, but we got to go to that Islanders game last year and then this year the Rangers game. Something about that playoff hockey is just a blast. I get a lot of comments on the whole Rangers/Islanders thing. Really, I’m just a fan of New York. Any New York sports teams I want to support. They’re really a blast to be able to go out. Being in MSG for a playoff game, game seven or whatever it was, is a blast. That was a ton of fun.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: You did Mets, too, right?

Yeah, Mets game was fun, obviously want to go to a Yankees game. Basketball games, of course, once those get started up again.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Does it kind of give you an idea of what, I mean it’s been a while since the Jets have been a good time, so does it give you a sense of what this organization and what the atmosphere can be like around this team if you guys can turn it around?

Absolutely, I think there’s just a lot of passionate fans out here and it’s exciting. I think that’s what makes those moments fun. You want to be able to put on a good show for those guys and that’s what we’re working to do.

 

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