|Dates: 7 September 2023-7 January 2024|
|BBC protection: Take heed to stay commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports activities Additional and the BBC Sport web site each Sunday.|
This was purported to be the beginning of a brand new period for the long-suffering New York Jets.
A famous person signing made for the Large Apple market, Aaron Rodgers was purported to be the elite quarterback the Jets had craved – the person to finish the NFL’s longest play-off drought of 12 years.
The arrival of the NFL’s four-time Most Helpful Participant may even perhaps thrust them into Tremendous Bowl competition.
But in his very first recreation since his blockbuster commerce from the Inexperienced Bay Packers, the unthinkable occurred.
After simply 4 snaps with the Jets, Rodgers suffered a season-ending damage throughout Monday’s recreation with the Buffalo Payments.
The look on coach Robert Saleh’s face summed up the sensation of devastation for the Jets, whose solely Tremendous Bowl look got here as they received in 1969.
They’d gone all in on the opportunity of Rodgers main a championship tilt this season, so the place do the Jets and their veteran quarterback go from right here?
Rodgers begins street to restoration
An MRI scan on Tuesday confirmed Rodgers has torn the Achilles tendon in his left leg, an damage which requires surgical procedure and usually takes gamers between 9 and 12 months to get better from.
Rodgers joined the Jets on a two-year deal so may return to play the 2024 season – however will he need to, and what situation would he be in?
He has not missed a recreation by way of damage since 2017 and though he was the league’s MVP for 2020 and 2021, his figures declined final season as he performed on with a thumb damage. Now he has a torn Achilles and turns 40 in December.
Tom Brady might have performed till he was 45 however the seven-time Tremendous Bowl winner is the exception reasonably than the rule. Rodgers admitted he was 90% sure of retiring earlier than going right into a ‘darkish retreat’ in February, and there’ll probably be extra soul-searching throughout his restoration.
There may be nonetheless the dangling carrot of becoming a member of an unique group of QBs to win a number of Tremendous Bowls. Regardless of being a four-time MVP, Rodgers’ solely NFL title got here in 2011.
And the Jets may nonetheless present him with an opportunity to go for one more subsequent season, because the core of the squad they constructed for Rodgers can also be underneath contract for 2024.
Who will exchange Rodgers at quarterback?
Lower than 5 minutes into the brand new season, the Jets’ offence was being led by Zach Wilson, the person they gave up on final 12 months.
The Jets chosen him with the quantity two choose within the 2021 draft however demoted him to third-string final November and benched him after he was booed throughout a recreation in December.
Having acquired Rodgers as their franchise quarterback, the Jets hoped it will be an opportunity for Wilson to study from the long run Corridor of Famer and develop as his back-up. As an alternative he is been thrust again into the limelight.
The 22-year-old has received eight of his 22 video games as a starter, throwing 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. After changing Rodgers on Monday, he accomplished 14-of-21 for 140 yards, one landing and one interception. All uninspiring stuff.
However New York nonetheless beat Buffalo 22-16 in additional time and coach Saleh mentioned on Tuesday: “Zach is our quarterback, we now have a number of religion in Zach. We’re excited for him and this chance he’s going to get.”
Tim Boyle has been promoted from the apply squad however the Jets will see what different quarterbacks can be found. Mike White and Joe Flacco each began 4 video games for them final season and though White is now Miami’s back-up, Flacco is among the many veteran free brokers.
Whereas groups can be reluctant to commerce their back-up this early within the season, Dallas’ Cooper Rush could also be an possibility with the Cowboys having just lately introduced in Trey Lance as their third-string.
Salah added: “We’re going to have a look at all the things – veterans and younger guys – however underneath no circumstance is any of this a contest. That is Zach’s workforce and we’re rolling with Zach.”
Will the Jets be aggressive with out Rodgers?
Regardless of Rodgers’ early loss towards Buffalo, the Jets nonetheless managed to beat one of many favourites to succeed in the Tremendous Bowl.
Saleh has turned the Jets’ defence into one of many NFL’s finest they usually confirmed on Monday that they continue to be robust. They sacked Josh Allen 5 instances and compelled 4 turnovers.
Final season’s most important concern was at quarterback. Wilson could also be again in however at the very least he now has extra weapons on offence.
The Jets’ receivers already included final season’s offensive rookie of the 12 months Garrett Wilson, who made an outstanding landing catch on Monday, and though Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard had been added due to their relationship with Rodgers, the previous Packers are positive to be beneficial belongings for Wilson.
In Dalvin Cook dinner the Jets additionally introduced in an elite working again to separate the carries with Breece Corridor, who made a powerful return towards Buffalo after his rookie 12 months was halted by a knee damage.
The Jets might also have unearthed a game-changer on particular groups, with undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson producing simply the third punt return to win a recreation in additional time.
Saleh charged into the top zone to have fun a victory which appeared unlikely when Rodgers hobbled off, however that euphoria will solely carry his facet to this point, particularly with Sunday’s opponents Dallas having battered the New York Giants 40-0 in Week One.
Monday’s win might have supplied a blueprint for achievement, although. Wilson performed a number of display screen passes, a safety-first strategy designed to maintain his offence edging ahead and scale back the danger of turning the ball over with an bold play downfield.
The Jets additionally had an efficient run recreation to fall again on which, going ahead, may assist take the warmth off Wilson and hold grinding out the wins that might hold their play-off dream alive.