- Rodgers told Pat McAfee the Jets need to ‘grow up a little bit on offense’
- Saleh emphasized that he has no problem with Rodgers offering his perspective
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Aaron Rodgers’ public criticism of his Jets teammates is fine with Robert Saleh, and the fact that the injured quarterback made his comments while rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon in California makes no difference to New York’s head coach.
“He is as much a coach as he is a player, he has been in the youth ranks and experienced adversity, and he has seen everything,” Saleh told reporters on Wednesday.
Rodgers recently chided teammates during his weekly interview with ESPN’s Pat McAfee on Tuesday, saying offensive players in particular need to “grow up a little bit.” His comments followed an altercation between wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Michael Carter and assistant coaches during Sunday’s loss to the visiting New England Patriots.
“There’s too many little side conversations, and we just have to kind of grow up with offense and lock in and do our job and not point fingers at each other — and that’s everybody,” Rodgers told McAfee from California. ‘Don’t point fingers at the coaching staff, don’t point fingers at each other. Just get back to work and get the job done.”
The fact that Rodgers is recovering from the injury away from the team – and on the other side of the continent – was of no concern to Saleh, who believes the four-time MVP is right.
Robert Saleh welcomed Aaron Rodgers’ criticism of Jets players after Sunday’s loss
Rodgers’ comments followed a sideline spat between wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Michael Carter and assistant coaches during Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots
“So if he recognizes that and talks through it, I think he’s not wrong in the sense that when you have frustration it’s easy to look for answers, while sometimes the most important answer is internal,” Saleh said, adding that he is not concerned about the arguments on the ground.
“As far as what he said, he is not wrong,” Saleh said. “But at the same time, they’re just a bunch of young guys showing a little bit of frustration, but they’ll be fine.”
Saleh was one of many at the Jets facility Wednesday who welcomed Rodgers’ criticism.
“He’s right, man, you can’t show our frustration on the sideline, especially on the sideline,” cornerback DJ Reed said, as quoted by ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
“Aaron, he definitely left an imprint on this locker room,” Reed continued. “We have the utmost respect for Aaron and whatever he says. Everyone is listening.’
“Yeah, he’s trying to be encouraging,” center Connor McGovern said. “We cannot have scuffles on the sidelines, whether it is positive or negative. It brings the wrong energy. If it comes across like that, it can cause panic and you just don’t need that.’
The Jets are currently 1-2 after Rodgers suffered his season-ending injury in the first quarter of his Jets debut in Week 1. The former Super Bowl champion continues to rehab in California in hopes of returning next season, while Jets fans are grappling with another season of quarterback Zach Wilson under center.
Jets receiver Garrett Wilson also had an animated conversation with quarterback Zach Wilson
It was Wilson’s struggles during his first two seasons that led the Jets to acquire Rodgers from Green Bay in the first place. The former first-round pick ranks 34th in the NFL in passer rating and has already thrown four interceptions – tied for third in the league.
Given the Jets’ current situation and the fact that Rodgers has a weekly spot on McAfee’s popular ESPN show, it’s fair to assume that the Super Bowl champion will eventually publicly criticize his teammates again.
Saleh, however, is not worried.
“No, that won’t be a problem,” he said. ‘I don’t think it should be that way. He’s part of this team and he has thoughts, and I think he does a really good job expressing those thoughts in a respectful way.”