It’s been a rough few days for New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
The former No. 2 overall draft pick couldn’t get anything going during the Jets’ 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, when he completed nine of 22 passes for just 77 yards. And in the days since, Wilson has been getting crushed for saying he and the Jets offense didn’t let the defense down.
Now, to make matters worse for Wilson, a report has emerged that Justin Fields did the exact thing Wilson didn’t following the Bears’ loss to the Falcons on Sunday, leading to a fresh wave of criticism for Wilson.
Albert Breer of NBC Sports reported Tuesday that Fields apologized to the Bears’ locker room following the team’s 27-24 loss.
Breer said Fields’ apology “went a long way” with his teammates. While Fields did throw a costly fourth-quarter interception that set up the Falcons’ game-winning field goal, he also accounted for 238 of the team’s 288 total yards and scored two touchdowns during the game. Plus, he played through a dislocated left shoulder for part of the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced from New York that the Jets’ defensive players are not exactly thrilled with their quarterback.
The contrast between how the two second-year quarterbacks handled their respective losses has become the topic of the day on NFL Twitter.
“Justin Fields plays hurt and takes accountability even when he doesn’t have to,”one fan wrote. “Take notes, Zach Wilson.”
“Justin Fields is doing something that Zach Wilson can’t do and it’s that he’s (holding) himself accountable while Zach Wilson isn’t holding himself accountable,” said another.
The issue has even turned into a referendum on where Fields and Wilson were selected as part of the same draft class.
As Chicago fans are painfully aware after watching their team select Mitchell Trubisky with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still on the board, first-round quarterbacks from the same class will be compared to one another throughout their careers. But this time, it’s looking like the Bears got the better end of the deal when the Jets passed on Fields, among others, to pick Wilson in 2021.
“Imagine drafting Zach Wilson before Justin Fields,” George Slater tweeted.
As coincidence would have it, the Jets and Bears are set to play one another on Sunday.
However, the matchup might not provide the opportunity for Fields and Wilson to settle the debate about them on the field.
Fields is listed as day to day due to his shoulder dislocation, but given the Bears’ 3-8 record, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they don’t rush him back onto the field. Jets head coach Robert Saleh, meanwhile, has not guaranteed that Wilson will keep his starting job.
Wilson could well put this narrative to bed and have everyone talking about how good he is with a bounce-back performance on Sunday. But it’s fair to wonder how much the locker room has his back at this point.
Perhaps he should take a page out of Fields’ book, apologize for his comments and accept some blame for his play last week prior to taking the field again.