Zach Wilson must grow up if he wants to save his Jets career


There’s only one way to go from here for Zach Wilson.


As in, grow up.

On the field, the Jets 23-year-old second-year quarterback can’t play much worse than he has, most recently in Sunday’s crushing 10-3 loss to the Patriots, against whom he was positively anemic.

Off the field, Wilson has much to repair inside his own locker room after his stunning refusal to shoulder accountability for the terrible performance in New England, breaking one of the oldest unwritten rules in the sport that the quarterback points the finger at himself and protects his teammates.

So, now having rankled 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.

For Wilson, who’s revealed concerning tendencies of immaturity, entitlement and even a smugness (recall last week’s comment, “Nobody outside this building knows what they’re talking about’’), this is a true pressure point early in a career he hopes doesn’t flame out after only a few years.

If Wilson is ever going to become the player the Jets drafted him second overall out of BYU last year to be, he’s going to respond this adversity — his ill-advised lack of postgame accountability and head coach Robert Saleh on Monday revealing that the quarterback job is possibly up for grabs — with some newfound maturity.

Zach Wilson
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The belief here is that Wilson will start against the Bears Sunday at MetLife Stadium, but that he’ll be on a short leash should he continue to struggle with backup Mike White warming in the bullpen.

“The honeymoon period is over for Zach, and the sooner he recognizes that and understands what he has to do and gets some humility about himself, the better off he will be,’’ former Jets guard and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody told The Post Tuesday. “He’s got to understand this ain’t Provo, Utah. You’re 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’ve got to be a tough-minded guy.’’

Woody, for one, is fascinated to see how Wilson reacts to all of this.

“This will be critical for him,’’ he said. “If he can handle it and come out on the other side of this, he’ll become a better quarterback for it.’’

Woody, who when he played for the Jets was a team leader who was very dialed into the pulse of the locker room, was critical of Wilson in the aftermath of his postgame skirting of blame Sunday.

“But I don’t want to crush the kid,’’ Woody said. “He’s a 23-year-old young man who made a mistake after the game. I don’t know if that’s due to his personality or sometimes after a game, emotions are high and things happen.

“For Zach moving forward it’s got to be, ‘Somehow, some way I’ve got to get back to the basics and I’ve got to earn back the trust of my teammates.’ Because, all you’ve got to do is look on social media and clearly there are guys [teammates] who were disappointed in what he said in the postgame.’’

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 that want to throw him to the dumpster, but he’s still only got a certain amount of games [20] that he’s played. As an organization it would be stupid to say, ‘We’re going to turn the page.’ That wouldn’t be fair to Zach and it wouldn’t be fair to the organization to turn the page that quickly.’’

Wilson has become a victim of the team’s surprising success this season. This figured to be a developmental year for Wilson and suddenly the Jets find themselves playing for first place in the AFC East.

With Wilson slow to develop, at the bottom of the league in almost every quarterbacking statistical category, he’s become exposed.

Zach Wilson
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“In my opinion, they have a roster that can compete with anybody right now, and the only thing that’s holding them back is the quarterback,’’ Woody said. “He hasn’t developed as quickly as some of the other young guys who’ve played so well. I would tell Zach, ‘Listen, we’re all in this together. We all have to be better. Let’s take a deep breath and restart.’ ’’

How Wilson responds to a restart will shape his career one way or the other.

Nowhere to go but up.

Grow up.

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