There’s only one way out for Zach Wilson.
As in, grow up.
On the field, the 23-year-old Jets second-year quarterback can’t play much worse than he did, most recently in Sunday’s crushing 10-3 loss to the Patriots, against whom he was decidedly anemic.
Off the field, Wilson has a lot to fix inside his locker room after his unbelievable refusal to take responsibility for a terrible performance in New England, breaking one of the oldest unwritten rules in sports that the quarterback points the finger at himself. himself and protects his teammates.
So now that he’s riled up some of his teammates, particularly on defense, how Wilson reacts from here will begin to shape not only the rest of his (and the Jets’) season, but the rest of his career as well.
For Wilson, who has revealed his tendencies toward immaturity, entitlement, and even complacency (recall last week’s comment, “Nobody outside this building knows what they’re talking about”), this is a real pressure point at the moment. the beginning of a career that he hopes won’t die down after just a few years.
If Wilson ever becomes the player the Jets drafted him second overall from BYU last year, he’ll answer that adversity: his reckless lack of postgame accountability and coach Robert Saleh on Monday revealing that the quarterback job is perhaps in prize, with a newfound maturity.
The belief here is that Wilson will start against the Bears at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, but that he will be on a lead if he continues to struggle with backup Mike White warming up in the bullpen.
“The honeymoon period is over for Zach, and the sooner he recognizes that and figures out what he needs to do and gets some humility about himself, the better,” former Jets guard Damien Woody told The Post. and current ESPN analyst. Tuesday. “You have to understand this isn’t Provo, Utah. You are in the New York City market. This is a tough market, people have high expectations, people don’t take BS and they will eat you alive. You must be a tough guy.”
Woody, for example, is fascinated to see how Wilson reacts to all of this.
“This will be crucial for him,” he said. “If he can handle it and come out the other end, he’s going to be a better quarterback for it.”
Woody, who when playing for the Jets was a team leader who was very careful on his locker room pulse, was critical of Wilson in the aftermath of his offense after Sunday’s game.
“But I don’t want to crush the kid,” Woody said. “He IS a 23-year-old boy who made a mistake after the match. I don’t know if it’s due to his personality or sometimes after a game emotions are high and things happen.
“For Zach to move forward it has to be, ‘Somehow, somehow I have to get back to basics and I have to win back the trust of my teammates.’ Because all you have to do is look on social media and clearly there are guys [teammates] who were disappointed by what he said after the game.”
Woody said he thinks Wilson should start on Sunday.
“He’s the number two overall pick last year,” Woody said. “I know there are people who want to dump it, but it only has a certain number of games left  who played. As an organization it would be silly to say, “We’re going to move on.” It wouldn’t be fair to Zach and it wouldn’t be fair to the organization to move on so quickly.”
Wilson has become a victim of the team’s surprising success this season. This appeared to be a developmental year for Wilson and suddenly the Jets found themselves playing for first place in the AFC East.
With Wilson slow to develop, bottom of the league in nearly every quarterback statistical category, he became exposed.
“In my opinion, they have a roster that can rival anyone right now, and the only thing holding them back is the quarterback,” Woody said. “He hasn’t grown up as fast as some of the other young guys who have played so well. I’d say to Zach, ‘Listen, we’re all in this together. We all have to be better. Let’s take a deep breath and start over.’ ”
How Wilson responds to a reboot will shape his career in one way or another.
Nowhere to go but up.