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NY Post
New York Post
2 Dec 2023

NextImg:Jets need to show fight, win games before even thinking about Aaron Rodgers miracle

It sure has been a juicy inspirational and motivational carrot that Aaron Rodgers extended to the reeling 4-7 Jets in the days and weeks and months following his traumatic torn Achilles in Week 1 that shattered Super Bowl dreams … his and theirs and yours, if you are a long-suffering Jets fan. 

It is a tantalizing vision: The future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback willing his 40-year-old Achilles back against all odds and riding to the rescue to end the franchise’s 12-year postseason drought. 

A triumphant, historic, miraculous comeback indeed. 

But all along, there was always the chance that it was merely a pipe dream destined to go up in smoke … just another cruel tease for a franchise that has led the league in cruel teases across the better part of five-plus decades. 

Which it will be if the doctors do not give him the green light later this month. 

Or he himself reaches the agonizing conclusion that the risk is not worth the reward. 

In the meantime, Rodgers tells us now that even if he is cleared by the medical people, he might be inclined to scrap his triumphant, historic, miraculous comeback and rest and heal up for next season if the reeling 4-7 Jets have nothing to play for

Aaron Rodgers returned to Jets practice this week. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Perhaps this incessant drumbeat of his possible comeback could yet turn out to be an ingenious ploy concocted by Rodgers as an attempt to give his reeling 4-7 team hope. 

But so far, it has rallied the reeling 4-7 Jets as much as a video compilation of the Rich Kotite, John Idzik and Adam Gase years would have. 

Here’s a novel idea for the reeling 4-7 Jets: How about winning a damn game against the Desmond Ridder Falcons now and worry about his potential triumphant, historic, miraculous comeback later? 

Rodgers will be on the sidelines Sunday, but he still can’t help you between the lines. Only you can help you. 

    Shame on you for crumbling at a point in the season when the men are separated from the boys. 

    The Jets have told us how inspirational and motivational it has been watching how driven the future first-ballot Hall of Famer has been to throw all caution and logic to the wind to join them. 

    Don’t tell us. Show us. 

    How about winning a damn game on the turf monster that changed the course of his season and yours on 9/11 against an eminently beatable team Sunday and postponing your 2023 season funeral? 

    The Jets’ offense has sputtered again this season. Robert Sabo for NY Post

    How about playing a complimentary football game for once? 

    How about playing a disciplined football game devoid of unnecessary roughness or mindless penalties? 

    How about Robert Saleh standing behind a postgame podium talking about something other than self-inflicted wounds and whether he might feel inclined to change the quarterback or the playcaller, or both? 

    How about Nathaniel Hackett calling plays to help keep the quarterback position — manned now by Tim Boyle — from being the Achilles’ heel? 

    How about not setting offensive football back to the leather helmet days? 

    Demond Ridder and the Falcons are coming to MetLife Stadium this weekend. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

    Even after Rodgers went down, the Jets talked defiantly about their goals and expectations not changing, which of course was false bravado. Yet somehow, they found a way to beat Josh Allen and scare Patrick Mahomes and beat Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, and Saleh boasted that his defense had embarrassed them all. 

    Where did that team go? 

    Somehow, the Jets have been outscored 61-19 at home and 109-37 during their current slide from 4-3 to death’s door. 

    GM Joe Douglas didn’t have a legitimate backup plan at quarterback once Rodgers was lost. Saleh since he arrived hasn’t had a quarterback nor anyone in the offensive side of the ball who could develop Zach Wilson. Wilson was thrown to the wolves and the wolves won. The offensive line was eaten alive by the injury bug. There weren’t enough weapons for the backup quarterbacks. 

    Zach Wilson had a rocky season under center. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

    Rodgers having his 21-day practice window opened Wednesday was a psychological boost. But will it stick for once? Will it matter at all? 

    “There’s different levels of motivation. We can listen to Inky Johnson, and by the time you finish an Inky Johnson’s little sermon or wherever, you’re gonna be ready probably to run through a wall. And then, two hours later, you got practice, that kind of goes away, and that’s just natural,” defensive end John Franklin-Myers told The Post. 

    “But when you see somebody who got hurt, has rehabbed hard for three months and comes back to practice and shows like, ‘Man look, I want to be here and I want this just as bad as you guys,’ and then 40 years old and they’re a Hall of Famer and they’re all these different things and they have all these accolades, it’s a different type of motivation. I would definitely say that as we were motivated when he did get hurt, him being out there is a different level of confidence, it’s a different level of swagger, it’s a different level of motivation.” 

    But now comes game day. 

    Aaron Rodgers turns 40 this weekend. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

    “You can be motivated and still lose. I’m motivated to win 10 Super Bowls. That’s not saying I’m gonna win 10 Super Bowls,” JFM said. “You can be motivated to do your best, and sometimes it’s not good enough.” 

    Rodgers turned 40 on Saturday

    “A good birthday present, we go out there, we play our ass off and get a W and try to get our season back on track,” defensive end Quinton Jefferson told The Post. “He has every accolade, he’s out here working his ass off trying to get back. So who are we not to work our ass off and keep fighting?” 

    Who are they, indeed. The least the reeling 4-7 Jets can do: Give Aaron Rodgers a birthday present and win this damn game. Keep his impossible dream alive. Keep your own impossible dream alive first. If you can.