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Don’t you dare blame Mike LaFleur, former Jets’ scout says Zach Wilson and Joe Douglas are to blame

Why are people blaming offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur? Former Jets scout Daniel Kelly says stop blaming him

I feel like my job is to correct false narratives.

I knew this would happen back in my August 3 article, “National media already making excuses for Jets’ QB Zach Wilson.” 

In my article I cited how ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky was already trying to build excuses around Wilson by saying LaFleur had never called NFL offensive plays. I knew as soon as Wilson started struggling, this would be the built-in damage control strategy. 

“I have been around a lot of really, really, really good coaches, super-smart, great offensive minds, and they can’t call plays, because calling plays is rhythm and it’s art and it’s feel,” Orlovsky said.

No. I am sorry. LaFleur is not the scapegoat for the Jets. He was head coach Robert Saleh’s hire. LaFleur will not be the first one to go, as this Zach Wilson debacle unfolds. The struggles Wilson has had for the Jets were all over his college game film at BYU. 

Wilson’s lack of production is a result of bad scouting, not bad play-calling. LeFleur is only trying to work with what they gave him to work with. 

Shame on whoever is leaking this story all over the New York media that LeFleur is responsible for this mess. The New York Jets knew exactly what they were getting in LaFleur. They had his damn resume in their hands when they hired him a few months ago.

Anyone can turn on all of Wilson’s throws his senior season. Just go to YouTube and type in, “All Zach Wilson’s throws BYU,” and the two hour and nineteen minute film pops right up for the football world to see. This is not some secret rocket science. This is football politics and I will not stand for it. If there is one thing I hate about the game, it’s the politics.

Every struggle Wilson is currently having, is all right in my pre-draft scouting report (click here to see it).  His deep balls were jump balls. He was inconsistent with his ball placement at every route level (short, intermediate and deep), so much so I even said pre-draft that Wilson would be an “interception machine” in the NFL. 

Receivers at BYU were jumping and sliding all over the place half the time trying to catch Wilson’s passes. 

LaFleur is an offensive coordinator, not a magician. He was given a quarterback to work with who never in a million years should have been a top-five pick, with the glaring number of deficiencies he showed on game film. 

If I can see these things from my house in Key West, Florida after being gone from the team for 20 years, how in the hell can’t Jets’ general manager (GM) Joe Douglas, who is on a six-year contract valued at more than $3 million dollars per year? 

Those in the New York media who are coming after Mike LaFleur owe him a written front-page apology and instead place the blame squarely where it belongs, on team GM Joe Douglas and on the front-office payroll who thought drafting Zach Wilson was a good idea. 

You cannot take an erratic and soft personality kid who excelled against a cream puff schedule at BYU, and plug him into the New York Jets, and expect anything different than what Wilson has produced. 

I don’t care if you had Bill Walsh drawing up the game-plans, it would be the same result. Zach Wilson is a one-trick inconsistent short-passing game pony, with zero game-changing big play capability. Wilson also has limited downfield mobility averaging 3.0 yards per carry in three years in college. This is who and what Wilson is – – get used to it. 

I have never coached a day in my life and I could draw up the defensive game plan to crush Wilson. I would crowd the line of scrimmage with 8 in the box, suffocate the run game, play tight man receiver coverage on the outsides and do everything in my power to clamp down on the Jets’ short perimeter passing game – – end of story and they will not win a game. Wilson can not beat any NFL defense downfield with any consistency whatsoever. Look at the stats so far. The hard-line stats tell the story. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 


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