Saleh somewhat surprisingly pointed out that at one point last season, Wilson was 5-1 as a starter.
Conventional wisdom suggested the Jets, buoyed by a sensational defense, were winning despite Wilson, rather than on the strength of his game. A reminder was delivered in the BYU product’s relief appearance on Monday against the Bills. Wilson finished the night 14 of 21 for 140 yards, a touchdown, an interception and an 81.4 rating. His touchdown was less about his off-target pass and more about how Garrett Wilson essentially broke up a possible interception and hauled in an all-time TD catch.
“Obviously, [Zach Wilson] will acknowledge he still has a lot of things to learn and grow and we’re excited to be able to do that with him,” Saleh said. “I think he’s been able to rebuild rapport with his teammates and just the overall – just the way he’s kind of handled himself has been fantastic – but everything about him is just so much different than a year ago. Is it happening faster than I think anyone expected? Obviously, under the circumstances. But he’s somebody that’s made a drastic improvement from a year ago.”
Saleh later clarified he believes Zach Wilson has built confidence with his teammates, more so than just rapport. Wilson’s maturity was called into question plenty a season ago. Perhaps that’s improved. We’ll see shortly.
The Jets went all-in on Rodgers and busted in unfathomable fashion. It was just one hand, though.
Saleh’s star-laden defense is still intact. Running back Breece Hall was sensational in his return from a torn ACL on Monday and Wilson (the wide receiver version) still took an opportunity to show he’s one of the game’s greatest young wideouts.
The Jets haven’t had a winning season since 2015 and they haven’t made the postseason since 2010. With or without Rodgers, ending those streaks are still the goals at hand.
“Expectations for us are always the same,” Saleh said. “I’ve said before that you can be an expansion team in the NFL and you’re still expected to go 17-0. It’s expectation versus controllables. We never talk expectations because the only expectation we have of ourselves is to go out and do our best every single day and maximize who we are and go to bed better than when we woke up.
“While the narrative might change on the outside world and the articles that are being written, the expectation here is to continue to give ourselves an opportunity to put our best foot forward.”
The final question Saleh was asked on Tuesday was what his message was to Jets fans. He simply replied, “we’re on to Dallas.”