On the cusp of joining the NFL’s elite class, Garrett Wilson was given an unexpected and funny reminder that Aaron Rodgers has plenty of mouths to feed with the Jets.
Wilson played quarterback for two straight hours on Sunday at the football camp he hosted at Peddie School for about 300 kids, many of whom returned to the huddle after each targeted pass to someone else with the same message for the NFL rookie. Year: “I was open! See me next time! “
Yes, the quarterback life is demanding.
But Wilson is no Divas receiver and should make it easier for Rodgers after being a highlight of the Jets’ spring practice with a slew of acrobatic catches.
“I still have a lot to prove, but I am confident in my ability, and I will do whatever it takes to win,” Wilson told The Post on the Field in Hightstown, NJ. For us to get to where we want to be, I feel like I know what I have to do. I will be ready.”
The hype around Wilson’s second season is off the charts.
He was named the #1 candidate as a breakout receiver by NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
Former All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant predicted that Wilson would be the number one receiver in fantasy football.
Rodgers said Wilson could soon be the best receiver in the league.
“I expect more than all of that,” Wilson said. “For me, it has always been about absolutely trusting myself and putting the work behind it so you know it can happen when the season comes around. I don’t buy all of these things often. No one expects higher than my expectations for me.”
In his first comments since he began catching passes from Rodgers seven-for-seven under the coaches’ eye — as is allowed in OTAs — Wilson expressed confidence the offense is on the right track.
“I was trying to be squishy, and make sure I was locked in to learning this new manual and all the nuances of it,” Wilson said. “It was a great learning experience for me and I was able to grow a lot. Having a new offense—in the sense of starting over—was good for us. Being young, I can adapt. “
Wilson is hoping with plenty of receivers — an upgraded group that includes Rodgers favorites Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as well as free agent signed Mekol Hardman and returnees Corey Davis and Denzel Mims — the quarterbacks can find time to build chemistry and a place to meet before training camp begins in the third week of July.
“Personally, I always have high expectations of where I play,” Wilson said. “This is how I was born. College ball, high school, I always expected to win and go out and play good ball. This has not changed this year. The rest is pressure from the outside, but inside our locker room I know we want to win every game. Nobody wants to win more than us, and that’s what’s going to help us on Sunday.”
Campers trying to pick the 1,100-yard receiver’s mind for tips were met with old-fashioned advice. Wilson’s confidence — 83 catches for two drops — doesn’t come from hardening his hands in pails of rice or on a JUGS machine.
“I just told them to make sure that you are open to training and willing to learn,” Wilson said. “For me, it has always been about competing, getting better, and being with people who love sports as much as I do. It’s just about the actors. If you’re not playing soccer, get out and do something else active to work on your hand-eye coordination.”
When Wilson imitated Rodgers by floating a Hail Mary into the end zone and Patrick Mahomes by throwing no-look passes, fans in green and white jerseys—mostly Wilson’s No. 17—shouted various reminders of the Jets’ new reality.
Someone shouted “Bring home the championship” before staging a “Jets Jets!” Planes! Planes! Hymn.
“What a huge turnout,” Wilson said. “This is the community that supports me and the people who support me when I join the field. It’s great to be able to do something like this just to show them a little bit of my appreciation.”