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New York Jets QB Aaron Rodgers out for Season with Torn Achilles
On Tuesday, September 12th, 2023 the New York Jets announced that they have lost their superstar veteran starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, to a season - ending torn Achilles tendon which was ultimately confirmed earlier this week by an MRI.
The New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh gave his back - up quarterback, Zach Wilson, a much - needed strong endorsement as the new starting QB as he scoffed at those all of those people who now believe their playoff hopes are ruined after just the first week of the 2023 - 2024 NFL season.
"I don't know why people are trying to put an obituary under our team name," the New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh explained to the major sports media outlets via a Zoom call.
Rodgers was injured on just the New York Jets' 4th - snap of the 2023 - 2024 season of the National Football League, and Aaron was placed on injured reserve as his torn Achilles tendon will definitively require surgery in order to repair his left foot.
Saleh declined to divulge a timetable for Rodgers’ return, but at this point all indications seem to signify the New York Jets’ hope that the NFL’s 4 - time MVP award winner and the centerpiece to the New York Jets’ blockbuster 2023 NFL offseason will stay with his football team throughout the duration of his upcoming intensive rehabilitation process following the surgery.
Replacing the Star QB
Rodgers’ latest devastating injury has absolutely sparked intense speculation regarding possible replacements at the quarterback position for the New York Jets. The New York Jets front office may be contemplating adding a veteran QB to their team roster, but Saleh made a point to emphasize that Wilson is the new first - string quarterback of the New York Jets, and that no acquisition would be brought in to compete with the previous 1st - round NFL draft pick of the New York Jets franchise.
"I do want to make it very clear: Zach's our quarterback. We've got a lot of faith in Zach. This is Zach's team, and we're rolling with Zach," Saleh added.
Wilson, who had mightily struggled throughout the duration of the past 2022 - 2023 NFL season was demoted two times, and he will make his 23rd - career NFL start this Sunday against the dominant Dallas Cowboys who are currently sitting at 1 and 0 after they destroyed the New York Giants last Sunday evening. The journeyman QB, Tim Boyle, will be brought up from the New York Jets practice squad to now be the primary back - up quarterback for the time being.
The New York Jets' ultimate plan was to have the 24 - year - old Wilson to study under the tutelage of Rodgers for a couple of seasons prior to putting Zach back in the starting quarterback role, but everything quickly changed drastically after approximately 4 - minutes into the New York Jets’ last Monday night's 22 to 16 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills.
As Rodgers was attempting to spin free from the relentless pass rush of the Buffalo Bills’ defensive end, Leonard Floyd, Aaron’s left leg was cemented into the artificial turf of MetLife Stadium and Rodgers’ Achilles tendon ruptured. A slow - mo replay displayed his left calf muscle, the same calf he strained in organized team activities, reverberating all the way up his left leg up to his knee as he went down taking the sack by Floyd.
The guard close to the play tried to help Rodgers up, but Aaron said to him, "I'm not getting up," according to the offensive lineman, Alijah Vera - Tucker (guard).
Is All Lost?
That play was quite a crushing blow to the New York Jets promising season as the Jets had traded for Rodgers and constructed their 2023 - 2024 NFL season around Aaron. Due to the fact that Rodgers is now 39 - years - old as well as the severity of this recent injury, Aaron’s future playing quarterback in the National Football League is now a major question and / or concern.
Before the NFL’s last Monday Night Football game, the former Green Bay Packers superstar veteran QB stated on multiple occasions that he wanted to play several more seasons. Rodgers is under contract through the 2024 - 2025 NFL season, and he is due a total of $75 million in total guaranteed money following him taking a voluntary $35 million pay cut last August in order for the New York Jets to improve their team roster. Aaron will earn $37 million this NFL season in fully guaranteed dollars.
Saleh decided not to speculate on Rodgers' future as he is often unwilling to reveal a whole lot of detailed information to the public.
"As you guys can imagine, he's down," Saleh goes on to say. "I'll let him answer those questions. I didn't get into the future of what he's expecting or what he's thinking. I think that's a conversation, tactfully, left for another day. But he's, as you can imagine, with everything that he's invested in this, he's obviously a little disappointed."
A - Rod now will face several months of intensive rehab, but the New York Jets do indeed want him around at the very least as a mentor in their quarterback room. Rodgers could prove to help develop other QB’s in the current New York Jets offensive system.
"We all want him to be connected, and I think he wants to be here," Saleh expressed.
The New York Jets, who began this young NFL season with big - time Super Bowl aspirations, will now have to turn to the quarterback they pushed to the bench both last season as well as during the past offseason of the National Football League. The New York Jets labeled this as a "reset" NFL season for Zach Wilson, who spent the previous few months learning as much as he could at Rodgers' hip. The hope and intention of the New York Jets was that Wilson would be able to improve his fundamental football skills while not having to endure the unbelievable pressures of starting as a quarterback in the NFL.
Zach managed to spark a firestorm last year after putting up an extremely poor performance versus the New York Jets divisional rival in the New England Patriots, and then he failed to accept any of the blame for the devastating loss during his postgame news conference. That lost him the backing of most of his teammates in the New York Jets locker room. Just 2 - days later, he was benched in favor of the New York Jets’ back - up QB.
Wilson was very outspoken now when he said he is, "a lot more prepared," after having worked with Rodgers over the past 2023 NFL offseason.
"The hardest part is now putting it into a game, and I've got to be able to do that," the New York Jets quarterback, Zach Wilson, stated last Monday night following the game.
After having to come in to the game to replace Rodgers during the first possession of last Monday night’s game, Wilson miraculously went 14 - for - 21 which was good for a grand total of 140 - passing yards. Zach threw did unfortunately throw into heavy coverage for a costly interception, but he also helped rally his football team back from a 10 - point deficit in the 4th - quarter last Monday night with a 3 - yard touchdown completion to the New York Jets young premier wide receiver in Garrett Wilson.
Wilson somehow managed to win 5 of his initial 6 starts last year, even though he passed for less than 155 - yards throughout 3 of those victories for the New York Jets.
"Everything about him is just so much different than a year ago," says Saleh. "It's happening faster than I think anyone expected, obviously, under the circumstances, but he's somebody that's made a drastic improvement from a year ago."
Comments from CB Darius Slay of the Philadelphia Eagles
Rodgers' injury of course directed many conversations around the league towards the new turf field at MetLife Stadium and the overall safety of turf surfaces for the players in the National Football League. The Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, Darius Slay, ripped the quality of the field to the sports reporters in Philadelphia following this game.
"MetLife, everybody knows about that god damn stadium," the Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, Darius Slay relayed to the press. "They need to get real grass. That's trash. That's sad for anybody to go down because we play this dangerous game, man. Everybody thinks we're superheroes, but we're really not."
Coach Saleh obviously does not think the field turf was the ultimate cause of Rodgers’ injury as he said, "No. If it was a noncontact injury, I think that'd be something to discuss, obviously. But that was kind of a forcible [injury]. I think that was trauma induced. I do know the players prefer grass and there's a lot invested in those young men."
During the 2023 NFL preseason, Rodgers mentioned that he prefers to play on natural grass, but he stated that MetLife Stadium is, "one of the best surfaces I've seen that's artificial."
Rodgers’ Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- Super Bowl Champion (XLV)
- Super Bowl MVP Award Winner (XLV)
- 4 - Time NFL Most Valuable Player Award Winner (2011, 2014, 2020, 2021)
- 4 - Time First - Team NFL All - Pro Selection (2011, 2014, 2020, 2021)
- Second - Team NFL All - Pro Selection (2012)
- 10 - Time NFL Pro Bowl Selection (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
- 4 - Time NFL Passer Rating Leader (2011, 2012, 2020, 2021)
- 2 - Time NFL Passing Touchdowns Leader (2016, 2020)
- NFL Completion Percentage Leader (2020)
- NFL 2010’s All - Decade Team Selection
- Bart Starr Award Winner (2014)
- Associated Press Athlete of the Year Award Winner (2011)
- Bert Bell Award Winner (2011)
Rodgers’ NFL Records
- Single Season Passer Rating of 122.5 (2011)
- Lowest Interception Percentage in a Season at 0.3 % (2018)
- Consecutive Passes without an Interception with 402
“Jets' Aaron Rodgers has torn Achilles tendon, ending season”, Rich Cimini, espn.com, September 12, 2023.
“Aaron Rodgers”, pro-football-reference.com, September 14, 2023.