Zach Wilson on being starting QB for Jets: ‘Yeah, it’s a special opportunity’

Zach Wilson is the man once again for the New York Jets. After Aaron Rodgers was acquired by the Jets in the offseason, Wilson was prepared to be his backup for possibly the next few seasons.

However, things changed quickly in New York after Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon in the team’s season-opening win over the Bills on Monday night.

Now, it’s Wilson’s turn again to show the Jets why they should have selected with the second pick in the 2021 draft. 

In 2022, Wilson got chance after chance to prove himself, but after a bad performance against the Patriots late in the season, he was benched for Mike White. Ultimately, he would get another shot following an injury to White, but he wasn’t very good.

Some believe Wilson, who will lead the way for the Jets when they travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday, has to gain the trust of teammates, but according to the 24-year-old, that’s not the case.

“I don’t think I need to think of it like that,” he said Thursday. “I think how I can go out there and play football, and I will earn that trust back from those guys. I would say I have a really good relationship with everybody in this locker room, you know, we joke around, we eat lunch together, we go out for O-Line, QB dinners, and so I would always feel like the guys in this locker room have my back just like I have their back no matter what.”

The third-year quarterback spent a decent amount of time around Rodgers in the offseason, and he feels being around the four-time league MVP has made him a better player.

“Absolutely,’ Wilson said. “I feel like I’ve been trying to copy every little thing he’s doing, from his footwork to the coaching tips he’s given us. He does an amazing job, more than we could ask for as quarterbacks.”

On Tuesday, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said the Jets are Zach Wilson’s team, which made Wilson feel good.

“It’s good to know he’s(Saleh) got a lot of trust in me,” Wilson said. “As a quarterback, when you’re stepping in, and you feel the belief of the guys around you, it makes you want to go out there and do everything that you can for them, and I think that’s what’s so special about this team. We’re very tight right now, and everything’s been rolling smoothly.”

The Jets look loaded on defense and appear to have a very good team; this is a great opportunity for Wilson, and he knows it.

“Yeah, it’s a special opportunity,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of this team, man. These guys are very special, so doing my job and allowing the guys around me to do theirs.”

Jets’ Saleh: ‘We got a lot of faith in Zach(Wilson)’

The New York Jets started the season with a big win over their division rival, the Buffalo Bills, in exciting fashion after Xavier Gipson had a walk-off 65-yard punt return to propel New York to a 22-16 win in OT at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.

However, there was a more significant story. Four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers played only four snaps after he tore his Achilles tendon while being sacked by Bills DE Leonard Floyd on the team’s first offensive series.

The 39-year-old is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh says he’s happy about the win but feels for Rodgers.

“I’m going to enjoy this win,” Saleh said after the game. “Winning in the NFL is hard regardless of who the quarterback is. Personally, I don’t hurt for me. I don’t hurt for our locker room. I hurt for Aaron and how much he has invested in all of this. I’m still going to say a prayer. I’m still going to hold out hope, but my heart is with Aaron right now and no one else.”

Without Rodgers, Jets third-year quarterback Zach Wilson played the rest of the way, and he did just enough. Wilson finished the game by completing 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Like Saleh, Wilson feels sorry for Rodgers.

“I have so much love for Aaron (Rodgers), so my heart goes out to him,” Wilson said. “I have no idea what’s happened. I have to see what happened for a second, but I know he’ll find a way to keep working to get back, but it’s tough. That hurts us as a team, but my job as a quarterback is it’s my job to step up, and I’ve got to be able to be as efficient as I can in that offense.”

On Tuesday, Saleh made it clear that the Jets were Wilson’s team going forward.

“We are going to look through some things, but I do want to make it very clear: Zach (Wilson) is our quarterback,” he said. “We got a lot of faith in Zach. We’re really excited about his opportunity, but we’re rolling with Zach and excited for him and, like I said, this opportunity he’s going to get.”

You have to feeL for Rodgers. At this point, his career could be in jeopardy. It will be challenging for the 19-year veteran to return from this injury.

Regarding Wilson, this is why you drafted the 24-year-old with the second overall pick in the 2021 draft. However, time will be the judge whether or not he’s ready to lead the way for New York. As we saw on Monday night, the Jets’ defense is as advertised, as they forced four turnovers against the Bills, and it appears to be championship caliber. 

New York will probably add another quarterback at some point, and it should be interesting to see what direction they will go in, but at this point, they are all in on Wilson, for better or worse.

Aaron Rodgers is excited to make Jets’ debut on Monday Night Football

The New York Jets come into the 2023 season with one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, Aaron Rodgers.

However, Rodgers did not look like himself last season. While he threw 26 touchdowns in 2022 with the Packers, the four-time MVP did throw 12 interceptions, which is the second-most he’s had in his career.

Many would say 2023 is an opportunity for Rodgers, who battled a thumb injury last season, to have a bounce-back year; however, he disagrees. Rodgers is not approaching this season with the idea that he needs to bounce back.

“I mean, every year you set personal goals and have an idea of how you would like to play and how it plays out; it doesn’t always work that way sometimes, its statically less than you think, sometimes its way more, just depends on how the flow of the game and what happens during red zone stuff and how good you are on situational football,” Rodgers said on Thursday. “But if you are doing well on third down and doing well in the red zone, everything kind of takes care of itself. But I do set little personal goals. I don’t share them publicly, but I am not looking at this like I have to bounce back or do anything; I just got to play the way I know how to play. I have to work my *expletive* off for the last six months to try and put a better product on the field than last year, and I expect to.”

For the last 18 seasons, Rodgers has played for one team. Now, on Monday Night at MetLife Stadium against the Buffalo Bills, he will be wearing a different shade of green; Rodgers is excited about the opportunity to start the season in primetime.

“Monday Night Football is great,” he said. “You play in the League long enough, you want a lot of one o’clock games, but you don’t grow up dreaming about playing the one o’clock games; you dream of playing Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football. So, it will be fun to start the season out on Monday night.”

The 39-year-old Rodgers appears to have a lot more left in the tank, and he can say whatever he wants, but he needs to bounce back and be better if he and the Jets want to have the success many think they could have in 2023.

Rodgers on debut: ‘Yeah, got in, didn’t get hurt, scored’

Aaron Rodgers saw his first action as a New York Jet on Saturday night against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

In two series, Rodgers completed 5 of 8 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. On his second and final drive, the four-time MVP completed a beautiful 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

It was great work for the 39-year-old, and he is glad he didn’t get hurt.

“Yeah, got in, didn’t get hurt, scored,” Rodgers said after the Jets defeated the Giants 32-24. “It was a good night.”

Jets head coach Robert Saleh added: “Yeah. We wanted to get two or three series. Have a first series, come back, get some adjustments, go back to the… and it was good… It was a really productive day overall, not only for the first team offense and defense and special teams but for the coaching staff and the way they communicate.”

Rodgers said he had some butterflies getting out on the field for the first time as a Jet.

“I had some butterflies for sure,” he said. “I think that’s always normal. First time I strap it on, it’s kind of the standard whether I’m in year one playing the San Diego Chargers or year 19 preseason number four; there’s always some butterflies when you step out there for the first time, but I loosened up pretty good when I got the ovation when I took the field. That was a special moment just to have that kind of support, taking the field for that TV timeout, that was pretty special.”

New York begins the season at home against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, and Rodgers thinks the team is ready to go.

“I think we’re ready,” Rodgers said. “I think next week will be an important week. Obviously, there will be some tough decisions with the roster, but just to work in some other things as we transition now to the final 53 that we’re going to be doing every single week.”

“We’ve held back a few things that we’ve been taking notes on, kind of, in the quarterback room, so if we want to put them in the next week coming up, so we’ll put kind of the final touches of the offense, I feel good about where we’re at. Obviously, we still have Duane (Brown) to come back and Breece (Hall) to really fully come back, and Dalvin (Cook) hasn’t practiced yet. So those are three impact players for us that we’re going to want to see on the field and get in the mix. Might be a slower start for some of those guys, but got to get them going with what we’re doing.”

The expectations are high in New York. It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Jets, which is excellent for anybody associated with them.

Jets’ Wilson on Rodgers: ‘I truly appreciate him as a big brother like that’

Anytime you’re the second pick in the NFL Draft, there will be pressure, and the expectations will be high. That was the case for New York Jets backup quarterback Zach Wilson.

The 24-year-old, the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jets, started 13 games as a rookie and struggled. Last season, Wilson’s struggles continued. Ultimately, because of his struggles, Wilson would lose the starting job to Mike White, and with the addition of Aaron Rodgers in the offseason, Wilson is a full-time backup, which could be a good thing.

Wilson got his second consecutive preseason start against the Buccaneers on Saturday. He played the entire first half and completed eight of 12 passes for 70 yards, and two carries for 41 yards, including an electrifying 35-yard scamper. He led New York on two scoring drives, which ended in field goals. 

With Rogers around, the third-year quarterback is receiving less attention and is flying under the radar, which he discussed after the team’s loss to the Buccaneers on Saturday night.

“Sometimes, if the eyes are off of you, it gives you great opportunity to learn,” Wilson said. “I definitely think that is helping because I am able to really sit there and learn from Aaron, learn his reps, but I do feel like regardless of the situation, I would’ve been this comfortable, confident feel anyways. I would like to hope so, at least, just with change of scenery, change of environment, and things. Just going into the offseason trying to improve and get better, I feel like also probably helped. I would definitely say it’s part of it too.”

Last week, Rodgers said he might play three to five more years, and from there, he wants Wilson to be the man in New York after that. Wilson reacted to the comments; he’s happy Rodgers thinks so highly of him.

“That’s the goal to play as long as you can,” Wilson said. “That helps me know that he believes in me and I can play on the team for a long time. That’s why I am around him so much. I truly appreciate him as a big brother like that.”

Obviously, outside of injury, Wilson will not play much this season. However, he believes he can learn by watching an all-time great like Rodgers.

“Standing behind Aaron and seeing each rep that he takes, there’s a lot of good learning<” Wilson explained. “I think in the quarterback position, you can almost be just as beneficial to watch as it is playing. You never get the true feel until you’re done. To play games, you’re able to kind of see what that’s like, so I learned to pay attention, and ask questions and understand why he’s doing certain things.”

Wilson is in a good spot right now. How long he waits to be a starter in New York will be interesting, especially if he continues to improve going forward. 

Rodgers: ‘Dalvin(Cook) has got it done for a long time at a high level’

The New York Jets added four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook, the team officially announced on Wednesday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal worth up to $8.6 million.

One of the biggest reasons Cook signed with the Jets was the acquisition of four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers. 

On Wednesday, Rodgers reacted to the signing of Cook.  

“Dalvin(Cook) has done it for a long time at a really high level,” Rodgers said. “Unfortunately, running backs are not valued anywhere near where they were when I got into League, maybe not even five years ago, which is a shame because you have to run the ball to win in this League.

“When a team becomes one dimensional, that’s when defenses usually have the upper hand, so we need to multiple guys to get it done. Dalvin has got it done for a long time at a high level; he’s motivated, he wants to win a championship. Obviously, he made it well known to me during the process he wanted to play with me and play here, in Jersey, so we’re excited to have him, excited to get him in here.”

According to Rodgers, he did need to do much recruiting for Cook.

“Honestly, not much,” Rodgers said about recruiting. “He wanted to be here. Listen, there’s always the money component, which it’s a business I respect it, and he was going to look into the opportunities, but at the end of the day, if the money was close, he was telling me that he was going to be here…

“I don’t think I needed to have a lot of input. They(Jets) were interested; he (Cook) was interested. Not that I needed to sign off on it, but I was interested. I’ve seen him firsthand for a number of years in the North, so adding another great player to a football team is always a good thing.

Cook, 28, is a dynamic running back, and last season he ran for 1,173 and had eight touchdowns on the ground, and he was solid out of the backfield, as the seven-year veteran had 39 receptions for 295 yards and two more touchdowns. With Breece Hall and Cook, if the offensive line can get right, the Jets should have a potent 1-2 punch.

Aaron Rodgers on Bryce Young: ‘I like the kid a lot’

The Carolina Panthers hopefully found their franchise quarterback when they selected Bryce Young out of Alabama with the number one overall pick in this year’s draft.

Young, 22, is expected to lead Carolina this season and beyond. Since moving on from Cam Newton in 2019, the Panthers have been searching for that guy to lead the way, and anytime you pick a quarterback number one, you’re expecting him to lead the way for a long time.

This week, the Panthers and the Jets are having joint practices in Spartanburg, SC. In addition, the two teams will face off in a preseason game in Carolina on Saturday.

Aaron Rodgers, who shares the same agent as Young, gave his impressions on the first-year quarterback.

“I saw him in the last two-minute drive,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I like the kid a lot; we share an agent. So, I’ve known about him for a long time. I loved watching him in college. I like his demeanor. I like his movement. I like the way he throws. I trust the guy that got him, him and I have been good buddies for a long time, and he just raves about him. So, I think Carolina is in good hands.

Rodgers also had a little advice for Young.

“Be gentle with yourself,” Rodgers said. “It’s a long journey. It feels like every little snap and practice is the end of the world if it doesn’t go right. It’s just not true. It’s a long, long journey. It’s about hold onto your confidence and enjoying the ride, enjoying the little things every day. But I think he’s got a great head on his shoulders, and he’ll be just fine.”

It’s hard to be a quarterback in the NFL, and it’s even harder to be a rookie quarterback, so any advice that you can get from an all-time great is gold!

Jets’ Saleh happy with Zach Wilson’s play against Browns

Around this time last season, Zach Wilson was the guy for the New York Jets and was expected to take the franchise to the next level. That didn’t happen, and ultimately, the Jets brought in four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers in the offseason.

This season, the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is competing for the backup quarterback position, and in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday night, where the Jets would lose 21-16, Wilson got off to a great start.

He led the Jets on two scoring drives(two field goals) and completed 3 of 5 passes for 65 yards, including a beautiful 57-yard strike to Malik Taylor, which Wilson said Rodgers called from the sideline.

“Yeah, great call by Aaron Rodgers,” Wilson said after the loss. “He wasn’t on the headset. (Nathaniel) Hackett is calling the plays, but I think that was his suggestion of the play, so I had to give him love there.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh added on the throw: “It was really good. I thought he put it right on the money. Zach (Wilson) did a good job; he was poised, looked comfortable in the pocket, delivered the ball on schedule, and definitely something to build on.”

The 24-year-old says he a more confident entering this season, and that confidence was on display on Thursday night.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Wilson said about being more confident. “For whatever reason, I feel like I’m trying to find my way. I feel like this training camp and OTA’s, I found what feels comfortable for me, and it’s definitely not perfect, but it’s something I’m working at. It’s a great feeling to feel like there’s a good path you’re going down, and you can just keep working on those things. The goal for this preseason stuff is how consistent, how efficient can you be. That was the goal tonight; how efficient can we be offensively?”

According to Saleh, the Jets are looking to rebuild the third-year quarterback’s confidence.

“Yeah, for him, just rebuilding that confidence and swag that we fell in love within the draft process and all that stuff, and I think he is getting it,” Saleh said. “I said it before, he is a rookie all over again, all the footwork is different, the verbiage is different, the way Aaron (Rodgers) plays quarterback, and the way (Nathaniel) Hackett teaches quarterback is a little bit different, so there is a lot of learning, and I think he has been attacking the heck out of it and doing a really nice job.”

Great start for Wilson, and in all reality, who knows how many more years the 39-year Rodgers will play, so it’s good for New York to see growth from Wilson.

Jets’ Rodgers: ‘If we want to be playing in January, we have to be consistent throughout the season’

For the first time in a long time, the New York Jets have championships aspirations. That happened when they acquired four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers.

Last season, the Jets, who finished 7-10, had a fourth-rated defense and decent young wide receivers, but whether it was Zach Wilson or Mike White, they did not have good quarterback play. In addition, on offense, the Jets averaged only 17.4 points per game, which was near the bottom of the league.

Now, they have a quarterback.

On Thursday, Rodgers addressed the media for the first time at Jets’ training camp. According to the 10-time Pro Bowler, the team has to focus on the little things and take it one step at a time.

“You want to be a part of a place that has high expectations, and there is a lot of positivity around here, which I think is a good thing, but we have to temper our expectations early on in camp and focus on the little things to get there,” Rodgers said. “It’s a long season; it’s a journey. There is going to be ups and downs, there is going to be peaks and valleys, and I think we just have to build this thing the right way. There is a lot of excitement, though. That is fun. When I was out in Tahoe, hearing the Jets fans and the response was pretty special. Obviously, with all the positivity comes some people looking to knock you down a little bit.

“There’s going to be a lot of that, so we have to deal with that the right way. An old coach of mine said, “Our greatest difficulty is going to be handling success.” I think that will be true this year for us. As we get into the season and have some success, we have to handle it the right way. Obviously, last year they had a good start to the season and couldn’t finish it off. If we want to be playing in January, we have to be consistent throughout the season.”

New York has a lot of young talent on their roster, and Rodgers believes that roster can help the Jets be successful for the next few seasons.

“I love being around the young energy, that excitement,” he said. “There is a great feel to this team, of guys who are young and super talented on their first contract, many of them. Obviously, ‘Q’ (Quinnen Williams) just got paid. When you have so many great players on rookie deals, it’s pretty exciting. Knowing you can do something, you have a good window. It’s not just a one-year thing where you can be competitive, which is fun.”

Rodgers spent the first 18 years of his career in Green Bay, but Green Bay is nothing like New York, which Rodgers acknowledged.

“It was nothing like New York,” Rodgers said about Green Bay. “I understand that. I appreciate that. I’ve been in an incredible football town for 18 years. This is an incredible sports town. There’s a lot a lot of great franchises here, so I look forward to everything that comes with that.”

The Jets will be on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in August, and Rodgers knows it will bring more attention to the team.

“We kind of knew that they were really wanting us to be part of “Hard Knocks,” he said. “This just brings more attention to us. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious about the way it went down, but I’m excited about people getting to see what we’re all about here and then the interactions with you all during the weeks.”

It should be interesting to see how Rodgers and the Jets will handle “Hard Knocks” and the new expectations. The pressure is on; let’s see how the Jets deal with it.

Report: Jets acquire QB Aaron Rodgers

The New York Jets have finally gotten their quarterback. 

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers will send Aaron Rodgers, pick number 15, and a fifth-round pick (No. 170) in this year’s draft to the Jets in exchange for the 13th pick, second-round pick (No. 42), a sixth-round pick (No. 207) in this year’s draft, and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that can become a first-round pick if Rodgers plays 65 percent of the plays.

New York tried with another Green Bay Packers legend in Brett Favre in 2008 and 15 years later they’re doing the same with Rodgers.

Last season, the 10-time Pro Bowler and four-time MVP played in 17 games but battled injuries; he threw for 3695 yards and 26 touchdowns; however, he did throw 12 interceptions, which is the most he’s had since his first year as a starter. (2008, 13 interceptions).

The Jets gave up a lot to get Rodgers, but they had a team last season that was very good on defense(fourth overall in 2022) and a decent young receiver(Garrett Wilson). Rodgers is not 2021 second pick Zach Wilson or Mike White, so if the 39-year-old can stay healthy, he should make the Jets instantly better.

Plus, he has a relationship with newest Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett(OC in Green Bay 2019-2021), so that should help.

Some believe the Jets are quarterback away from being in the playoffs and becoming contenders, so if that is the case, New York has to be one of the favorites in the AFC, but there is some risk. Rodgers is 39 and will turn 40 in December, so he could fall off at some point, and it could be in 2023.

However, if he’s right and somehow leads New York to a title, it was all worth it. If not, the Jets will continue to search for their franchise quarterback.