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QB Zach Wilson's Start 'Something to Build On'

Former No. 2 Pick Said Aaron Rodgers Called for Long Pass vs. Browns 

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson looks to pass during the first half against the Cleveland Browns in the Hall of Fame NFL football preseason game Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

The Jets' plan for QB Zach Wilson in year three is to start from scratch. Thursday night in the 2023 Hall of Fame game, Wilson got off to a good start while going 3-for-5 for 65 yards against the Browns, highlighted by a 57-yard completion to WR Malik Taylor that came on an Aaron Rodgers play-call.

"That's the goal," Wilson said of his fresh perspective. "Putting everything behind me and learning and being appreciative of it too. And it has been a lot of fun getting back on the field with the guys. I am looking forward to the growth and all the work that we have done to get better over the offseason."

HC Robert Saleh added: "Zach did a good job. He was poised, looked comfortable in the pocket and delivered the ball on schedule. Definitely something to build on."

Starting a preseason opener for a third consecutive summer, Wilson played three series in the first quarter against the Browns and completed passes to three different receivers.

"For [Wilson] it is just about rebuilding that confidence and swag that we that we fell in love with and the draft process," Saleh said. "And I think he's getting there. As I said before, he's a rookie all over again. All the footwork is different, and all the verbiage is different. The way Aaron plays quarterback, and the way [Nathaniel] Hackett teaches quarterback is a little bit different. So, it's just there's a lot of learning and I think he's been attacking the heck out of it."

On the long pass to Taylor, Wilson delivered a strike from inside the pocket. It led to a 54-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein.

Hackett, the Jets offensive coordinator, called the plays, but Wilson said Rodgers – who was wearing a headset throughout the night – suggested the call.

"Great call by Aaron Rodgers," Wilson said. "Have to give him a shout-out there. We were backed up and were taking a shot down the field. It was kind of pick your matchup because those guys were just playing single man, which I think is great for preseason ball to see the guys can win and separate, and Malik has done a great job all training camp, so I wanted to go to his side. I liked the matchup with the corner as well and he did a great job winning."

Wilson kept it simple and stayed within himself in Canton and was encouraged by his brief summer debut.

"The last two years I felt have felt kind of hectic and scrambled," Wilson said. "I felt tonight I had a plan and said 'Okay, if I do what I know I'm capable of doing and I facilitate, I can lead this group.' And so that was the goal, just feeling more comfortable.

Wilson added about Rodgers' guidance: "He helps me more than he needs to, so I'm very grateful."

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