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Former NFL GM Mike Lombardi has said this over and over again on his show throughout this season.
I will paraphrase what he has said repeatedly when talking about the Jets – “They think when Aaron Rodgers returns, it’s going to solve all their problems.”
He keeps saying it.
And talking to other observers, they get the same vibe.
But it’s not entirely true.
Yes, he should markedly improve their QB position when he returns next season, but his comments earlier this week on ESPN, made it clear, that he even thinks that other things need to change aside from him returning.
“It’s about culture,” Rodgers said on ESPN, Tuesday. “Culture can win championships, chemistry wins championships. So we obviously need to fine-tune a couple of things, tighten some things up.”
Another cultural issue, in the worldview of Rodgers, is people making decisions based on outside noise.
“Some may be influenced by fans and pundits a little more than I’m used to,” Rodgers said.
And then there was this doozy:
“And without me here, It becomes natural for things to fall to what they have been before,” Rodgers said.
In other words, they reverted back to their old culture. They have missed the playoffs the last 12 years, and it’s about to become 13.
Once again, don’t kill the messenger on this. I’m just quoting their Future Hall-of-Fame QB.
So this isn’t just about Rodgers coming back. Other things need to change, like the leaks, and things like tweeting about how great certain players are playing during a five-game losing streak. And it was going on during the three and four-game losing streak before this week. Bad for the culture. Moral victory stuff.
It looks like they might have decided to tank at this point, going back to a QB who I’m not going to critique anymore. There are plenty of old posts where I have offered. What has changed in two weeks?
The move to go back to this QB was perhaps done for PR reasons after the Joe Benigno story and the leak from the organization that QB doesn’t want to start because he’s afraid of getting hurt.
So by naming in the starter again, the push back on those stories, because as Rodgers said, “Some may be influenced by fans and pundits a little more than I’m used to.”
Spare me with they don’t have a choice.
“I’m going to tell you right now, if they play Trevor Siemian, they’re winning that game (against the Raiders). I’m just telling you right now, Trevor Siemian is a professional quarterback,” said Mark Schlereth, a former NFL offensive lineman, on his podcast. “He’s going to put you in the right play. He’s going to make the right check. He’s not going to make bonehead decisions and if the guy is open he’s going to hit him. With that defense and just a game manager at the quarterback position that’s not doing stupid things you’re going to win games. I truly believe that Trevor Siemian would have given them a chance to win the last couple of games.
If they are tanking it should help get a very good top 10 ten pick in the next draft, maybe a guy an offensive tackle like Notre Dame’s Joe Alt.
But getting Rodgers back, getting perhaps a stud tackle in the top 10, will help, but a lot more work needs to be done, especially on the culture.
Remember, when Joe Douglas took over as GM, he said, “The plan is to create the best culture in sports. Every great team has that culture.”
And Douglas knows what a good football culture looks like. He worked in Baltimore under the great Ozzie Newsome where they won two rings. They he went to Philly, where they won a Super Bowl while Douglas was there.
He knows what it looks like.
But most of the cultural decay comes from things he has no control over.
He can’t control what people above him are tweeting during losing streaks.
He can’t stop people from asking players about their favorite pizza topping is walking out to practice.
He doesn’t control that stuff.
But Lombardi is right – Rodgers return, whenever that might be, isn’t going to fix all the Jets problems.
They need a cultural reboot.
December 8, 2023
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