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Zach Wilson's momentous second year with Jets begins in preseason testing vs. Eagles

Zach Wilson is determined to show he's a different and better quarterback than he was in his rookie days.

Behind the scenes,That process began months ago for his second-year quarterback for the Jets, with an offseason conditioning program, then an OTA, minicamps. , and the current training his camp took place.

Backstage will be front and center on Friday night as Wilson and the Jets take on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the team's preseason opener. It depends on how successful the first series will be.

"If they put together a good first series, we'll call it a day," said head coach Robert Saleh. , try to get a certain number of plays.”

Wilson has a lot to improve after a difficult rookie season. He was quickly thrown into the fire as the face of the franchise, considering some of the cast around him barely deserved the NFL.

This year is different. The Jets have added some skill position talent around Wilson and upgraded their offensive line. He will need more from him.

When we last saw Wilson, he was on the upswing at the end of last season. He threw 9 interceptions in his first 5 games, threw just 2 interceptions in his final 8 games, and threw 5 touchdown passes in that span.

Zach Wilson runs wind sprint during a recent Jets practice.
Bill Costrone

One of his things to watch out for early Friday is how fast Wilson makes and gets decisions. ball out of his hand. Yes, offensively his line struggled last season as evidenced by Wilson being sacked 44 times in his 383 pass attempts. But Wilson always held the ball too much. This is essential for him to improve this season.

"I'm getting more comfortable in the offense and more comfortable with the looks you're getting and the way I read," Wilson said. I think I've seen the play run so many times that I can think about what those rep and last rep looked like so I can stack up those days. ''

Offseason acquired tight end Tyler Conklin is one of those who already had good chemistry with Wilson, and what we saw of Wilson before he became a Jet.

"Before I came here, I could see all the features, arm strength and athleticism," Conklin said. said. “Since I came here, I have seen how hard he works in his studies, in the weight room and on the practice range. His love of the game and how hard he works. Conklin said he was "excited" by Wilson's "ability to extend the play" due to his athleticism. }

Bill Kostron

"This is a tough one for defenders to cover," Conklin said. "If the pass rusher doesn't get there and he gets away, it creates more chances offensively. He can do both — sit in the pocket, time the throw, and play out of the pocket again. We can do that.” In the pre-season games, Surrey feels it will be important to play the starter.

"They have to play, they have to feel it, they have to go out at some point and feel different bodies," Saleh said. “You have to be able to do these exercises and all that.

What does he want from Wilson? Do it the best way you know how," Saleh said. “Familiarize yourself with the game situation — timing, clock, play clock, get out of the huddle, get in line, play cadence bit by bit. It's the first time, so it's just a matter of getting out there and getting comfortable.

But Wilson has some expectations that he hopes to fulfill in his first preseason fame.

" The biggest will be clean football," he said. “We have to go into the game without penalties. We have penalties, but what we need to avoid are pre-snap penalties [and] allocation failures that need to be avoided. We need to look like a football team.

It all starts with Wilson looking like a winning NFL quarterback.