As a seasoned sports blogger, I can’t help but reflect on the recent happenings at Florham Park, N.J. where New York Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers could have used his iconic “R-E-L-A-X” line from 2014. Despite being sacked six times and facing numerous pressures during a joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rodgers maintained that his concern about the offensive line was minimal. He urged for patience and expressed confidence that the pass-protection issues would be resolved once the starting five is established.
“It’s Aug. 16, so we’ve got some time,” he said optimistically.
The Jets squared off against the Bucs without guards Laken Tomlinson (leg) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (ankle), as well as left tackle Duane Brown (shoulder), who remains on physically unable to perform list. Rodgers commended how well their makeshift line responded in terms of physicality but noted they “missed some real easy stuff” in pass protection.
The six sacks occurred within ten dropbacks against a formidable Tampa Bay front. Perhaps showing frustration, Rodgers threw an out-of-bounds pass into crowded bleachers while under pressure. He tried to project calm when asked about concerns surrounding their offensive line – arguably one of their biggest challenges – but it seems likely he will soon ask coaches to finalize a lineup for continuity’s sake.
“I don’t get concerned about things I don’t have a huge role in — yet,” Rodgers said cryptically.
Last week saw similar struggles for The Jets’ line during joint practice with Carolina Panthers which led to coach Robert Saleh expressing his disappointment later that evening – an incident featured in this week’s episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Saleh refrained from commenting on Wednesday’s performance as he spent most of practice focusing on defense.
There are signs of improvement ahead though; Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker are listed as day-to-day with injuries while Brown is nearing activation after shoulder surgery post-season according to Saleh.
Meanwhile positional battles continue at center between Connor McGovern vs rookie Joe Tippmann and right tackle between Max Mitchell vs Billy Turner. On Wednesday Tippmann lined up at left guard – uncharted territory for him until now.
2020 first-round pick Mekhi Becton is fit again practicing at left tackle but hasn’t been able to secure any first-team reps even with Brown sidelined.
“He can do it; it’s just a matter of being available,” commented Saleh who has previously voiced concerns over Becton’s durability following two surgeries on his right knee.
This unsettled state has put veteran QB Aaron Rodgers in quite predicament trying to rally an offense hampered by constant changes upfront making it difficult build continuity especially since there are no more joint practices scheduled before season start.
“At some point,” said Rogers “we need figure things out so we can get guys playing next each other consistently.”
In other news running back Dalvin Cook arrived during practice signed his one-year contract attended meetings before flying home South Florida birth first child expected return next week won’t be practicing immediately due shoulder surgery February however Jets expect him ready Week 1 action.