Skip to main content

Jets WR Garrett Wilson on 2023: 'What happened this season can't happen again'

The curtain fell on the Jets' disappointing 2023 season on Sunday with a bittersweet 17-3 victory over the New England Patriots.

Now, the focus shifts to preventing the same outcome -- a 7-10 record and third-place finish in the AFC East -- from happening again in 2024. Such work begins with reflection and evaluation of every element involved in the club.

Atop the list: personnel. While head coach Robert Saleh admitted on Monday that he and general manager Joe Douglas will "need to talk about" the backup quarterback situation behind Aaron Rodgers, the veteran is expected to return as the team's starter in 2024.

"My expectations for him are no different," Saleh said of Rodgers. "I just watched him carve us up over the last month playing scout team. So he still has all kinds of juice, energy, arm talent. I think he's going to come out with more fire. But my expectations for him is just to be him."

Douglas told reporters Monday that there is a "high probability" that the team will be in the market for a veteran backup behind Rodgers, per ESPN. Regarding a potential Zach Wilson deal, Douglas said he always listens to trade calls.

As it pertains to the staff -- specifically, those in charge of each of the Jets' three units -- Saleh doesn't anticipate drastic changes. That would mean offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will be back in 2024, which might be to the dismay at least one key member of the Jets' offense.

"What happened this season can't happen again. ... It's got to be better," receiver Garrett Wilson said Monday, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. "We've got to make adjustments in the game. We've got to do things to counter what we're getting and be able to put points on the board because honestly, in the two years I've been here, it's been tough. It's been tough going. Football hasn't been this hard as far as offense. I watch it on the sideline and it doesn't look that hard for the other team.

"We've got to figure something out to get it rolling, no matter who's slinging it. I know Aaron will be an offense in itself because that's just what he brings to the table. ... He's special, man. I pray that everyone in the world gets to see that next year. But, yeah, what happened this year can't happen again."

It doesn't take a genius to interpret Wilson's comments as an indictment of how Hackett directed New York's offense in 2023. Sure, the revolving door at quarterback that followed Rodgers' season-ending Achilles injury certainly made things more difficult, but as a participating member of an offense that finished 31st in yards per game, Wilson's perspective carries a ton of weight -- and the reviews aren't good.

Hackett's longstanding relationship with Rodgers muddies things, of course, and with Saleh stating he expects all of his coordinators to return, it seems as if the only path forward includes more collaboration, and perhaps some adjustments on Hackett's part.

That could prove vital for New York's chances in 2024, a season in which Rodgers acknowledged Monday will be pivotal for the club -- and all parties currently involved.

"Obviously we're all going to be on the 'hot seat' next year, it's going to be an important year for all of us," Rodgers said. "And I love that. I think it's fantastic. We should approach that every single year, it's a 'What have you done for me lately?'

"If you have a down year or a bad year, there's going to be people calling to move on, and especially when you're 40 years old. So I'm going to go out there and play as well as I can, and obviously if I have the season I know I'm capable of having, and we have the success I know we're capable of having, then all that stuff takes care of itself."

As Garrett Wilson said, Rodgers' excellence provides a team with a powerful engine under center. It will be up to Hackett to fill it with the proper fuel, or else risk spontaneous combustion. And unlike 2023's slow burn, the damage could come in much quicker fashion.

It will be up to everyone in the team's Florham Park, New Jersey, headquarters to prevent such a disaster.

Related Content