The telltale sign that Aaron Rodgers is building to an armed and dangerous crescendo for his Jets debut Monday night against the Bills at MetLife Stadium surfaced on the practice field on Thursday, before a gaggle of eight photographers and media intercepted him in the locker room.
“Right now? Ready, that’s the best way to put it,” C.J. Mosley told The Post of Rodgers. “Our look team messed up some read for him for the offense to get the read right, and you just heard somebody screaming. I’m like, ‘Oh, some coach is mad!’ ”
Mosley was on the sideline at the time.
“It was an unfamiliar yell. I turned around, it was Aaron,” Mosley said. “I’m like, ‘That’s the Aaron I want to see.’ That’s in-season, we’re ready to roll. That’s the type of intensity, that’s the type of attention to detail that we need.”
Ready, aim, fire — to, say, Garrett Wilson.
“You don’t kinda grow up dreaming about playing the 1 o’clock games,” Rodgers said. “You dream about playing ‘Monday Night Football,’ ‘Sunday Night Football,’ so it’ll be fun to start the season out on Monday night.”
It is a wild, ballyhooed season in which an entire organization turns its lonely eyes to you, Aaron Rodgers, a season in which it expects an Aaron Rodgers closer in form to the two-time MVP everyone saw in 2020 and 2021 than the Aaron Rodgers hindered by a broken thumb and baby receivers in 2022.
“I do set little personal goals. I don’t share ’em publicly,” Rodgers said. “But I’m not looking at this like I have to bounce back or do anything. I just gotta play the way I know how to play.
“I’ve been working my ass off for the last six months to try and put a better product on the field than last year, and I expect to.”
Rodgers, arms folded, clad in a green Jets cap and otherwise all black, was alternately relaxed and edgy during his 11-minute session a little more than 96 hours from a moment that will exhilarate him more than it will render him an emotional basket case.
“A lot of tears, a lot of tears, a lot of sobbing probably,” he cracked. A few laughs around him. Then he turned serious. “I’m gonna be good, I’m gonna be excited, be excited to be out there with the crowd, see the crowd out there early hopefully. Get all the jitters out of the way probably in pregame and go out and just try and execute.”
The Jets’ new Executioner had one more joke when asked about the “Hard Knocks” experience that painted him and the organization in a glowing bright light.
“There was a lot of access, I feel like it was good for the majority of our guys except for C.J. Uzomah’s [green] hair, we kinda stayed pretty authentic to ourselves, didn’t change a whole lot, but overall a good experience for me, a good experience for the team, I think,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, at his introductory press conference, referenced a short list of teams capable of challenging for a Super Bowl. He would not have joined the Jets if he didn’t think they were one of them.
“I don’t think I needed the resolve to be strengthened at all,” he said. “There’s a part of that is speaking things into existence, the idea of a manifestation. And the other part is a realistic look at the locker room, knowing that there’s anywhere from 6-12 teams every year that can probably do it, and we’re one of those 6-12 teams.”
He has felt the warm embrace of a locker room that was desperate for a leader like him, and nothing has been more gratifying to him than how much of a willing pupil Zach Wilson has been.
“I love him,” Rodgers said. “I really care about him, and I want to see him grow and get better and to watch me and to be in my hip pocket and learn as much as possible.”
His locker is in the back, near those of Duane Brown, John Franklin-Myers, Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson.
“Get a lot of stuff done as far as current events and topics every single day,” Rodgers said.
He is mostly cool, calm and collected off the field, but a cold-blooded assassin on it. And so no one should have been surprised at the way he answered a question about how the Jets’ defense, arguably the best defense he has had at his back after his 18 years in Green Bay, will affect how he manages the game.
“Well I’ve never liked a sentence that has ‘manage’ and ‘game’ in the same sentence,” Rodgers said. “I feel like as a quarterback you’re there to make plays. Sometimes the play is to check it down and to be smart, but you gotta be opportunistic. When you got a great defense, which I feel like we do, I think you just have to play how you’ve always played, and be smart. You can take some chances when they’re there, but it’s all about a percentage game and trying to find the highest percentage matchup every single time.”
Rodgers has done a remarkable job connecting with teammates and coaches, young and old. He likes to keep things loose, but you don’t get to be a future first-ballot Hall of Famer unless you are all business at the right time.
“In meetings, he’s locked in, asking everybody questions,” Alijah Vera-Tucker said. “Off the field, he’s just relaxed. That’s how a lot of people should be leading up to game day.”
Rodgers has emboldened every facet of the organization to dream the biggest dreams.
“My message to Jets fans would be: be as loud as you can,” Vera-Tucker said. “We really want it to be a real, I guess, scary and nervous environment for the opposing team. I feel like I’ve seen MetLife pretty loud, but I haven’t seen it as loud as I think it can get.”
Rodgers wants it loud whenBuffalo’s Josh Allen has the ball. After all the Super Bowl talk, the time is growing near for the Aaron Rodgers Jets to back it up.
Said Vera-Tucker: “You can’t not back it up, right? You can’t not be ready.”
They know that their quarterback will be ready.