New York Jets coach Robert Saleh has no qualms about playing veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the team’s final preseason game.
“You can’t coach scared, you can’t play scared,” Saleh said Tuesday about his plans for Saturday’s game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J.
“You can slip out of your car and have something happen to you. Knock on wood, it will be fine. It’s not uncommon (to play first-string players in the preseason), you can always play the hindsight, fearful game. It’s in the best interest of our team to go out together and prepare for the season.
Rodgers, 39, hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2018 — and that includes the Jets‘ three contests this month. The four-time NFL MVP said early in training camp that he would play this summer if that was in line with what Saleh wanted.
“I wouldn’t mind playing in the preseason,” Rodgers said at the time, per the New York Post. “I wouldn’t mind if Robert said, ‘Hey, we are going to go. Let’s do it.’ Most coaches have that fear where they want to get you to Week 1 and not risk it, but I believe there is a chance for the last one.”
Saleh made it clear on Tuesday that he wanted Rodgers to get his feet wet before the season opener.
“For us as an organization, he’s new, though he’s been in the league a long time,” Saleh told reporters. “We didn’t want Sept. 11 (the regular-season opener against the visiting Buffalo Bills) to be the first time he stepped into MetLife. Giants-Jets, whether in the preseason or regular season, we expect a good turnout and anticipation in the building. We didn’t want his first time in new team colors, with new teammates and in a new stadium to be on Sept. 11 for the first time.”
Rodgers enters his 19th NFL season with 59,055 career yards, 475 touchdown passes and a 147-75-1 record as a starter.
—Field Level Media
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