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New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson battles the 'Mahomes Effect'


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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In the worst game of his life, New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson made one of the most improbable completions of the NFL season.

In the fourth quarter of the Week 2 blowout loss to the New England Patriots, who intercepted four of his first 10 pass attempts, Wilson composed himself and fired a 27-yarder to Braxton Berrios on a deep corner route against a Cover-2 defense -- over the cornerback and underneath the safety. Considering all the factors -- air distance, time to throw and amount of separation from receiver to closest defender (less than one yard) -- the completion probability was 14%, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Of the 4,366 complete passes through six weeks, only five had a lower completion probability than Wilson-to-Berrios. That throw, a straight dropback with no schoolyard improv, showed Wilson can be an effective pocket passer. What he has yet to demonstrate is the ability to do it on a consistent basis.

Industry insiders wonder if it's a case of the "Mahomes Effect" -- a young quarterback trying to make spectacular, off-platform throws that wind up as viral videos on social media. Wilson played that way at BYU, drawing comparisons to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he can't live in that world as a professional. Heck, even the great Mahomes is having problems this season with turnovers (eight picks).

Five games is a small sample size for any rookie, let alone a quarterback, but the league has seen enough of Wilson to form two takeaways:

  1. The dude has special talent.

  2. He's still learning how -- and when -- to use it.

The second overall pick is struggling. His interception total (nine) leads the league, his completion percentage (57.3) is 31st out of 32 qualified passers and his Total QBR (22.6) ranks 32nd, trailing four other rookie qualifiers. He has 32 more pass attempts than unheralded rookie Davis Mills, the Houston Texans' third-round pick, but one fewer touchdown pass (four).

"Zach is what I thought he'd be," one AFC scout said. "The game is moving fast for him, which is normal. It's hard to make plays in both phases without (tackle Mekhi) Becton. He's inaccurate, but still a gunslinger."

Outside the phone booth, meaning the confines of a congested pocket, Wilson can be Superman. He turns designed rollouts and improvised scrambles into highlight-film plays. But inside the phone booth, he's Clark Kent -- a little klutzy and not nearly as dynamic as his alter ego. The stats back it up:

Inside the pocket: He's 88-for-141 (62.4%) for 956 yards, two touchdowns, seven interceptions and a league-low 19.8 QBR, by far the worst among qualified passers, per ESPN Stats & Information data.

Outside the pocket: He's 10-for-30 (33.3%) for 161 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 38.0 QBR (20th out of 32) -- not great, but proportionately better than his efficiency in the pocket.

Former NFL defensive back and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen is encouraged because there are "so many signs on tape of his natural traits as a thrower," confirming the pre-draft hype, but he believes Wilson still is outgrowing some college habits.

"From a coaching perspective, you're saying, 'OK, this young quarterback is extremely talented. Now we have to refine some of the inexperience you're naturally going to expect and some of the negatives we see on tape that he carried over from college,'" Bowen said. "In some instances, he reverts back to some things he did at the college level at BYU.

"There's a lot of unnecessary movement. His feet are constantly moving. Look, you want your quarterback to be a mover within the pocket, but I think there are times when he puts himself on an unstable throwing platform. I think he did that in college because he could. Simply that: Because he could. He was more talented than the majority of the competition he faced. That gets you in trouble at times on this level."

Bowen said Wilson must find a balance, meaning he must learn to escape the pocket only when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, he will disrupt the timing of the pass routes and eliminate his backside reads.

Instead of escaping, he should try to slide and reset within the pocket, Bowen said. Wilson made a concerted effort to do that in training camp, executing the plays the way they were drawn up. He figured that was the best way to learn the offense, knowing he could always fall back on his off-platform instincts if all else fails.

Bowen pointed to Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers, who, in the same offensive system, needed a year to get comfortable. In 2019, his first season under coach Matt LaFleur, Rodgers too often played "outside the structure" of the scheme, according to Bowen. He still played well -- come on, he's Aaron Rodgers, right? -- but followed with an MVP performance in 2020.

Keep that in mind when evaluating Wilson, who was 6 years old when Rodgers broke into the league.

"Zach has a lot of talent, a lot of potential," said a defensive player who faced the Jets this season. "He's athletic as hell and you can tell the dude's arm strength is top tier. I mean, he can make damn near every throw on the field and make it look effortless. I definitely think he could be somewhat like [Buffalo Bills quarterback] Josh Allen in the future."

Reminded that Wilson played poorly in their game, the defensive player said, "Other things have to work in his favor. The O-line has to hold up for him and give him a little time to feel confident back there. The wide receivers have to get open and also catch the ball when they get open. The scheme has to fit the player. It's more than just him and his play. I'm not saying the Jets don't have all those things. I would just say it's not him as an individual that's not working right now."

It's funny he mentioned Allen. Statistically, Wilson's first five starts are eerily similar to Allen's first five in 2018, as Jets coach Robert Saleh pointed out.

Wilson, who spent time over the bye week working with his personal coach, former NFL quarterback John Beck, said he's "overthinking" some of his throws, especially the so-called gimmes. His mind has to be spinning. First came the edict from his coaches to be "boring." Now he's in the "let 'er rip" mode, confident he can raise his efficiency over the final 12 games.

It won't take long to find out if he's right. Up next is a rematch against the Patriots on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) at Gillette Stadium, where Wilson will have an opportunity to show he's not the same overwhelmed rookie he was in Week 2.

"I know it can be frustrating sometimes when we’re looking at some of these things and it’s like, ‘God, he should be making these throws,'" Saleh said. "It’s going to start clicking."

 

 

 

Bowen ticked off a handful of plays in which Wilson demonstrated next-level skill and awareness. The most recent example came in the Week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, a 27-yard completion to Denzel Mims on an in-breaking route in the middle of zone coverage. It was a good read, good anticipation and "a big-time throw," Bowen said.

It came from the pocket, not on one of his schoolyard scrambles. Few quarterbacks have the ability to throw a 50-yard dime while running at full speed, as Wilson has done on a couple of occasions. It's a gift.

And, sometimes, a curse.

https://www.espn.com/blog/new-york-jets/post/_/id/87897/new-york-jets-rookie-zach-wilson-battles-the-mahomes-effect

 

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This is just another article filled with all the popular cliches.  We have a Mahomes comparison, a Josh Allen comparison, even an Aaron Rodgers mention.   It’s become silly.  If Zach is going to be th

This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether

I made a hole-in-one once. I have shown I have what it takes to be a PGA tour champion. Now I just need to work on my consistency.

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This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether he was trying to throw it away or not.

And why are we sharing a clip of him completing a wide open slant as if it proves something?   These are the things I dont get, what was special about a throw every QB in America can make?  Because he looked pretty doing it?  So strange the things people cling to for validation. 

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8 minutes ago, JiFapono said:

This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether he was trying to throw it away or not.

And why are we sharing a clip of him completing a wide open slant as if it proves something?   These are the things I dont get, what was special about a throw every QB in America can make?  Because he looked pretty doing it?  So strange the things people cling to for validation. 

Why do you feel the need to rage at a tweet showing a nice throw? Funny that you don’t complain about tweets showing bad Wilson plays even though every QB makes bad throws, especially rookies. It’s OK to panic and over analyze mistakes but not the good? How does a Darnold prayer duck compare to this dime? 

That ball went like 30 yards on a rope and was thrown with a lot of anticipation. Mac Jones can’t dream of making that pass. 

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5 minutes ago, jgb said:

I made a hole-in-one once. I have shown I have what it takes to be a PGA tour champion. Now I just need to work on my consistency.

lmafo - my hole in one, I didnt even think I hit the green.  I hit a hard fade w/ a 5 wood around a tree that you have to avoid on a 210 yard Par 3.  I thought it faded too hard and I went into the right side bunker.  So I go up with my sand wedge and putter, checking the bunker, dont see my ball, and I'm like, wtf??? My boy walks up to the hole, look in and is, like dude, you're in the hole!  I was like, if you're lying, I'm kicking you in the balls.  He wasnt!  I start losing my sh*t!  This was in Gainesville and Chris Doering was on the neighboring tee box, seeing my lose my sh*t.  He's like "drinks on you" - and I was like "hell nah, you're in the NFL, drinks on you!" - good dude, he paid for the tab at the club house. 

 

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1 minute ago, JiFapono said:

lmafo - my hole in one, I didnt even think I hit the green.  I hit a hard fade w/ a 5 wood around a tree that you have to avoid on a 210 yard Par 3.  I thought it faded too hard and I went into the right side bunker.  So I go up with my sand wedge and putter, checking the bunker, dont see my ball, and I'm like, wtf??? My boy walks up to the hole, look in and is, like dude, you're in the hole!  I was like, if you're lying, I'm kicking you in the balls.  He wasnt!  I start losing my sh*t!  This was in Gainesville and Chris Doering was on the neighboring tee box, seeing my lose my sh*t.  He's like "drinks on you" - and I was like "hell nah, you're in the NFL, drinks on you!" - good dude, he paid for the tab at the club house. 

 

I think your son really loves you ;) 

 

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5 minutes ago, Pichula said:

Why do you feel the need to rage at a tweet showing a nice throw? Funny that you don’t complain about tweets showing bad Wilson plays even though every QB makes bad throws, especially rookies. It’s OK to panic and over analyze mistakes but not the good? How does a Darnold prayer duck compare to this dime? 

That ball went like 30 yards on a rope and was thrown with a lot of anticipation. Mac Jones can’t dream of making that pass. 

Rage?  lol   Sorry that you dont like my take but I simply doing what message boards are designed for, sharing opinions.  I simply commented on a post that is celebrating a routine pass that every kid in America who plays QB can make.  

The Darnold comparison was about the play they described in the article vs NE.   Very fair, spot on comparison.   

You're one of these weird posters who have it out for me with Zach.  I assume you are a banned poster who probably attacked me all offseason and now you're just another in the long line of posters who attack my every take on Zach, while steady ignoring every time that I say, it's 5 games into his career, we dont know sh*t about Zach Wilson, he could turn it around finish strong and that's all the season was ever about.  That goes ignored, every single time and people like you spin this into me hating Zach for simply sharing my take on posts. 

 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Claymation said:

Industry insiders wonder if it's a case of the "Mahomes Effect" -- a young quarterback trying to make spectacular, off-platform throws that wind up as viral videos on social media

Industry insiders.

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37 minutes ago, jgb said:

I made a hole-in-one once. I have shown I have what it takes to be a PGA tour champion. Now I just need to work on my consistency.

His TD completion to Corey Davis against the Titans had a completion probability of 20.5%. Did you hole in a chip shot?

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55 minutes ago, JiFapono said:

This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether he was trying to throw it away or not.

And why are we sharing a clip of him completing a wide open slant as if it proves something?   These are the things I dont get, what was special about a throw every QB in America can make?  Because he looked pretty doing it?  So strange the things people cling to for validation. 

Actually if you watch the clip, it’s clearly not a slant. Also he’s clearly looking right and holding the safety and linebacker. He then throws the ball without moving his head towards the receiver. The ball is a laser 20 yards downfield. 

Remember when Justin Fields threw for like 150 yards and you were like “he makes the easy stuff look easy”, this is that but actually true.

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57 minutes ago, JiFapono said:

This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether he was trying to throw it away or not.

And why are we sharing a clip of him completing a wide open slant as if it proves something?   These are the things I dont get, what was special about a throw every QB in America can make?  Because he looked pretty doing it?  So strange the things people cling to for validation. 

Because it was in the article.

Also it wasn't a slant.

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This article doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know: ZW has flashed elite potential yet he has a lot to improve on and the team can do more to support him. It’s interesting to note that even the opposing team DB noted that.

My biggest concern is that while the pass pro and play calling has improved ZWs mechanics and accuracy has digressed.

Now that ZW has had some time to clear his head and work with John Beck, I really hope to see some improvement and more consistency from ZW. He doesn’t have to be perfect. Let’s just see improvement. If he doesn’t start to improve that is a huge red flag.

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15 minutes ago, Claymation said:

His TD completion to Corey Davis against the Titans had a completion probability of 20.5%. Did you hole in a chip shot?

It was putt putt

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56 minutes ago, sec101row23 said:

This is just another article filled with all the popular cliches.  We have a Mahomes comparison, a Josh Allen comparison, even an Aaron Rodgers mention.   It’s become silly.  If Zach is going to be the guy, we should see it soon and there won’t be the need for all of these articles defending why Zach isn’t playing well.   
 

There needs to be some progress shown this week against the Pats.  Coming off a bye week, seeing a team for the second time and playing a defense that really isn’t very good.  

Exactly this. 

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49 minutes ago, kdels62 said:

Actually if you watch the clip, it’s clearly not a slant. Also he’s clearly looking right and holding the safety and linebacker. He then throws the ball without moving his head towards the receiver. The ball is a laser 20 yards downfield. 

Remember when Justin Fields threw for like 150 yards and you were like “he makes the easy stuff look easy”, this is that but actually true.

 

46 minutes ago, Claymation said:

Because it was in the article.

Also it wasn't a slant.

You're right, my bad.  Looks like a deep in that every single QB in America can make. 

Good on ya guys! 

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Public Service Announcement: when you are defending a QB on the basis of “flashes,” you are not doing him any favors. Everyone paid $660,000 or more a year (NFL minimum salary) to throw a ball can flash the talent to make some amazing throws, aside from the occasional Hackenberg or Luke Falk, who are quickly out of the league. It’s consistency that separates these top 0.0001% of human catapults into tiers. 

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1 hour ago, TokyoJetsFan said:

As long as Zach doesn’t have douchebag brother like Patrick Mahomes I’m good

NewsWorldAmericas

Patrick Mahomes’s brother apologises for dancing on dead NFL star’s memorial


Patrick Mahomes' brother shown dumping water on Ravens fans in video; Mahomes responds

 

image.gif.9aa6ab541441051d70ac703e4ea4169c.gif

 

Yea, it's not like it seeems.

The WFT kinda screwed that up.  If you google it, there was no ill intent on the part of the brother.

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2 hours ago, JiFapono said:

This reminds of me of that game in Jacksonville, where Darnold was absolutely pathetic but he made one of the most ridiculous completions I've ever seen.  So ridiculous the board was debating whether he was trying to throw it away or not.

And why are we sharing a clip of him completing a wide open slant as if it proves something?   These are the things I dont get, what was special about a throw every QB in America can make?  Because he looked pretty doing it?  So strange the things people cling to for validation. 

The article states " The league has seen enough of Wilson to form two takeaways:

    The dude has special talent.

    He's still learning how -- and when -- to use it. 

I have not seen anything special from Zach during the first 5 games. He's been absolutely horrible at every aspect of playing QB at the NFL level except for a couple of desperation hero throws that just about every NFL QB can make.

The #2 OA pick should have mastered basic QB fundamentals. Yeah, at the NFL level rookie QB's have to learn the speed of the NFL, how to read defenses and that every player is fast and throws made against college teams don't turn out very well in the NFL.

JD made the pick and set the course of the Jets for the next three or four years and I can only hope that Zach somehow miraculously doesn't bust.

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"Zach has a lot of talent, a lot of potential," said a defensive player who faced the Jets this season. "He's athletic as hell and you can tell the dude's arm strength is top tier. I mean, he can make damn near every throw on the field and make it look effortless. I definitely think he could be somewhat like [Buffalo Bills quarterback] Josh Allen in the future."

Guessing this was Kyle Van Noy. He didn't play in the week 2 game but he's a BYU alum and a big fan of Zach.

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6 minutes ago, Snell41 said:

I mean, maybe someone should sit Zach down and tell him honestly that he’s nowhere near as talented in any regard as Mahomes and therefore should start trying really hard to be a good scripted QB within his means and capabilities?


Sent from my iPhone using JetNation.com mobile app

So you are suggesting that Zach should just stay in the pocket, get sacked 7-9 times a game and not scramble to buy time?

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So you are suggesting that Zach should just stay in the pocket, get sacked 7-9 times a game and not scramble to buy time?


No, I suggest he learns to read a D, call for the right protection, and get the ball out quickly. You know, basics of being a QB.


Sent from my iPhone using JetNation.com mobile app
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Every quarterback in the league can make a play here and there.  The measure of a good NFL quarterback is all about consistency.

I'm sick and tired of all the comparisons: Rodgers, Mahomes, Marino.  The hot take media just can't help itself.  Enough already.  Wilson has a LONG way to go before any of these comparisons hold any water.  The facts are he has a record of 1-4 and leads the league in interceptions.

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32 minutes ago, DoubleDown said:

Every quarterback in the league can make a play here and there.  The measure of a good NFL quarterback is all about consistency.

I'm sick and tired of all the comparisons: Rodgers, Mahomes, Marino.  The hot take media just can't help itself.  Enough already.  Wilson has a LONG way to go before any of these comparisons hold any water.  The facts are he has a record of 1-4 and leads the league in interceptions.

I don't think anyone is comparing his play to those players..

Just that his natural skill-set is unique and not easy to find...much like the players mentioned above.  For them, they've reached that potential.  That if, and it's a big if, Zach figures it out he can be truly special.  You simply can't say that about most QBs in the NFL.

Zach is very far from there and no one has said otherwise. 

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