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Aaron Rodgers Impact on Zach Wilson
Good morning! ☕
Another weekend in the books and the Mets continue to frustrate the hell out of me. I’ll leave that to Jeff over at Mets Fix though as we’re here to talk Jets.
The gang have split up and gone their separate ways, but like every band from the 1990s, they’ll be back together again soon.
Dalvin Cook is still available and I wrote a piece about the pros and cons of signing him, which you can check out here.
Today though, we’re talking about Rodgers's influence on Zach Wilson.
As always, the Monday edition is completely free to read for all. But if you want to support TJW and my work, please consider hitting that subscribe button. There’s never been a better time to sign up considering we’re winning the SB this year.
🚑 CJ Uzomah limped out of practice last week, but according to a source of Connor Hughes, it’s nothing serious. Uzomah is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. The same can be said for Tyler Conklin, who was also off to the side working with trainers last week. The Jets are being cautious at this point in the off-season with no urgency to ramp up before everyone heads off on holiday.
🗽 I don’t think there can be any doubt that Aaron Rodgers has been rejuvenated by his move to New York, but just in case you needed more evidence: "The last six weeks have been about the most fun I've had in a while," Rodgers told reporters Friday. "It's fun to come to work and be excited about what we're doing." - We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it a million times, change is good for people.
🏆 Talking of Aaron Rodgers, he was out and about on the town again. This time he headed to the 76th annual Tony Awards held at United Palace in New York, alongside new teammate C.J. Uzomah, who he seems to have formed a bond with recently.
📈 Mekhi Becton continues to impress the right people. According to a report by Connor Hughes who spoke with new Jets offensive line coach Keith Carter, Mekhi Becton has been joining him for extra meetings, extra film sessions and some detailed 1-on-1’s during the offseason program. The proof will be in the pudding for Becton who needs to prove he can stay healthy for a full season.
🔴⚪ Isaac Wilson was speaking to Deseret News about his commitment to Utah and he said he had his brother Zach look over the offences with him: “We had Zach come down — my brother — and look over the offence that (Andy) Ludwig has, and all that,” Isaac said. “And he said it is probably one of the best and closest offences he’s seen to the NFL that we visited. And he just loved it.“So we got the approval from Zach and after that, I just made the decision. Utah is a great school, really competitive, and everything you would want.”
🌟 Bucky Brooks has been singing the praises of Garrett Wilson saying nobody should be surprised if he ends up being a top-5 wide receiver this year: Don't be surprised if Garrett Wilson establishes himself as a top-five receiver in Year 2. That's right. With Aaron Rodgers' joining the New York Jets, the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year very well could be on the verge of superstardom. Gang Green's offence has explosive potential, and Wilson is poised to become Rodgers' new target of choice. I see him making the same type of leap that we saw last season from another pedigreed player at the position.
👏 Talking of wide receivers, it was pretty light in that department at Jets OTAs which presented opportunities for some UDFAs, and it sounds as though former Southern Miss man Jason Brownlee made the post of it. Both Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman were unable to practice as they were nursing injuries. Denzel Mims was not present due to personal reasons, and neither was Corey Davis.
Zach Wilson met with the media for the first time on Friday, with a smile on his face. Two years of starting for the Jets took its toll on Wilson who said he’s having fun again.
We don’t need to get into his struggles on the field, or the mistakes the franchise made pairing a very young rookie QB with an inexperienced coordinator. We don’t need to get into the problems under pressure or the lack of. veteran presence in the QB room in year one. We don’t need to get into the Mike LaFleur relationship. We’ve said all we need to say on that. If we had the opportunity to do it again, I imagine we’d do a lot differently.
That’s in the past, it can’t be changed.
What we need to focus on is the future.
The Jets still believe in Zach Wilson, and from what I know that’s universal. It’s not one guy banging the drum for Zach, the leadership team within the franchise still believes he will be the long-term starting QB for this franchise.
The ideal scenario for the Jets is Aaron plays two years and then Zach takes over. OTA’s have been up and down for the former 2nd round pick, but as Nathaniel Hackett pointed out, he’s basically starting from scratch.
Yes, he’s a very, very talented player and I think for him, his eyes are wide open right now. He’s got so much that he’s had to learn. It’s a new system. I think a lot of people don’t understand that when you go two years, you come from college, go two years in one system, then transition into another system, it’s ground zero for him, and it’s so new. I think having Aaron (Rodgers) and I that are looking farther ahead, it’s kind of playing chess and thinking 10 moves ahead. At times, you just have to tone it back a little bit, make sure that he’s grasping the foundation of it, so then he can progress slowly and slowly and get to where we need him to be, but he’s very talented, he’s a pleasure to work with. He’s got a great smile on his face, and I mean, he can sling the ball over the field and we’re just going to slowly get that system to him.
Based on what we’ve seen over the last two years, starting from scratch may not be the worst thing for Zach. Wilson confirmed that the last two years humbled him.
He was the man at BYU and then was proclaimed the Jet’s saviour before he even took a snap. In a media market like New York, it’s easy to believe the hype. You get a lot of attention. If you’re the Jets QB you’re always under the microscope and you’re coming from a program where you’re head and shoulders the most important man on campus.
Aaron Rodgers has embraced his mentorship role with Zach, and while Zach confirmed that of course he’d love to still be the guy in NY, he can’t be bitter about the situation because he hasn’t performed.
"But I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Aaron knows this, but he's someone I've looked up to since I can remember playing football. So, I'm very appreciative of him and how much he is willing to help me because he really doesn't need to be that vocal. He honestly truly is an amazing friend, and obviously such an amazing quarterback, so I am learning a lot of football.
"Not just from him, but (offensive coordinator Nathaniel) Hackett, (passing game coordinator Todd) Downing, our whole offensive staff. I've been really enjoying it."
Here’s one thing I will say about Mike LaFleur, you never got the impression that teaching was top of the agenda, that’s just my impression. When I say teaching, I mean fundamentals rather than system. You could argue that’s not his job and that should rest with the position coaches, but based on everything that’s being said, I don’t think there are many Jet players out there pining for their old coach.
This comes back to the setup at 1JD. I don’t think the Jets thought that Zach needed as much work as he did, there was a little nativity with how the Jets approached their rookie quarterback. But we’re talking about a 23-year-old here, someone that still has time to develop, and with the surrounding support cast now in place he’ll be given every opportunity to do just that.
Winning a championship is the main goal for Aaron Rodgers, but developing Zach into a starting calibre quarterback in this league may be a close second:
“I think he’s done incredibly well and the key for him is just growth and learning and then building everything back up. I think we stripped down some of his fundamentals and I think you’ve seen him throw the ball on time and make accurate throws and good decisions. I love it, sometimes the best thing to happen is like what happened. I popped my calf and then I’m on the shelf for a few days and he gets a chance to take a ton of reps and make some mistakes and learn from those mistakes. He and I had a good friendship coming in. We spent some time together off the field and I have a lot of love for him and even more respect for the way that he’s handled things and made me feel welcomed and important and also just been in my hip pocket learning, a ton of questions in the locker room, in the meeting room, after hours, but I love that because I feel like that’s a big part of my role here is to not just play at a super high level for this team and help us win, but to make sure he’s ready when his time comes. I really enjoy that opportunity. - Rodgers
I don’t know if Zach is ever going to be a starting QB, but I do know that if he fails. it won’t be though a lack of effort. We’ve spoken about the numbers, and history would indicate his chances are slim, but I almost hope he fades into the background for the next year or two. Absorbs all the information and if the coaches don’t believe he’s the guy come year four, then we’ll know about it.
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