Jets: Is Aaron Rodgers out of excuses for Super Bowl or bust 2024 NFL season?

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) walks on the field at MetLife Stadium before the game against the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers is healthy, with a newly-equipped New York Jets roster that will position him to thrive in 2024. These factors may eliminate all excuses for Rodgers to not win a Super Bowl or get awfully close next season.

Sayre Bedinger of contextualized the Jets’ roster receiving the top grade among all 32 NFL teams by ESPN’s Mike Clay with Rodgers’ return to full strength and what that means for his playoff outlook and expectations for the upcoming year, saying this in part:

“Everything that happens in New York this year — good or bad — is going to reflect on Rodgers. Mike Clay’s roster rankings are just one of many roster rankings floating around this offseason, but the Jets are generally very highly thought of,” Bedinger declared.

“The last postseason game Rodgers played in was 2021. He hasn’t played up to the hype in many playoff games, even in big games the Green Bay Packers have won. Given how messy things were between he and the Packers at the time he was traded, there’s going to be a huge spotlight on him all year and he will be under the microscope in a big way.”

Jets: Aaron Rodgers has a handful of reasons why he shouldn’t fail to reach the Super Bowl

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers has one Super Bowl to his name from the 2010 NFL season. Nothing can be taken away from the 40-year-old QB for that stellar performance, but given the fact that he has the second-most NFL MVPs of all-time with four, he has not translated such regular season success to the playoffs, even with elite players around him on many occasions.

Rodgers’ superlative talent has overshadowed some of his playoff shortcomings throughout his career, but there is reason for his feet to be held to the fire in 2024. He’ll have a near 1,000-yard rusher in Breece Hall behind him in the backfield to make his day in play-action opportunities week after week.

Rodgers also hasn’t had two bonafide 1,000-yard receivers at his side in a decade, since Jordy Nelson (1,519 receiving yards) and Randall Cobb (1,287 REC yards) did so on the Green Bay Packers in 2014. The only other times he did was in 2008 and 2009 when Gregg Jennings (1,292 & 1,113 receiving yards) and Donald Driver (1,012 & 1,061 REC yards) reached that marker. He came close most recently in 2016 with Nelson (1,257 receiving yards) and DaVante Adams (997 REC yards).

Garrett Wilson (1,042 REC yards) and Mike Williams can give him that next season. Though Williams only went for 249 receiving yards in 2023, that came in three contests. Had he played the full 17-game slate, the seven-year veteran would have gone for 1,411 yards in 2023. To prove that feasibility, he also amassed 895 receiving yards in 13 games in 2022, which would have seen him rack up roughly 1,170 yards in that campaign.

The Jets have also protected Rodgers by bringing back reigning Second Team All-Pro offensive tackle Tyron Smith and drafting No. 11 overall pick at left tackle, Olu Fashanu, who allowed no sacks in his collegiate career at Penn State. The defense is stacked with arguably the best cornerback in football in Sauce Gardner, a cohesive secondary, and a pass rush headlined by Quinnen Williams and Haason Reddick that will prime Rodgers to get an advantage in time on the field next season to sling his gun.

Rodgers can put forth his most career-defining season in 2024

Jan 7, 2024; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8)  walks off of the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The competition in the AFC and the NFL as a whole will present challenges for the Jets, as well as their primetime-heavy schedule, but if Rodgers looks like the Rodgers we’ve seen for the bulk of his career, this may be the one season where not winning it all will fall on him the hardest.

There isn’t an area of the field where the Jets aren’t strong. They’ll be only as strong as their weakest link, which will say something about how far the former Super Bowl MVP Rodgers is able to lead his juggernaut roster next season. Since it’ll be their first year together as a unit, there may not be full-blown championship-or-bust implications, but a Super Bowl is expected from this group of guys, and that’ll only happen with Rodgers at his best.

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