The New York Jets-New York Giants beef grows as Rodgers responds bluntly to Ward
The New York Jets have already made one enemy this offseason in Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton. You can go ahead and add Giants edge rusher Jihad Ward to the list.
In a viral moment from the latest Hard Knocks episode, Aaron Rodgers takes offense to a late shove from Ward after a pass attempt in last Saturday’s preseason game. Rodgers shoves Ward back and chirps at him a bit before stating, “I don’t even know who you are, bro.”
Oh boy. Aaron Rodgers to #Giants' Jihad Ward after he got hit late: "Show some respect. I don't even know who you are."
Rodgers then throws a TD pass and looks for Ward: "Don't poke the bear."
TRASH TALK AARON RODGERS.pic.twitter.com/csIoRPtSD7
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 30, 2023
A few days later, Ward was asked about the exchange and tried to explain his side of the story.
Ward says he was sticking up for his teammate, cornerback Bobby McCain, who suffered a concussion due to an illegal block from Randall Cobb. Ward claims he and his teammates were frustrated that Rodgers and Cobb were “laughing” about a play where a teammate got hurt, calling it “sucker” stuff.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) August 30, 2023
Ward isn’t totally wrong about the reactions of Rodgers and Cobb; in the episode, the longtime teammates can be seen having a lighthearted discussion about the play in the huddle. However, they certainly were not making fun of McCain’s injury. Rodgers was simply calling out Cobb’s mistake, saying, “[Cobb] just lost all his training camp money … What are you doing bro? This ain’t 2014.” He was criticizing Cobb’s block.
Randall Cobb lost all of his preseason money on this play, according to Aaron Rodgers 😬
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) August 30, 2023
This conversation also occurred in a huddle during a timeout, so it’s unclear how Ward would have even noticed or heard it. No Giants players were nearby.
On Thursday afternoon, Rodgers was asked by Jets media about Ward’s response. Rodgers did not mince words.
“He thought we were laughing at his teammate? That never happened and I think he’s making s— up,” Rodgers said.
Aaron Rodgers responded to Jihad Ward, who said the Jets were laughing after Randall Cobb’s illegal block concussed Bobby McCain:
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 31, 2023
The Jets had already circled Week 5 on their calendars, seeking to make Sean Payton eat his words for criticizing Nathaniel Hackett. Now, they will also be circling their Week 8 matchup with the Giants.
This game was circled on Jets fans’ calendars regardless, as any Jets-Giants matchup has plenty of juice by default, but this whole Rodgers-Ward fiasco has only upped the ante. A vengeance-stricken Ward will be looking to make a statement, so the Jets’ offensive line must be particularly ready to stand up for their quarterback. Things could get chippy post-snap. The Jets (and the refs) cannot allow Ward or his teammates to get any cheap shots in.
From the moment they added Aaron Rodgers, most people figured the Jets would have enormous targets on their backs in 2023. The past few months have confirmed that. Rodgers hasn’t taken a single regular season snap for the Jets and the team already has a laundry list of rivals.
Fortunately for Rodgers and the Jets, they get to play against all of these rivals, so they can settle things on the field.