FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Aaron Rodgers placed a hand on each of his hips as he pedaled.
The New York Jets quarterback wore a black sleeve on his right calf, going through his rehabilitation routine on a stationary bike overlooking the training grounds his teammates rode.
He would eventually progress into flat-footed throws with a staff member, Rodgers and his catching partner gradually moving away from each other until Rodgers threw what seemed like an effortless spiral of 50 flat-footed yards, his arm and torque clearly intact. by what he described as an “adjustment” to his calf eight days prior.
Rodgers would not physically participate in practice on Wednesday though he remained visually and verbally engaged, often alongside head coach Robert Saleh or quarterback Zach Wilson, pointing to areas of the field to convey his teaching point.
Was it a real-time demonstration of the acquisition that defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich describes as “constantly giving us feedback” and “as inclusive as ever, especially for a player of this caliber”?
Rodgers’ calf also deserved good news. Saleh insisted that his quarterback was “fine and just doing a bunch of rehab” on Wednesday before activating the plan “to get him back” to full participation on Friday and next week.
So all, for the most part, was fine around the Jets’ setup on Wednesday. Even as a tell-all story with a slew of recorded quotes from Rodgers sent echoes throughout the rest of the NFL world – and in particular, the club Rodgers played for 18 years in Green Bay.
New details emerge in Rodgers-Packers acrimony
Rodgers did not refute, in a conversation with Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, the account that he asked Brian Gutekunst to fire Packers general manager in 2021. He simply deferred his comments about it to his agent, Dave Dunn, while later describing his strained communication. with Gutenkust in part saying, “I talk to the people I love.”
Rodgers scoffed at the idea that he was totally uncommunicative this spring with the Packers front office, conceding that Gutenkust texted him more than the quarterback texted “but did I ghost him? No.”
“I texted him back,” Rodgers told The Athletic. “There was back and forth that we had and so this is the story you want to go with? You’re going to stand on that hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise’s history you’re going to say that I couldn’t reach him and that’s why we had to pass to something else ?
“Like, come on man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on.
The feature detailed the tension that followed the Packers selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Rodgers questioned how sincerely the Packers worked to keep All-Pro receiver Davante Adams in the building last year before Adams was finally traded to the Las Vegas Raiders on March 17, 2022 – just one day after the Packers confirmed Rodgers’ final contract extension.
Rodgers seemed to find catharsis in sharing his deep but chaotic side to this story.
His new team – and even him on the outside, days away from giving an interview published on Wednesday morning – were unfazed.
Rodgers seemed unbothered as he cycled alongside his best friend and teammate for most of the past 13 years, wide receiver Randall Cobb.
He looked at peace as he walked physically and mentally at Saleh’s pace, acting on his day off like a coaching suit or, as Saleh would say, a “flag bearer” setting the tone and educating his teammates on both sides of the ball. .
Rodgers looked focused as he watched 7-on-7 drills from around 20 yards out as Wilson escaped the makeshift pocket, rushed to his left and found wide receiver Diontae Spencer in the end zone.
Celebrating the touchdown, Rodgers cheered.
“His impact on this team and especially these young players,” Ulbrich said, “is going to be felt for the rest of their entire careers.”
Rodgers makes his first personal and professional impressions of the Jets
It remains to be seen how Rodgers and the Jets will handle regular season adversity.
But during the honeymoon phase of spring training, her new franchise is happily married.
Veteran left tackle Duane Brown marveled at Rodgers’ “grip” on an offense he’s already known for three seasons with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay. Brown anchored the left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks as Russell Wilson won four straight Pro Bowl berths. Still, watching Rodgers participate in offensive line meetings and weigh in on pre-snap tricks left Brown feeling like “just the command he has of everything is different.”
Ulbrich agreed, eager to test new schematic wrinkles against a quarterback who will expose any weaknesses during training camp, a quarterback who he believes will capitalize if the defense is shifted by even a few minutes. A tic. The defensive coordinator’s early conversations with Rodgers prompted Ulbrich to begin creating movie footage for the two to compare views — starting with the Jets-Packers game in which they faced off last season.
And then there are the personal first impressions Rodgers leaves, with sophomore running back Breece Hall smiling about the pizza and playoff hockey they bonded over during a trip to New York that included also quarterback Tim Boyle, wide receiver Allen Lazard and offensive guard Connor McGovern. Hall referenced inside jokes he already has with his quarterback despite barely a month as teammates and an age gap of more than 17½ years.
“He’s a prankster,” Hall said. “He’s actually really cool, really funny. He and I actually make fun of each other a lot.
Neither Hall nor anyone in the Jets organization mentioned or seemed concerned Wednesday about Rodgers’ grievances airing again that morning. Could this dichotomy be part of Rodgers putting the finishing touches on his Packers chapter as he settles into his new position with the Jets? Could the weights, even some self-imposed ones, be lifted?
“Can you imagine being somewhere for 18 years and then going somewhere else?” Cobb asked. “Something different, a new environment, new people, a different situation. It triggers something different in you. And I think you can definitely see it in his face.
“This freshness brings you something different.”