Zach Wilson’s Rookie Season Is Already Being Sabotaged by a Ridiculous Benching and Another Draft Bust

One would think the New York Jets would want to do everything imaginable to ensure rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has every tool at his disposal in hopes of succeeding.

If you genuinely believe that, then you know nothing about the Jets.

It’s been an ugly start for the BYU product, who threw five interceptions and lost his first two starts. Things are only getting worse as the Jets are now intentionally sabotaging the young quarterback’s progress.

The Jets refuse to give second-year receiver Denzel Mims offensive snaps

In the spring of 2020, the previous Jets regime still hoped Sam Darnold would prove to be the next Joe Namath, except without the long hair. If he couldn’t do that, growing into the next Mark Sanchez and at least guiding the team to multiple playoff berths would be enough.

Darnold needed weapons, and the Jets were more than happy to help by using a second-round pick on Baylor’s Denzel Mims during the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3 wideout had over 180 catches, 2,900 yards, and 28 touchdowns in his final three college seasons.

Between a hamstring injury and the ineptness of Adam Gase’s offense, Mims only had 23 catches and 357 yards in nine games. The Jets fired Gase and traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, moves which likely ushered in another era of agonizing football.

There’s been no second-year leap for Mims, nor has he had an opportunity to emerge as a reliable target for Wilson yet. Instead, the second-year wideout played only three snaps in Week 1, one of which resulted in a 40-yard catch, and was inactive in Week 2.

First-year Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Mims hasn’t played as much because the bulk of his snaps would likely come on special teams. He’d then need to challenge Jeff Smith and Keelan Cole, two other receivers, for those reps.

“I don’t see Jeff and Keelan relenting,” Saleh said, according to NJ.com. “They are every bit [as] deserving to be on the field, too.”

The Jets are sabotaging Wilson’s rookie season by stubbornly limiting Mims’ snaps

No one is going to argue against the importance of special teams. Jets fans have seen enough missed kicks or blown coverages on returns over the years to know how one play can change an entire game.

However, the excuse of not playing Mims because of Cole and Smith’s value on kickoffs and punt coverage only goes so far. We’re talking about a receiver selected 59th overall a year ago and who flashed playmaking ability as a rookie despite playing in Gase’s nightmarish (for Jets fans, at least) offense.

Cole, for the record, didn’t play in Week 1. Mims, also for the record, didn’t see a special teams snap in that loss to Darnold and the Panthers. So that argument only has so much validity to it.

Saleh also said Mims is still learning the playbook, which is a justifiable reason to limit someone’s snaps. With that said, what do the Jets lose by sending the sophomore receiver out onto the field for 8-12 snaps a game as he masters the plays? It’s not like anyone expects the long-suffering franchise to make the postseason.

That 40-yard catch in Week 1 proved as a reminder of how dangerous Mims can be if the Jets put him on the field. Wilson is going to need all of the weapons he can have going forward. Now seems like the perfect opportunity if there was ever a time to let both work through their growing pains.

Wilson is at least slowly building relationships with his other receivers

At this point, the Jets seem determined to keep Mims a healthy scratch each Sunday. Maybe they’ll find a team willing to trade a conditional draft pick for him either later this fall or at some point next offseason.

For now, Wilson has a few weapons he can take advantage of during his rookie campaign. The prized offseason signing and fifth overall pick in 2017, Corey Davis had five catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. Braxton Berrios, a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2018, totaled 12 catches for 124 yards in the Jets’ first two games. He’s quietly grown into a reliable contributor who had nearly 40 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Jamison Crowder, who had 137 catches for 1,532 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Jets, is unlikely to play in Week 3 as he deals with a groin injury. We have an idea for who should see extra snaps at receiver if the Duke product, who also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, misses his third straight game.

Who knows? Maybe Mims is the key to the Jets actually achieving a winning record for the first time in six years. Not that the franchise seemingly has any interest in finding out.

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