Jets And Aaron Rodgers Looking To Rebound From 2023 Nightmare

Aaron Rodgers
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 15. May 2024.

The New York Jets and Aaron Rodgers opened the 2023 campaign with Super Bowl aspirations. But the future Hall of Fame quarterback tore his Achilles on the fourth play in the season-opening game and the Jets limped to a disappointing 7-10 record. Now, eight months later, Rodgers is back and focused on ending the Jets record-setting playoff drought.

Jets' Backup Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor

"I'm feeling good," Rodgers said. "I was back in New Jersey last week, doing a lot of the workouts. Came back here to kind of take care of a couple of things. The running's been really good, feeling good with my linear speed and increasing the miles per hour. Strength is good. Can get under a squat rack and do all the things I need to do.

"It's just the confidence. I think the last part is just to be confident enough to do all those things. It just comes from reps. The Achilles has absolutely zero pain or issues."

Rodgers will have no restrictions when the Jets OTA practices get underway on May 20. And, unlike last season, New York has a competent backup quarterback in Tyrod Taylor if Rodgers is sidelined again due to an injury. Taylor is a capable veteran who is a significant upgrade over last year's No. 2 quarterback, Zach Wilson.

Taylor threw for five touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 116 of 180 passes last season with the New York Giants. The 34-year-old has 65 career scoring strikes and just 29 picks. Meanwhile, Wilson struggled mightily in 2023 and completed 221 of 368 pass attempts for 2,271 yards, eight scores, and seven interceptions. The 24-year-old has thrown more picks (25) than touchdowns (23) since New York selected him with the second overall pick three years ago.

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Taylor's Perspective on Being a Backup

A backup quarterback since 2018, Taylor understands how difficult it is to lead a team with little notice or practice time.

"It's challenging," Taylor said. "I think it takes a special person to be able to learn in this league without getting the reps. I think last year some scenarios played out for some guys and some didn't. It's just tough as a backup. Many factors go into it but I've always approached my job and the way I go out my way of work as if I'm the starter. I think that keeps me in it mentally as well as physically. I still train each and every day as if I'm training to be able to go out and perform at a high level on Sundays.

Upgrading the Offensive Line

The Jets also upgraded an offensive line that surrendered a whopping 64 sacks last season. A trio of new starters include guard John Simpson and tackles Morgan Moses and Tyron Smith. Simpson is a four-year veteran who allowed just two sacks in 17 starts with the Baltimore Ravens a year ago. Moses is another former Baltimore lineman who was with New York in 2021, while Smith is an eight-time Pro Bowler who has struggled to remain healthy in recent years.

New York drafted Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu with the 11th overall pick in the draft. The 21-year-old could see significant playing time if either Moses or Smith miss time with an injury. Rodgers was ecstatic that the Jets prioritized improving the offensive line this offseason.

"He didn't give up a sack, I don't think, in his entire college career," Rodgers said. "Which is saying a lot, because you're going against great schools in the Big Ten like Wisconsin, and every now and then Iowa. I love our skill group. I knew we really liked all three of the receivers , so I was watching film on those guys, I was watching film on the lineman.

"Olu is a mauler. He had an incredible career at Penn State. He's not gonna need to jump in right away, at tackle, for sure. We'll see if we work him in at guard. I think he's gonna have a long career in the league."

Promising Rookie: Malachi Corley

Another rookie who might be destined for a long NFL career is pass-catcher Malachi Corley. The Jets drafted the Western Kentucky standout with the No. 65 pick and the slot receiver has Rodgers and head coach Robert Saleh excited. 

"Already got a text, he's (Rodgers) excited,” Saleh said. 

Corley is a powerful runner who earned the nickname "YAC King" in college for his ability to gain yards after making the catch.

"He's elite with the ball in his hands," Saleh told reporters about the third-rounder. "He's an angry runner. He obviously calls himself the 'YAC KING' and he's deserving of it. We'll get him here. He's got some things to work on for sure, but at the same time, we love his mindset. We love his style of play. He's going to bring an added element that we don't have to our team."

Corley's Confidence and Potential

An All-Conference USA first-team performer, the elusive 5-foot-11 receiver caught eight passes for 88 yards against a stout Ohio State defense. The Orange City, Fla. native is confident he can make some big plays for the Jets this upcoming season.

"The biggest strength in my game is yards after the catch. I think that's my calling card, I think I do it better than anyone else," said Corley after he was drafted by the Jets. "When I get the ball in my hands, I can make special plays happen. I can take a two-yard bubble screen 20 or 30 yards if I have to. It's a staple of my game, just being strong and powerful and playing the game like that, is how I've always done it."

Adding Depth to the Receiver Room

Corley will join a receiver room that includes Garrett Wilson and free-agent acquisition Mike Williams. Wilson tallied 95 receptions for 1,042 yards and three scores last year with Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian under center. Williams appeared in only three games last year but averaged nearly 70 catches from 2021-22.

Focus on Rodgers' Health

Although the Jets have revamped their offense with a slew of playmakers, Rodgers' health remains the focus of New York's management.

"Obviously, he's still in rehab," Saleh said. "We'll continue to work through that. We're trying to figure out what he can and can't do. Whatever he's cleared with medically, we'll work with him. The anticipation is he'll be ready by training camp."

Looking Ahead to the 2024 Season

As the Jets prepare for the 2024 season, fans and analysts alike are eagerly anticipating the impact of a healthy Aaron Rodgers and a revamped roster. With significant improvements on the offensive line and promising new talent at wide receiver, the team's prospects look brighter. 

For those interested in NFL betting in New York, the upcoming season offers exciting opportunities to wager on potential outcomes, from game results to individual player performances. Whether betting on Rodgers leading the Jets to the playoffs or predicting standout rookie seasons for Corley and Fashanu, the 2024 season promises to be a thrilling journey for the Jets and their supporters.

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