New York Jets
He delivered the message indirectly on Tuesday, during his weekly appearance with Pat McAfee. Now that Rodgers is back with the team, he’s sending the message directly.
“Stop pointing fingers,” Rodgers told the team on Saturday night.
The’s the word from both Michael Strahan and Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, as to the three words uttered by Rodgers to the Jets.
The Jets hope that having Rodgers around will help. It will help quarterback Zach Wilson (the guy on the other end of the finger pointing), and it will help offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
It’s still not known where Rodgers will be during the game. While it’s considered doubtful he’ll be on the sideline, the reality is that he’ll be wherever he wants to be.
Wherever he is, the NBC cameras will find him. When they’re not otherwise looking for Taylor Swift.
It’s hard to watch the New York Jets’ offense. There’s no real reason to assume it will get any easier tonight against the Chiefs.
The easiest person to blame is quarterback Zach Wilson, and he has been the one who has gotten the blame. In two weeks, Wilson has gone from being the guy who maybe, possibly will graduate into the job after Aaron Rodgers retires to Public Enemy No. 2.
The blocking, or lack thereof, is part of the problem. Really, if Aaron Rodgers hadn’t already been lost for the year due to an injury suffered when a defender got past the line and hit him, would Rodgers have managed to avoid an injury in any of the past two games?
The real problem, as one source with knowledge of the situation recently explained it to PFT, is that the defenses are loading the box — and that the Jets aren’t able to get them to stop doing it.
If Rodgers were playing, defenses likely would be using a lot of Cover 2. That would make it easier to run the ball. With Wilson, teams are taking away the running lanes for Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, and daring Wilson to take advantage of the imbalance.
So far, he hasn’t. The key holding off Trevor Siemian will be Wilson showing, quickly, that he can do something/anything to unclog the running lanes, which then will make it easier for Hall and Cook. When then will make it easier for Wilson because the defense will have to respect both aspects of the offense.
Nearly three weeks after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on the fourth play from scrimmage in the Week 1 game against the Bills, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has rejoined the Jets.
Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports that Rodgers attended the Saturday night team meeting, and that he’ll be present for Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs.
Rodgers’s ability to travel from California hinged on receiving medical clearance to fly, following the surgery to repair the injury.
It’s unknown what he’ll be doing, and where he will be, during the game. It would be useful for the Jets to have him involved in the process of keeping quarterback Zach Wilson calm and focused and confident.
Whether that extra positive voice would drown own the 70,000 or so negative ones remains to be seen.
The Vikings might indeed be done with quarterback Kirk Cousins, but they’re not done with him yet.
That nevertheless has not stopped many in the media (I won’t name names, because there are too many to name) from doing the low-hanging dot-connecting to the Jets.
Coincidentally, the Jets were the only other team pursuing Cousins when he became a free agent in 2018. But that does not mean they’ll be trying to trade for him now. Or that the Vikings would trade him. Or that Cousins would want to be traded to the Jets.
In an effort to end chatter (which likely won’t end because plenty of Jets fans are clinging to this pipe dream), here’s a list of the various reasons why it won’t happen.
1. The Vikings need Cousins.
Yes, they’re 0-3. They could be 3-0. They’ve been competitive in every game. They will still be, with Cousins.
Without Cousins, it’s Nick Mullens or Jaren Hall. That’s just too big of a drop.
While the Vikings are likely hoping to position themselves to get a franchise quarterback in the 2024 draft, they’re not inclined to launch a full-blown tank. They rarely are flat-out bad. The limits of Minnesota Nice would be tested and then some if the Vikings suddenly decided to fold the tents on 2023.
Despite his flaws (and there are some), the Vikings can’t let him go until they’re confident that they have a plan for replacing him. Currently, they don’t have a Plan B that the paying customers would or could get behind.
2. The Vikings would want too much for him.
If the Vikings keep losing and become inclined to give up on 2023 and to get something for a quarterback who is poised to walk away in March as a free agent, they would want more than something. They would want a lot.
In 2016, the Vikings lost Teddy Bridgewater for the year in late August. No one cut them a break in trade talks. The Eagles ultimately put a thumb on the scale for Sam Bradford, getting a first- and fourth-round pick.
This time around, the Vikings would want an offer they can’t refuse. And they would refuse pretty much every offer the Jets would make.
3. The Jets don’t have the draft capital.
The Jets already gave up plenty to get Aaron Rodgers. And they have two picks next year — a first-rounder and a second-rounder — basically sitting in escrow until the season ends and the condition for 2024 compensation becomes official.
Eventually, the Jets will get their first-round pick back. For now, they don’t have access to it.
At a minimum, they would have to re-do the trade with the Packers to release the first-round pick. Would the Packers do them a favor, or would they want a little something for their trouble?
Why wouldn’t the Packers ask for something more? The Jets are desperate. When a team is desperate, other teams don’t do favors. They pounce.
5. Aaron Rodgers could be ready to play in the postseason.
One of the least-discussed wrinkles in this obsession with the Jets finding someone/anyone other than Zach Wilson to play quarterback is that Rodgers has already dropped strong hints that he could be ready to go in the postseason.
So if the Jets go all in for someone like Cousins and it works and the Jets make the playoffs and Rodgers says, “I’m ready,” what happens?
If the Jets bench the guy who got them there for the guy who hasn’t played in four months, the Jets might not advance as far as they could. The Jets would be concerned that, if they don’t roll with Rodgers, perhaps he won’t be as enthusiastic about returning for another season.
6. Kirk Cousins has a no-trade clause.
This is the thing that never gets mentioned. Cousins has the ability to block any trade. He would have to want to go to the Jets. Why would he want that?
The Jets’ offensive line is worse than Minnesota’s. Cousins would have to learn a new offense on the fly. He’d have to uproot his family, or be away from them for the rest of the season.
He’d be subjecting himself to a fan base that would be far less forgiving about the whole “I don’t work on Tuesdays and I’m proud of it” thing.
Currently, Cousins is in position to have a strong statistical season and to get paid a lot of money (again) to join another team in March. What does he really gain from stepping into a place that will view him as the conquering hero, until they inevitably turn on him?
So it’s not happening. And it makes no sense to argue for it to happen. The Vikings don’t want it. The Jets can’t do it. And Cousins wouldn’t do it.
The eye in the sky doesn’t lie. Sometimes, it’s not capable of telling the whole truth.
The absence of clear video of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones hitting Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner in the “private parts” last Sunday has resulted in no fine for Jones. The league announced on Saturday that there was insufficient video to confirm the contention by Gardner that Jones hit him there.
But when did crystal-clear video trump common sense? Sauce says Mac did it. The available video makes it clear that something happened.
And Mac never denied it. He said “nothing was intentional.” He didn’t say “nothing happened.”
Fine or not, Mac has pulled this crap too many times. It’s cheap. It’s dirty. It’s wrong. He has a reputation, and he has earned it one sketchy moment at a time.
He hasn’t always gotten away with it. This time, the league blew it. Video or not, we all know what happened. And when the only defense is “nothing was intentional,” that’s no reason to give Mac a pass.
The NFL didn’t get so rich by being stupid.
Big Shield knows the Taylor Swift effect is real. Fox experienced it last Sunday, when Swift’s presence at a Bears-Chiefs game that was less competitive than Globetrotters-Generals drove the total audience past 24 million, fueled by the 12-17 and 18-49 female demographic.
Now, with Swift reportedly planning to attend Sunday night’s game at MetLife Stadium between the Chiefs and the Jets, the NFL wants her to know that, whenever she needs tickets, they’ve got her covered.
Ian Trombetta, NFL senior vice president of social and influencer marketing, told Kayla Jiminez of USA Today that Swift has a perpetual red carpet at any NFL venue.
“She’s invited to any game that she wants to come to,” Trombetta said. “It’s an open invitation.”
He declined to confirm or deny the accuracy of the reports that she’ll be present on Sunday night (in other words, yeah, she’ll be there). He also said the league did not know Swift would be attending Bears-Chiefs until the day of the game.
It’s unlikely that many of the Swifties who dial up Chiefs games to get a glimpse of Taylor will develop an affinity for pro football that extends beyond her involvement with Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. If/when if ends — and if it ends poorly — the NFL could get caught up in the backwash of the backlash.
Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay said the silent part out loud when asked what he is seeing on film from Zach Wilson and the Jets offense.
“Damn, that was a hard question. I can’t lie,” Gay said with a chuckle and a pause, via video from Aaron Ladd of KSHB. “A team that want to run the ball. That wasn’t to be funny or anything, but A-Rod [Aaron Rodgers] got hurt, and it turned into a team in panic mode almost. That’s what I see at least. They’ve got great running backs, so now they’re just trying to pound and ground.”
Gay told the truth: The Jets stink.
They are last in the NFL in yards per game (225), passing yards per game (133.7) and points per game (14.0). Wilson, who replaced Rodgers four plays into the season when the four-time league MVP tore his Achilles, is last in passer rating at 57.0.
Wilson, who also took hits from Joe Namath and Jets fans this week, dismissed Gay’s comments.
“That’s fine,” Wilson said. “We’re working to improve and get better. He’s a great player, but he’s obviously the competition, too, so I can see why he has those comments, but we’ll be ready as an offense.”
The truth is the truth, so Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t sugar coat it when asked about Gay’s comments.
“I mean if you take our body of work these past three games, I mean it hasn’t been pretty,” Hackett said. “I mean that’s facts. Like anybody that questions us, we have the right to prove everybody wrong, but in the end, we have to do it. The offense has to come together. They have to play downhill physical football and not get these negative yardage plays.”
The Jets are sticking with Wilson despite his and their struggles, and that means this week could get even uglier for them against the defending Super Bowl champions.
The fourth week of the 2023 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Lions and it continues with 14 more games on Sunday, which means that the 28 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.
The Seahawks and Giants play on Monday and their final injury reports will be released on Saturday.
Falcons at Jaguars (in London)
RB Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) is questionable to make his regular season debut for the Falcons. WR Josh Ali (ankle) is out.
Jaguars WR Zay Jones (knee), LB Devin Lloyd (thumb), and DB Antonio Johnson (hamstring) are out. T Anton Harrison (ankle), DL Foley Fatukasi (shoulder), and WR Jamal Agnew (quad) are listed as questionable.
Dolphins at Bills
Dolphins EDGE Jaelan Phillips (oblique) is out. RB Salvon Ahmed (groin), T Terron Armstead (back, ankle, knee), S DeShon Elliott (ankle, groin), and C Connor Williams (groin) were designated as questionable.
S Jordan Poyer (knee) will not play for the Bills.
Broncos at Bears
LB Frank Clark (hip), LB Josey Jewell (hip), and DT Mike Purcell (ribs) are out for the Broncos while S Justin Simmons (hip) is questionable to play.
S Eddie Jackson (foot) and CB Jaylon Johnson (hamstring) won’t play for the Bears. RB Travis Homer (ankle) is questionable.
Ravens at Browns
Ravens WR Rashod Bateman (hamstring) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) will miss Sunday’s game. CB Marlon Humphrey (foot), EDGE Odafe Oweh (ankle), and EDGE David Ojabo (ankle/knee) are also out while T Ronnie Stanley (knee) is doubtful. RB Justice Hill (toe), S Kyle Hamilton (back), C Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) and S Marcus Williams (pectoral) make up the questionable group.
QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) is listed as questionable after a week of limited practices, but the rest of the Browns are good to go.
Steelers at Texans
The Steelers ruled out G James Daniels (groin) and P Pressley Harvin (right hamstring).
T Laremy Tunsil (knee), G/T Josh Jones (hand), LB Denzel Perryman (hand, wrist), and CB Tavierre Thomas (hand) are all out for the Texans. C Michael Dieter (concussion) is their only questionable player.
Vikings at Panthers
C Garrett Bradbury (back) and DE Marcus Davenport (ankle) are listed as questionable for the Vikings. S Lewis Cine (hamstring) is the only player ruled out.
The Panthers will have QB Bryce Young (ankle) back in the lineup. RB Miles Sanders (groin) is listed as questionable along with LB Frankie Luvu (hip) and WR Jonathan Mingo (concussion).
Rams at Colts
TE Tyler Higbee (Achilles), T Alaric Jackson (hamstring), S John Johnson (face), and WR Ben Skowronek (Achilles) are the Rams’ questionable players.
Colts QB Anthony Richardson (concussion) is good to go, but C Ryan Kelly (concussion) and T Bernhard Raimann (concussion) are not going to play. DT DeForest Buckner (groin, back), QB Sam Ehlinger (right shoulder), and G Quenton Nelson (toe) are all listed as questionable.
Buccaneers at Saints
CB Carlton Davis (toe) could return for the Bucs after being listed as questionable, but CB Jamel Dean (neck/shoulder), DL Calijah Kancey (calf), CB Derrick Pitts (hamstring), and LB SirVocea Dennis (hamstring) are all out. DT Vita Vea (pectoral) and linebacker Devin White (foot) are also questionable.
Saints QB Derek Carr (right shoulder) is listed as questionable after returning to practice on Friday.
Commanders at Eagles
RB Chris Rodriguez (illness) is out for the Commanders and S Percy Butler (foot) is listed as questionable.
The Eagles ruled out S Sydney Brown (hamstring) and WR Quez Watkins (hamstring). S Justin Evans (neck) is considered questionable.
Bengals at Titans
QB Joe Burrow (calf) will start for the Bengals. TE Irv Smith (hamstring) is out and LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (knee) is questionable.
WR Treylon Burks (knee), G Peter Skoronski (abdomen), CB Elijah Molden (hamstring), and LB Luke Gifford (hamstring) are out for the Titans.
Raiders at Chargers
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) and EDGE Maxx Crosby (knee) headline the Raiders report. Both are listed as questionable along with CB Nate Hobbs (ankle), S Roderic Teamer (Achilles), and DE Malcolm Koonce (groin). LB Curtis Bolton (knee) is out.
The Chargers are set to play without RB Austin Ekeler (ankle) and Derwin James (hamstring) after listing them as doubtful. EDGE Joey Bosa (hamstring, toe) and S Alohi Gilman (heel) drew questionable tags. CB Deane Leonard (hamstring) is doubtful while C Corey Linsley (illness) and S JT Woods (illness) were ruled out.
Patriots at Cowboys
DT Christian Barmore (knee), DT Davon Godchaux (ankle), CB Jonathan Jones (ankle), G Cole Strange (knee), and CB Shaun Wade (shoulder) are questionable for the Patriots.
Cowboys G Zack Martin (ankle) and C Tyler Biadasz (hamstring) are questionable to play, but T Tyron Smith (knee) has been ruled out. TE Peyton Hendershot (ankle) is also questionable.
Cardinals at 49ers
DE Jonathan Ledbetter (finger) and LB Josh Woods (ankle) are out for the Cardinals. LB Krys Barnes (finger), WR Marquise Brown (thumb), RB Keaontay Ingram (neck), and T Paris Johnson (ankle) make up their questionable group.
WR Brandon Aiyuk (shoulder) is set to play for the 49ers, but WR Deebo Samuel (rib, knee) is questionable and WR Jauan Jennings (knee) is doubtful. RB Elijah Mitchell (knee), LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (ankle), and LB Dre Greenlaw (ankle) are also in the questionable group.
Chiefs at Jets
If Taylor Swift and Aaron Rodgers are at Sunday night’s game, they won’t be seeing Chiefs LB Nick Bolton (ankle) or CB Jaylen Warren (shoulder).
The Jets ruled out S Tony Adams (hamstring) and G Wes Schweitzer (concussion).
The Chiefs won’t have one of their best defensive players once again when they play the Jets on Sunday.
Linebacker Nick Bolton is out with an ankle injury. He did not practice all week after also missing the Week 3 victory over the Bears.
Bolton recorded 15 total tackles in Kansas City’s first two games.
The Chiefs also won’t have cornerback Jaylen Warren, who’s been ruled out with a shoulder injury.
While Patrick Mahomes was on the injury report after tweaking his ankle during last week’s win, he was a full participant in all three practices and has no game status.
Defensive lineman Chris Jones (groin) and receiver Kadarius Toney (toe) are also expected to play, despite being limited in all three practices.
Last year, quarterback Zach Wilson was a captain of the Jets. Now? Not.
Via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, the Jets have replaced quarterback Aaron Rodgers with defensive lineman Quinnen Williams as one of the team’s three permanent captains. The other captains are linebacker C.J. Mosley and special-teamer Justin Hardee.
There is now no offensive captain on the Jets.
As explained by Cimini, coach Robert Saleh thought it would be appropriate to make Williams, who finished fourth in the preseason voting, a captain. And while that might be absolutely right, it’s a subtle but unmistakable no-confidence vote in Wilson.
The jets could have given the “C” to the next offensive player with the most votes. If everyone voted for Rodgers, they could have re-voted. Or they could have just ignored it. Really, was anyone clamoring for Rodgers’s captaincy to be filled?
Maybe it was a way to throw jets fans a bone. Unable or unwilling to accept the fact that the loss of the guy who made them a Super Bowl contender makes them not a Super Bowl contender, Fireman Ed’s disciples wanted a pound of flesh.
Maybe that’s what this is. Of course, if that’s what it is, it’s surely not enough for Jets fans, who still seem to think there’s a magic wand that can be waved to change the fact that Aaron Rodgers won’t be back on the field any time soon.
There isn’t, Ed.