The New York Jets now have Aaron Rodgers to bring a specific asset to the team
In the New York Jets‘ first game of the 2022 preseason, Quincy Williams hit Jalen Hurts when he was already out of bounds. Williams was called for unnecessary roughness.
Then, he was back on the field for the next play.
In the first OTA practice of 2023, the Jets’ offense was struggling against their defense. Their quarterback stood in the huddle and spoke to them flatly: “Get your [stuff] together.”
This is another element that Aaron Rodgers brings to the Jets, one that is not talked about enough. Calling it “leadership” is one thing, but it’s more than just leadership; it’s accountability. The Jets have other leaders on the team—C.J. Mosley, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and D.J. Reed have taken that mantle at times. But there was no one who could stand in front of the team and tell them, “This is how it’s done.”
Rodgers did not like that the offense was complacent, especially with ball security. He told them so. That’s something that didn’t seem to happen last season, even when players made boneheaded mistakes.
Rodgers wants teammates to be "intentional" during practice — aka don't go through the motions. He sensed some slacking yesterday, especially w/ ball security, and delivered that message to the offense. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) May 23, 2023
The Jets’ offense cannot stand in front of one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and slack off. Rodgers not only demands their utmost by example but commands it in the huddle.
I have been critical of Robert Saleh’s failure to hold his players accountable in the past. In fact, Rodgers’ comment that he likes how Saleh allows “freedom of expression” seems to reflect what has gone on with some Jets players on social media throughout Saleh’s tenure. Players like Mekhi Becton have felt a little too free to express themselves, knowing there won’t be serious repercussions.
The Jets’ veteran offensive linemen had so many mental lapses last season with no visible accountability. The defense was called for five roughing-the-passer penalties, tied for the second-most in the league. They had multiple unnecessary roughness penalties on special teams. It seemed that no one said a word.
Rodgers may not be the one to talk to the defense about these mistakes, but the offense, at least, will hear it from him if they make gaffes. It’s one thing to simply play poorly, but when the errors are mental or based on a lack of effort, no longer will players be able to loaf.
I have never been in favor of a quarterback screaming at individual players in full view of the cameras. But a general message to the team to get their [stuff] together and to stop being complacent?
It’s about time someone said that around Florham Park.
Next Article: 4 NY Jets players who may take a step back in 2023
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