New York Jets Activate Practice Window For Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

We may not have seen the last of quarterback Aaron Rodgers this season after all. New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced that the team has activated the 21-day practice window for the four-time MVP, indicating there's a chance Rodgers could make a late-December return.

Rodgers tore his Achilles on the opening drive of the Jets' shocking Week 1 22-16 win over the Buffalo Bills, failing to complete a pass and absorbing a sack before his exit. The Jets offense has struggled in his absence, ranking 31st in yards per game (260.2) and 30th in points per game (14.8).

Rodgers turned heads earlier this month by claiming he expected to play again this season. Typically, Achilles tears are season-ending injuries with 6-12 month recovery timelines. A 39-year-old quarterback returning to action in a little over three months would be unprecedented. Rodgers, who is evidently targeting a December 24th return against the Washington Commanders, has progressed enough to potentially make good on his claim.

Still, it could all be moot for Rodgers and the Jets. With games against the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Miami Dolphins in the next three weeks, the 4-7 Jets could easily be out of the playoff hunt by the time Rodgers is capable of seeing the field. Even with a relatively easy closing stretch of matchups against the Commanders, Cleveland Browns, and New England Patriots, it's difficult to imagine Rodgers playing if the Jets are already guaranteed to end the season with a losing record.

Beyond that, it shouldn't be taken for granted that a hobbled Rodgers could significantly improve a deeply flawed Jets offense. He was under constant duress on his limited snaps in Week 1, and pass protection has been an issue for the Jets all season. Zach Wilson and Tim Boyle have absorbed a combined 46 sacks and averaged a minuscule 4.36 net yards per passing attempt over their last 11 appearances. 

Even lifting the Jets passing attack to mediocrity would be a Herculean accomplishment for Rodgers, and mediocre passing attacks don't exactly make for Super Bowl contenders. Even if Rodgers can make a shocking return by the season's end, the Jets may be better off waving the white flag and prioritizing 2024.

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