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Jets’ Aaron Rodgers offers advice to Zach Wilson: ‘Look at this as a chance to reset’

Zach Wilson will make his 2023 preseason debut for the New York Jets Thursday night during the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame game. It will be his first time taking the field since the team’s addition of Aaron Rodgers, and he’ll be doing so with the support of the veteran signal-caller. 

Rodgers spoke highly of Wilson during a press conference Tuesday, adding that the biggest change he’s seen in the young quarterback since last season is his “maturity.”

Zach Wilson runs drills during training camp

Quarterback Zach Wilson (2) of the New York Jets runs during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center July 26, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J.  (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The former Green Bay Packers quarterback, who was traded to the Jets during the offseason, said he hopes Wilson will be able to “channel” the criticism and frustrations from last year to success. 

He also suggested his time with the team should serve as an “opportunity” to Wilson.  

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“As much as anything, I hope that this time for him is like a deep inhale and exhale. That he can really take a breath and pause and sit with the disappointment of last year and the frustration and then channel it,” Rodgers said. “I feel like he has, but just reach in and 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 and wants him to be great and wants him to do incredible things every day and to get better. Then just go be himself and look at this as a chance to reset.

“I think he’s done a great job. He’s played really, really well in camp. 

Zach Wilson and Aaron Rodgers at Jets training camp

Aaron Rodgers (8) and Zach Wilson (2) of the New York Jets run drills during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center July 20, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J.  (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

“He looks confident. His fundamentals, I think, are improving. He’s thrown the ball on time because he’s got all the other intangibles. He can run, he can move, he can throw on the move, he could throw no-look passes, just to be a good reset for him. And I think he’ll look back years from now and be really thankful for this time to grow, to reset, to take a breath. And that’s going to set him up for a nice long career in the league.”

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Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed Monday that Wilson will play in Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. He did not say if the former BYU standout would start. 

Rodgers said he hasn’t played in an NFL preseason game for some time but added it’s not out of the question for this year. 

Aaron Rodgers participates in a drill during a Jets practice

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) participates in a drill at the team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., July 20, 2023.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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“The guys asked me when’s the last time I played in the preseason, and I had a hard time actually pinpointing that. With these new joint practices, those kind of serve as that time, although I’m not getting hit,” Rodgers said.

“I wouldn’t mind playing in the preseason. I wouldn’t mind. Most coaches just have that fear where they’d rather get you to the Week 1 than risk it, but I believe there’s a chance for the last one, and that we’ll probably use Carolina and Tampa, those joint practices, as kind of our preseason tuneup.”

The 2023 NFL Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

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