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How Zach Wilson is approaching the offseason — and what he’ll do if the Jets bring in more competition

New York has plenty of questions to answer at the quarterback position this offseason, with Wilson at the center of the conversation

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) reacts against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) reacts against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Adam Hunger, Associated Press

There’s a lot to be figured out this offseason for the New York Jets and Zach Wilson regarding the quarterback position.

The team rotated through a carousel of quarterbacks during the 2022 season, finding little consistency or success at the position amid a once-promising campaign that ended with the Jets again missing the postseason. 

At the center of the controversy was Wilson, the former BYU quarterback and Utah native who was twice benched during the season in favor of other players whose resume doesn’t include being a high draft pick, like his does. 

During his end-of-season media session on Monday, Wilson fielded a variety of questions about his future and how he would approach it if the Jets did some quarterback shuffling this offseason. 

While saying it’s “out of his control” whether he considers himself the team’s starting quarterback after ending the season as the team’s No. 3 QB, Wilson had a strong statement if New York does bring in a veteran signal-caller this offseason to compete for the starting position.

“I’m going to make that dude’s life (obscenity) in practice every day,” he told reporters Monday. “I’m going to go out there and do my best to show the coaches I deserve to be there. It’s not in a negative way, it’s a positive way. It’s making everybody better hopefully and you just attack every single day.” 

This comes after last week, when Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said, in hindsight, maybe New York should have brought in a veteran quarterback to run the team’s offense for a time instead of having Wilson start from Day 1 as a rookie. 

“It probably would’ve benefited (him) just to sit back and learn a little bit and watch a veteran and just kind of grow in this league — kind of in the backseat, watching,” LaFleur told reporters

There could very well be some changes in the quarterback room for New York, whose coaches have continued to express their support and confidence in Wilson despite his rough sophomore season and lack of development thus far.

Wilson has two more years on his rookie contract, and fellow signal-callers Joe Flacco and Mike White are scheduled to be free agents in March. 

Wilson’s mantra regarding his offseason work revolved around controlling what he can control — and not letting outside distractions bother him — and attacking the work each day. 

“For me, it’s what can I control? And that’s approaching and attacking every single day, going out there and just giving everything for the guys around me,” Wilson said. “Because of the way this year has gone, I am excited about the offseason, being able to attack and know the things I want to work on.”  

He also indicated part of his offseason will be getting away from the field — something his head coach, Robert Saleh, suggested for his beleaguered quarterback last week, saying, “We want to make sure we reconnect with Zach and regain his confidence — regain his confidence in himself and us, and us and him, all of us.”

“I want to get to work as soon as possible, but there’s going to be a little bit of that, going home and decompressing,” Wilson said. 

Even if the Jets do make some changes at the quarterback position, a likelihood considering the position’s consistency issues this season and having two signal-callers headed toward free agency, Wilson said that won’t change his approach in trying to earn back the starting position.

“It’s the same mindset. It doesn’t matter whether I go in there as the one, the two, the three, I’m going to work like I should be (the starter),” he said.

“... Competition brings out the best in everybody, and that’s what gets you to this level — being a competitor and laying it all out there. … There’s competition always, and the best players should play. I need to use that motivation to keep competing and get better.”