‘I think we’re ready” Rodgers tributes Jets coaching staff as focus shifts to Week 1 vs. Bills

Rodgers is ready for Week 1 with the Jets
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) congratulates wide receiver Garrett Wilson (17) after Wilson’s touchdown catch during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

FLORHAM PARK — With the aura of having a franchise quarterback in the locker room, and the spotlight that “Hard Knocks” brings, it’s easy to see how the New York Jets could get swallowed up by all the attention they are getting. 

Yet there has been one constant throughout the entire process that has not only impressed the four-time NFL MVP but is a reason why confidence is at an all-time high heading into the 2023 regular season. 

“Right from the top, I think Robert has done a fantastic job of setting the goals in training camp,” Rodgers said of Jets head coach Robert Saleh. “He’s been really savvy about what to say and when to say it.”

Jets to start Rodgers in preseason
New York Jets New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh smiles as he talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

With the conclusion of the preseason schedule now behind them, Rodgers and the Jets can focus on preparing for the start of their first season together and the pressures that come with it. Learning a new offense under Nathaniel Hackett can be a challenging ordeal for many organizations, but the long-time Packer is excited about the status of the team.

“I think we’re ready. Next week will be an important week with tough decisions on the roster, but just work on some other things as we transition into the final 53,” Rodgers explained further. “We’ll put the final touches in the offense but I feel good with where we are at.”

Part of those finishing touches is getting a fully healthy roster together. Left tackle Duane Brown is off the PUP list and is expected to participate in team drills this week. Dalvin Cook, the team’s newest free-agent star is expected to practice this week as well. 

Even the continued integration of Breece Hall following his ACL injury has been something that has taken a slower time over the last few weeks. Luckily for the Jets, the stars are aligning and all will be ready for the start of the season when they take on the Buffalo Bills. 

Arguably the biggest surprise this offseason though has come along the offensive line and the return of their first-round tackle. Mekhi Becton’s return to the field has not been easy but it’s been a welcome sign to the organization and to their quarterback who has seen the merits of being a true leader pay off with him.

Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team's practice facility.
Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team’s practice facility.AP Photo/Adam Hunger

“He’s come a long way. I’m proud of him as much as anyone on the team. The way that Mekhi has grown this month has been spectacular. His head is in a really good spot,” Rodgers added of his starting right tackle. “It is amazing when you empower people and encourage them, you see their personality and confidence start to grow. That’s what we’ve tried to do with him and he’s returned that trust with some really solid play.”

New York understands though that the amount of talent the roster has acquired does not mean that wins will be guaranteed this season. Taking on the Buffalo Bills, a team that has won the division over the last three seasons will be no easy task. 

With Rodgers’ entrance into a tough division like the AFC East though, it gives the Jets the closest chance they’ve ever had to being the top dog in the division. 

To Rodgers though, when they open up the season on Monday Night Football in front of the home Jets crowd, the excitement can be more than enough to propel the team to a win.

“I’m expecting a big crowd, a loud crowd. It’s Monday Night Football, the last game of the first week, it’ll be pretty special to take the field against a division rival, a great quarterback, really good football team. It’ll be a special environment to start my career with the Jets.”

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