FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – This is the year for Kyle Wilson and this might well be the game where the former first round pick steps into the spotlight.
The past two years in the league have been building blocks for Wilson, the No. 29 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. When a player is taken in the first round, there are certain expectations that he will step in as a starter and been an immediate impact player. As such, Wilson was expected to come in and contribute right away. And while he has played all 32 regular season games in the past two years including a dozen starts, Wilson hasn’t yet developed into the big time playmaker in the secondary that many thought he would become. But this year, Wilson looks and acts different as head coach Rex Ryan said that “I think Kyle’s really improved in my opinion.”He had better be ready as this Sunday, with Darrelle Revis possibly being held out due to a concussion suffered in the Week 1 opener, it might be Wilson who rolls out onto the field.
“That’s every week, it doesn’t change the way I prepare. I am ready for it every week and that’s how I have to look at it, like I’m in there every play. Whatever happens, I need to be ready when my number is called,” Wilson told The Jets Blog.
“As a whole, I need to look at it as if I know if I’m going to be in – on film I kind of watch all the receivers so I have a good tendency on all of them. It doesn’t really change much because being in on the nickel, I need to be ready for all of this in case it happens.”
It is clear that Wilson is a better, more confident player in 2012. He spent a second straight offseason training with several of his teammates at a local sports facility in northern New Jersey, where he would lift in the morning and do drills in the afternoon. That has translated into not only a stronger player but a more seasoned and smarter one as well.
That coupled with the lessons learned from the past two years and suddenly it appears as if Wilson is primed and ready to take the next step. It doesn’t get much steeper then Sunday in Pittsburgh.
“For me, I’m just learning about everything that has gone on the past two years, using that to my advantage. Just coming to work every day and trying to get better,” Wilson said. “It’s been just my overall experience, knowing what to look for on the field. Technique wise, I’ve been spending time in the offseason perfecting it with drills, just improving.”
Jets fans might get the chance to see if Wilson is indeed better against one of the league’s better offenses. But the possibilities of this being a statement game? Not so says Wilson.
“I’m just looking to go out and have fun and make a lot of plays,” Wilson said. “Call it what you want to call it, I just want to be better than last week and have a great week of practice.”
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo!Sports. He can be followed for Jets news @KristianRDyer.