Former New York Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma believes the Jets should have Super Bowl aspirations, but believes the team should keep expectations realistic
With Aaron Rodgers aboard, the New York Jets have serious playoff aspirations for the first time in a long time. No longer is the team merely hoping to sneak into the playoffs – they’re thinking much bigger.
While the NFL world disagrees on how far the Jets will go if they make the playoffs, former Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma believes the Rodgers-led squad should have high aspirations this season. With that being said, Vilma still believes the team should keep its expectations realistic.
“I don’t think it’s Super Bowl or bust [for the Jets],” said Vilma in an interview with Betway. “When you look at Aaron Rodgers, he’s only made the Super Bowl one time. He won it in 2010 [and] has not been back since. So when Jets fans start to aspire for the Super Bowl, yes, Aaron Rodgers is that caliber quarterback; and you would expect that if he’s playing well and the team’s playing well, that they will get to the Super Bowl or at least be very close to it with the competition in the AFC.”
The former Jets linebacker continued, “But I would not call it a lost season if the Jets make it to a Divisional round and lose to the Cincinnati Bengals. Or if they make it to the championship game and lose to [Patrick] Mahomes. That’s not a bad season at all. There’s no frowning or putting your head down losing to those two guys, especially if they’re playing lights out. So, I’d say Super Bowl aspirations. I wouldn’t be shocked if they make it, but it’s not a lost season if they get somewhere close to it.”
The former 12th overall pick of the 2004 NFL draft knows just how difficult it is to hoist the Lombardi trophy. After being traded from the Jets to the New Orleans Saints in 2008, Vilma became a Super Bowl winner with the Saints in the 2009-10 season.
However, the Miami Hurricanes product knows that Rodgers isn’t going to be able to do it alone. He will need help from the Jets’ defense – more specifically, second-year cornerback Sauce Gardner.
Gardner goes into 2023 with a heavy burden on his shoulders. While the comparisons to Darrelle Revis have come quickly, Vilma knows consistency is what will turn Gardner into a future Hall of Fame player.
“The only thing stopping Sauce Gardner, is Sauce Gardner. If he’s going to stay consistent, going to practice and commit the way that Darrelle Revis did, he’s going to be a Hall of Fame corner 12 or 15 years from now,” declared Vilma.
“As much credit as Revis gets for ‘Revis Island’ and locking down wide receivers, he doesn’t get enough credit for how hard he practiced. He doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to come up and stuff people in the run game. He doesn’t get enough credit for his consistency, always being available, always taking care of his body.”
Vilma acknowledges that Gardner is an elite player, but the other intangibles are what will make him a significant part of the Jets’ defensive core for years to come.
“There’s ability, of course, in Sauce Gardner,” said Vilma. “It’s all the other intangibles that he is going to be mindful of, and, frankly, expected to take care of himself so that he can be consistent and be a Hall of Fame corner.”