The word from New York Jets camp is that “the standard has been raised,” per ESPN NFL reporter Dianna Russini.
“The ‘little details’ are significant to [Aaron] Rodgers,” Russini explained, adding that “everyone is being held accountable in meetings and on the field.” That report came in on the morning of May 23. Later that afternoon, veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah confirmed it during a media availability after day two of OTAs.
SNY’s Connor Hughes relayed the quote, tweeting: “Uzomah said [the] offense wasn’t happy with their performance yesterday [in day one of OTAs]. In [the] huddle of [the] pre-practice walk thru, Rodgers looked at everyone and, in Uzomah’s words, basically told them to ‘get their s*** together.’ No yelling — spoke in monotone. It resonated, though. Everyone locked in [from that point on].”
Aaron Rodgers Urges Teammates to ‘Be Intentional’ at Practice, Explains OTA Appearance
Although the Jets new QB1 “tweaked” his calf on day two of Organized Team Activities, forcing him to sit out the latter half of the practice, Rodgers insisted afterward that he plans to participate at OTAs this spring during his own media availability session on May 23.
“With a new offense — being my first year here — I really wanted to be around for at least some of the beginning things to just let [my teammates] know how I like to do things,” he told the media. “Like I said [before], some of the code words, some of the little adjustments, some of the ways I see the game — sparking that conversation.”
“It needs to be a free-flowing conversation [between coaches and players],” Rodgers made clear, “so I’m allowed to do some of that stuff [with Nathaniel Hackett] and I think it’s important.”
He also commented on Uzomah’s reveal, prefacing that he’s not typically a big “rah-rah” type of leader.
“I feel like there [are] times where you need to speak up and reframe situations,” Rodgers detailed. “The thing that I do stress with those guys and did yesterday was that we need to be intentional, and we can’t just come out here — in anything that we do, whether it’s a meeting or workout or practice, especially. You can’t just come out there and go through the motions and check a box… Everything we need to do needs to have a purpose and an intention.”
Rodgers added sternly that the “attention to detail yesterday was not good enough” — and that type of leadership is probably music to the ears of most Jets fans.
After all, the most detailed teams make it to the Super Bowl every year, and Rodgers understands that. Now the rest of the organization must follow his lead.
Jets’ Aaron Rodgers & Robert Saleh Trade Praise at OTAs
Earlier in the morning on May 23, Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that Rodgers was “one of the more thoughtful athletes that I’ve been around in terms of how caring he is about people.”
Later in the press conference, Saleh joked that the future Hall of Fame QB was “like a kid in a young man’s body,” because of how much fun he’s been having at OTAs so far. Rodgers responded to that quote in the afternoon, asking whether or not that’s a compliment after a long laugh in front of the microphone.
He went on, stating why he’s loved working with Saleh this spring.
“I love working with Robert,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had a ton of respect for him over the years going against him, but I enjoy the way that he leads the room and goes about his business in the meetings.”
“I really enjoy the freedom of expression [that Saleh allows at practice],” he continued. “Guys are themselves, all the time, and they enjoy showing their personalities off. [Saleh] allows for the silliness at times… [but] he does a good job of balancing the accountability with the freedom for guys to be themselves. So, I appreciate that about Robert.”
Calf tweak aside, it’s all roses in Jets land at the start of OTAs.