Jets’ duo wins weekly awards following surprising Week 1 win

Jets award winners
New York Jets safety Jordan Whitehead (3) and cornerback Michael Carter II (30) celebrate after Whitehead intercepted a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

FLORHAM PARK — It may not feel like it following the news of Aaron Rodgers, but the New York Jets are 1-0 to start the 2023 season thanks to a valiant effort from their Special Teams and Defensive units. 

To further emphasize how important both sides were, the Jets had two different players win weekly awards across the league. 

Jets safety Jordan Whitehead won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 1 due to his career-high, three-interception effort against Josh Allen in the Bills. Two of Whitehead’s picks led to the Jets’ offensive scores, the last of which was the game-tying touchdown. Whitehead was the highest-rated defensive player for the Jets per Pro Football Focus as well.

“Once I learned that and I learned where I was supposed to be in the defense, I knew the plays would come to me. All camp, was just ball drills, deep balls, breaking on the ball and catching it. I had the ball in my hands last year, but that’s the difference between a good player and a great player,” Whitehead said after the win.

Whitehead wasn’t the only member of the Jets to get awards though. Undrafted free agent special teams ace Xavier Gipson won the Special Teams Player of the Week for the AFC side thanks to his walk-off touchdown return to give the Jets a 22-16 win over the rival Bills. 

“I’m going to speak for our entire locker room and say we knew he was going to get one today,” Head coach Robert Saleh said of Gipson. “We just had a feeling. That kid is electric with the ball in his hands. If I am a team, I am not kicking him. Let him keep proving it. None of us in the locker room are surprised he took one.”

New York (1-0) will take on the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) Sunday afternoon. 

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