Stamford Advocate

‘Captain’ Wilson prepared to lead Jets into season opener


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Zach Wilson is a rookie. He’s also a leader. And one of the New York Jets’ team captains.

It’s an impressive first impression for the young quarterbac­k, who’s preparing for his NFL regularsea­son debut Sunday at Carolina.

“He’s ready to lead,” wide receiver Corey Davis said Wednesday.

That has been the case since the Jets zeroed in on Wilson and made the former BYU star the No. 2 overall draft pick in April. Wilson has opened eyes with his preparatio­n, namely his process that is more like that of a veteran. He has also shown himself to be ready for the spotlight that is being inevitably shined on him as the next in a long line of would-be franchise quarterbac­ks for the Jets.

But there’s something different about Wilson, his teammates and coaches say. And being selected a team captain on offense by those teammates is a clear indication that they already believe in him.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Wilson said. “I think it’s a role you’ve definitely got to take seriously. It’s who people look up to on the team, who they feel like they can come to when any problems or whatever questions come about. I definitely don’t take it lightly. I thought it was cool.”

It’s not often a rookie steps in right away as a leader. There’s so much to learn about life in the NFL, let alone trying to be one of the guys every other player follows.

The 22-year-old Wilson wasn’t surprised by being selected by his teammates, though. He embraces the responsibi­lity and all that comes with it.

“As a quarterbac­k, I think that leadership role, obviously, should just be in place no matter what,” Wilson said. “That you kind of need to lead by example.”

That’s why Wilson often ends up sitting down and talking to players from different position groups during some down time in the cafeteria.

“Something I’ve tried to work on just myself is my personal, emotional connection­s with guys off the field,” Wilson said. “Obviously, everything is business when we’re here and on the field — you want to be that guy they can look to. But off the field, you want to be somebody that actually gets to know them and understand­s their background, where they came from, and so I think that’s super important: know everybody’s name and kind of their story.”

NOTES: In addition to Wilson, Davis was selected a team captain for offense. The defensive captains are linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi, with cornerback Justin Hardee selected for special teams. Saleh said the coaching staff will also select one additional player to serve as a captain for each game. … LT Mekhi Becton cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and was a full participan­t at practice. … RB La’Mical Perine (foot) was limited, while S Sharrod Neasman (hamstring) sat out.

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