Can we be easy and minimize by way of the mess because it pertains to the Jets’ quarterback state of affairs? There is no such thing as a circumstance beneath which Aaron Rodgers coming again to play for the Jets this season makes any sense for his or her current or future circumstances.
It’s undeniably laborious to observe a group with a protection that’s championship-ready play offense 3 yards at a time, however sadly that’s the fact for the Jets this season. Regardless of what number of instances Rodgers says to players on the field that he can be again in just a few weeks, or “corrects” himself by saying he’s “just a few fortnights” away from returning, creating the phantasm that he’s near taking part in serves no goal.
As all football-watchers know, Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon 4 performs into the Jets’ season opener towards the Payments, a recreation they ended up successful as a result of stingy protection and an extra time punt return for a TD. That efficiency, to a level, kicked off the theme of the Jets’ season: a steady query to the soccer gods of “what if?” What if Rodgers was capable of come again? What if the Jets didn’t must waste a championship-caliber protection on Zach Wilson? What if this group had simply common quarterback play?
It’s a tantalizing alternate actuality, however that’s all it’s — an alternate actuality that has no bearing on the present occasions which have led Rodgers and the Jets thus far. Rodgers returning at this charge of velocity can be unprecedented. It has been nearly two months since Rodgers tore his Achilles. This could be a degree of restoration that hasn’t been seen on the NFL degree earlier than. The closest comparability to this might be present Vikings working again Cam Akers, who first tore his Achilles in July 2021. Akers returned in file time and was capable of be a part of the energetic roster in time for the Rams’ run to a Tremendous Bowl championship.
Whereas that was a miraculous restoration, Akers has not been the identical participant since he zoomed by way of his harm. Since 2022, Akers has mustered solely 3.8 yards per carry, and averaged 1.3 yards per carry with the Rams this season earlier than he was finally traded to the Vikings. Sadly for Akers, he suffered one other Achilles tear this previous weekend towards the Falcons that may sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Akers was 22 the primary time he tore his Achilles. Rodgers turns 40 subsequent month. A 40-year-old man not simply recovering from an Achilles tear, however having the energy and dexterity to guard himself on an NFL area behind a struggling offensive line defies something that has beforehand been often called attainable. That is precisely why it’s not prone to occur. Akers even had about six weeks’ value of restoration time earlier than the common season even kicked off. Rodgers’ harm occurred in the course of the Jets’ first recreation.
The following query surrounding Rodgers’ flirting with return is a straightforward one: Why?
With the ability to gingerly throw against air earlier than a recreation doesn’t have a robust bearing on if he’ll have the ability to swimsuit up earlier than the season is over. It’s simple to return to the conclusion that Rodgers might wish to play as a result of he’s on the finish of his profession, however that doesn’t imply that he ought to play. The Jets’ present offensive supporting solid won’t even have the ability to shield and protect a participant who’s recent off an Achilles tear.
In fact, none of it will matter if the Jets fail to make the playoffs this season with Wilson as their quarterback. The Jets at present have the eleventh seed within the AFC and might want to hold tempo with the Payments, Texans, Chargers and many of the AFC North. It’s not unattainable given the standard of their protection, however this can be very troublesome to win with an offense that’s as dangerous because the Jets’ unit is. This can be a lot ado about nothing in just a few weeks as a result of there’s completely no motive for Rodgers to return if the Jets are out of playoff rivalry.
Nobody would even be speaking about this if Rodgers himself didn’t hold insinuating that he was going to return this season. This doesn’t must be a contemporary medicinal miracle that defies every little thing beforehand identified about Achilles tears within the NFL — simply wait till subsequent yr and see if Rodgers can return to type as soon as he’s really at full energy.