For most of Tuesday morning, the conversation about NFL widescreen football was happening in Eagan, Minnesota. Questions abounded at league owners’ meetings over whether kickoffs were targeted for game elimination; when Washington’s commanders would finally be sold; and how long Commissioner Roger Goodell would continue in his duties as the highest paid executive in the history of the sport.
It was the typical big picture that simmers in meetings. And all it took to brush it off early in the news cycle was Aaron Rodgers showing up to a New York Jets practice without a helmet. Just like that, Jets Panic — which deserves a WebMD page at this point — has grabbed every corner of the social media spaces.
Why isn’t Rodgers taking walk-in reps? Does he limp? What happened? Is it serious?
If you wanted an accurate look at what Rodgers’ stint with the Jets will look like, this was it. With the euphoria of last month’s trade from the Green Bay Packers hidden away, it was a dose of white-handed reality showing what it feels like to have so much leverage over a 39-year-old quarterback. The good times for Jets fans might be as exhilarating as they hope, but the inevitable bumps along the way will be strangled with anxiety. And all it will take to kick things into high gear is for Rodgers to show virtually any element of a problem. Even one that was as simple as what a team source described as “nothing” and “mild calf strain.”
“I just polished my calf in the little pre-workout conditioning and decided to take a day at the vet,” Rodgers told reporters after practice.
When asked what he was doing when the injury happened, Rodgers replied, “I don’t know. Just running, I guess.
That answer was largely on point because reporters observed Rodgers stretching his calf after an exercise that involved performing lunges while holding a medicine ball — a warm-up routine that Rodgers said was unlike any he’s done. he had made during his career. After the injury, he remained on the pitch, which usually indicates that he was not serious enough to require immediate therapy.
Reaction from much of the Jets fan base, however, was not so muted. This was followed by Zach Wilson memes, an avalanche of groans on Twitter about the Jets’ curse and predictable lamentations that New York would have given up next season’s first-round pick if Rodgers only plays 65% of offensive shots in 2023.
None of this was nonsense, of course. Wilson is just one injury away from Rodgers to be the Jets’ No. 1 quarterback again. It’s as inevitable as it is scary for part of the fan base. But while we’re on the subject of Wilson, it’s worth mentioning that he reportedly had a good workout taking on Rodgers’ reps on Tuesday. As for the curse, well, there has been no shortage of best-laid plans that have turned into dismal failure over the past few decades for the Jets. So this emotional dark cloud is at least understandable.
But perhaps the most important point in the totality of fan reaction is that 65% offensive break point, which will always be the first thing that comes to mind if Rodgers suffers an injury of any kind. If there’s one point of frustration in the Rodgers trade that’s sure to resurface in the months to come, it’s that low bar to throw a first-round pick at the Packers once Rodgers gets to that point. reference. If he doesn’t play enough snaps, Green Bay only gets a second round from the Jets. The risk in this asset is as real as it gets, and the Jets need to take every precaution to avoid hitting Rodgers. And that could include making him do lower-body warm-ups that his 39-year-old joints aren’t used to. God forbid Rodgers suffered a knee injury jumping with that medicine ball. Half New Jersey would have descended on the Florham Park facilities with pitchforks and torches. That’s how invested the fanbase is in all of this.
This membership is also going to be fascinating about the Rodgers experience in New York over the next few months (or years). Even among the many NFL fanbases who go through wild mood swings about the team or a particular player, few rival the peaks and valleys of New York, let alone breakneck speed. at which the heights can sink into the depths. It’s not so much a roller coaster as a shuttle launch into space followed by a descent to Earth.
Never more than 2023, when the team logo might as well be a seatbelt. That’s what the Jets signed up for. That’s what the vast majority of the fan base was clamoring for. And that’s pretty much what we expected when Rodgers’ marriage to the Jets was finalized. A media churn capable of eclipsing the rest of the league’s fairly significant business…on a Tuesday in May, no less.
Welcome to the preview. Just wait for the full-fledged circus to arrive at training camp.