No coach within the Jets organization has had more 1-on-1 time with Zach Wilson than offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, the man tasked with getting the most out of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Early reports on Wilson are positive, as he’s showcased a quick, powerful arm with solid, technical fundamentals in the pocket. But that’s all the media can see for a short while instead of being up close and personal.
LaFleur has been there from day one, so what does he think about his rookie quarterback?
“It’s been a learning curve for him. We’ve thrown a ton at him,” LaFleur told reporters on Wednesday following the latest Jets minicamp practice. “We had a plan like I told you guys last time, we go through an installation schedule. You have your two-minute (drill), you get into your situational football. I thought these last two weeks have been awesome for him. We’ve done so many 'call-it periods' where he doesn’t have the script and he just has to hear me through that walkie talkie and make sure not only is he calling it correctly, but getting everyone else aligned. That’s part of the quarterback’s job.
“I thought he did a really good job with it. He put so much time into it.”
Like Robert Saleh has said, it’s hard to judge Wilson when it’s 7-on-7 drills or with just a shirt and shorts on. Training camp, or some adversity as Saleh likes to call it, is where the real Wilson will show up.
LaFleur has already seen minor rookie mistakes from Wilson, though. In those moments, some rookies try to perfect and get frustrated despite understanding the ebbs and flows that go into the game, let alone during OTA practice.
Wilson doesn’t get himself down.
“He certainly does not need a pep talk,” LaFleur said. “He’s so internally motivated to obviously be the best and all that, but to learn. That’s what’s unique.”
Training camp will show a lot more of what Wilson has to offer through tribulation, but he’s already impressing everyone around him.
LaFleur likes Elijah Moore’s work ethic
The second-round pick has been in the spotlight during the Jets’ offseason practices, showcasing his speed and ability to be versatile, which Saleh has also pointed out.
LaFleur explained what wide receivers coach Miles Austin has been doing with Moore that impresses the OC.
“Cool part about Elijah is this guy just works," LaFleur said. "I know a lot of people say that but he does and he puts in a lot of time whether it be seven in the morning on the jugs and working in the indoor, taking it through the meetings, being prepared with the scripted plays.
“Miles Austin’s done an awesome job putting from at 'X,' putting him at 'Z,' putting him at 'F,' which when I was a receivers coach, I was almost a little bit nervous to do that. I wanted to see these guys have a little bit of success because I knew how hard it was and he’s embraced and he goes after it. He’s a fun dude to coach.”