Zach Wilson, 6.15
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Connor Hughes, The Athletic: How nice was it to, these last couple days, have the full complement, with aside from C.J. (Uzomah), the full complement of your weapons out there at receivers? Elijah (Moore) was back in the fold, Garrett (Wilson) obviously was working, and then everyone else as well.
Those guys have done a really good job. We’ve obviously had most of them. It hasn’t felt much different really from OTAs. I know E (Moore) was a little banged up last week, but we’ve had them a majority of the time. Those guys have done a really good job. You can see the improvement that they’ve made overall. And then Garrett coming in and he’s getting better every single day as we’re going. I’m excited about the group that we have.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Zach, how would you sum up how your Spring went?
I thought it was really good, not just for me, but for everybody. I would say just the mindset of what we were trying to achieve. It wasn’t supposed to be perfect, but just having the right mindset coming in and just trying to progress and having that focus, just keep improving every single day, just progressively getting better as a unit. You look at the practice before and see the different looks that we had and then we get to go and do it again the next day. You can see that we were improving whether the plays were good and bad. I think everything was a good learning experience so far for the whole spring.
Corey Annan, NJ Advance Media: Zach, how would you describe the leap you’ve made in terms of your comfort level of the offense and being decisive with your throws since year one to now?
Right, I feel like my understanding of what I’m supposed to be doing within the offense, within the timing. Of course there’s still improvement and there’s going to be looks where things can always be different, but I feel like just the base of understanding of what the coaches are asking me to do is getting there and improving. I’m going to keep working it until we get back here for training camp.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What’s next for you? Are you going to try to get the guys together? I think you mentioned that before, are you going to try to do something like that with everybody? Has that been setup?
Yes, we’ve got something planned already for those guys. Somewhere in mid-July, I think we’re going to meetup and we’ll get to do this whole thing where we kind of go through the scripts and throw together and, more than anything, just be together and go hang out. We’ll plan some fun activities for those guys.
(follow up) How much do you think that helps overall, for what you’re trying to accomplish?
Every single day right now, since we got out here in April we’ve been throwing. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s going to be the routes, the two days of throwing that’s going to be the most beneficial. It’s going to be us stuck in some house together for three days, just getting to know each other and hanging out, talking, just like we do. I think that’s going to be more important than anything.
Steve Serby, New York Post: How and where do you take the biggest leap in year two?
I would just say approaching every play like it’s just only that play that you have to focus on. For me, it’s how can I just go in there and make the best decision to put my team in the best position. Really, that’s all that matters. How can I just do what the coaches are asking me and my time will come to do the off schedule stuff. It’s really playing within the offense is where I need to have the biggest leap, just my progressions, getting through them cleanly, getting the ball out of my hands, giving it to guys and let them go make plays.
Steve Serby, New York Post: How do you feel about everything the organization has done to surround you with playmakers and body guards, protectors? How do you feel about that?
They’ve done a great job. You can tell the organization cares. You know they want to win just as badly as all of us. They’re doing everything they can to put me in the best position and everybody else around me. They’re giving me the ability to just say, ‘I’m going to give this guy a shot right here, I’m going to let him win and hang on him and give him the ball just like we drafted him to be able to do.’ We definitely have those guys, we definitely have the guys up front as well. We just need to put it all together.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Mike LaFleur has mentioned how you improved your eye placement, so how have you been able to improve that throughout the offseason?
I think that’s just watching clips from last year and maybe comparing it to other quarterbacks who have been in the system before and just saying, ‘Hey, look on this clip how he got his eyes here sooner or later.’ Whatever the concept was, and just seeing the timing of that’s what it looked like when someone did it the right way and this is what it looked like when you did it last year, this is how we can correct it. I think it’s just seeing the good examples and then also just the reps of it. The more you see it in practice, I think there’s a lot of times where we’re running certain concepts and now I’m starting to think back to many reps that I’ve had that the defense looked just like that and I’m able to eliminate quicker, get to a backside read because, ‘Oh, last year I saw it,’ in whatever game it was. This exact defense, I know that’s not going to be there, I can move on. Whereas last year, it was, ‘I don’t know how this is going to play out, let me hang on it a little bit.’ Your process speeds up once you understand what’s going on.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: One of the big headlines that Robert (Saleh) made last year with talking about your play was like the boring football thing. This year, going into year two, do you feel more comfortable with taking the check downs, not playing every play like it’s your last? Do you feel like that’s more second nature for you?
I mean to an extent. For me, I’m not even ever thinking, ‘Check the ball down more.’ I’m still trying to be extremely aggressive, but it’s how smart and aggressive you can be at the same time. If the defense is going to give you something, maybe it’s a critical third-and-long and they’re going to give me a seam throw, I’m still going to take it, I’m going to be aggressive. How can I understand when that seam isn’t there and I can get down to my check down and just look to play the field position on the next possession? For me, it’s just understanding when to take that risk and just going through my reads, understanding where every play ends. If I’m trying to take a shot and something is not there, now I’m scrambling and it’s a bad play. How can I, I’m trying to take a shot here, everyone is falling off, get it down to a check down quickly, let him run.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: You and Elijah obviously came in together, you’ve spent a lot of time with him. Where have you seen him grow and how valuable is he to you in this offense?
He’s got an ability not a lot of people have. His ability to stop, his work ethic, his freakishly good hands, the ability to catch from any radius and then his ability to transition up the field. I think his best quality is how bad he just wants it. He’s going to be a good one for us to have and he’s going to keep learning the offense just like I am and we’re going to keep adapting together. I’m really excited about him.
Josina Anderson, CBS Sports: Zach, when you think about the scope of your experience since you’ve been in New York through your rookie year until now, what are some of the things that stand out? This is a little bit of an abstract question as far as what are some of the things that stand out for you as your experience off the field or in life that will kind of impact your perspective when it comes to how you’ve handled adversity, how you’re going to handle pressure because that’s most of how you’re going to see the evidence of your growth.
That’s a tough question. When you look at adversity, I think there’s been adversity throughout my whole life whether it’s small aspects that a lot of people don’t see. But there’s always somebody that’s doubting something that you’re doing or something that our team is trying to accomplish. I feel like that just kind of fuels you as a team. I would say 98% of the people outside of our building have no idea what’s going on anyway, so I think that’s cool. We can lean on each other, trust each other and you kind of use that fire to say, ‘You know what, this is our goal. This is where we need to be. Let’s close that gap.’ It’s special to have a group of guys that all believe in the same thing and you kind of get to block out that noise.
Josina Anderson, CBS Sports: Is there an experience though that you can describe off of the field or even away from gameday that you can say just kind of goes into the fabric of who you’ll be as far as just the curve of your maturation this season or how you will handle adversity from a different, more vocal perspective so to speak?
I really don’t have another experience. The biggest experience of adversity I hit was playing well as a freshman in college, having a shoulder surgery, not doing very well my sophomore year to an open competition. Kind of seeing who was really in my circle with me then and then all the haters around me then. You got to have that chip on your shoulder to say, ‘Ok, my back is up against the ropes right here. How can I come through it all?’ So now, second time around, it doesn’t bother you at all.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Saleh was in here earlier and he was talking about he believes your potential is limitless but you can’t sort of rush to the ceiling, you can go through progression he talks about one-on-one, three-on-one, five-on-one. Is it tough to be patient and not want to be great right away?
Well, I have that confidence in myself. I see the best play of the game and I think I can do the same thing right now. Maybe there are glimpses of plays or whatever, but it is true, you have to ride out that process. You have to understand the process and where you’re trying to get ultimately, overall. You can’t just look at all in one year, I have to look at last year and the struggles and ups and downs of it as a part of the process of getting better. Of course, I’m going to try to be the best that I can right now but you have to understand that it’s going to take time.
Steve Serby, New York Post: If it does take time, how good do you think you can be?
I guess we’ll see, I really do have a lot of confidence in myself to be able to see, obviously, I think I can be one of the best and I think if anyone doesn’t say that, then they’re not a true competitor.
Corey Annan, NJ Advance Media: How are you handling the highs and lows of practice when you’re having a tough day or you’re having a great day, about how much value do you place in that?
Obviously, I get frustrated. You know, you want that rep back, you saw something one way and you miss a throw or whatever it was, you have to just be able to say move one and get to the next play because it’s a part of football. You’re not going to ever play a perfect football game. There’s going to be the ups and downs. Sometimes you play a horrible first half and you come back and win in the second half. You have to have that short-term memory in that aspect and being able to learn from those mistakes but also being able to move on.
Steve Serby, New York Post: How do you like playing in this market?
I think it’s awesome. I don’t think there’s a better place to be. I really do think the longer I’m here, the more I do enjoy being here. I think the atmosphere, the people, where we live, the guys on the team, the culture we’re trying to set, I really do enjoy it.
Corey Annan, NJ Advance Media: How do you feel like the momentum that you built during the second half of last season has carried over into the offseason, OTA’s, and mini-camp?
It wasn’t even just the second half. I have to look at the first half too and say what was I doing wrong here and how can I find what was going off as a team and as a unit, for me especially, and then you progressively just watch every single week and see what things you got better at. Of course, our coaches always talk about how you find a couple things to focus on and you hit those on the head. You watch them in the film room, you watch them outside, you watch other guys take reps, you know, the backups when they come in, and then I need to go out there and do well with my reps. You get a lot of experiences of being able to watch these things and going through the process.
Steve Serby, New York Post: What did you learn about this town, when you watched the Rangers, when you were at those games, what did that experience…?
There’s just a lot of passionate fans out here. New York has a lot of people and it’s a very exciting atmosphere when you can get to the playoffs and you can have that push and the support behind the team. It just makes us want to be great out here, even more, just because of everything surrounding it.
Corey Annan, NJ Advance Media: We talked about the Wilson-to-Wilson connection with Garrett Wilson. How excited are you to be able to play with him next year and hopefully have the best season with him?
I think he’s got the right mindset and he has a freakish ability to adjust in the air and find the ball, his route running ability. I’m really excited for him to just keep developing and growing and see where he can get going into training camp this year and in the season because I think he can be a great weapon for us.
(follow up) Are you hoping the nickname Wilson and Wilson keep catching on more?
Yeah, I think it will.