Aaron Rodgers gives first piece of advice to Zach Wilson after taking Jets job

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New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers speaks to reporters after a practice.
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers speaks to reporters after a practice.

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants Zach Wilson to channel failures from last season and turn them into a positive learning experience heading into the 2023 season.

After the Jets participated in an offseason workout, Rodgers was asked about the progress he's noticed in Wilson since last season. Noticing Wilson's maturity levels increasing, the 18-year NFL veteran offered the young QB some advice heading into next year.

"As much of anything, I hope this time for him is like a deep inhale and exhale," said Rodgers. "I hope he can really take a breath."

Last season was humbling for Wilson after he was benched from his starting role for Joe Flacco. Wilson started in just nine games last season, with Flacco featuring in five and third-string QB Mike White also playing four.

His string of bad performances led to pent-up frustration, creating another stumbling block in his young career. However, Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh treated the situation as a reset rather than writing off the possibility of Wilson being the Jets starting QB in the future.

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"[I hope he can] deal with the disappointment of last year and the frustration and channel it," Rodgers continued. "I feel like he has, but just re-channel it to a positive and focus on the opportunity in front of him. To learn with a guy who loves him and cares about him. Just wants him to be great and do incredible things."

Wilson was on record saying he wasn't bitter about the team's decision to trade for Rodgers, who he also previously referred to as his idol. Instead, the pair developed a relationship that started when the Jets and Packers held joint practice sessions in 2021.

Aaron Rodgers gives first piece of advice to Zach Wilson after taking Jets jobAaron Rodgers #8 and Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets (2023 Getty Images)

Rodgers, at 39 years old, has taken on the job of mentor to Wilson, who is just 23. Coach Saleh attributes the success of their relationship to the productive practice sessions that have fostered a solid and open line of communication.

With Rodger's NFL experience, he's experienced the good and bad sides of how the media can affect a player's career. In 2021, Rodgers went back and forth with NFL analyst and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher about his effort on the field that year with the Packers.

Rodgers met similar criticisms regarding his vaccination status during the height of the global pandemic, which eventually became a problem with the league.

Through the highs and lows of his career, Rodgers wants Wilson to be able to bounce back from any criticism faced by media, fans, or teammates. That way, he can focus on becoming a better player and take over as the Jets starter when the aging Rodgers leaves the team or retires.

"A chance to reset. It's a tough position. He dealt with all the stuff last year with his play on the field. The frustration and some of the stuff that he said, and things that were said about him, which is probably the most difficult. Now he has a chance to reset that whole thing and take back the narrative."

Rory Robinson

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