Jets’ Zach Wilson faces boyhood idol Aaron Rodgers after ‘eye-opening’ win – New York Jets Blog

GREEN BAY — A have a look at what is taking place across the New York Jets:

1. Cheesy matchup: Quarterback Zach Wilson, a self-proclaimed “fanboy” when he met Aaron Rodgers for the primary time a 12 months in the past at joint practices, can not have enough money to be starstruck when he meets up once more along with his boyhood idol Sunday at Lambeau Field. This time, Wilson does not want an autograph up to he wishes a signature win.

Wilson outplayed inexperienced persons Skylar Thompson and Kenny Pickett in his first two begins of 2022, demonstrating indicators of maturation, however now it is about to get actual. He will get the Green Bay Packers in The House of Rodgers, arguably the most important recreation of his younger profession.

“To be on the same field as him is cool,” stated Wilson, who began learning Rodgers’ tape when he was once 13. “It’ll probably be the same thing like last year, when we were playing Tampa Bay. It was like, ‘Wow, we’re playing Tom Brady right now. I’ve been watching this guy since I was born, which is kind of crazy.’ I’m sure it’ll be the same thing in this game.”

Wilson 2.0 is off to a just right get started — two video games, two other varieties of wins. He “looked like a guy who can put the team on his back” within the comeback win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, trainer Robert Saleh stated. In routing the Miami Dolphins, it was once the opposite. He rode the staff’s again within the function of “facilitator,” Saleh stated — a complicated phrase for recreation supervisor. Maybe that taught him a treasured lesson.

“It probably was a little eye-opening for him to say, ‘OK, I just played a game within myself and, all of a sudden … boom! It explodes,'” backup Joe Flacco stated of the 40-17 win over the Dolphins.

Wilson too incessantly ultimate season attempted to play hero ball, having a look to make the splash play when mundane would’ve sufficed. Those video games did not explode; they backfired. Fast-forward to the current: He has performed 5 just right quarters in a row, having led 8 scoring drives in 13 possessions — spectacular stuff.

Now, a brand new problem: A showdown towards the quarterback he has attempted to duplicate and “steal things from.” On Sunday, Wilson tries to scouse borrow a win from his idol.

2. Did you realize? Wilson is the one participant within the league with a passing, dashing and receiving landing. He’s considered one of most effective 19 quarterbacks since 1970 to perform the hat trick, together with the primary for the Jets.

3. Heeding Kobe’s phrases: Left take on Duane Brown, 37, is a 5-time Pro Bowl participant who has earned greater than $90 million in his profession, in step with Spotrac. His legacy safe, he may just’ve simply walked clear of the sport after tearing a rotator cuff on the finish of the preseason. Doctors advisable surgical procedure. Instead of taking the cash ($9 million assured) and operating for the hills, Brown postponed surgical procedure and rehabbed his long ago into the lineup.

“I’m not going out like this,” Brown advised the staff after the damage, in line with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

Brown could have surgical procedure on the finish of the season. For now, he manages the ache, impressing teammates along with his toughness. As Wilson stated, Brown is “willing to give up his arm for us.” Asked about his plight, Brown quoted Kobe Bryant: “When the game itself is more significant than the injury, you don’t feel the injury.”

Every locker room wishes outdated professionals like Brown and defensive finish Vinny Curry, who has conquer his percentage of private adversity.

4. Nice comp: LaFleur was once requested if rookie operating again Breece Hall reminds him of any individual. Without a lot hesitation, he named Matt Forte, the previous Chicago Bears celebrity who completed his profession with the Jets. That’s a perfect comparability on account of their versatility and identical dimension (Hall is 5-foot-11, 217 kilos; Forte 6-foot-1, 221). They even have the similar draft qualification — 2d-rounders.

Forte had misplaced a step by the point he were given to the Jets in 2016 at age 31, however he was once an improbable twin risk in his high, as soon as gathering 1,933 yards from scrimmage in a season. The Jets imagine Hall has that more or less doable.

5. Strong finishers: For years, the Jets had been referred to as a nasty fourth-quarter staff. From 2016 to 2021, their level differential was once minus-243 — via some distance the worst within the league. They had been unhealthy at conserving leads, unhealthy at taking part in catchup, simply undeniable unhealthy.

The season nonetheless is younger, however they have already began to opposite the fad in dramatic model. They’ve scored a league-top 58 issues within the fourth quarter and their differential (+38) ranks 2d.

A large number of elements have contributed to the turnaround, however you’ll’t forget about this: The ultimate two quarterbacks they confronted within the fourth quarter had been inexperienced persons who got here off the bench of their NFL debuts — Pickett (Steelers) and Thompson (Dolphins).

Fourth-quarter differential in the ones two video games: +28.

Yes, the Jets are shifting in the fitting route, however let’s cling the trumpets and taking part in “Narco.” They’re now not large-time closers — but.

6. Finally, they meet: Defensive finish Carl Lawson is having a look ahead to taking part in in Green Bay, however now not as a result of it is the place he suffered his Achilles’ damage in August 2021. The reason why is David Bakhtiari.

Lawson has a “warrior’s respect” for the Packers’ left take on even supposing he by no means has confronted him. Bakhtiari was once out with an damage in 2017, when Lawson dropped Rodgers for his first profession sack. Talking to him after the sport, Lawson got here away with the impact that Bakhtiari did not suppose the sack would’ve befell on his watch.

After admiring him from afar, Lawson after all will get his shot in what he known as a “fated” matchup.

7. From GAs to HCs: Two of Saleh’s closest friends within the training career are Dolphins head trainer Mike McDaniel and Packers head trainer Matt LaFleur. He beat McDaniel ultimate week, and now the “Friends” portion of the time table continues in Green Bay.

Saleh and LaFleur had been roommates in 2004, after they served as graduate assistants at Central Michigan University. They lived in a tiny condo and not using a cable and a kitchen desk that had no chairs. Saleh, who stated LaFleur is “like a brother,” helped him land his first NFL process with the Houston Texans in 2008. They communicate nearly each day all through the season — except for this week, after all.

“I don’t know if either one of us when we were together at Central in that small little office ever dreamed that it would be like this,” Saleh stated. “So we’re very blessed, very fortunate.”

They received two video games apiece when Saleh was once the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator and LaFleur the Packers’ trainer. This is their first assembly as head coaches.

8. Kudos to train: Alijah Vera-Tucker is receiving numerous neatly-deserved reward for his place versatility. Offensive line trainer John Benton must get a shoutout, too. Because of accidents, he is needed to be a grasp juggler.

The Jets have used 4 other beginning tackles, together with a rookie (Max Mitchell) and a primary-time take on (Vera-Tucker). In reality, Mitchell leads the tackles in offensive snaps. Benton’s secure hand has avoided a complete-blown crisis.

9. Beware, the onerous rely: One of the training issues this week was once to be cautious of Rodgers’ cadence, which he makes use of to attract groups offsides. Interestingly, the Packers are considered one of 13 groups that hasn’t drawn an offsides penalty. Maybe Rodgers is shedding his contact.

10. The ultimate phrase: “Do we maybe talk about it sometimes in the offseason? Sure. Does my mom not like this game? Sure. But this is the sixth time we’ve played against each other — obviously, the third different venue — so we’re kind of used to it.” — Mike LaFleur on training towards his brother, Matt

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