Zach Wilson can’t get no respect.
The struggling Jets quarterback is a piñata for a disappointed fan base, and he’s now catching strays from opposing teams – which is usually taboo.
A reporter asked Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay on Tuesday what he sees out of Wilson and the Jets’ offense in advance of their Week 4 matchup at MetLife Stadium on “Sunday Night Football.”
Gay then let the world know the cold truth.
“Damn, that still was a hard question, I can’t lie,” Gay said while smiling. “A team that wants to run the ball.
“Of course, man, that wasn’t meant to be funny or anything, but (Aaron Rodgers) got hurt and it turned into a team where, like, panic mode almost. That’s what I see at least. They’ve got great running backs, so now they’re just trying to pound it, pound and ground like they did … I don’t know if they win. I feel like the running backs rolling, three great ones. I feel like that’s their game plan.”
While, yes, the Jets will need their running game to be efficient to win games, you don’t often see opposing players openly acknowledge that the team’s best path to victory is not through their quarterback.
Wilson has done nothing to show he should be trusted to drop back and throw 35-40 times per game, and the Chiefs clearly know the Jets will be in a tough spot if they can build an early lead.
The 30-10 Week 2 loss to the Cowboys featured 27 passes to 16 rushes, and Sunday’s 15-10 setback to the Patriots featured 36 passes to 22 rushes. Those ratios have resulted in 10 points in each game.
Wilson is just 30-of-63 for 327 yards and one touchdown, along with three interceptions, in those two games.
“We all acknowledge he has to play better. We all acknowledge that,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday on Wilson. “He acknowledges it, teammates acknowledge it, he acknowledges it himself, but the key is to have confidence in yourself. You have to.”
It hasn’t helped that the highly touted duo of Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook have yet to get going.
Hall has 16 carries for 27 yards (1.69 yards per carry) since his 127-yard outing in Week 1, and Cook is showing why the Vikings cut him with a miserable 58 yards on 25 carries (2.3 yards per carry).
Gay at least praised those two and a third back – presumably Michael Carter – but there were no compliments for Wilson.
Wilson will have his chance Sunday night to prove Gay and the haters wrong on Sunday night – and perhaps even impress Taylor Swift.