Sauce Gardner: Great to have those prime time games, we expect a lot out of ourselves

The Jets were not in the playoffs last season or in any other season since 2010, but the NFL's schedule for 2024 treats them like a marquee team.

Seven of the team's first 11 games will be played in standalone windows and six of them are going to be prime time games, including the season-opener on a Monday night against the 49ers. NFL vice president of broadcast planning Mike North said last week that the league felt the Jets "kind of owe us one" after Aaron Rodgers's injury messed up the league's decision to spotlight the Jets a year ago.

That schedule makes things tough on a Jets team that's hoping Rodgers has been able to make a complete recovery, but it's a challenge that cornerback Sauce Gardner says he welcomes as the team prepares for the season.

"We're always ready," Gardner said, via the team's website. "It's a prime time game. We're always going to be ourselves, we're always going to have the same identity, we're not going to change anything, just because it's primetime. It's great to be able to have those prime time games, because a lot of people are expecting a lot out of us. We expect a lot out of ourselves. Everybody is going to be watching and we learned how to have those type of games. I love those type of games because it's going to be competitive, and I'm a competitor."

If the Jets are able to handle the early gauntlet, they should be well positioned for the final stretch of the season and that would give them and the rest of the league a chance to see the team they hoped to have on the field a year ago.