Zach Wilson is entering his second season with the New York Jets, a pivotal season in his development. General manager Joe Douglas has allocated a large amount to the collection of talent surrounding his young signalman. Let’s take an in-depth look at all the pieces surrounding Wilson.
Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur
Starting with Wilson’s training, there’s tremendous optimism with Mike LaFleur. In his first year of calling games, LaFleur made significant progress as the season progressed. At the start of the season, he showed his leadership when things were not going well. He stuck to the process and things finally started to fall into place. He proved his innovative spirit with creative game designs. LaFleur comes from good company with his brother Matt and seven years under Kyle Shanahan. LaFleur is the right offensive coordinator to help Wilson grow and maximize his potential.
The top three running backs at Wilson’s disposal are a good line with potential. It’s hard to ask for a better, younger running back duo than Breece Hall and Michael Carter. The first and second year runners complement each other perfectly. In Hall, size and speed are added to the Jets’ backfield. Carter is built lower to the ground and very quick. They each have contact balance, pass-receiving and blocking ability. Both Hall and Carter fit the LaFleur zone pattern of operation. Tevin Coleman is the veteran of the group that delivers quality depth. He has a ton of experience in the offensive system with LaFleur. Coleman still has great speed and can help catch the pass.
Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis are an exciting starting group of wide receivers for Wilson. Davis is the experienced target who thrives at the middle level. Moore brings exceptional road racing ability with his speed and quickness. His hands are close to automatic. Wilson can help as a challenged receiver in one-on-one situations and in the red zone. It also runs some great deep level routes. Braxton Berrios is a solid fourth option. Berrios can play in the slot or be used in a gimmicky role. Also, in the screen game, it can be dynamic after capturing. The fifth receiver in the group is expected to be Denzel Mims. He is the size and speed player of this receiving core. Mims has the knack for winning downfield outside of the numbers and in the red zone. This group is more than capable of doing the job for Wilson.
Of all the position groups around Wilson, this one is easily the most improved since the offseason. CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin were both signed in free agency to three-year contracts. Along with Uzomah, size, speed, meters after catch, and vertical ability are his most notable attributes. Conklin is an excellent road runner with sure hands and seems to be entering his prime. Then, in the draft, the Jets selected Jeremy Ruckert in the third round. Ruckert has the size, toughness and athletic ability to help early on. To top it off, these three players can help as both run and pass blockers.
The five starters along the Jets offensive line are George Fant, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton. With a healthy Becton and the addition of Tomlinson, this group has what it takes to do a great job for Wilson. Fant, Vera-Tucker and McGovern are three respected players. The Jets know what they have in them from the start. The depth of the offensive line is also better. He is completed by Max Mitchell, Nate Herbig and Dan Feeney. Mitchell is a rookie tackle with an upside. Herbig and Feeney will back inside the line. Both players are relatively experienced with backups. They each offer the necessary versatility and durability.
Overall, it’s hard to find a specific weakness with what Douglas has built around Wilson. Starting talent and even depth are solid and improved over the past year. Now it will be important that the unit stay healthy. If so, Wilson has been set up for success by Douglas and the Jets. Wilson has the talent to take a big leap in the second year.