Jets rookie Garrett Wilson breaks out, wants to be ‘great’
Garrett Wilson has watched the replays of his two-touchdown breakout performance in the New York Jets’ victory last Sunday at Cleveland.
Good stuff, of course. But the rookie wide receiver has focused even more in the film room on the plays he didn’t make.
“You don’t even want to watch the plays where you do well on because at the end of the day, the plays where you don’t do well are the ones that are going to cost you down the road,” the No. 10 overall pick in April said. “They’re going to cost you a game down the road, cost you a rep down the road. So, the corrections are what we really focus on.
“Being a receiver and the group, the standard we hold ourselves to, we expect to go out there and make plays, play good when our number’s called.”
It’s a veteran approach by Wilson, who has quickly established himself as a go-to guy in the Jets’ offense.
He had eight receptions for 102 yards and the two scores in the 31-30 win over the Browns, including a 15-yarder from Joe Flacco with 22 seconds left.
“A lot of the guys on our team, we’ve known that the lights aren’t too big for him, that he has already grown up and is capable of playing in this league,” Flacco said after the victory. “But you really aren’t going to have people be able to say that about you until you win football games. So, that is why winning is so big in this league.”
The performance also earned Wilson the AFC rookie of the week award — the first of what the Jets think is just the start of many good things ahead.
“Garrett is a dog,” fellow wide receiver Corey Davis said. “He’s a great wideout, a real great dude, prepares really well each and every week. He came out and showed what he can do. I think he can do a lot more.”
Wilson hasn’t been perfect, with a few drops mixed in between the 12 catches he has in his first two NFL games. That includes the pass that slipped through his hands midway through the fourth quarter with the Jets trying to get back into it against the Browns.
“I didn’t want my drop to be the reason we lost the game,” Wilson said.
Instead, he became a big reason the Jets won.
With the Jets trailing by six, Wilson got wide open over the middle — and Flacco delivered him a pass that the rookie took into the end zone.
“The coaches have got a great plan for me,” Wilson said. “And you know, if it involves zero catches or a hundred catches, I’m willing to do either one.”
That’s a good approach, but the Jets view Wilson as a playmaker — and the more the ball’s in his hands the better.
Tight end Tyler Conklin played with Justin Jefferson in Minnesota and he sees some of him in Wilson.
“His ability to go up and get the ball, and after the catch, he’s just so dang slippery,” Conklin said. “And I think it was only a matter of time before he broke out.”
While at Ohio State, Wilson watched the impacts Jefferson and Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase — whom the Jets will face Sunday — made quickly with their teams. Jefferson set an NFL rookie mark with 1,400 yards receiving in 2020 — only to be surpassed last season when Chase had 1,455.
“I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Wilson said. “That was my goal. That’s what I planned on doing.”
And he began by having an outstanding offseason and then training camp. Now, he’s combining with Davis and Elijah Moore to be a reliable and versatile playmaker.
“I want to be great,” Wilson said. “And, you know, I’m nowhere near that it yet.
“So I’ve got to keep pushing. And it’s good to have the confidence of your teammates, for sure.”
Wilson played a bit more out of the slot last Sunday than he did in the season opener against Baltimore. Either way, he’s fine with it — because he knows opposing defenses won’t be.
“I like being able to play everywhere,” Wilson said. “It makes you harder to guard and makes you harder to game plan for and you can run more routes. ... I mean, I do love playing slot, I love playing outside.
“Whatever it takes to put ourselves in the best situation, to be in the game, win a game at the end, that’s what I want to do.”
NOTES: Davis showed up on the injury report as a limited participant after injuring a knee. ... Also limited were LT George Fant (knee), DE John Franklin-Myers (toe/quad), TE CJ Uzomah (hamstring), S Jordan Whitehead (calf), DE Quinnen Williams (foot) and QB Zach Wilson (knee).
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