Sep. 12, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
The news that New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss the rest of the NFL season after tearing his Achilles tendon just four plays into the game has sent shockwaves across the football world. With the acquisition of the future Hall of Famer, the Jets had Super Bowl ambitions. Now, many fans feel as though those dreams have crumbled away.
While Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Sept. 11 after the team’s 22-16 overtime win that Zach Wilson will likely be the team’s quarterback for the remainder of the season, fans are speculating about the possibility of the team bringing in someone else via free agency or trade.
“It didn’t seem at first like he took a hard hit,” Bayside resident and Jets fan Tasvir Hasan said of Rodgers’ injury. “I really hope they look into [Tom] Brady. I don’t think Zach Wilson is ready yet.”
Hasan noted that he was still very impressed with how the team played Monday without Rodgers. However, he also believes that had Rodgers been able to play, the Jets likely would’ve won the game more handily. Still, he believes the Jets still have a chance this season to make the playoffs and perhaps even make a deep run there.
“The defense, running backs and [Garrett] Wilson should keep us in every game,” Hasan said. “Maybe we just have to be patient with Zach. The way the team played, we just need a quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes. They could even give us average results and we would make the playoffs easily.”
Among the names Hasan floated out as potential replacements at quarterback for the season were New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Jameis Winston, Miami Dolphins backup quarterback Mike White and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold, the latter two being former Jets. He also considered Colin Kaepernick, 35, who has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he began to kneel during the National Anthem as an act of civil rights protest.
Bayside resident Zachary Rosenblum had missed the game Monday night, but spent Tuesday morning watching it. He couldn’t believe it when Rodgers went down after just four snaps.
“We were optimistic about the season,” Rosenblum said. “It was looking good. The way the team played last night, if we had Rodgers at the helm the whole season, I think we could’ve taken it all the way. Hopefully, [Zach] Wilson can step up to the plate this year.”
Like Hasan, Rosenblum believes that bringing Brady out of retirement could be the best chance for the Jets to succeed. However, he still expects them to stick with Wilson.
For many fans, the whole way in which this played out brought back memories of the start of the Jets’ 1999 season. Coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship game the previous season, the Jets went into 1999 with Super Bowl aspirations. However, that came to a crashing halt when their star quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, ruptured his Achilles in the first game of the season. Coincidentally, Testaverde was at Monday’s game, acting as an honorary captain for the Jets.
“There’s a sense of irony,” Eagles fan Seth Noboa of Franklin Square said. “Obviously people have thrown around the Vinny Testaverde stuff, but with the Joe Klecko Hall of Fame induction, the Jets from the 80s has been brought up as well. It feels again like another chapter of ‘Why does this have to happen to the Jets?’ They bring in a guy that has everyone talking about how they might be among the class of the AFC.”
Noboa thinks one of the better available quarterback options the Jets could turn to is free agent Carson Wentz. While Wentz struggled mightily in Washington last season, Noboa noted his past success and thinks there’s a chance the Jets could bring that out of him. While he knows many Jets fans are clamoring for Brady, he thinks it would be a weird fit for both sides. Brady had spent all those years as the bane of Jets fans’ existence and he was just honored by the New England Patriots.