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By: Thomas Christopher
How long will Aaron Rodgers be patient with the New York Jets offensive line?
The offensive line was arguably the New York Jets‘ biggest question mark going into the offseason. Now, midway through August, it’s still the biggest question mark.
Aaron Rodgers has been telling Jets fans to R-E-L-A-X. On Wednesday, Rodgers said his concern level about the offensive line is “pretty low”. But how much longer will the four-time NFL MVP show patience with Gang Green’s weakest unit?
Rodgers has acknowledged that while he’s not overly concerned about the team’s offensive line, it could quickly become a big issue.
“Now that [his concern level over the offensive line] might change,” said Rodgers on Wednesday. “At some point I might say, ‘Hey I need the five who are gonna be in there to be in there with me for a solid week.’ But I don’t think we’re at that point yet because I don’t think there’s five guys that have earned those spots.”
Jets head coach Robert Saleh has echoed Rodgers’ relaxed demeanor in public. But NFL fans saw first-hand what the head coach really feels about the unit in the latest episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks.
The offensive line hasn’t gotten much better since then, either.
After a porous showing in joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, the Jets OL did little to stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week later.
Rodgers constantly running for his life. Steps up and finds Garrett again. #Jets pic.twitter.com/2xnuEukfMn
— Let’s Talk Jets! (@TalkJetsRadio) August 16, 2023
Granted, three of the team’s projected starting offensive linemen were unable to practice, but the overall theme of the summer hasn’t changed.
Rodgers is getting worse at handling pressure as he ages, which makes sense. A 39-year-old quarterback shouldn’t be expected to be as nimble as his younger counterpart. But compounding the lack of talent on the offensive line is the team’s introduction to a new offensive system.
The Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as their new offensive coordinator after parting ways with Mike LaFleur. Hackett worked with Rodgers for multiple years in Green Bay, but that familiarity only extends so far. For the rest of the team, it’s another learning curve – with little time to perfect it.
For the Jets, who are looking to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011, continuity is essential for success. Not only will the offensive line have to protect well, but they’ll need to be on the same page with Rodgers for every snap. We saw the Packers struggle with that last season, and it cost the team opportunities to exploit.
Aaron Rodgers yells at Josh Myers: “Snap the f*** ball…” pic.twitter.com/3IPOCYMjTn
— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) October 2, 2022
Unlike the Packers (who added few offensive playmakers during Rodgers’ tenure), the Jets have been willing to accommodate their new quarterback with his preferred weapons. Not only have they signed his former teammates Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, but they recently went out and made a luxury addition with Dalvin Cook.
While these moves probably bought some patience from Rodgers in the short term, something needs to change up front – and fast.
Whether or not the Jets make another move for the offensive line is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain. If New York isn’t able to keep Rodgers upright this season, there will be more than just a little trouble in the Big Apple.
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Originally posted on Jets X-Factor