FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Aaron Rodgers will be leaving the area in the coming days and returning to California feeling good about what he and the Jets accomplished during OTAs.
Rodgers didn’t miss a day of voluntary workouts after the Jets acquired him in late April, which was a win for the organization and coaches because of the impact he already has had on this team.
“I think we’re exactly where we need to be right now,” Rodgers said Friday.
The Jets held their final offseason practice on Friday. Robert Saleh canceled next week’s mandatory minicamp.
The Jets are starting training camp more than a week earlier than most teams because they will open the preseason in the Hall of Fame game.
The next time many Jets will see each other will be in mid-July at the practice facility. Rodgers, however, plans to get together with Zach Wilson and the Jets’ skill players before then, perhaps in California. Rodgers wants to continue to bond with his teammates and grow the chemistry that started six weeks ago.
Rodgers initially planned to go home for about a week toward the end of May. After straining his calf during conditioning drills, he decided to stick around, and it led to more team-building moments.
“It made for a lot of opportunities for some get-togethers in the city,” Rodgers said. “We had some good team dinners, a lot of hangout time, that was good. The other stuff was good because we started to work through all the adjustments and signals and just kind of being the other voice in the room with [offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett], in the installs and in the QB room.
“It was a lot of fun. The last six weeks have been about the most fun I’ve had in a while. It’s fun to come to work and be excited about what we’re doing.”
The excitement stems from what the Jets have and also what they can be.
Rodgers started rattling off the names of key offensive players who couldn’t take part as they rehab from injuries, including Breece Hall, Tyler Conklin, Randall Cobb and Mekhi Becton. Others were absent for other reasons.
Being without all those important players is one of the reasons Hackett, who worked with Rodgers in Green Bay, said his group is “far away” from having everything down.
“I think the guys have gotten the nuts and bolts of it during this offseason,” Hackett said. “There’s a lot of guys that haven’t been out there that we need to see and be able to evaluate and see how they fit in, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
Rodgers called all of this “coach talk.” He and Hackett have a great relationship and work well together. Hackett said “it’s fantastic” that Rodgers was at all the workouts and the meetings to help bring everyone along and get them familiar with their system.
Rodgers was like another coach. He helped players understand the offense better, quizzing them on his hand signals and cadence. This is his way of making sure everyone is on the same page and undoubtedly will continue when the Jets report to camp.
Rodgers is looking forward to the break and thankful that Saleh cut the offseason early.
“I’m glad we have this extra week,” Rodgers said. “I’m excited to get away, refresh and then come back ready for the journey.”
Saleh didn’t rule out the Jets being in on Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook, who officially became a free agent Friday after six seasons with the Vikings. Saleh said the Jets will “turn the stones over on” Cook and deferred to general manager Joe Douglas.
“I’m not sure how the money works on that one,” Saleh said.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah hobbled off after injuring his lower right leg while trying to catch a pass from Rodgers. Uzomah was limping badly when he left.