Jets OTAs Check-In: Aaron Rodgers Injury No Issue, Saleh Talks a Big Game, More
I chuckled at the irony that is life on Tuesday afternoon. While scrolling Twitter, I noticed a story from Pro Football Talk about New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh exuding confidence about the Jets’ chances at being a Super Bowl contender. After came a tweet by ESPN’s Diana Russini pointed out Aaron Rodgers dealing with a lower-body injury that shortened his day.
It’s not that I was laughing at Aaron Rodgers getting hurt, but more so, I was laughing at the reminder of how fragile things can be in life, specifically in the NFL.
As it turns out, Rodgers tweaked his calf, and it’s not expected to be an issue. This is good for the Jets because the volatility is very real. Had Rodgers’ injury today been serious, Robert Saleh’s good vibes would have been unrealistic. The truth is, the Jets missed the playoffs last season. Despite having an excellent defense and some exciting pieces on offense, Aaron Rodgers is the offseason acquisition taking them from the outside-looking-in to potential Super Bowl contenders.
The Aaron Rodgers Effect
However, it seems that Rodgers is just fine. So, let’s dive into what Saleh had to say about the Jets’ prospects for the 2023 season. Saleh said that the Jets were one of six-to-eight teams in the NFL that realistically have a chance to win a Super Bowl.
“You want all the positivity, obviously, but once we kick off on Monday night in that opener, the results are all that’s gonna matter,” Saleh said Tuesday. “To achieve the results you want, it doesn’t happen on game day. It happens today. It happened yesterday. It happens tomorrow. It happens with every breath you take in terms of how you’re preparing to achieve, and keep that positivity rolling. Would love to go 17-0 and cruise through the playoffs and win a championship, but you’re not going to be able to unless you focus on the moment.
“So acknowledge the noise, acknowledge the positivity, be excited about it because there’s… In my opinion, 32 coaches stand in front of their teams every year, talk about winning a championship, and then realistically, there’s maybe six or eight teams that have an actual chance to do it, and I do think we are one of those teams.
The Aaron Rodgers effect is very real, like it or not. Especially if Rodgers has a bounce-back season up his sleeve. It’s hard to imagine what a “bounce-back” season could look like for a 39-year-old quarterback who threw for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions last season could look like. Still, it may be there. Whatever it looks like.
The change of scenery could have a clean-shaven and upbeat Aaron Rodgers more focused this season. The better supporting cast will certainly help go a long way in Rodgers having a top-tier season. The storylines are there, and we’ve seen this movie before. I do not doubt that a healthy (and happier) Aaron Rodgers will make the Jets dangerous this season.
However, it’s no slam dunk. The AFC East could pan out to be one of the best divisions in football. The Bills, the Dolphins, and the Jets are legitimate playoff contenders. However, the AFC is loaded with teams that can be placed in the same bucket as the Jets. So, even if everything goes according to plan, Robert Saleh’s perspective on the Jets’ 2023 prospects may be overzealous.
Rodgers’ Reputation Precedes Him
Diana Russini offered up some interesting nuggets on Tuesday morning:
Russini’s tweet was fairly evergreen regarding the state of Aaron Rodgers’ teams. Rodgers “has a lot to say.” He’s holding everyone accountable; the “little details” are significant. We’ve seen and heard these things in Green Bay in recent years.
If we heard these things about, let’s say, Joe Burrow or Jalen Hurts, we would be commending those guys. Focus, accountability, and a QB who is all-in and has an elevated leadership role within the team is how we would frame it. However, Rodgers’ “act” grew so stale in Green Bay that many will perceive this as the “same ‘ol Aaron.” That’s because his reputation precedes him, not in a good way.
Regardless, it will take more than seeing Rodgers in shorts and no pads at Jets camp to change the narrative around him. Green Bay fans know that no one cares if their quarterback wants to be the de facto coach and GM when the wins come. Rings talk, you-know-what walks. That’s why we’re where we’re at in the career of Aaron Rodgers.
Other Rodgers-Jets OTA Notes
- “He’s so fun to work with,” Rodgers said about new Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett. “He and I have spent a lot of time after hours going after concepts we like.” Rodgers is excited to reunite with his former OC in Green Bay.
- Jets head coach Robert Saleh said that Zach Wilson had a great day. Saleh said that Wilson is soaking up the knowledge provided by Rodgers like a “sponge.”
- Jets DT Quinnen Williams isn’t at OTAs. Williams is looking for a new contract from the Jets, and Robert Saleh said he isn’t worried about that getting done.
- Jets offensive lineman Mekhi Becton said this week that the Jets were partially to blame for his injury. Robert Saleh says that he won’t get into finger-pointing. However, Saleh praised Becton’s work this offseason.
- The Jets are working out punter Matt Araiza today.