Zach Wilson didn’t take many hits during controlled practices or in two preseason games.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh admitted he was curious to see how his rookie quarterback would react to getting popped a few times in his NFL debut last weekend against the Panthers.
On the Jets’ second play from scrimmage, Wilson was dropped by Carolina defensive end Brian Burns for the first of six sacks against him in the game.
“I remember asking [offensive coordinator Mike] LaFleur, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen when he gets hit the first time? Do you think he’s going to fumble?’ ” Saleh said Friday. “I was like, ‘Oh, god!’ But he held onto it and he popped back up.
“I was like, ‘Damn, this kid’s got a really cool feel in the pocket that we weren’t able to see because he was trying to be disciplined during practice.’ It seemed like he got better as the pressure mounted, which we don’t want to see, we want him to be able to throw from the pocket. But he proved that he relished the moment and he got better as he went. It’s going to be exciting to see him grow.”
Saleh was noncommittal when asked directly Friday if second-year receiver Denzel Mims might be inactive Sunday against the Patriots due to the planned returns of Jamison Crowder (groin) and Keelan Cole (knee).
“Going through the process, we are very fortunate we’ve got a really deep group of receivers,” Saleh said before practice. “I think [general manager] Joe [Douglas] and his staff have done an unbelievable job with assembling a really cool receiver group and today’s a big part of practice and making sure we get the best five, six guys out there.”
Crowder and Cole both officially were listed as questionable, although Crowder told reporters he expects to suit up against New England.
Mims played only three snaps in the Jets’ opening loss at Carolina, with one reception for 40 yards.
Saleh confirmed that starting left tackle Mekhi Becton will undergo knee surgery next week. The team’s 2020 first-round draft pick is expected to miss a minimum of 4-to-8 weeks.
Elsewhere on the injury front, linebacker Jamien Sherwood (ankle) has been listed as doubtful, while offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (illness) and cornerback Isaiah Dunn (shoulder) also are questionable. Dunn and Edoga were new to the injury report on Friday.
The Jets have invited the Dwight Morrow High School football team of Englewood, N.J., to attend Sunday’s game after the school lost its turf field, track and much of its football equipment due to flooding from Hurricane Ida. The Jets also are covering the costs for new helmets, pads and uniforms for the team, which will play its entire schedule this season on the road. Saleh wore a school T-shirt during Friday’s press conference.