In coming months, Jets WR Garrett Wilson will have plenty of time to decide what his goals are for his third season as a pro. But just a day after the Green & White finished the regular season on the outside of the playoffs looking in, he already has one goal in mind.
"I never want to feel like this again," Wilson told reporters Monday. "I never want to be in this position again. We have to be a little better in every category. I don't know exactly what the issue is, but we have to be better in every category. My goal for the next season is how can I be better, and how can we be better so that when we get around to this time of year next year, we aren't doing exit interviews?."
Despite being removed from the Jets' season finale midway through the third quarter with a neck and head injury, Wilson finished his sophomore season with 1,042 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns and a career-high 95 receptions – 14th most in the NFL. The 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year became the first Jets receiver in franchise history to starts a career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
The season did not go the way Wilson envisioned, after a training camp spent catching passes and interacting with future Hall of Famer QB Aaron Rodgers. Four plays into the season, opener against Buffalo, Rodgers sustained a torn Achilles tendon, upsetting the Jets' and Wilson's expectations.
"I heard I had a good year, this was the worst year of my life," Wilson said. "So, thank you, but that is the reality of it."
After a 4-3 start, the Jets struggled following their Week 7 bye, losing 5 of 6 as the the team averaged 9.8 points per game over that span. Wilson caught passes from three different signals callers, none of which were Rodgers, and was disappointed with how the team played in the four-time MVP's absence.
"We could have folded it in or played good football after, and I don't think we did either," Wilson said. "My number one takeaway is, we have to keep everyone healthy and how can we build something so that we can all be healthy, especially our gunslinger. I don't think we responded the way we would have liked. If you asked everyone where we thought we would be at the end of the season after that injury, 1-0, and this was the answer, I think we all would have been not satisfied. He is great player and a great leader, but as far how we responded, we could have been better."
Wilson said he went to some dark places during the season, but he knows that the struggles will help him and the team in the long run.
"I think going to a place you never want to go again is valuable," Wilson said. "I have got to know myself a lot better and find that fire in you that tells you that you're the man and that you can do whatever you used to do, and I think those are all valuable things I have had to tap into this season. It is one of those things that in 10 years I will look back at when we are holding the Lombardi Trophy, I will be thankful that we did go through it."
Heading into the second offseason of his NFL career, Wilson hopes that GM Joe Douglas and his staff will work to perhaps bring in a receiver to complement No. 17 and standout RB Breece Hall and the rest of the Jets improved receiving corps. The No. 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft led the Jets in receiving yards and receptions with the next closest being more than 400 yards and 20 receptions behind.
"If someone wants to come help our team, we are welcome to everyone," Wilson said. "And as far as the receiver room, we have some great young guys and vets as well. So, another infusion of someone who brings a different thing to the table and gives defenses something to worry about, would be beneficial to everyone, not just me. It is something I am excited to see. So, if that is what is called upon this offseason, I will do my part to help bring someone to Florham Park."