Steve Young Says Jets Gave Zach Wilson Too Much ‘Tough Love’

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Apparently Jets quarterback Zach Wilson needs to be handled with kid gloves. That’s according to Steve Young, anyway.

On ESPN’s “The Michael Kay Show” this week, the legendary San Francisco 49ers QB says the Jets organization has failed Wilson.

“Zach doesn’t need tough love. He doesn’t need somebody to see how tough he is,” Young said. “He needs a big brother — a young, knowledgeable innovator, someone who he can trust and says to him, ‘You know what, despite everything that’s happened, Zach, I believe in you. You can get this done.'”

Less yelling and benching. More hugs and rainbows. Got it.

The Jets selected Wilson second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. They benched him in November 2022 after an embarrassing 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots. Not only did Wilson & Co. only put 3 points on the board that day, but they also raked up a grand total of 2 yards of offense in the second half.

After the game, reporters asked Wilson if he let the defense down. With a straight face, he simply answered, “No.”

Are the Jets done with Zach Wilson? The team's owner says the QB position is the franchise's "missing piece." (Credit: Getty Images)
Jets QB Zach Wilson was the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has not lived up to the hype. (Credit: Getty Images)

Steve Young and Zach Wilson are both BYU alumni.

Maybe it’s Cougar pride that gives Young a soft spot for Wilson. Regardless, Young thinks the 23-year-old quarterback has the skills necessary to make it in the NFL.

“Zach’s problems are not physical. Zach’s problems are expectations and how he deals with expectations,” Young said. “He’s gotta figure out a way to process all his expectations so it doesn’t affect his play.”

The good news for Wilson, I guess, is that those expectations are pretty low these days.

“That’s a process that’s gonna go on,” Young said. “And it’s not hard. It’s not long suffering. It’s growing up. It’s maturing. It’s figuring out how to deal with the stuff in front of you.”

He went on to reiterate that former Jets offensive coordinator (he was just fired Thursday) Mike LaFleur took a “tough love” approach that simply isn’t “useful for Zach.”

I will never pretend to know more about quarterbacking than Hall-of-Famer Steve Young. But if you ask me whether it’s an NFL coach’s job to coddle a grown man, I have one word for Zach Wilson…

No.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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