Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing for the New York Jets again this season (we think), but he seems pretty willing to keep coaching them.
The four-time MVP, out with a torn Achilles tendon, had some pointed advice for his teammates during his regular appearance on ESPN’s “Pat McAfee Show,” two days after a pair of his younger teammates were caught on camera airing grievances with the Jets coaching staff during a 15-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Jets star wide receiver Garrett Wilson was seen making a spirited comment toward quarterback Zach Wilson and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, while running back Michael Carter was berating running backs coach Taylor Embree, to the point that teammate Xavier Gipson had to hold him back.
Rodgers did not seem amused by the situation:
“This is what teams have to go through. There’s adversity points in every seasons. This year, it’s happening early and people are coming for us. There’s some heated conversations on the sidelines and different things. I think we need to hold our poise a little bit better across the board. Really just offensively, we need to not have some of those things happen on the sideline and to be a little better and to just be a little better competitors.”
“There’s been too many little side conversations and we just need to grow up a bit on offense and lock in and do our jobs, everybody, and not point fingers. We don’t point fingers at the coaching staff, don’t point fingers at each other. Just get back to work and get the job done … I feel like if I was there, some of those things wouldn’t be happening.”
It’s not exactly surprising that the Jets are frustrated. They entered the season as a clear Super Bowl contender after adding Rodgers to a roster that looked playoff-ready at every position except quarterback. The dream fell apart on the team’s fourth offensive snap of the season, when Rodgers’ ligament was ruptured on an awkward sack.
The injury left the Jets with Wilson under center once again, and another year hasn’t quieted the criticisms around the former No. 2 overall pick. The loudest voice might be Jets great Joe Namath, who ripped into the passer in an interview and on social media this week over the Patriots loss.
“When we’re not having success, how do we respond? How do we respond to adversity? And that goes for our fan base and former players as well,” Rodgers said. “You’re not helping the cause.
“I’d like to see everybody stick together — our fan base, our former players and our current players because there’s too much negativity and the world is crashing down after three weeks. [It’s] a long season, a lot of time, a lot of things that can happen. So, let’s just take a couple breaths, OK? I’m not going to say we need to relax. Let’s take a couple breaths.”
The Jets, for their part, might not be so calm, as they have reportedly signed veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian. With games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles representing two of their next three matchups, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.