New York Jets QB Zach Wilson explains why he's looking 'beefy' heading into second season

Andy Vasquez
NFL writer

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson laughed on Tuesday afternoon, after being asked about his coach referring to his new, bulked-up physique as both “beefy” and “thick” in the lead-up to the start of OTAs this week.

“That dude’s beefy,” Wilson said. “Have you seen him?” 

But, in all seriousness, the Jets’ 6-foot-2 quarterback has made fitness a focus this offseason and looked to be stronger in his lower body during the team’s first training camp practice open to the media. Wilson said he is up to 221 pounds after finishing the regular season last year at 208 pounds.

“It was probably the first time in my life I’ve taken a bigger approach on the nutrition side of it, rather than just the lifting,” Wilson said after practice. “Of course, every year you do your typical strength training and lifting and running … but [this year] I tried to actually have a written plan of how much to eat, when to eat, tracking everything down to the macro, have somebody help me with all that stuff and that’s probably been the biggest difference.”

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson during practice on Tuesday.

Wilson said he hired a personal chef and worked with the Jets’ in-house nutritionist to come up with the plan. And he said that he’s noticed a difference on the field in these early days of offseason workouts.

“I feel better, for sure,” Wilson said. “The energy, the ability to have that stamina throughout the whole practice I think is better. And I just think in the long run, once we actually get into a game where we’re getting hit and tackled, having some more size on me will help.”

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Wilson said that his goal is to play at around 218 pounds once the season starts, but he knows that after a hot offseason including training camp he’ll drop some weight so being above 220 right now is an ideal spot.

“Every goal in-season you’re going to lose weight and so everybody tries to get as big as they can and you’re going to lose a little bit of weight once training camp hits, ” Wilson said. “I feel more athletic, faster, the more weight I put on, so that was the goal. I just feel like a better athlete with more weight on me for some reason.”

Robert Saleh laughed himself when he called Wilson "thick" before Tuesday's practice. Earlier this month he referred to Wilson as "beefy, but in a good way" after the draft. But he said that isn't the only change in the Jets' second-year quarterback. 

"He looks good, he’s confident, he’s smiling, he’s vocal," Saleh said of Wilson. "I’ve said it before that you can always tell the confident level and their understanding of what they’re being asked to do by the volume of their voice, and he’s getting pretty loud. He’s in a good space, too. It’s just him, and [offensive coordinator Mike] LaFleur and [quarterback coach Rob] Calabrese are with him in the room with him, so there’s less noise. But at the same time, a lot of good things are happening in there."

Andy Vasquez is the Jets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. Email: vasqueza@northjersey.com; Twitter: @andy_vasquez