The New York Jets kicked off the 2023 season with a thrilling 22-16 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. On the other side of the coin, Gang Green also lost its’ star QB1 Aaron Rodgers for the season.
Where Do the Jets Go From Here at QB?
1. Aaron Rodgers will miss the rest of the 2023 season. Where should the Jets go from here? What would you do if you were the general manager making the decisions?
I’m sure Joe Douglas will make as many calls as he can to see if any veterans shake free via trade, but let’s be honest, most teams have their quarterback locked in with the season underway. You might be able to acquire a comparable talent to Zach Wilson, but you aren’t finding another Rodgers or anything remotely close to that.
I would hand the keys back to Wilson and bring in a more reliable backup, should he struggle or get injured. I do not trust Tim Boyle at all — if the Jets were to call upon him — so I need someone added to the roster that is an upgrade on him at the minimum.
What a devastating injury for the player, this team, and this incredible fan base. They all deserved better but nonetheless, this is the NFL and these things can happen, especially to the Jets.
In the immediate, you have to ride the Wilson train, but I’d leave the door open for a veteran quarterback addition sooner rather than later.
If I’m going to make a trade it has to be of consequential nature, I won’t just make a deal for the hell of it. I want a player who has a ceiling/upside not just a veteran that can hold down the fort. If that’s the direction I’d rather stick with Wilson.
2. Is there any chance the Jets ride out this season with Zach Wilson as QB1? If you had to put a percentage on that, what would you say?
I think there’s a 50-50 chance of that, yes, and it all comes down to how Wilson performs. If he comes out and looks like a prospect that has grown under a new coaching staff — we saw some of that growth against the Bills, but not enough — then it’s his show. After all, raw talent has never been the issue with this kid.
Wilson is a near-lock to start against Dallas based on the short week. That’s no easy matchup, but if he can survive that pass rush without completely embarrassing himself, maybe the Jets roll with him long-term.
The other caveat is: who’s available?
If the Jets somehow have a chance at a clear starter-level talent, they probably make the move and continue the win-now push. That feels unlikely though. Let’s say signing Carson Wentz is your best option, do you really believe he’s better than Wilson at this point in his career? Personally, I’d prefer the young gun.
I’d go slightly higher at a 60 percent chance that Wilson rides out the season as QB1.
What’s Rodgers’ future? Will he be back in 2024? He is 39 years of age and turns 40 in December. This torn Achilles is a very serious injury that normally has a recovery timeline of around a year.
If Rodgers is back does that complicate the kinds of quarterbacks you could chase in 2023? Quite possibly.
If Wilson is a disaster against the Cowboys I could see this Jets team seriously staring itself in the mirror asking some serious questions about what’s next at QB.
Jets-Bills Notes From Season Opener
3. Oh yeah the Jets also made a remarkable comeback against a division foe without the help of Rodgers for 99 percent of the game. What was your biggest takeaway [non-Rodgers related] from this impressive win?
This is the No. 1 defense in the NFL and — if you’ll allow me another — Breece Hall is so back.
No matter who the quarterback is, the blueprint doesn’t change. This team was built to pound the run game and stifle teams with a ferocious defense that just does not quit for four quarters.
It is sad, because you have to wonder how good this team could have been with Rodgers at the helm, on top of all that above. Having said that, life and football are never easy. Adversity is the name of the game and this defense needs to own the mindset of a unit that can’t be beat.
Hall punched the Bills in the mouth and introduced himself properly. He missed the two scheduled matchups with Buffalo last season due to a torn ACL.
Hall and the defense as a whole deserve their flowers. What about Garrett Freaking Wilson?
That catch may be the greatest catch I’ve ever seen in my life. We all knew he was good, but that good? Oh my, watch out NFL.
That would’ve been cool to see what that connection between Rodgers and Wilson could have looked like this season. Now we’ll see if he can do it with less at quarterback.
4. If I gave you a chance to provide an updated floor versus ceiling in terms of wins and losses for the Jets in 2023, what would you say at this moment in time?
I still think this is a better roster/culture than last year and I’ve always believed in Wilson’s potential more than most. Turn him into Mark Sanchez — with a better arm — and you’ve got something here.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I still think this team is Super Bowl or bust, but I don’t think the season is over either. There are 53 grown men in that locker room and this is where leadership comes into play.
In my opinion, the goal is still to win the division and/or break the playoff drought first and go from there. The NFL is unpredictable and despite the Rodgers injury, that thrilling Week 1 victory was perfect proof of that. And if you can beat Josh Allen and the Bills, why not us?
This team is better than last year.
I said Super Bowl before the Rodgers news, it’s hard to still say that now after losing a future first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer.
However this defense is truly special, special teams is top-notch, and the offense has a ton of talent. If Wilson can be a souped-up Trent Dilfer, maybe this team can win a championship with him at QB.
It’s an impossible question to answer at this point, so I’ll stick to my guns until proven otherwise. I mean this team is 1-0 after all, so get the parades ready New York!
5. PREDICTION TIME: The Jets will travel on a short week to Dallas to play the Cowboys, how do you see this one playing out?
This may be the toughest game all year to predict and we’re only in Week 2. The Jets responded to adversity on opening night, but the players didn’t know if Rodgers was out for the game or done for the year at the time.
With the Achilles tear confirmed, that’s a tough blow to the locker room. Mentally, can they get themselves right ahead of a matchup with a Super Bowl contender that just embarrassed the Giants on national television? This Dallas defense is also Wilson and the Jets’ worst nightmare — with a pass rush that rivals their own.
This profiles as a low-scoring game with a heavy emphasis on the run. That’s the Cowboys’ weakness and the Jets have to utilize the legs of Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, Michael Carter, and Zach Wilson himself. If they do so, I could see them pulling out another victory because this defense is that good.
However, with the weight of the Rodgers news hanging over the week and the matchup being a terrible one for this NYJ O-line, the unbiased reporter in me says that this is a loss on paper. Again, I believe in Zach more than most do and I hope to be wrong, but I’ll take Dallas in a grind-it-out victory: 19-13.
Boy Green (1-0)
I’ll be at this game, I’ve never been to Jerry’s world and it’ll be a special moment with my dad who is a die-hard Cowboys fan.
Dallas is really good they just blew the barn doors off of the New York Giants. I think that was more so Big Blue being terrible as opposed to Dallas being the second coming of the 1985 Chicago Bears.
The defense is legit but the Giants made them look even better than they are. I also could see a very low-scoring game, but I think the Jets have something to prove and they can force Dak Prescott into some mistakes.
Give me Gang Green over America’s Team winning this one 20-15 in Week 2.