Jeff Ulbrich oversaw one of the top defenses in the NFL last year. The Jets' defensive coordinator believes facing Aaron Rodgers every day in training camp will only make his group better.
“It’s huge,” Ulbrich said this week. “We’re talking about a Hall of Fame caliber player. Every year you try to evolve schematically, add a few wrinkles here and there. There’s times where some of those schematic wrinkles, you don’t know the pitfalls. You don’t know the snakes in the grass. To have a quarterback like him to really exploit some of the new stuff that we have, it gets those necessary scars and keloids, especially when you’re trying to do new stuff. So he’s going to provide that.
"Plus, he’s just going to sharpen us up because when you’re off by that much, he’s going to capitalize, so just our attention to detail just goes to another place.”
This is just another added advantage that the Rodgers’ acquisition will give the Jets. His impact on offense will be enormous. His effect on the overall team looks as if it will be great as well.
It’s been well documented already how vocal the 39-year-old Rodgers has been in meetings and making sure everyone understands what he sees, where he can get them the ball, how they should run their routes and more.
Duane Brown, the Jets’ 37-year-old tackle, said Rodgers dropped into an offensive line meeting and shared some insight with that group on what to expect pre-snap.
“I’ve been around some really good quarterbacks but to look at the command that he has, it’s different,” Brown said. “It’s great to see. I know all the throws he can make. It looks effortless. He has a winner’s mentality. It’s been great.”
Ulbrich, who spent 10 seasons playing linebacker for the 49ers and is in his 11th year as an NFL coach, has been impressed with how Rodgers carries himself and makes sure he’s engaging with everyone on both sides of the ball.
Rodgers has quickly developed a good relationship with second-year cornerback Sauce Gardner. Rodgers told Gardner, who won the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, that he’s going to help him become a better player by showing him how quarterbacks will try to attack him and things he should be looking for before the snap.
"He was telling me he's got the secret gems that he can just give me,” Gardner said.
Ulbrich believes this kind of interaction and knowledge that Rodgers provides will have a lasting effect.
“His impact on this team, and especially these younger players, it’s going to be felt for the remainder of all their careers,” Ulbrich said. “To see a guy not just have the talent that he has, but the preparation and the process.
“I’ve been around a lot of superstars in this league that are very standoffish, that are very isolated, do their own thing. He’s as inclusive as I’ve ever been around, especially for a player of that caliber. Constantly giving us feedback about what he sees on us defensively, giving us feedback as far as just getting tighter as a team and committing to a process at a higher level. He’s going to change the course of these young players’ careers forever.”
Perhaps the coaches, too.
Ulbrich said he’s going to pick Rodgers’ brain, starting with what he saw when the Jets played the Packers last year. The Jets won, 27-10, in Green Bay in Week 6 and sacked Rodgers four times.
“I’ve actually just started creating a cut-up,” Ulbrich said. “I really want to sit down and see what he sees, starting probably with our game last year. There’s sometimes where he got us where I want to know what he saw. There’s times where we got him. I wonder why it got him, so we’ll learn a lot from each other."