By: Thomas Seaman
Entering the new season, the Jets had built up a new energy and aura around the franchise, aided by their feature on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Running into the stadium, the players were surrounded by a level of energy that hasn’t been seen by a New York football team for years.
Unfortunately, this energy quickly evaporated when, after only four snaps into the 23-24 season, the Jets’ curse struck again (see Joe Namath) and the future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers exited with a full achilleas tear.
Since their opening win against the Bills, they have gone 2-3 with an impressive loss to the Super Bowl Chiefs and an impressive win against the Eagles. Despite this gut wrenching injury and the team’s precarious start, there is still some hope for the future of the Jets season.
Prior to obtaining Rodgers, the Jets roster was already brimming with young talent, including the young 2021 first round quarterback Zach Wilson. If the Jets properly utilize their strong backfield with Dalvin Cook and Breece Hall, they may be able to take pressure off their unsuccessful, to date, quarterback. The Jets could also use their new veterans Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman from this offseason to draw coverage off of Garrett Wilson and make reads and plays downfield easier for Zach Wilson.
There is also still time for Zach Wilson to potentially have a breakout season this year and finally reach the high expectations that had been set for his career when he was drafted second out of Brigham Young University. If Nathaniel Hackett can find a way to utilize Garrett Wilson and the Jets’ other more experienced receivers, that will be optimal for Zach Wilson.
But, this is an optimistic approach given the fact Zach Wilson’s stats thus far into his NFL career are comparable to those of another renowned first round bust in Jamarcus Russell.
Alternatively, the Jets could attempt to put some more pressure on Zach Wilson by signing a veteran quarterback. There are numerous options available in free agency right now that could provide a level of competition for the quarterback forcing him to play better or sit. These options include, but are not limited to, Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy, and Nick Foles. While not particularly stars, one of these veterans could potentially be the piece that the Jets need to continue as a competitive team this season, regardless of whether it means replacing or pressuring Zach Wilson.
If the Jets can turn around their abysmal start to the season – the team certainly showed flashes of brilliance in nearly upending the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs – there's a possibility for an Aaron Rodgers return in January just in time for the playoffs.
But given the fact that they are in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL and in one of the most scrutinized televised markets in the country, unless major adjustments are made, Aaron Rodgers, and the rest of the Jets faithful, will have to wait another season, on top of the previous 54, to potentially hoist the Lombardi trophy again.