Since it was revealed on Tuesday that QB Aaron Rodgers would miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon, QB Zach Wilson's coaches and teammates have shown and spoken about their confidence in the third-year quarterback ability to lead the team – beginning with Sunday's matchup at the Dallas Cowboys.
"I would definitely say I am excited to be on the field," Wilson said. "Of course, the way it happened and everything, it isn't exciting. If I could have him not get injured, I would. But at the same time, I am excited to get on the field. You only get to do this for so many years and we are very blessed."
Wideout Garrett Wilson added: "We have all the confidence in the world in Zach. We see each other every day and see how we go about our business and practice hard. And when you do those things, the confidence level keeps growing. And Zach is no exception. He is the man."
Monday night against Buffalo, Wilson came in for Rodgers after four offensive plays and helped guide the team to a 22-16 overtime win. Wilson went 14 of 21 for 141 yards and a touchdown in a composed performance.
"I'll tell you, my respect for him is off the charts," offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. "For a guy to not have any practice to come in there and execute the way that he did. It's so great to see."
Since the injury to the four-time NFL MVP, Wilson and Rodgers have stayed in touch via text. Rodgers mentored Wilson throughout the offseason.
"I feel like I have been trying to copy every little thing he does," Wilsons said. "From his footwork to the coaching tips he has given us. He does an amazing job, more than we could ask for. He helped me in just finding that love for football. This game can be so much fun, and I have had more fun than I ever have. I have had a blast and I think it is the people that truly matter. I have enjoyed this group that we have."
Wilson went 5-4 as a starter last season while throwing for 1,688 yards with 6 TDs and 7 INTs. This offseason, Wilson displayed greater accuracy and poise throughout training camp. He played in all 4 preseason games (3 starts) and completed 37-of-56 passes for 365 yards with 1 touchdown.
"I am taking it one step at a time and one play at a time," Wilson said. "I have been trusting the guys around me. I think they have shown this past week how explosive and dynamic they are. Relying on this good defense we have, and I think it going out there and taking it one play at a time."
Wilson's first start this season will come against a talented and stout Dallas defense that shut out the Jets' cross-town rival Giants, 40-0, in Week 1. Dallas held the Giants to, 63 pass yards and sacked Daniel Jones 7 times.
See the best photos of the Jets during Thursday's practice of Cowboys week.
Dallas' All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons, who taken No. 12 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, leads the Cowboys dominant unit. The Jets took Wilson 10 picks before Parsons, No. 2 overall.
"He is a stud man," Wilson said of Parsons. "This defense in general is going to be a good challenge for us as an offense. Obviously, a good front. A good linebacking core and some good secondary players as well. I think Micah was in my same draft class as well, which is cool."
Wilson is no stranger to playing top-tier defenses. Last season, Wilson faced four top 10 defenses by total yards allowed and had a 3-2 record (Wk. 4 vs Pittsburgh, Wk. 7 vs Denver, Wk. 9 vs Buffalo, Wks. 8 & 11 vs New England). In those matchups, Wilson went 81-of-150 passing for 959 yards and 4 TDs, and against the Steelers caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Berrios.
"It is a special opportunity," Wilson said. "I am excited to be a part of this team. These guys are very special, and I need to do my job and allow the guys around me to do theirs."