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Aaron Rodgers wants Jets to cut any ‘bulls—‘ out of building that doesn’t focus on winning in 2024

The New York Jets’ 2023 season did not go at all according to plan, but the good news is Aaron Rodgers, the four-time MVP quarterback that joined the team this past offseason, wants to return healthy to help the team in 2024. 

Rodgers came to Florham Park, New Jersey, looking to break the 12-year playoff drought that is now moving to 13. It’s clear more work needs to be done for the Jets to flip the script, and Rodgers believes more needs to be done within the facility to continue building the winning culture he foresaw when he wanted to be traded to New York. 

“If you want to be a winning organization and put yourself in a position to win championships and be competitive, everything that you do matters,” Rodgers told reporters Monday following the Jets’ final game of the season — a win over the New England Patriots in snow-filled Foxborough. “The bulls— that has nothing to do with winning needs to get out of the building. That will be the focus moving forward.

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“Anything that doesn’t have anything to do with winning needs to be assessed.”

What exactly that is will come from reflection on all levels after going 7-10 on the year. 

First, the Jets know they have one of the best defenses in the league when healthy. Looking at their wins, the defense usually played a vital role in creating turnovers and limiting some of the best offenses in the league. Think the upset at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, or even the Week 1 victory over the Buffalo Bills when Rodgers went down after just four plays. 

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But the worries that were captured in the all-access “Hard Knocks” series by HBO and NFL Films this offseason for the Jets came to light during the regular season, too. The Jets’ offense never clicked, and while players like wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall shined, they were never consistent enough to win despite the defense giving them chances to do so. 

While many fingers can be pointed around the building, the Jets know the blame game won’t do them any good heading into the new season. They need to be transparent about what’s gone wrong, build on what’s gone right, and like Rodgers said, focus on the only thing that matters in sports. 

“Anything in this building that we’re doing individually or collectively that has nothing to do with real winning needs to be assessed,” he reiterated. “Everything that we do has to have a purpose. When you step in the building, there’s intentionality with everything you do. It’s not a half the time thing. It’s not a sometimes thing. It’s not a most of the time thing. It’s an every time thing.”

Rodgers himself has worked hard to recover from his Achilles injury to the point where there was a shot he would return to play at the end of the season. The Jets, though, were just keeping their season alive with no real playoff hope in sight, leading to his decision not to play.

But head coach Robert Saleh enjoyed watching Rodgers dissect his defense like he did during training camp as the scout team quarterback. However, this was nothing but a difficult year for Rodgers because of all the expectation and promise that his trade brought to the organization, something he took personally. 

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“It kind of hit me last night after the game just feeling like a lost year that I missed out on a lot of opportunity,” Rodgers said. “Just thinking if I had been out there, things would have been a little different. It’s hard to go down that road.”

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and Rodgers knows that. The focus is moving forward with the intention of making everything in the building about winning. 

And that could go beyond 2024, as Rodgers hinted at. 

“I was thinking when I got traded, it was going to be a one-year thing,” Rodgers explained. “Then I got out here and realized how much fun I was having and kind of falling back in love with the game. And I said to you guys, this is not going to be a one-year thing, and then it gets taken away. And so this is not a one-year [pact] in my mind. I mean, obviously it’s a what have you done for me lately [league]. And I’m gonna have to go out and prove I can still play at a high level, but I’d like this to be more than just next year.” 

 

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