I usually try to convey some information that I think is interesting when I write an article. This time though I’m going to deviate and instead frame it around one very basic question that I’m asking for a legitimate answer about: “Why are the New York Jets so confident in quarterback Aaron Rodgers?”
This question may seem silly. I mean the guy is a bonafide first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and one of the best to ever do it. As recently as 2021 he was a back-to-back MVP winner and it’s only 2023. But as Ferris Bueller once taught us, “life comes at you fast,” and to put it lightly things have changed for Aaron Rodgers.
First, he wasn’t good in 2022. I detailed this in depth in August and don’t care to rehash every point now, but perhaps the best thing I can highlight to summarize this point is reiterate that his QBR was 41.3 in 2021 and 50 is average. We can point to his thumb injury, but his QBR in the weeks preceding that wasn’t any better, as his QBR the first 4 weeks of the season were as follows: 13.6, 52.6, 66.9, 47.5. By no means is that “awful” QB play and it’s definitely a step up from what the Jets have received in 2023, but it certainly doesn’t look elite. And while I know there are a lot of other QB stats one could look at, I personally like QBR since it accounts for context of the play that happens around a QB (offensive line, pass catchers, etc.), so some “meh” scores in that regard are concerning. Especially when QBR used to love Rodgers with a score of 74.1 and 79.8 in the two years before that, so something did appear to change.
And that’s all before his Achilles injury. While Rodgers is apparently moving through rehab pretty quickly, there is basically no evidence that suggests an Achilles tear is easy to recover from for QBs. In fact, there are only 5 instances of the injury having happened to an NFL QB, meaning that we have basically no evidence to support that his recovery to past performance is likely or unlikely. Beyond that, there is seemingly no quarterback who attempted a recovery from this injury at 40 years old, which makes this uncharted territory that is particularly notable in the context of this quote from the Associated Press:
“Studies have shown that age is the strongest predictor of outcome after an Achilles repair,” said Dr. Peter DeLuca, the chief of sports medicine at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center who spent more than 20 years as the team physician for the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Flyers.
To further that point around Rodgers’ age, that is a concern all on its own. The man will turn 40 years old on December 2nd, which is later this week. Do you know how many quarterbacks started NFL games after turning 40 years old? 11. Do you know how many threw 200 passes? 5. Do you know how many had an above average Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt? 2. The 2? Drew Brees and Tom Brady, neither of whom were coming off a catastrophic injury.
Putting all of that together, I have to ask why he’s apparently a deciding factor in the future of the coaching staff. This seems more like a player who should be schemed around then deciding the scheme.
I also have to ask why are they apparently considering doubling down on this failed season by sending important draft capital to go get Aaron’s favorite wide receiver Davante Adams. If their QB is a bad bet then why would they increase their wager?
It just doesn’t make sense. The guy would have to be an outlier in multiple ways to be even league average... and we’re going to go all in on the logic that he can take the league’s worst offense and make them good? Sure doesn’t seem like a likely outcome to me.
And all of that brings me back to my original question: “why are the New York Jets so confident in quarterback Aaron Rodgers?” More specifically, “why are the New York Jets so confident in quarterback Aaron Rodgers when the data doesn’t seem to support that confidence at all?” which is a question that I really would love to hear a good answer to. Is it really just that he’s Aaron Rodgers? Because Father Time comes for everyone eventually, so that one just isn’t doing it for me. I guess I’m just hoping that I’m missing something because I really would love a glimmer of hope in this lost season.