The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

What’s in Store for the New York Jets Now?

Michael Ainsworth/AP

As the NFL gets ready for another thrilling season, all eyes have been on four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers and his new team, the New York Jets. After 18 seasons and one Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers was traded to the lowly Jets this offseason, who currently hold the longest streak in the NFL of missing the playoffs. However, after a promising 2022 season featuring contributions from intriguing rookies like wide receiver Garrett Wilson, cornerback Sauce Gardner, running back Breece Hall and others, many viewed the Jets as a potential surprise playoff team, even prior to the Rodgers trade. Once the trade went through, some people went even further, including Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah himself, who said during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” that his expectations were to “Go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl.”

With a new star QB, improvement from young players — who were already great — and other free agent additions Allen Lazard and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, there was a ton to be excited for about the Jets’ season. However, four plays into their first game against the Buffalo Bills, it all came crashing down.

In the first quarter of their first game, Rodgers went down with a torn achilles, a notoriously difficult injury to recover from that will almost certainly push him out for the season — and, potentially, even into retirement. To give an example for the timetable to return from an achilles tear, NBA superstar Kevin Durant suffered the same injury in 2019 and did not appear in a game for 552 days. While Rodgers has said he is determined to get back for 2024, the other 52 men on the team still have 16 games to play, which they will attempt to do with former number two overall pick Zach Wilson back under center.

Wilson, in his third season, has been one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, being benched multiple times in his career. However, he is still very young and was regarded as a future elite quarterback just three years ago, and was also gifted with the privilege of learning under one of the best ever at his position in Rodgers this offseason. Regardless, he could not have anticipated having to play much this season. In the game against the Bills, he performed well – considering the circumstances. The team was able to win, albeit largely due to Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s careless turnovers, a stout defense and an incredible special teams performance that included a walk-off punt return TD in overtime.

So, after a win that could only be described as bittersweet, what should we make of the rest of the Jets’ season? Head Coach Robert Saleh said post-game that “This is Zach’s (Wilson’s) team,” according to the New York Jets website, but many around the organization believe that they could add a quarterback in the coming weeks, either to back up Zach or take over his starting job. The Jets had a notoriously difficult early season schedule, which looked bleak even with Rodgers, so Wilson is facing an uphill climb to try and keep the team afloat. Elsewhere on the team, players like Garrett Wilson will certainly have less statistical success as a result of Rodgers’ injury, and they might also suffer from a lack of motivation as their leader and star player will not be able to suit up for them. After so much pre-season hype, the Jets must move past all of that and keep fighting week in and week out, a task that will undoubtedly become markedly more difficult.

Sophomore Brady Hutchison, Jets fan and wide receiver for the Colgate University football team, still believes in his team’s chances this season.

“The defense is Super Bowl caliber and the run game is solid,” Hutchison said. “All Zach [Wilson] needs to do is game-manage and not turn the ball over.”

The other major question is what is to make of the rest of Rodgers’ career. A few days after the injury, he appeared on ESPN with Pat McAfee to vehemently assert that he will be back. But, at 39 and following a major surgery, how much does he have left in the tank? Will he ever be able to trust his ankle again? He has never been an extremely athletic player, but he certainly relied on his ability to move quickly throughout the pocket to deliver off-base throws that he has become so synonymous with. For Rodgers, he has to move to 2024. For the Jets, it is on to the rest of the season.

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