robert saleh joe douglas zach wilson jets
Syndication: The Record

Jets head coach Robert Saleh recently spoke about his quarterback while appearing on “The Athletic Football Show.”

For quite some time, the Jets and their potential approach to the offseason played host to a lingering question — Sam Darnold or Zach Wilson?

Was the team going to roll the dice with the former and make sure it acquired the necessary offensive assistance for him, or would it undergo a full restart with a completely new head coach-quarterback tandem?

Wilson of course became the answer following Darnold’s trade to Carolina and Zach’s subsequent drafting at No. 2 overall back in April. The rookie signal-caller’s athleticism and arm strength were just too awe-inspiring to ignore. His intelligence, however, is what truly intrigued Robert Saleh.

“We were allowed Zoom meetings with all the players…just talking football with Zach — his recall, his football IQ, what he sees, his questions being asked. That meeting, to me, was so impressive…I couldn’t imagine that being any better…that was kind of the moment for us,” Saleh told Robert Mays of “The Athletic Football Show” podcast.

Saleh additionally noted Jets pass game specialist Greg Knapp said Wilson’s interview was “ridiculous” (obviously in a good way). It’s interesting to point out Knapp has worked with a number of great quarterbacks in the past, such as Matt Ryan and Hall of Famers Steve Young and Peyton Manning. Hence, his opinion on the position certainly carries a significant amount of weight.

This intelligence Saleh raves about is definitely being put to the test though. Wilson’s overwhelming responsibilities as the team’s No. 1 quarterback include learning the entire playbook and system prior to the Week 1 matchup with Carolina (Sept. 12).

The Jets, as of this moment, do not employ a veteran quarterback they plan to start while Wilson develops on the bench — a method numerous other teams have implemented over the last few years (Kansas City with Alex Smith/Patrick Mahomes, Miami with Ryan Fitzpatrick/Tua Tagovailoa, and most likely in 2021, Chicago with Andy Dalton/Justin Fields). That means Wilson is set to be under center immediately, just like Darnold was with this exact franchise nearly three years ago.

The pressure is on, surely. But it’s up to Saleh and the Jets to provide Wilson with efficient protection and effective weapons so the aforementioned athleticism, arm strength, and intelligence can thrive.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.