Jets re-affirm “iron sharpens iron” approach as offense finds success in practice

Jets training camp
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a pass during practice at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photos

Robert Saleh has always maintained the “iron sharpens iron” approach to having the New York Jets ready for the start of the regular season. The idea that strong competition between an offense and defense can prepare both for the annual grind of an NFL season is not unique across league history. 

2023 might be the first time the Jets have two groups that can live up to that overall mantra. 

During the start of most training camps, the defense usually has early success while offenses begin to try and find their traction. That was the case for New York during the first two days of head-to-head work with a new offensive system and franchise quarterback. 

Saturday was a different story entirely. 

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) walks the sidelines during practice at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Thanks to the arm talent that Aaron Rodgers brings, the Jets’ offense consistently won the day against a lethal pass rush and dynamic secondary. It was the kind of showing that fans of Gang Green have never seen from the quarterback position before. It was also something that shows Saleh’s mantra can lead to sustained success if the team can consistently compete at a high level in practice. 

Rodgers has maintained that he has wanted the offense to “play how they practice.” Saturday morning’s work is a clear representation of his patience to pay off early in the process. 

For the Jets head coach though, it’s important to continue to remain committed to that overall process. 

“You still have to attack the day, you still have to attack your moments, you still have to find a way to get better every day, you still have to go to bed better than when you woke up, you still have to attack every still moment of the day,” Saleh explained Saturday. “If you do that, then you at least give yourself a chance to achieve what everyone is expecting you to, but if you just sit there and look at the trophy way down the road, you are going to forget all the road that it takes to get there.”

New York had the right mindset the minute they acquired Rodgers in the off-season trade with Green Bay. Each player that has spoken throughout OTAs, and early through camp has reaffirmed that just having a franchise quarterback doesn’t mean wins are guaranteed. 

The more the offensive and defensive units compete throughout camp, the more prepared they will be for the regular season. The more prepared the Jets are for the regular season, the better equipped they will be to handle the peaks and valleys that come from each week. 

Gang Green’s 2023 season may be still over a month away, but the “iron sharpens iron” approach that New York had adopted since Saleh came to the team in 2021 has never been more prevalent than with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. 

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