Of all the incredible things to talk about after Week 1, there’s only one thing we’re focused on this week.
AARON RODGERS IS OUT FOR THE YEAR
Here’s the deal. No one, and I mean no one, has made more fun of Aaron Rodgers and his ridiculous “inoculation” lies, ivermectin love and ayahuasca retreats than I have. The fact that he’s a 9/11 truther and suffered this season ending injury on 9/11 while playing for a New York team should not be lost on anyone who believes in karma, which I do. But, as a football fan, this really sucks.
Because here’s the thing. As much as I’ve made fun of Aaron Rodgers, I was just as excited as everyone else to see him take the field with the New York Jets this year and see how it all turned out. In spite of the Jets trying everything they could to get out of being on HBO’s Hard Knocks, it turns out their season was the best in the history of the show. And Rodgers came off great. Yes, I think trutherism is despicable. I think the fact that he lied about his vaccination status, and the pathetic “punishment” from the NFL delivered in response was ridiculous, but he’s a hard guy not to like. Yes, I still made the jokes on Twitter about hoping the Jets’ shaman was on call to check his chakras after the injury and that maybe rubbing ivermectin on it would help, but my own truth is, I’m bummed.
I’m still going to make the jokes about a guy that trusts Joe Rogan more than the medical science he must now depend on to recover from this injury, but I’m not happy about it. This isn’t schadenfreude. I don’t know if German has a word for what I’m feeling right now. Which is crazy, because they usually have a word for everything.
Regardless, Rodgers will be watching from the sidelines this season as a loaded Jets team, maybe with some offensive line issues, struggles to hit .500 when they would have, unquestionably, made the playoffs with a healthy Rodgers at QB. And, once you’re in the tournament, anything can happen. Frankly, if Rodgers hadn’t been hurt, they would have blown out the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, which means they not only could have won the AFC East, but with the Kansas City Chiefs seeming suddenly mortal, maybe landed homefield advantage in the playoffs. If you’re a Jets fan right now, I hope you pace yourself. Drink some water in between shots of whatever is getting you through this. It’s going to be a long and frustrating year.
Here’s the thing. I keep reading, seeing and hearing all the ideas about what the Jets should do at quarterback now that Rodgers is out. I know exactly what you should do — roll with Zach Wilson. Yes, I’m the guy that said back in 2021 that drafting Wilson in the first round was a stupid mistake and that he was all but guaranteed to bust out,,, that comparing him to Josh Allen (which has its own irony now after Monday night’s game) was stupid and you can’t count on that kind of talent leap from a player that never showed it in college but hear me out. He’s there. And Rodgers is still there as a coach and mentor and, if Hard Knocks can be trusted (and I love NFL Films, so I hope it can be), Wilson really leaned into the whole Danel-san to Mr. Miyagi relationship with Rodgers in the preseason. It looked like it was working and that keeping Wilson, who wouldn’t have been a bad pick if he’d be taken in the third round, was a good idea. Let it play out.
What’s the worst that could happen? They’re terrible and have a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s draft. They’re already off the hook for a first-round pick because Rodgers won’t play 60 percent of the snaps. That means they’ve just given up a 2024 second rounder for his rights. And I believe, without question, that Rodgers will fight back to form to play next season just to spite people like me, who made fun of him for lying about taking the vaccine but then took the monoclonal antibody treatment created by that same evil big pharma that he claims to hate while talking to Joe Rogan, who apparently thinks the HRT therapy that Rogan himself takes to stay ripped comes from some artisanal farm in Vermont and not some evil pharmaceutical company.
We live in the stupidest multiverse timeline.
What if, and hear me out, Zach Wilson turns into a serviceable quarterback? It’s why the Jets drafted him in the first place for God’s sake. They have a phenomenal defense. They play in an AFC East with a New England Patriots team that should be garbage and a Buffalo Bills team they’ve not only already beaten but shown that Josh Allen might just be an above average quarterback instead of the superstar that all of NFL punditry (and EA) has decided he must be. After Week 1, it’s hard to see the Miami Dolphins not running away with the division, but a Wild Card berth is still there and New York already as a game advantage on the only other team in realistic contention.
Stop all this craziness about calling other teams about their quarterbacks. If anyone believed the Los Angeles Rams were “tanking” in the preseason, their 30-13 route of the Seattle Seahawks ended that “thought” for good. The Rams are playing for real and Stafford is their QB. Don’t even bother making that call.
Carson Wentz? Colt McCoy? Do they really give you more than Zach Wilson? And what if they did? You’re not winning a Super Bowl with either of those guys. Is making the playoffs enough. I legitimately think it would be insane, after how well coached the Jets obviously are, for the team to fire any of their coaches after this season, especially head coach Robert Saleh. So what’s the point in trying to battle for some manufactured AFC Wild Card appearance with Wentz or Taylor Heinicke or Case Keenum or whoever you want to toss out there?
If winning a Super Bowl is the goal, none of those guys (outside of Stafford, who is not available) is getting you there. So forget it.
Ride with Wilson. See if he can be the guy after Rodgers or enjoy the high first round pick his faceplant gets you. This sucks. For all of us, as NFL fans, not just Jets fans. But lean into it. Nothing good long term can come from some QB panic trade or acquisition.
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.