As a rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson is going to inevitably face some growing pains. However, he probably didn’t expect to hear public criticism from one of his New York Jets teammates.
After Sunday’s 26-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, veteran guard Greg Van Roten suggested Wilson was holding onto the ball too long. That remark came after Wilson was sacked five times and threw two more interceptions, bringing his season total to seven.
Greg Van Roten on the pressure Zach Wilson faced today:
"He's got to learn – this is the NFL, you've got to get the ball out. You can't hold on to it and try to make a play and throw it deep downfield. And we've got to protect him better, it starts with us up front." pic.twitter.com/sgCgsOes1T
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 26, 2021
Van Roten made clear, however, that he was not blaming Wilson for the team’s 0-3 start.
GVR says these losses don’t fall on Wilson. They are good learning experiences #Jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) September 26, 2021
Whether Van Roten is right or not, this probably won’t go down well, especially coming from him. The 31-year-old has been around for a long time and should know better than to say this publicly. Not only that, but with Wilson sacked 15 times through three games, part of it certainly falls on the offensive line. Van Roten admits that, but it almost seems like he’s trying to deflect from that unit’s struggles a bit.
For now, Wilson is handling the narratives and criticisms well, but this is far from an ideal start to his career.