Zach Wilson has developed a way of handling the scrutiny that comes with playing quarterback in the white-hot spotlight. It’s not by muting his critics but rather by deleting his access to the social media apps on which they appear.
Wilson, who turned 23 years old on Wednesday, said this week that he removed all of those apps from his phone prior to training camp. It’s a practice he started back at BYU.
“I mean, I’m not a big social media guy,” Wilson said. “I don’t have access to that kind of stuff. I keep my mind here with the guys and in the playbook and with our coaches and learn from what those guys are telling me.”
Wilson has a social media team who handles that stuff for him. He admits they’ll send him things for approval from time to time. But as far as reading the daily speculation on Wilson in a critical Year 2, he says he’s blissfully unaware.
Wilson has plenty of ground to gain following an uneven rookie season after the Jets made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He threw for 2,334 yards, completing 55.6 percent of his passes with a 9-11 TD-INT ratio, during a sometimes trying campaign set back by injury.
With the Jets having loaded up on offensive pieces to surround him this offseason, Wilson has become even more of the center of attention. But he says he’s not hearing any of that talk.
“Who’s scrutinizing? I mean, I’m sorry — I don’t read any of you guys’ stuff,” Wilson said, smiling. “It’s only (backup QB Joe) Flacco that’s scrutinizing me in our ping-pong tournaments we’ve got going on outside of this.”
It’s not just football elements that Wilson is dragged into on social media. Perhaps it’s expected to come with the territory of playing quarterback in New York, but Wilson found himself in the middle of some off-field gossip and drama this offseason related to his mother, who has an active social media presence and more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.
“For me, it comes to limiting what voices that I really need to hear,” Wilson said. “And right now, it’s hearing what my coaches have to say, what the other quarterbacks have to say, and really my teammates and what we’re thinking every single play.”
Wilson even quipped: “Even parents, at times, can be a distraction.”
So that means subscribers to his channels will be seeing filtered news, via his social media team. But Wilson wants them — and everyone else — to know that his entire focus now is on his first team: the Jets.
“I want to be locked into what’s going on on our field and in our meeting rooms,” he said.