When the Green Bay Packers traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, they made it undeniably clear that they were committed to their 2020 first round draft pick, Jordan Love. When the Jets traded for Rodgers, they made it clear that they believe that their 2022 team was a quarterback short of competing for a Super Bowl. Many in the national media do not expect the Packers to be very good this season. At the same time, they do believe the Jets will indeed be in Super Bowl contention.
Nathaniel Hackett, the former Packers’ offensive coordinator who now holds the same role with the Jets, however, recently gave a statement that encouraged fans and media to temper their expectations for the New York offense.
Former Green Bay Packers Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett Says There Will Be Growing Pains with Aaron Rodgers on the New York Jets
In an interview with Antwan Staley of The New York Daily News, Hackett said the following regarding Rodgers and the young Jets players getting into a groove:
“Potential is one of those fancy words that we haven’t done anything yet. Right now, we have some very good pieces, some very good people and players on the field. There has to be cohesion, there has to be a mesh. Aaron runs things on the field very uniquely, so there are a lot of things the guys are going to have to learn and get used to. Where that goes, I’m not sure. But I know there’s going to be some growing pains, there’s going to be some bumps. It is just about us getting on the field, everybody getting comfortable with each other and we will see where it goes.”
As Hackett coached Rodgers for three seasons prior to leaving to be the one-and-done head coach of the Denver Broncos, he knows the future Hall of Famer well as a player. He has seen Rodgers mesh well with some players, but not others. It is also interesting to note the criticism Rodgers received last year when the Packers had three rookie wide receivers. While Rodgers has been present at Jets’ voluntary activities, he skipped those activities with the Packers. There are many fans who felt/feel that his absence led to a failure to connect with the young receivers.
In many ways, Hackett’s comments give credence to the Packers fans who criticized Rodgers for not coming to team activities until mandatory training camp. At the time, quarterbacks coach Tom Clements defended Rodgers’ absence by saying the rookies needed to be eased in, needed time to learn the playbook before taking the field with Rodgers, who would expect them to know certain things.
Another criticism from last year came from former players that stated that Rodgers would use hand signals he used under Mike McCarthy, a coach they never played for. This led to confusion and missed opportunity out on the field.
It sounds like Rodgers is rejuvenated in New York, and is happily taking part in voluntary activities. This is not unusual as it is a new team with many new players (to Rodgers). While having Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Billy Turner will breed some familiarity for him, he will need to form a bond with the young wide receivers, a bond he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) form with the young pass catchers in Green Bay.
And as Hackett says, “we will see where it goes.” Success in the NFL is never guaranteed.
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