Zach Wilson took more than enough shots from Micah Parsons in the Jets’ 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. But New York’s starting quarterback also took a couple of jabs from Shannon Sharpe during Monday’s edition of First Take.
Sharpe had no issues taking aim at Wilson, who went 12-of-27 for 170 yards with one touchdown against three interceptions in his first start of the 2023 NFL season. Wilson took over for Aaron Rodgers after just four snaps in the team’s season-opening win over the Buffalo Bills. And now Wilson is left leading a team that wanted so badly to replace him last season.
Sharpe was asked if Wilson’s performance on Sunday proved that the Jets needed to look outside the confines of the team facility in Florham Park for a quarterback to lead them the rest of the way. He answered as only he could, and took unnecessary shots at Wilson in the process.
“You’re not gonna win with him. I mean the dude couldn’t play dead in a horror movie…I’ve seen all of the Friday the 13ths. I’ve seen all the Nightmares on Elm Streets. I’ve seen ’em all. And at some point in time, you have to come to the realization, he is what he is. There is a reason…If you thought he could play just a tad, there’s no way you’d mortgage what you’d mortgaged and paid Aaron Rodgers what you paid him. Now, it’s sad. It’s very disheartening that four plays into his tenure with the Jets, he goes down. And now, your worst fear is realized: Zach Wilson has to play.
“[Mike Greenberg] is absolutely right. They know he can’t play. He can’t convince anyone in that locker room, because they saw it for an extended period of time last season…And he can’t play. I understand, yesterday notwithstanding, should they have run the football more? Absolutely. Zach Wilson can’t be your leading rusher when you have two running backs [Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook], that’s more than capable of running the football.
“But no, he takes too many sacks. And once the pressure comes, he drops his head, his eyes go down and he doesn’t know. He’s like a blind dog in a meat house. You’re not going to win. You’re not going anywhere with Zach Wilson as your quarterback.”
“I mean the dude couldn’t play dead in a horror movie.”
“He’s like a blind dog in a meat house.”
– Shannon Sharpe on Zach Wilson
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 18, 2023
Sharpe’s criticism of Wilson holds some weight, although the comments he made towards the young quarterback hit a little below the belt. At the same time, it’s hard to look at yesterday’s performance as an indictment on Wilson. He was 5-of-10 for 95 yards with a touchdown heading into halftime. He led a methodical two-minute drill down the field, and the moment didn’t seem too big for him. At least in the first half.
This was a different Wilson than we had seen before. He looked cool, calm, and collected, like a reset with Aaron Rodgers had paid off. While the other shoe fell off, as it always does, it’s hard to blame Wilson for the results, or lack thereof. The Jets were unable to protect Wilson, as the left side of the offensive line (Duane Brown and Laken Tomlinson) and center Connor McGovern had no answers for whatever the Cowboys’ defense threw at them. In turn, the Jets were unable to run the football, which led to Wilson playing hero ball and trying to force some passes down by three possessions.
You also have to remember the defense that Wilson was facing on Sunday. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Wilson, against four or fewer pass rushers, was pressured a career-high 54%. As The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt pointed out, when pressured, Wilson was 4-of-10 for 34 yards with an interception and a 10.0 passer rating,
Micah Parsons finished with six pressures, four quarterback hits, and a sack. For all the talk about sacks, Wilson was sacked three times, though he was pressured at a career-high clip.
The interceptions were mind-numbing, but none of them led directly to Sunday’s final result. The game was pretty much over when Dalvin Cook coughed up the football, as the Jets were looking to cut a 20-10 lead. But as the quarterback and the face of the operation, Wilson will take criticism, no matter what.
While Wilson may not have Sharpe in his corner, his teammates seem to belive he can be the guy; at least for now.