It seems retired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick began having concerns about New York Jets starter Zach Wilson as far back as 2021.
“One of the biggest question marks I’ve had about him, and the thing that scared me last year, is when they called John Beck, his personal quarterback coach, to come out and help get his mind right during the season, and put him on staff,” Fitzpatrick explained during a conversation with Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post. “To me, that was a giant red flag. I don’t know Zach Wilson, but that scares me a little bit.
“I know they were doing whatever they could to get his mentals right, and to match everything with his physicals, but that one scared me a little bit — having to fly someone in to make sure he was OK, and coddle him a little bit. He has to play better and this is a nice wake-up call for him to know that they have a good football team, and they don’t need him to do those things he was doing on Sunday, making those mistakes.”
Fitzpatrick was referencing how the Jets hired Beck, also a former pro signal-caller, last fall to work with Wilson on his mechanics and other aspects of his game when the then-rookie was sidelined with an injury. As for Fitzpatrick, the current Amazon Prime Video “Thursday Night Football” analyst made his comments after Wilson produced a dud in this past Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the New England Patriots.
Specifically, Wilson tossed three interceptions against the Patriots and played so poorly that former NFL quarterback Matt Cassel called for Jets head coach Robert Saleh to bench the second-year pro in favor of veteran Joe Flacco. Saleh insisted Wilson “is our quarterback” and that he has “full confidence in Zach” moving forward.
“He’s gotta play better,” Fitzpatrick said about how long he’d keep Wilson atop the depth chart. “He’s had some injuries. For sure through this year, and they’re gonna give him a chance next year as well. He’s gotta show improvement. It’s so exciting to see him [sometimes]. There is good. He’s got great mobility. He’s got a great arm. But he still has to learn to play quarterback in the National Football League.”
Things get no easier for Wilson in early November, as he and the 5-3 Jets host the 6-1 Buffalo Bills Sunday.