Most people give up cookies and cake when they are trying to lose weight. Zach Wilson has been passing on the sweets in order to gain weight.
The Jets’ quarterback said his focus this offseason has been on nutrition as well as strength training. He wanted to add weight and he has. Wilson weighs 221 pounds after ending last season at 208. He said he knows he will lose some weight in training camp and hopes to play this season at 218.
“I feel better for sure,” Wilson said Tuesday after the Jets’ second organized team activity practice. “The energy, the ability to have that stamina throughout the whole practice I think is better. I just think in the long run, once we get into a game where we’re getting hit and tackled, having some more size on me will help.”
Wilson said he met with the Jets’ nutritionist at the end of the season to formulate a strategy. He then had someone put together a meal plan for him and hired a personal chef to prepare his food.
“I think it’s probably the first time in my life I took a bigger approach on the nutrition side rather than just the lifting,” Wilson said. “Of course, every year you do your typical strength training and lifting and running. Typically, you just try to eat healthy. But I actually had a written plan of how much to eat, when to eat, tracking everything down to the macro. I had someone helping me with all that stuff. That’s probably been the biggest difference as far as being able to put good weight on.”
Wilson looks noticeably bigger, particularly in his legs. Jets head coach Robert Saleh said there are conspicuous differences in Wilson entering his second season, both physically and in his confidence.
“He’s thick,” Saleh said. “He looks good. He looks confident. Shoulders are back, he’s not caved in. He’s smiling. He’s vocal. I’ve said it before, you can always tell the confidence level and their understanding of what they’re being asked to do by the volume of their voice and he’s getting pretty loud.”
Wilson said he feels more comfortable this spring, both with his command of the offense and his ability to lead the team.
“I think that’s needed, especially from a quarterback: somebody that can get everybody on the same page,” Wilson said. “I’ve never been the super vocal type, the guy to get up in front of the team but sometimes that’s needed. I think it means more when it does come.”
The Jets did not hide that the primary focus of this offseason will be to build around Wilson. They added talent at tight end, wide receiver, running back and on the offensive line to help Wilson’s progression.
“Now, I need to do my job of getting these playmakers the ball,” Wilson said.
The Jets went 4-13 in Wilson’s first season with the team and the 2021 No. 2 overall pick struggled mightily at times. He showed improvement at the end of last season and will need to take a bigger leap in 2022 for the Jets to go from doormats to contenders.
The Jets have more talent on their roster than they did last year, but there is a lot riding on Wilson entering this season.
“We’re definitely going to be better,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to tell until game 1, of course, but you can tell the improvement is there. We have the talent. We have the guys. Now, it’s: Can we tie it all together and be able to put something together?”
Wilson spent time this offseason visiting and working with teammates in Nashville, Miami and Phoenix. He said the plan is to get the Jets’ skill players together in July before training camp begins to continue to work.
His teammates should not expect any dessert at the team dinners, though.
“I do have a sweet tooth pretty bad,” Wilson said of his dietary restrictions. “That’s been the challenge: the cookies and cakes and those kinds of things.”