WARE, England — The questions about the Jets’ offense changed this week after they found some answers.
The Jets put up their best day of the season on offense in last Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win over the Titans, with season-highs in points, yards (355) and passing yards (289). Now, they hope to build off that performance this Sunday against the Falcons in London.
“I definitely felt like now we understand that we’re really close to being a really good offense and just a team in general,” rookie quarterback Zach Wilson said. “There’s definitely things we’re still cleaning up, but it definitely felt like going into this next week, that there should be no hesitation. Confidence right from the beginning to be able to drive the ball down the field and do some things from all phases of the game. I definitely feel like that helped a lot last week.”
Wilson shook off a few bad weeks to have his best game, and the offense went with him. The Falcons enter this week with the worst scoring defense in the NFL and not many players on either side of the ball that should scare the Jets. It feels as if the Jets could earn a second straight win and build some momentum.
“You hope it translates, but that’s a young group,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “We’ve talked about it before. When you have a young group and they have early success, you never know what it can snowball into. They become invincible. You guys were all young once, we’d jump off a roof, didn’t think twice about it, right? But it’s the same thing. They get the ball rolling, they get confidence and all their athleticism just pops out and you just see the speed elevate. I felt like that’s what you saw, especially in the second half, in all three phases. So, yeah, starting fast is a big deal for these young bucks, but at the same time, if we can just get the ball rolling, whether it’s in the first quarter, second quarter, feel like good things can happen.”
One thing the Jets have not done this year (even last week) is start fast, something Saleh referenced. The Jets have yet to score in the first quarter and have been outscored 55-10 in the first half of games.
They were able to overcome their slow start last week, but Wilson said starting fast matters and is something the team has talked about.
“I think it does, for sure, because you don’t ever want to be playing from behind,” Wilson said. “But there’s also the mentality that sometimes we’re not always going to start fast and maybe it’s how you finish. You need to be able to keep fighting. So, you can look at it from both ways. But of course, you preach it, we want to start fast, we want to come out right from the beginning and let them know what kind of team we have.”
All eyes will be on Wilson. He is the centerpiece of this game for the British audience. At his media availability on Friday, there was great interest from the British press in the young quarterback.
They asked him if he was a soccer fan, since he will be playing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I don’t watch a lot of soccer, but it’s a cool sport,” he said.
There were other questions, about BYU and about his transition to the NFL.
The key for Wilson — and for the Jets — will be balancing the off-script throws he showed last week with also operating inside the offense. Saleh said the Jets don’t want to take away his big-play ability.
“You just want him to ball,” Saleh said. “Those are the things that make those players special. I’ve said it up here before, Aaron Rodgers and [Patrick] Mahomes, they get all this credit for throwing the ball deep and doing all that stuff, but they also play a game of game management and they just wait for you. So, there’s a feel that Zach is going to get, and you don’t want to force a young man, putting him in a box, we never want to do that. But the more he learns the game, the more he feels the speed of the game, the more he’ll know exactly when to pick and choose his shots. And when he does, just like [last] Sunday, they’ll be explosive and so hopefully he learns faster.”