(Photo credit: Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett graduated from shock and disbelief, even if the New York Jets play-caller still can't put his emotions over the season-ending injury to Aaron Rodgers into words.
"I don't think there are words to describe it ... I just feel horrible for him," Hackett said Thursday.
The Jets had to turn the page in realtime from Rodgers to Zach Wilson. Hackett spent multiple seasons working with Rodgers in Green Bay and spent most of the past four months working in lockstep with Rodgers to fine tune the offensive scheme for the 2023 season.
Much of that prep work unraveled in four snaps Monday. With Rodgers on injured reserve, Wilson and Tim Boyle, another former Packers quarterback, make up the depth chart as the Jets get ready for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Hackett denied he's planning to mold Wilson from self-described "gunslinger" to a game manager, a widely held opinion based on head coach Robert Saleh's assertion that the Jets plan to lean on their championship defense.
"I want every quarterback to be a quarterback," Hackett said.
Rodgers turns 40 in December and speculation about his recovery from surgery and a potential return to the Jets to honor his contract remains rampant. Rodgers said in a social media message he will "rise again" and Hackett believes he already knows the four-time MVP will return.
"Oh yeah," Hackett said. "Whenever Aaron's got his mind set on something, good luck for anybody that wants to change his mind."
--Field Level Media