You’ll note on our new sister site Aisle of Wit we attempted to utilize the complimentary images of comedy and tragedy in our logo (somehow, thanks to the limitations of the skill sets of both moi and generative AI, it somehow wound up looking like a stoner’s sketching of Moe Howard and Larry Fine).
But in the weird, wacky world of the New York Football Jets and Aaron Rodgers, those two emotions are intertwined still deeper. As the free world knows by now, fresh off a pre-season of hype, Hard Knocks and a clearly staged token pre-season appearance where he lasted long enough to appear in two series and throw a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson against the cross-stadium rival Giants, he followed it up with a regular season that saw but one pass attempt, four snaps and a season-ending Achilles injury,
So if you’re a Jets fan, you’re despondent, but, hell, you’ve been down this road before. More than a half-century ago, we lost Joe Namath to a season-ending injury in his first regular season matchup against the Baltimore Colts team he defeated in Super Bowl III, and finished that season with three wins in their last nine games under the stewardship of Al Woodall. Nearly a quarter-century ago, in a season opener with similar degrees of anticipation as what we saw Monday night given the Jets had come within 30 minutes of finally making it back to a Super Bowl in January, Vinny Testaverde was lost for the season with an eerily simily injury to the one Rodgers sustained. His replacement, Rick Mirer, was Bill Parcells’ hand-chosen backup, and then he promptly went 2-6 and essentially made the 1999 Jets’ season quickly moot. Parcells left the Jets at season’s end, too.
So for less impassioned observers, knowing all of this, not to mention the lack of support that the current hand-chosen backup, former and now current QB1 Zach Wilson enjoyed prior to the white whale-like pursuit of Rodgers by team management over this past offseason, are having a field day with speculation as to who does wind up with this year’s job. For the moment, Zach has the support of Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas and Woody Johnson, and thanks to a miraculous overtime Pick Six, they are undefeated and a game ahead of the Patriots. But looming ahead this weekend is a road game in Dallas against a Cowboys team that fared far better at MetLife Stadium the night before the Jets’ opener, destroying the Giants 40-0 and repeatedly sacking Daniel Jones, who had a far better 2022 season than did Zach Wilson.
So the rumor mill is white-hot. And, therefore, so are the immediate corrections. USA TODAY’s Mary Clarke felt the need to debunk any thoughts that another 40-something single dude might save the day:
NFL fans have found a sliver of hope for the Jets going forward. Enter Tom Brady. No, of course Brady isn’t going to unretire … again. And yet, even as Brady was showcasing his surprisingly good basketball skills the morning after Rodgers’ catastrophic injury, NFL fans could not help themselves but make jokes about the possibility.
In the same vein, rumblings about Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick have emerged. Neither knows the Jets’ playbook or has stepped onto a field for competitive football in years. And given Johnson’s recent stint in the Trump administration, the likelihood of Kaepernick putting on a uniform is right up there with Namath’s.
Fresh off his valiant but still losing effort in last night’s 34-28 loss to the NFC champion Eagles, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin weighed in with this bright idea:
Two things are true: The Vikings have repeatedly said with their actions and words that 2023 could be Kirk Cousins‘ last season as their quarterback, and the Jets are in the market for immediate QB help after Aaron Rodgers‘ stunning season-ending injury. Another thing is also true: After falling 34-28 to the Eagles on Thursday night, Minnesota is 0-2 to start the year.
You know what comes next.
And the rumor-mongering has reached a crescendo as dawn unfolded. Late last night, Amazon post-game analyst Richard Sherman, who played for Saleh in San Francisco, all but predicted this move. On this morning;s eponymous podcast, Bill Simmons meticulously laid out argument points much like these which Benjamin postulated:
(T)his is a team whose general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, said back in March that 2023 would be a “competitive rebuild.” History suggests an 0-2 start is deadly; between 2007-2021, only 12 of 125 teams to lose their first two ended up in the playoffs. Minnesota spent much of its offseason shipping out win-now pieces like Dalvin Cook and Eric Kendricks. It reportedly considered a trade for ex-49ers QB Trey Lance at the combine.
I have no idea who Benjamin roots for, but I know darn well where Simmons’ Boston-bred loyalties lie, and methinks he’s positively giddy about the prospect of Prime Time Kirk piling up impressive but losing fantasy stats while he attempts to learn an offense that was constructed for, and largely by, the team that frequently beat him head-to-head in his division.
And, after all, these are the JETS.
So I’m pretty sure that Wilson will be the Jets’ quarterback going forward, short of another catastrophic injury. But notice I didn’t offer up his first name.
There’s always the chance that Garrett, a stellar athlete who does know this offense, could turn into Tayson Hill. Two of Rodgers’ former targets, and his HARD KNOCKS companions, are available as targets.
And there are other Wilsons that could make comebacks that would be welcomed.
Mookie, perhaps? He’s got a decent track record in the market, and he’s not all THAT much older than Rodgers.
George, you snark? Heck, he was a decent match for Dennis the Menace. And he looks a lot like that old sportswriter Oscar Madison.
Personally, my vote’s on this one at the top of this page. Not sure if Wilson is his first or last name. But he’s available. Cheap.
He may need to be smacked into shape. But he’s on the quiet side.
And after the week of crazy speculation, which could escalate further if the Cowboys repeat their New York sweep as many predict, we could all use a lot less talking about this subject.