Since entering the league, New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has left much to be desired. To that point, this is Zach’s career stat line in the three games he started and completed against the Patriots:
- 50% completion rating
- An average of 214 yards passing per game
- .66 touchdowns per game (1 total)
- 2.33 interceptions per game (7 total)
- 3.3 sacks per game
- A passer rating of 50.8
Needless to say, Zach has been bad against the Patriots. Really, really bad, in fact. Additionally, he seems to have two distinct types of performances against the Patriots, both of which are bad but in very different ways.
First, you have the inept Zach Wilson against New England performance. In this type of game, he didn’t turn the ball over. However, it came at the expense of the Jets having any passing attack whatsoever. Specifically, in the game played on 11/20/2022 he had no turnovers, but he generated only 77 yards passing across 22 passes (3.5 yards per attempt) and had a 40.9% completion rating.
Second, you have the Zach Wilson turnover frenzy performance. In the games played on 9/19/2021 and 10/30/2022, Zach had a combined 7 interceptions, which amounts to nearly an interception per quarter on average. He also, however, was able to generate passing, eclipsing 6.4 yards per attempt and 200 total yards passing in each game.
With the Jets playing New England this week, head Coach Robert Saleh and company may have to ask themselves which kind of bad QB play they want to tolerate. Do they want an offense that basically stagnates from start to finish but doesn’t regularly turn the ball over and allow the Patriots desirable field position? Or do they want an offense that gives the ball to the other team but actually manages to look viable at times? Last season, the Jets opted for the former against New England... and then quickly regretted that decision as they then benched Wilson the following week for his general ineptitude.
While this week is a good chance to highlight that decision because of Zach’s history against the Patriots, this kind of decision is one that the Jets will be faced with all season long. To date, they’ve mostly opted for the lower-risk route (as long as the game is even relatively close), allowing their defense to try to basically win the game by themselves. Against the Buffalo Bills, that worked and all seemed well. Against the Dallas Cowboys, not so much.
This also begs the question of how the Jets should leverage their defense? Do they aim to keep the scores low with hopes that the defense or special teams can outscore the other team’s offense while the offense regularly punts shortly after the receiving the ball? If so, then the inept performance is viable. Or do they aim to let their offense take risks and score points with hopes that the defense is good enough to overcome any turnovers that the offense provides? If so, then the turnover frenzy performance is viable. Additionally, as an added benefit of this approach, the larger emphasis on the passing game may also allow for the low likelihood probability that Zach Wilson develops into a decent quarterback, which is unlikely to happen if he’s largely relegated to check downs and handoffs.
Obviously, neither of these are ideal options, but you have to work with the options that are presented. If you’re Robert Saleh, what do you do?
Which strategy would you opt to use against New England?
This poll is closed
Minimizing turnover risk at the risk of minimizing offensive upside
Maximizing offensive upside at the risk of maximizing turnover potential