Zach Wilson, 5.27
DJ Bien-Aime II, New York Daily News: Zach, it looked like you were in a really good groove out there. What were you seeing that was allowing you to look so efficient today?
Yeah, I think it’s really just a day at a time. It’s day three compared to day one. I feel like, not just me but everybody’s playing faster, being able to react more, and not necessarily thinking so much. I think that’s the hardest thing when you’re installing an offense. You’re always trying to think of what coverage, what’s my assignment, what’s my split, my footwork, everything and so we’re just being able to play a little bit faster and I think that’s just making it more comfortable for everybody.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach how do you feel you’re doing learning the offense?
I feel like I’m doing well. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. I’m excited for it. It’s really just taking it a day at a time. There are frustrating things happening in practice maybe because you were slow on one read to the next or whatever it is. But you have to understand that’s going to be a process and you just got to take it day by day and keep learning and just doing your best.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: We were talking to Robert (Saleh) earlier and he said he used the word “relentless” to describe your approach to trying to learn. Would you agree with that, is that a good word?
That’s nice of him of course. I really just have a strong passion for this game. I don’t want to let my teammates down, so I’m just going to make sure I can do everything in my control to make sure I’m prepared.
Darryl Slater, NJ Advance Media: Zach, obviously learning the playbook is a big priority for you this Spring so if you could just kind of give us a rundown of maybe your top few things on your checklist for, in particular the Spring, what do you want to accomplish?
Coach Saleh always uses a good analogy of, if you’re watching TV and eating a bowl of cereal then learning the plays, formations, alignments is kind of like eating that bowl of cereal. You’re not really sitting there thinking about eating, lifting the spoon up to your mouth, and chewing and all that kind of stuff. It just naturally happens. So, for me it’s working on understanding the formations so it’s super quick, understanding the alignments, where the receiver should be. And then you start to pick up certain things against certain coverages and how guys run certain routes. It’s like I said, it’s going to be a process.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Zach, what do you like about this offense?
What I like? I don’t know if there’s much I don’t like. I think we got some amazing coaches that put us in some great situations. Some very intelligent guys. And so many details, I think that’s probably the biggest thing that I like about the offense. One play complements another and another and then another. It keeps the defense on their toes. And they’re always thinking something looks the same then all of a sudden, we throw something else at them. So, I think it’s just the ability to be confusing for a defense and be able to do a lot of things.
Darryl Slater, NJ Advance Media: Now that you’ve kind of worked in this offense a little bit, what similarities do you see to what you did in college? How similar is it and in what ways do you see those similarities? And, maybe how different is it and in what ways could it be different?
I think there’s similarities in almost every aspect. I think the speed of the game is going to be faster. Processing needs to be faster. There’s obviously some better, faster, smarter guys on defense as well so it almost makes me feel like I’m a freshman in college. It was almost the same transition from High School to College. It’s definitely obviously different, but it kind of reminds me of the same thing. Just adjusting to the speed of what’s going on and then also the plays. There’s a lot more that the offense requires.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: It’s been about a month or so since the draft so what’s life been like as the quarterback of the Jets? We saw you got out to a hockey game with some of your offensive line buddies and seem to have a good time there so what other things have you done in New York since you’ve been drafted?
I’ve been able to go, we went to the hockey game one night. We got to go to one of the O-Lineman’s house afterwards and hang out in Long Island. I don’t always think of a beach when I think of New York, but it was cool to see that there was a nice beach up there and we got to go get some good food down in the city. That’s probably one of my favorite things to do, go check out some of the nice restaurants. Besides that, it’s been us just hanging out in the apartment rooms, really just grinding on offense, how quickly can we install. You want to do your best to be prepared so I think all of us are really just making sure we spend a majority of our time just making sure we’re getting ready to play.
Ethan Bauer, Deseret News: What have been the biggest differences between living out there versus living in Draper and Provo?
It’s not a ton different as far as the size and the feel. There’s not a lot of traffic in Jersey. It’s a calm place. Obviously, there’s a different look to this city. It’s very green, trees everywhere. In Utah, it’s definitely not like that. There’s definitely some aggressive drivers here, that’s for sure. Getting used to that, getting cut off about everywhere you go. But really, I feel like I’m at home, I don’t feel homesick. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I’m having a blast and I think the coaches and the players just make it easy to fit in and get going with everything.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Hey Zach, as we all kind of get to know you, this is kind of fun for me. I’ll speak for myself. I enjoy getting to know you young players in this league. I wonder how much pressure you put on yourself. You’re in a really big role and you can obviously have a great impact in that role very early on. Do you put pressure on yourself and how so?
I don’t. I mean I don’t think you need to for any reason. I definitely challenge myself to keep getting better every single day. I don’t think there’s pressure in any of that. I think the game of football brings pressure in general. I think that’s what makes it fun, that’s what makes it exciting. You come out every day and it’s something new. I think where pressure comes is when you look to the future. It’s when you start trying to set expectations and all that kind of thing. There’s no pressure when you just look at it a day at a time and you sit back and you say, ‘Okay what can I get better on from last practice to now and how can I just keep improving?’ I think the rest takes care of itself, you end up getting to where you need to be.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: I’m sorry that I wasn’t there today so I may ask you a question that’s kind of dumb but do you have an initial reaction for us in terms of throwing the ball to guys like Denzel Mims? Any of the other weapons that you have right now? Does it feel good already, do you have a lot of work to do? What is that like for you?
It’s good for sure. It’s definitely an adjustment for me just because these guys are so detailed in routes and then the speed differences. I had some great receivers at BYU for sure but I mean, this level there’s going to be a difference of how guys get out of their breaks, how they accelerate down the field so as time goes by and we keep working together, we start working these different types of routes together, I think it’s all going to take care of itself. I enjoy throwing to these guys. We’ve got some studs.
Brian Costello, New York Post: We haven’t talked to you since the schedule came out. I’m just curious what your reaction when you saw that first game because there’s an obvious comparison that’s been made between you and Sam (Darnold). What was your reaction when you saw that was the Week One game?
My first reaction is just typical NFL, right. They love to bring the fans, and I love it. What an exciting matchup it’s going to be for us. I’m excited to be able to play them. Great team. It’s crazy because when you’re playing in the NFL, every single week is a great game. You can’t say one of them is not. These are the highest-level guys all the way around so I’m excited for the entire thing.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Zach, Robert Saleh on draft night said that the organization was going to lift you, not the other way around. How do you feel the organization has gone about building around you and lifting you up so far?
Well I think it’s just the little details. Every single day, sticking within the offensive plan the coaches have for me. The ability to say, “Hey we got man coverage right here, you got so and so right here in the slot, let him make a play for you. Let him win that one-on-one.” Your O-Line is going to give you time. Don’t feel like I need to be a superhero at all. Just work the offense how you’re supposed to. Let the playmakers make plays.
Darryl Slater, NJ Advance Media: Zach, if you continue to progress and learn the offense well here like Robert was raving about, how reasonable do you think it is to expect for you to start in Week One? I know fans are expecting that. What do you think about that?
I mean, that’s definitely not my concern right now. Of course, everyone wants to ask that question. But right now, my goal is going every single day, how can I get better from the day before? What things can I clean up, how can we all just keep pushing each other in the quarterback room? I think we all do a great job helping each other. I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it out here for sure.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Getting back to the opener you said typical NFL with that matchup. But I’m wondering, it is you against Sam. Is that something that you relish, that particular matchup?
Yeah, it’s not for that reason. Sam is a great guy. I’ve talked to Sam before, he’s a great guy but it’s not like I’m so pumped because it’s Sam. I’m excited because the Panthers are a great team and it’s a great challenge for us. It has nothing to do with him. He’s a great player and he’s going to handle his own, but it has nothing to do with the fact that he was here in New York and now he’s there. I’m happy for him. What a great opportunity it is for him to be able to put some life into his career and his opportunity. I’m sure he’s excited about it and I’m excited for him.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Hey Zach, my great colleagues in the media, I think said Mekhi Becton wasn’t there today. But I have to believe you’ve met Mekhi Becton at this point. What are your thoughts when you see what the Jets have invested in terms of Becton and (Alijah) Vera-Tucker on that all important left side especially a note with how much this offense may rely on play action?
They’re special players. Mekhi is a big dude. He’s bigger than you would expect, you see him on film and you’re like, ‘Hey, that’s a big guy,’ until you really see him in person. I think he’s a big guy and I think the best part is just how well he moves, how smart he is, and how bad he wants to be the best. I think that’s one of the most special attributes you can look for in a player is how bad they want to be great. I’m excited to work with him and the whole o-line in general. Everyone’s just talking about the left side. I’m excited for the whole o-line.
Dennis Waszak, AP: Zach, how important is it for you, in this process, like off the field, just trying to get to know all of those guys? Like going out and going to a restaurant or going to a hockey game and is that part of building a leadership foundation for yourself?
Yeah, no doubt. I definitely think that’s important. I’ve been trying to work on getting to know guys in the locker room and remembering names. There’s a lot of new faces and then all of a sudden once we got helmets on around the practice field you need to recognize who’s who and so you’re trying to just put it all together. As a leader I think that’s important, how close is that locker room. I’m trying to do my best to be able to just come and meet everyone and do what I can to maybe take some guys out to dinner or whatever it is.