When Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers plays in the team’s final preseason game against the Giants on Saturday, Aug. 26 at MetLife Stadium, it will be the first time the veteran has suited up for preseason action since 2018.
It’s not every day that a 39-year-old who is almost certainly headed to the Hall of Fame will participate in a meaningless tune-up game right before the start of the season, but that's where the Jets are.
However, in this case, it’s probably warranted for Rodgers to at least get a few reps with his teammates in a pseudo-competitive game against Gang Green’s in-state rivals on the field that he’ll call home for at least the next two seasons.
“There’s always that risk/reward,” Rodgers said. “You know over the years it just hasn’t made sense based on a number of different factors, but I used to enjoy playing in the preseason back in my younger years, just to kind of maybe take that first hit or feel the kind of nerves on the first drive so I look forward to being out there.”
It’s hard to imagine that at this point in his career Rodgers still has any nerves, especially for a preseason game, but whether he has butterflies in his stomach as he steps onto his new home field or not, he makes good points on why he should be out there – for however long it may be.
It didn’t take much convincing of head coach Robert Saleh, either.
“It was not much of a conversation with Robert,” Rodgers said. “I think he was a little more nervous that I might’ve said no, but I was already leaning towards asking him to play so it was an easy conversation. I’m not sure how long it’s gonna be, but it’ll be good to be out there with the guys.”
With New York still not fully set on its starting five on the offensive line, Saturday’s game will give Rodgers a chance to see how a variation of the O-line may look during the season. That includes Mekhi Becton who will be playing right tackle on Saturday.
Aside from that potential complication, Rodgers also thinks the team in general has much more to do before the season starts. The good news is, it’s already begun.
“I think we got to get a lot done in the next two weeks,” he said. “I think this is when the speed kind of amps up a little bit, urgency amps up. Today was a good example of that.”
Perhaps not a complication but something else to monitor on Saturday is how Rodgers, who is used to playing at Lambeau Field, looks on the turf that MetLife Stadium is built around, especially in regards to injury.
He didn’t seem at all worried about that.
“I’ve had some good games on turf over the years,” Rodgers said. “Most of that was indoor stuff in Detroit and Minnesota, [and] I’m a fan of grass for sure, got to admit that – I like wearing seven studs and playing on grass – but I feel like the field [at MetLife Stadium] is supposedly the newest and the greatest.
“There’s obviously been a lot of conversation around grass fields compared to turf fields, but I felt like the other night it was one of the best surfaces that I’ve seen that’s artificial. I don’t feel like we had any of those non-contact issue injuries so that was good to start off the season and it’s our surface so we’re gonna enjoy it.
He added: “I’ve always felt a little bit faster on turf, so I do look forward to that.”