HomeFootball DirtZach Wilson understands the importance of proving the Jets' offense can maintain...

Zach Wilson understands the importance of proving the Jets’ offense can maintain their recent success

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson recognizes he and the New York Jets’ offense have set a precedent.

For a change, they were efficient and productive.

That was last Sunday, though, in a 30-6 drubbing of the Houston Texans. Next up are the Miami Dolphins — and expectations have been raised.

“I think it shows us what we can do as an offense,” Wilson said Wednesday. “Now that we set the bar there, we’ve got to be able to show we can do it again. I think that’s always the thing is, hey, you did it once, now you’ve got to show us you can do it again.”

That has been the running theme for Wilson, who has flashed at times the talent that made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2021. But those bright spots have been often overshadowed by poor play and frustrating inconsistency.

His future with the franchise is uncertain beyond this season, but his performance last week is certainly a blueprint for success moving forward. Wilson was 27 of 35 for 301 yards while setting career highs with a 75% completion rate and a 117.9 passer rating. He was particularly effective in the second half after a scoreless first two quarters, going 18 of 21 for 209 yards and two touchdowns and leading New York into the end zone three times overall.

“No matter how confident you are, there’s nothing that boosts confidence more than affirmation,” coach Robert Saleh said. “I don’t want to speak for him, but I would imagine that having the game he had is a new level of confidence that I don’t think he even realized he had and of knowing that he is capable.

“He knocked off a lot of firsts, I mean, he dominated in the rain, had over 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, he was working off schedule. He did a lot of things on his own and made a lot of plays that made everybody around him better.”

The performance also resulted in Wilson being selected AFC offensive player of the week for the first time.

“I think it’s really a testament to this offense,” Wilson said. “We’ve been going through it, obviously, and momentum was a thing for us in that game and I just thought it was really cool how everyone kind of rebounded. So I think that’s something we all get to share.

“It felt good to have that flow as an offense and to score points and do what we expect to do every week.”

But this time, it actually all clicked. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s game plan worked in the second half, with the Jets scoring 30 or more points overall for only the second time this season.

“I’m telling you guys, when there truly is 11 guys needing to do a job on the field, those guys, they did it,” Wilson said. “The quarterback gets more credit than is deserved, but it’s truly an offensive unit that went out there and I thought everyone played well.

“How can we get there again as an offense? That’s the key.”

Wilson was coming off a two-game benching and he started after serving as the Jets’ No. 3 emergency quarterback in those two contests.

But last week was far from smooth leading up to the game, with a report by The Athletic saying Wilson was reluctant to step back in as the starter because of injury concerns. After all, when Aaron Rodgers returns — whether it’s at the end of this season or the beginning of next — it’s his job again. The Jets are also unlikely to pick up the fifth-year option on Wilson’s rookie deal, and there’s a possibility the 24-year-old quarterback could be dealt in the offseason.

“The league is tough enough a week at a time,” Wilson said. “So I think I’ve been spending my time focusing on the guys in this locker room and trying to get a big win in Miami and our next three weeks after that.”

And Wilson knows exactly what he needs to do to maintain that mindset.

“Yeah, same approach as last week,” he said. “Trusting the guys around me, having fun, loving those guys up and going out there and just letting it rip.”

NOTES: Rodgers didn’t practice as he continues his rehabilitation from a torn left Achilles tendon. Saleh was uncertain if the 40-year-old quarterback would be increasing his physical activity this week. “I know he’s ramping up every day, but as far as getting reps in practice and all that stuff, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all the same,” Saleh said. The coach also said he didn’t yet know if Rodgers could be activated next Wednesday when the QB’s 21-day practice window ends. … WR Jason Brownlee (ankle), OL Carter Warren (hip) and DLs Solomon Thomas (knee) and John Franklin-Myers (ankle) also sat out.

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