Coordinator Mike LaFleur and QB Zach Wilson advance for Jets


This Jets season has been dedicated to the growth of young players and some young coaches, rookies in their positions and roles. Zach Wilson and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur have shown perhaps the most growth and development since Week 1.

It’s a very good thing for the Jets.

After Sunday’s final in Buffalo, the Jets will enter the offseason needing to improve in all areas. It will be essential for them to finally have the type of dominant defense that Robert Saleh ran in San Francisco that took the 49ers to a Super Bowl.

The quarterback, however, is the most important thing in the NFL. When the quarterback feels comfortable with his player and loves the system, good things can happen.

“I really enjoy the offense,” Wilson said. “I brag to my former BYU coaches and parents how much I love being a part of this system. What we’re doing as a team is on the right track.”

Wilson has significantly reduced his turnovers since the start of the season (he hasn’t had any in the last four games). He’s making faster decisions and his footwork has improved. He also designed touchdowns workouts in the first trimester, which was not the case before.

LaFleur, a first-time coordinator, opened up his playbook more. He runs more gadget games and tricks and got more creative. This unbalanced the defenses and made the Jets harder to defend and more fun to watch.

Wilson is “really looking forward” to the second year on offense and with LaFleur.

“I really feel like the offense really makes sense in terms of what we’re trying to do,” Wilson said. “Coach LaFleur, he understands me very well in regards to my skills, what I bring and the best way for me to learn and get through things. I feel like our relationship will continue to grow. to improve.

“He did an amazing job. I feel like he’s probably learned a lot this year too. It’s cool going through this whole process together. I think it’s just going to get better over time.”

Wilson has certainly become more comfortable since his struggles early in the season when coaches told him to play boring football to cut down on mistakes. Wilson evolved, understanding what was expected of him and what he had to do. He now looks like a very different and more confident quarterback.

Wilson told his coaches he needed to play more freely. They understood and accepted. LaFleur told Wilson he needed to be more aggressive in certain areas and he needed to use his athleticism and run more when the opportunity presented itself. Wilson a.

Growth has been evident all around, from the quarterback to the offensive coordinator as a whole.

The Jets are far from a team that can accumulate 35 or 40 points. Wilson needs to improve his completion percentage and GM Joe Douglas needs to give him more weapons. But the Jets have gone from an average of 13.3 points in the first six weeks of the season to 22.3 in the last three.

Based on what he showed BYU, the Jets were confident Wilson could perform every throw from any arm angle and would excel as an off-story playmaker. They saw him as the perfect fit for what LaFleur is performing, the West Coast attack that uses a lot of movement before the hook-up and the outer area blocking pattern.

LaFleur adopted what he learned from his brother – Packers coach Matt LaFleur – and working with Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. Mike LaFleur took a bit of heat at the start when the offense was flat and predictable and the running game was nonexistent, but that all changed.

“He grew up,” said Saleh, who is finishing his first season as an NFL head coach. “I think we’ve all done it, including myself. Mike has done a really good job, him and his staff – since the racing game and really starting to create an identity, all the moves and moves before it. ‘Hookup The players have evolved.

“He hasn’t even scratched the surface of where I think he’s going to go in terms of actual training yet, taking what he’s learned all his life from Kyle, his brother and Sean and transforming it into his system. He’s kind of taken that step already and he’s going to continue to grow. It was fun watching everyone in that building. “

For LaFleur and his team, which includes first-time running backs coach Taylor Embree and receivers coach Miles Austin, this season has been about getting more comfortable and evolving. This is just the beginning.

“The collaboration with our staff has improved more and more,” said LaFleur. “It was going to be a freezing process for all of our staff and then getting it right to the players on a day-to-day basis. Proud of the way these guys have grown and learned.

“I can’t wait to see how these guys continue in this attack. Years 1-2 for players are huge, but just as important is how coaches can take the next step to make these players the best. possible. “


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