Aaron Rodgers’ injury naturally overshadowed everything that happened in the Jets’ 22-16 win over the Bills on Monday.
It was hard to even understand what was happening in the game as you tried to figure out what happened to Rodgers.
I went back and rewatched the game because I spent most of the game writing about Rodgers.
There were some great performances and some deserve more recognition.
I’m going to leave Jordan Whitehead (three interceptions) and Xavier Gipson (game-winning punt return) off this list because they’ve gotten a lot of attention.
Here are five other players that jumped out at me and haven’t received as much publicity:
The second-year tight end was a monster in the running game.
Ruckert was pushing people around and pushing them away from the ball. He had a block on Tre’Davious White where he physically moved White about 15 yards.
PFF gave Ruckert a block grade of 89.5, the best among all tight ends in Week 1.
It will be interesting to see if Ruckert is given a larger role with Zach Wilson now at quarterback. The Jets will likely move to a heavier offense and Ruckert could see more time as a blocking tight end.
Hall hasn’t exactly gone unnoticed, but I’m not sure he got enough credit for what he did on Monday.
Playing his first game in 10 months after ACL surgery, Hall looked like the same guy he was early last year. He broke runs of 83 and 26 yards.
If the Jets want to survive without Rodgers, Hall will need to be the focal point of this offense. He’s probably not ready for 25 carries yet, but if he can break off a few explosive plays per game and let Dalvin Cook share the load, the Jets will be in good shape offensively.
The pass protection wasn’t great Monday night, and Becton was one of the culprits. But he dominated the running game at right tackle.
There are some clips of Becton crushing people as a lead blocker. On a piece, he eliminated two defenders at the edge.
The biggest accomplishment, however, is that Becton played all 54 offensive snaps. This is the first time Becton has played a full game since December 2020. The Jets held Becton out early in training camp and then increased his workload, but he was never tested the way a game is complete. Becton finished the game well, and that’s a good sign for the Jets.
The linebacker was all over the field Monday night. He finished with 10 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass defensed.
Williams showed sideline-to-sideline speed and delivered several big hits. Williams has gotten better and better since joining the Jets in 2021, and it appears he’s taken another step forward this season. He can be a force in the middle.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Quinnen Williams also dominated. He had a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a fumble recovery. Williams was in the Buffalo backfield all night and hit Josh Allen during one of Whitehead’s interceptions. Williams received a $96 million salary this offseason, and in Week 1, he was worth it.
Do you want to watch a match? The Jets schedule with links to purchase tickets can be found here.
Ready or Nate
Although there is now a ton of pressure on Wilson as Rodgers replaces him, the spotlight also turns to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
There wouldn’t be much pressure on the first-year offensive coordinator with Rodgers at quarterback. Every success and failure was going to be attributed to Rodgers. Hackett would have been in the background. But now that is changing.
It’s now up to Hackett to get the best out of Wilson. Maybe he can show that his predecessor, Mike LaFleur, was part of Wilson’s problem in his first two years.
Regardless, Hackett now needs to build an offense that helps Wilson and allows him to make low-risk throws. The Jets are surely going to become a more run-heavy team than they would have been with Rodgers at quarterback.
This is not only a chance at redemption for Wilson, but also for Hackett. His reputation took a major hit with his failure last year as Denver’s head coach. If he is able to put together a solid offense for the Jets with Wilson at quarterback, he can rebuild that reputation.
The statistics are so
The Jets couldn’t even get through their first game without bringing in a second quarterback. This has been a trend in recent years.
Here’s a look at how many quarterbacks they’ve used over the past 10 seasons:
2022: 4 (Zach Wilson, Mike White, Joe Flacco, Chris Streveler)
2021: 4 (Wilson, White, Flacco, Josh Johnson)
2020: 2 (Sam Darnold, Flacco)
2019: 4 (Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk, David Fales)
2018: 2 (Darnold, Josh McCown)
2017: 2 (McCown, Bryce Petty)
2016: 3 (Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Petty)
2015: 2 (Fitzpatrick, Smith)
2014: 3 (Smith, Michael Vick, Chris Simms)
2013: 2 (Smith, Simms)
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