New Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers showed up in New York with what appeared to be an eager desire to participate in the full offseason program. Then, Rodgers said he’d miss some of the sessions.
For now, he’s there. Rodgers attended the first OTA of the 2023 offseason on Monday.
It’s good for him, his teammates, and his new team. While Rodgers knows the offense being implemented by new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers doesn’t know all of his new teammates — and all of his new teammates don’t know him. They need to be around each other. Thy need to become comfortable with each other.
The Jets players, many of whom were in grade school when Rodgers burst onto the scene as MVP of Super Bowl XLV, are starstruck by Rodgers. They need to get past that. Rodgers needs to help them do it.
There’s only one way it happens. They have to get used to him.
Rodgers learned that (or at least he should have) last year, when the Packers traded receiver Davante Adams and a slew of new wideouts arrived to replace him, from rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to veteran Sammy Watkins. Watson and Doubs didn’t seem to get truly comfortable with Rodgers, and Rodgers didn’t seem to get truly comfortable with Watson and Doubs, until the Packers had dug themselves a hole from which they had to struggle to emerge.
They almost did. They ultimately didn’t. It’s hard not to wonder whether they would have, if guys like Watson and Doubs had been a little more comfortable a little sooner.
This year, with the Jets facing stiff competition in their division and a tough schedule, the sooner everyone is on the same page, the better. So it’s good that Rodgers showed up for Day One. It will be great for the team if he sticks around.