Zach Wilson, 8.2
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Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Are you where you want to be at this point in camp?
Yeah, I feel like every day I’ve learned a bunch and I’m trying to improve. I think we are getting better as a unit, so I’m excited about it.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How do you measure your growth day-to-day? We sit there and analyze every throw you make, but how do you deal with it on these early days?
You really just look at one play at a time. I mean that’s what we do in the film room. You never really look at it like, ‘How was today as a whole?’ You look at it like that play in general. Did you make the right decision on each play? That’s how we judge it in the quarterback room. I think that’s the best way to do it because we’re trying to improve each and every play.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Do you evaluate yourself any differently this year than you might of last year at this point? Do you have a different standard because you’ve been here and been through it?
I mean, obviously, I’m not comparing both, but I would say my understanding of what’s going on is further ahead. Right now, it’s still the same criteria that I’m judging myself off of, though. It’s, ‘Am I making the right decision? Am I getting the ball out of my hands? Am I being accurate with the football?’ those kind of things.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Your coaches have talked about trying to work with you on the improvisational stuff, when the play breaks down you have to make things happen on your own. What do you like about those plays? Obviously, you don’t want the pocket to break down and get pressure, but what do you like about being able to go out there and play backyard football?
It’s a whole other element a defense has to be able to cover. It’s fun to go out there and try to make something happen. Maybe save a play that maybe something wasn’t there or whatever it was and we’re able to go do something off-script. My biggest balance right now is how can I play within the offense and find time to make something happen when it’s appropriate. It’s trying to balance both.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advanced Media: How much have you learned or how much have you changed from a year ago in terms of knowing when to keep the play alive and when to not force it or for your own safety? I know that’s not the case right now, but that kind of balance.
It’s understanding the situation: What is the defense in? Do I always have an outlet to get the ball out of my hands? Or is everyone going to be manned up and I don’t really have anywhere to go with it. Understanding a pass rush situation as well. How quickly are those guys getting in the backfield? Time of possession in a game as well. How much time is on the clock? Is this a situation where I can get outside and make something happen or is this a time I need to get the ball out of my hands?
Steve Serby, New York Post: Is there one throw that really pleased you today and one throw that pissed you off?
I don’t know if I can think of one of each. I do know we had a good, long drive at the end. I think that was good for us. As an entire unit, you could see the guys were tired. So, I thought that was really good because that happens in games – guys are tried, you have to be able to focus, you have to be able to think. I thought that was a good drill for us to work on.
Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News: The final play there, fourth and five, what did you see there?
I have to trust it. We’re going against a cloud over there. C.J. (Uzomah) or (Tyler) Conk (Conklin), whichever one of our tight ends over there is running a good route, and I have to be able to step up in the pocket. We’ll watch it on film, but I want to be able to just stick it on him there. Hopefully, it falls in the endzone, but that’s why we ran the play – for that exact reason. So, I’m excited to try to learn from that one.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What’s it been like having Mekhi (Becton) back out there?
He looks good. I’m excited for him. He’s a freak athlete for his size. We’re just going to keep growing as a unit, so I’m excited to have him back. He offers great elements for our offense.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Sauce (Gardner) was saying that you guys after practice have been talking a lot about what you’re seeing from each other. What’s that relationship like? What’s it like having a rookie corner like that?
He’s a stud. He’s a stud. We have to keep pushing him every day because that dude, he’s going to be a good player. So, I’m excited for him. I know he is learning a lot adjusting to the NFL game. He’s a good one to just talk with and hang out with in the locker room.
Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News: Given that you’re further along this year, like you said, in training camp and certain elements from last season, are your expectations for yourself higher this season?
I feel like I’ve always had high expectations. Last year, I had high expectations, too. Whether you hit them or not, I think you always have to strive to be better and challenge yourself and try to want to be the best. Practice is always going to be frustrating because I feel like I can go out there and be perfect on every play which is unrealistic. Nobody’s going to do that. Of course, there’s always going to be something that I want to work on, and I think that’s why football is so exciting and so challenging because you always have something you want to get better at.
Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: How much does (Mike) LaFleur stress tempo? By that, I mean time in between plays, getting in and out quickly, and moving possession. Is that a big point of it?
It is a big point, and that’s on me too – pushing guys to get up to the line and get going and get in and out of the huddle. We experienced a little bit of that last year with play clock and everything. It does need to improve, and I think it’ll keep getting there as we just keep harping on it and guys really get in that playing shape as we push through these training camp practices.
Steve Serby, New York Post: Is there one specific area of your game that you want or need to improve before the season opener?
I wouldn’t say there’s one area. I think every little bit of every area I have to just improve, just being an NFL quarterback. Whether that’s being an accurate passer within the pocket, getting the ball out of my hands quickly to our playmakers, or improvising and going off schedule, and making the easy play, whether that’s running for five or dishing off to a checkdown for five yards. Whatever it is, I feel like that is always something you can improve on.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Is it easier to read defenses now because you’ve seen a lot more in the last year?
I would just say that you’re more comfortable with seeing an NFL defense. In college, I feel like you see the same cover threes and cover twos and man coverages and what they look like. And now you’re starting to get a look of like, ‘Ok, this is kind of a repetitive look of what an NFL defense is supposed to look like when they’re rolling to certain things,’ and I think that’s what’s so exciting about the joint practices coming up – we get to see a completely different thing and it will start looking more natural and more comfortable for me to pick those things up.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advanced Media: Coach Saleh and some of your defensive teammates have said that Carl Lawson looks a lot like he did a year ago before the injury. From your standpoint, what does he look like and how aware of him do you have to be when you line up?
Right now, I don’t have to be aware of him because he can’t hit me, but when we’re playing, he’s definitely one to be aware of. He’s a freak. I’m excited for him. He does all of the right things. He takes care of his body, which is unfortunate that he’s had the injuries he’s had because he does really do all the right things. He hangs out in the back a little bit too much, but I’m excited to see what he can do this year. He’s a really good player.
Brian Costello, New York Post: What have you seen from Garrett (Wilson) so far?
A lot. He’s learned how to be an NFL receiver. Physically, he really has all the tools. So, once he grasps the offense and is able to apply his skillset to it, he’s a freak and I really think he really does have everything that he needs. He’s going to learn every single day just like the rest of us — how to run certain routes against certain guys. When you need to put something on something else or when you need to be smooth out of a cut. He’s learning every single day.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: There’s been a lot of talk about these guardian helmets. I was just curious from the quarterback perspective, when you’re in the pocket, it’s adding some height to these guys. Does it change your field of vision?
You can’t see over Mekhi, anyway. Everything is through people. You’re not looking over anybody, but those are funny looking.
Brian Costello, New York Post: They protect your hand on the follow through?
I think it could. I hope we don’t hit their helmets anyway, but I think they look like they help.
Ethan Sears, New York Post: What does Jordan Whitehead add to the defense?
You can definitely see a different element coming from Jordan. He’s a really good player. You think of like a three deep, ‘Ok, he’s supposed to be deep, he’s out of the picture.’ These intermediate routes we’re playing off of backers, but he does a great job of understanding field position and understanding when there isn’t a deep threat. He’s able to come up and help on those intermediate routes. Quarterbacks don’t see that all the time. He does a great job of trying to steal some of those, makes pictures cloudy for us and he really is a ballhawk at being able to run sideline to sideline back there.
Ethan Sears, New York Post: Does that force you to adjust your play in the pocket?
Really, for us, it’s just feeling space. Maybe we don’t feel that that’s him back there, but it’s, ‘hey, it didn’t feel like there was any space there to throw that.’ And he’s taking away that space. So, we have to check the ball down and move on.
Steve Serby, New York Post: How do you deal with the daily scrutiny of your play?
Who’s scrutinizing me? I mean, I’m sorry. I don’t read any of your guys’ stuff.
Steve Serby, New York Post: You don’t read any of our stuff?
It’s only (Joe) Flacco that’s scrutinizing me in our ping pong tournaments we have going on outside of this.
Steve Serby, New York Post: So, is that part of the thing? You just block out the noise?
I’m not a big social media guy. I don’t have access to that kind of stuff. I keep my mind here with the guys and in the playbook and with our coaches and learn from what those guys are telling me.
Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News: When you say you don’t access to that, what does that mean?
I just don’t have social media on my phone. I want to be locked into what’s going on on our field and in our meeting rooms.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You don’t have any social media on your phone?
I’d say that’s pretty common with a lot of athletes. It’s something I’ve done ever since I was in college, not having the social media apps. I have a team that helps me with social media, posting stuff and all that. They’ll send me content of, ‘hey, do you want to put this up or that up?’ I generate stuff with our guys on our team like ‘hey, I think that’ll be cool to post and show off so and so.’ But, really when it comes down to reading things, I don’t ever get into that stuff. I don’t ever just scroll down social media.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Did you have it that way at BYU, too?
Yeah, I just feel like it’s a great way to kind of discontent. It’s like my mind is 100 % here, focused on what’s supposed to be focused on. I’m spending time with what my coaches are saying in the meeting room, rather than everybody else.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Did anyone give you that advice back at BYU or did you just kind of figure it out?
I think it’s advice you get everywhere. I heard it many times at BYU. You always hear people say, “don’t look at social media.” There’s good and bad that comes with everything. I think, for me, it comes to limiting what voices that I really need to hear, and right now it’s hearing what my coaches have to say, what the other quarterbacks have to say, and really my teammates and what we’re thinking on every single play. Even parents, at times, can be a distraction.
Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News: So, do you have the apps on your phone all season and just erase them?
I don’t. Sometimes, in the offseason you download social media. You’re bored at home wishing the season was here and all, but it’s kind of a thing that starts forming right around training camp, but I don’t have access to it.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Have you ever tried convincing your teammates of that because some of them are on social media quite a bit?
I mean, they have their way of handling it. For me, that’s what works for me. I’m sure even if they are, they do a good job of handling it that way.