New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers liked what he saw from starter Zach Wilson in Sunday night’s 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Zach’s a young kid,” Rodgers said during a Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” per Alex Smith of SNY. “He’s learning, he’s growing, he’s on his path and his journey, and I’m very proud of the leadership that he showed. I’m proud of the way he played.”
Three-time Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth, former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason and Hall of Famer Joe Namath were among the many members of the NFL community who ripped Wilson last week after he produced back-to-back duds serving as the replacement for Rodgers, who suffered a torn Achilles in Week 1. The 24-year-old then completed 28 of 39 passes for 245 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Chiefs, but he also committed a costly turnover in the game’s fourth quarter.
According to ESPN stats, Wilson ended Week 4 ranked 26th in the NFL among qualified players with a 38.6 adjusted QBR, 32nd with a 72.3 passer rating and 31st with a 58.5% completion percentage on the season. While he’s matched four touchdown passes with four interceptions, he hasn’t thrown a pick since he was intercepted three times by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.
“I don’t need to pull him aside and tell him anything special,” Rodgers added about Wilson. “There wasn’t some pep talk that I gave him that made him play better. I felt like the plan was a good plan, he got into a rhythm there in the second quarter and made a bunch of really great throws.”
Rodgers and Wilson grew close after the 39-year-old joined the Jets from the Green Bay Packers this past spring. The future Hall of Famer spoke openly during training camp about helping the 2021 first-round draft pick improve after head coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson multiple times last season. The 2023 Jets were advertised as Super Bowl contenders with Rodgers. They need Wilson to consistently play as well as he did versus Kansas City beginning with this Sunday’s game at the 1-3 Denver Broncos if they are to save a season that seemed to be a lost cause less than a week ago.