What’s subsequent for Jets after Aaron Rodgers dream lasted 4 performs

Estimated read time 15 min read
What's next for Jets after Aaron Rodgers dream lasted four plays

Even the cruelest “Arduous Knocks” twist wouldn’t have plotted what occurred on the fourth snap of the primary drive that began the Jets’ season.

There wasn’t a model that would have accounted for the punt return landing from undrafted wideout Xavier Gipson that ended the sport Monday evening, both.

At first, it was the nightmare that each Jets fan — each dreamer who thought Aaron Rodgers might replicate Broadway Joe’s Tremendous Bowl III success — feared but nobody anticipated.

Leonard Floyd sacked Rodgers, with the 39-year-old quarterback’s decrease left leg collapsing beneath him, and all of the promise of the Jets’ offseason collapsed with it. Rodgers sat down on the MetLife Stadium discipline. He hobbled over to the medical tent with trainers. A cart took him to the tunnel for X-rays.

After which Gipson’s game-winning 65-yard punt return landing in time beyond regulation, which sealed a come-from-behind 22-16 victory over the Payments, gave the Jets a cause to start out dreaming once more.

Xavier Gipson’s game-winning punt return supplied momentary ecstasy for Robert Saleh and the Jets.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Put up

Robert Saleh ripped off his headset and sprinted towards the top zone. It was an inconceivable conclusion. It was gorgeous. If solely there have been a sixth episode of “Arduous Knocks” on Tuesday evening.

However the Jets’ season-opening victory in opposition to the Payments was overshadowed by the longer term Corridor of Famer — the one that was single-handedly tasked with saving their franchise’s short-term trajectory — exiting with what Saleh later labeled an Achilles damage that probably ends Rodgers’ season. It’s “not good,” Saleh stated.

The primary-quarter sequence manifested the worst kind of irony as a result of all the pieces that wanted to go proper for the Jets this offseason had unfolded completely. They bought the quarterback they wanted within the strangest method potential — with a darkness retreat and a “Pat McAfee Present” declaration — giving them alternative to for a Tremendous Bowl run.

However few allowed themselves to consider the worst-case situation. What if Rodgers bought harm? What if he couldn’t play for an prolonged time period? What occurred then?

Monday evening was their introduction to that brutal actuality, and the Jets now face crucial choices within the coming days, particularly if the damage finally ends up being an Achilles rupture.

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets on a cart to leave the field at MetLife Stadium.
Aaron Rodgers left on a cart with what’s feared to be a season-ending Achilles damage.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Put up

Normal supervisor Joe Douglas might attempt to signal a quarterback from the scrap heap to compete with Zach Wilson. He might strive buying and selling a draft decide to grab one from one other group, too.

At the very least for one sport, although, the protection carried the Jets. Jordan Whitehead snagged three interceptions, and the protection collectively compelled 4 Josh Allen turnovers. They made a juggernaut Payments offense from previous seasons appear mundane.

At the very least on Monday, Garrett Wilson tapped a landing to himself after Payments cornerback Tre’Davious White appeared to interrupt up the cross. It was practically the identical spot as his catch from Rodgers within the preseason, this time with a unique distributor.

At the very least on Monday, the opposite Wilson — the quarterback who misplaced his beginning quarterback job final season and misplaced it once more when the Jets acquired Rodgers — was serviceable. He went 14-of-21 for 140 yards, a landing and an interception.

And now, the Jets’ season might hinge on him.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson scrambles under pressure from the Bills' Ed Oliver.
Zach Wilson is again because the Jets’ quarterback, ahead of anybody thought, until the group acquires one other passer.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Put up

The unusual confluence of occasions turned the palpable pregame buzz at MetLife Stadium right into a somber, defeated feeling by halftime. Gipson’s punt return injected a tinge of optimism again into the Jets’ temper.

That they had acquired Rodgers to be the lacking piece that an elite protection, a proficient group of ability place gamers and an evolving nucleus of younger expertise wanted. Even Rodgers’ pregame interview on ESPN mirrored the franchise’s expectations had been, have been and would be the Tremendous Bowl till some group — or some standings — inform them in any other case.

However even with out Rodgers, and even with out the limitless potential he offers them, the Jets confirmed they may nonetheless brew one thing particular. Possibly it was a fluke. Possibly it’s not sustainable with out Rodgers. Possibly they’ll want one other quarterback past Wilson to orchestrate a profitable marketing campaign.

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Possibly, although, Monday was a spark.

Immediately’s back and front pages

The front cover of the New York Post on September 12, 2023
New York Put up

The back cover of the New York Post on September 12, 2023
New York Put up

About these NFL overreactions …

Overreaction Monday has come and gone, and it’s simple to have a look at among the eye-popping numbers — Joe Burrow’s passing yards (82), the Giants’ factors allowed (40) — and assume that the preseason projections and expectations are meaningless.

Sports activities+ absorbed all of these takes that hit the panic button, all the worst-case eventualities that seemingly might grow to be new normals and compiled an inventory of which overreactions might transform essentially the most correct and which have the potential to look essentially the most silly:


Quarterback Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers throws the ball during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 10, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.
For a minimum of one sport, Jordan Love allowed Packers followers to show the web page from Aaron Rodgers.
Getty Photos

• Jordan Love appears to be like like the true deal in Inexperienced Bay. It’s robust to argue with this one after Love accomplished 15 of 27 passes for 3 touchdowns within the Packers’ convincing victory in opposition to the Bears. To be the actual deal, although, doesn’t imply replicating what Rodgers did throughout 18 seasons with the Packers.

That’s unrealistic.

If Love can full the throws he must make, it’ll open up extra avenues for Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to function, plus their protection — with Quay Walker, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander and others — appears positioned to maintain Love and the Packers offense inside hanging distance most video games, too.

• The Browns protection will truly be this good, and makes Cleveland an AFC North contender. Though the Bengals’ offense gained’t play this poorly each week (extra on that beneath), that defensive efficiency from Cleveland was spectacular.

Ex-Lions coach Jim Schwartz — who additionally was the architect of tenacious defenses in Philadelphia and Buffalo — grew to become the Browns’ defensive coordinator this offseason. It’s a unit that additionally added (three-time Professional Bowler) Za’Darius Smith and others to an present core that revolved round star defensive finish Myles Garrett.

This group seems constructed for these bodily, bad-weather matchups in opposition to the Ravens, Steelers and different AFC rivals as soon as the playoffs close to.

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Myles Garrett and the Browns protection weren’t very hospitable hosts to Joe Burrow in Week 1.
Getty Photos

• The Dolphins, once more, reminded everybody of simply how far a wholesome Tua Tagovailoa might take them. It’s troublesome to gauge how far the Dolphins would have superior final season with a wholesome Tua, given how a lot time he missed on account of concussions, however Sunday’s victory in opposition to the Chargers — during which Tagovailoa went 28-for-45 for 466 yards, three touchdowns and an interception — supplied a blueprint for the way the Dolphins truly might win the AFC East. Groups want two spectacular defensive backs to comprise wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Head coach and offensive guru Mike McDaniel at all times has maximized his working backs’ potential, too. Vic Fangio was employed to revamp their protection, and, actually, that didn’t even matter within the high-scoring, 36-34 Miami win. The Dolphins will go so far as Tagovailoa, and his presence on the sector, directs them.


Joe Burrow’s 82 passing yards just a few days after changing into the highest-paid participant in NFL historical past foreshadows a poor season for the Bengals. Cincinnati can be fantastic. The core that superior to the Tremendous Bowl two years in the past largely stays intact, and so long as Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins stay wholesome, Burrow’s numbers will definitely enhance.

Lou Anarumo’s protection was a key a part of that run to Los Angeles in 2021, and greater than something, that unit might want to take among the stress off Burrow till the offense begins buzzing once more.

• The Giants will take a large step again after Sunday’s 40-0 loss. It was the precise reverse of what Sunday was presupposed to be for the Giants. This might’ve been the time to defeat the Cowboys — after pivotal offseasons for Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, Dexter Lawrence and others — and make an early assertion for the NFC East race, however extra questions emerged as a substitute.

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New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones #8 is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong #92 and Dallas Cowboys safety Juanyeh Thomas #30 during the second quarter.
On the brilliant facet for Daniel Jones and the Giants, they’ve 16 extra video games to play after their opening evening beatdown by the Cowboys.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Put up

The Giants aren’t as unhealthy as that sport advised. They’re in all probability inferior to final 12 months’s run to the NFC divisional spherical, both. However they need to, a minimum of, nonetheless be a gaggle competing for one of many wild-card spots, whereas additionally ending behind the Cowboys and the Eagles within the NFC East.

They actually shouldn’t find yourself behind the Commanders within the standings on the finish of the 12 months. If that’s the case, basic supervisor Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have some actual issues to handle.

• The Chiefs’ extensive receivers will spoil their dynastic run, even when Travis Kelce returns quickly. Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore didn’t encourage any hope that they may substitute wideouts akin to Hill and JuJu Smith-Schuster within the Kansas Metropolis offense.

However that is Patrick Mahomes. That is Andy Reid. And so long as they’re collectively in the identical offense, the Chiefs will nearly actually make the playoffs and make a run into late January.

That’s what the legendary coaches and quarterbacks do, particularly in the event that they’re each employed by the identical franchise.

If not Dominguez, then who?

New York Yankees center fielder Jasson Dominguez (89) 2-run home run during the third inning when the New York Yankees played the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, September 8, 2023 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY.
Jasson Dominguez’s eye-opening begin in The Bronx got here to a fast finish with a torn UCL that can sideline him effectively into 2024.
Robert Sabo for the NY Put up

There have been occasions — some extra apparent than others — when Harrison Bader resembled the kind of participant the Yankees ought to hold as their middle fielder past 2023, however the franchise’s desired long-term answer was rapidly progressing by way of the minors.

Jasson Dominguez was the longer term. He was the 20-year-old star prospect with the booming energy and tantalizing velocity and sufficient expertise to present Yankees followers a glimmer of hope amid a disappointing season. He was The Martian who would, at some point, land in The Bronx. However nearly per week after he lastly did, Dominguez felt soreness in his proper elbow, underwent imaging and was recognized Sunday with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Now, along with nonetheless needing that elusive left fielder, the Yankees additionally should pinpoint a middle fielder to start out 2024 with Dominguez probably out between 9 and 10 months. That will place him on a timetable to return in June or July, however the Yankees want somebody for the March, April and Might, too.

And that’s the place Bader re-enters the discourse. He’ll hit free company for the primary time this offseason, as soon as the Reds’ season ends and Bader — after getting positioned on waivers by the Yankees on the finish of August — wants to search out one other new group.

He went from the return in a head-scratching Jordan Montgomery deal on the 2022 commerce deadline to the bat that homered thrice in 5 ALDS video games in opposition to the Guardians, plus twice extra in opposition to the Astros within the ALCS. After an indirect damage from spring coaching delayed his 2023 debut, Bader recorded hits in 9 of his first 12 video games, too.

However his numbers stored dipping, and the Yankees opened up taking part in time for Dominguez by parting methods with Bader.

Harrison Bader #22 of the New York Yankees makes a diving catch in the 9th inning. The New York Yankees defeat the Chicago Cubs 6-3.
May Harrison Bader, now in Cincinnati, discover himself again in middle discipline for the Yankees subsequent season?
Jason Szenes for the NY Put up

Nonetheless, Bader might function an possibility for the Yankees to pursue this offseason as he’s one title on an underwhelming record of outfielders — and particularly middle fielders — who will attain free company this winter.

The Cubs’ Cody Bellinger will probably command essentially the most cash, given his resurgent 12 months (.317 common, .910 OPS, 89 RBIs) that had already made him a desired commodity on the commerce deadline. He’s more likely to decline his finish of a mutual $12 million possibility for 2024.

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Past that, the Yankees’ exterior choices are underwhelming. Kevin Kiermaier, an AL East foe throughout tenures with the Rays and Blue Jays, will grow to be a free agent, however there’s a danger with pursuing the 33-year-old given previous accidents.

Maybe they may additionally commerce for Dylan Carlson, the Cardinals outfielder and rumored commerce deadline goal who has performed all three outfield positions — and, in 2023, 115 video games in middle.

Or, the Yankees might attempt to fill the emptiness till Dominguez returns with an inner possibility, akin to Everson Pereira — their No. 3 prospect who was known as up on the finish of August and has hit .150 whereas taking part in 18 video games in left discipline.

New York Yankees center fielder Everson Pereira (80) catches fly to left by Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Mark Canha (21) during the fourth inning when the New York Yankees played the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, September 10, 2023 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY
Everson Pereira’s glove would possibly play play effectively in middle discipline for the Yankees, however a sub-.200 common since his call-up suggests he might not be prepared.
Robert Sabo for the NY Put up

There’s upside that comes with having a younger prospect who might present a lineup spark, simply as Dominguez did in September with 4 homers in eight video games. However the Yankees even have to contemplate a backup plan, a worst-case situation if Pereira’s numbers don’t mirror somebody able to play 120-plus MLB video games.

Can they tolerate a sub-.200 common if Pereira performs distinctive protection? Who turns into the damage alternative? Would the Yankees try to convey again Isiah Kiner-Falefa in free company, given his largely seamless transition from shortstop to the outfield in 2023?

Possibly the Yankees might experiment with having Aaron Decide function their middle fielder till Dominguez returns, too. It’s unlikely, maybe, since he performed only one sport on the place his first 5 MLB seasons and has performed completely proper discipline since his toe damage in July. However in between these stretches, he logged a mixed 115 video games on the place from 2021-23.

With a full offseason to get better, maybe supervisor Aaron Boone and basic supervisor Brian Cashman would think about that shift for his or her $360 million star, too.

Staff USA’s Olympic dilemma

That is the place it will get attention-grabbing for Staff USA.

Their look within the FIBA World Cup ended and not using a medal for the second consecutive version of the match, with Canada profitable the bronze medal sport and Germany defeating Serbia for the title. Their loss to Lithuania within the group stage of the match was gorgeous.

Anthony Edwards #10 of the United States looks for a pass against Dillon Brooks #24 of Canada in the fourth quarter during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 3rd Place game at Mall of Asia Arena on September 10, 2023 in Manila, Philippines.
Dillon Brooks and Canada handed Staff USA its third loss in its closing 4 video games on the FIBA World Cup within the bronze medal match.
Getty Photos

And in response to a number of studies, america would possibly have the ability to depend on its precise superstars — not simply the rising stars who performed within the World Cup — to assist repair its trajectory within the international basketball dialog subsequent 12 months on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Athletic reported LeBron James has began attempting to recruit gamers for the group and desires to symbolize the nation, too. That record reportedly might lengthen to Stephen Curry, Draymond Inexperienced, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Anthony Davis, with ESPN including that Devin Booker and Chris Paul have additionally thought-about one other look on the world stage.

It leaves head coach Steve Kerr and the Staff USA employees in an attention-grabbing scenario, as some — or maybe most — of the gamers who represented the nation within the World Cup probably wouldn’t make the Olympic roster if the nation’s finest gamers determine to take part.

The reported record already consists of eight, leaving 4 open spots for gamers akin to Knicks level guard Jalen Brunson, the Nets’ Mikal Bridges (13.6 factors per sport), Anthony Edwards (18.9 factors per sport), Austin Reaves (13.8 factors per sport) and Tyrese Haliburton (5.6 assists per sport) along with another NBA gamers eligible to symbolize america who determine to affix (Joel Embiid is atop the want record).

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals 2023 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
LeBron James reportedly has reached out to longtime rival Steph Curry in an effort to construct a U.S. group that may win a gold medal at subsequent 12 months’s Olympics.
NBAE by way of Getty Photos

Durant led Staff USA with 20.7 factors per sport on the Tokyo Olympics, and Jrue Vacation, Damian Lillard and Zach LaVine additionally made the roster that defeated France for the gold medal.

Subsequent 12 months’s group might look much like that group, and that might assist Staff USA. It will give them a greater probability to repeat as gold medalists. But it surely additionally signifies that these within the Staff USA highlight this summer season would grow to be little greater than afterthoughts.

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