Zach Wilson confirmed he can transfer New York’s offense as a backup quarterback, however the Jets kicked off the Rodgers Period with a 21-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday evening within the Corridor of Fame Recreation.
Wilson, whose struggles as a starter the previous two seasons despatched the Jets on a QB quest that ultimately received them Rodgers through commerce from Inexperienced Bay in April, had some optimistic moments throughout his three collection.
On his twenty fourth birthday, the No. 2 general decide within the 2021 draft was 3 of 5 passing for 65 yards. Wilson arrange the sport’s first rating with a 57-yard completion to wide receiver Malik Taylor — on a play steered by Rodgers.
“Nice name by Aaron Rodgers,” Wilson stated smiling. “I’ve to offer him a shoutout there. We had been backed up then and took the shot downfield. Malik’s executed nice job all camp and I wished to get a ball to him.”
Jets coach Robert Saleh was happy with Wilson’s efficiency.
“Zach did job, he was poised and regarded snug within the pocket,” he stated. “It is simply rebuilding that confidence and swag we (noticed) through the draft course of. No setbacks. It is all about confidence with him.”
It was a battle of rookies and reserves as each groups rested their starters within the NFL’s inaugural recreation of 2023.
There was a notable opening-night glitch as a power outage in Tom Benson Stadium prompted a few 20-minute delay between the third and fourth quarters.
Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson rallied the Browns with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round decide, threw a 22-yard TD pass to Austin Watkins Jr. with 9:33 left to place Cleveland forward.
Thompson-Robinson additionally threw a block that sprung Demetric Felton, his former UCLA teammate, for a 10-yard TD run.
“It was superior,” Felton stated. “It felt prefer it was again at UCLA. It was cool.”
Thompson-Robinson stated he was joyful to lend a shoulder.
“All instincts,” he stated. “I am on the market enjoying as exhausting as I can for my teammates. I seen Felt was going to chop again and form of how the opening was going to open up and all he had was one particular person to be again sideways was the nook. So I figured I would stick my nostril up there actual fast.”
Rodgers was a high-profile spectator.
The four-time MVP watched from the sideline carrying black Jets gear and a headset, giving him extra the look of an assistant coach than star quarterback. On Wednesday, Rodgers toured the Corridor of Fame and received an up-close view of a spot the place he’ll someday be enshrined.
Earlier than that, he is presupposed to return New York’s franchise to glory.
The 39-year-old will not be anticipated to play this preseason — he hasn’t since 2018 — and stated earlier this week that upcoming joint practices towards Tampa Bay and Carolina will assist him put together for the Sept. 11 season opener towards Buffalo.
The Browns sat quarterback Deshaun Watson, who like Rodgers, is predicted to do large issues in his second yr with Cleveland.
Watson went 3-3 after coming back from his 11-game suspension in 2022 for violating the NFL’s private conduct coverage after he was accused by two dozen ladies of sexual harassment and assault throughout therapeutic massage remedy periods whereas he performed for Houston.
Kellen Mond began for the Browns and performed the primary half, going 7 of 12 for 49 yards with a TD go and an interception. Thompson-Robinson completed 8 of 11 for 82 yards.
As each groups shaped a tunnel close to midfield, this yr’s Corridor of Fame class was launched earlier than the opening kickoff.
After all, the largest ovation went to former Browns sort out Joe Thomas, who waved to the 1000’s of Cleveland followers packing Tom Benson Stadium.
New inductee DeMarcus Ware sang the nationwide anthem.
Each groups received a take a look at their respective huge tackles.
New York’s Mekhi Becton performed for the primary time for the reason that 2021 season opener. It has been an extended highway again for the 6-foot-7 Becton, who underwent a number of surgical procedures on his proper knee. He slimmed all the way down to 350 kilos after as soon as tipping the scales at 400.
Cleveland rookie Dawand Jones, only a tad greater than Becton at 6-8, 374, held his personal whereas enjoying all the recreation.
Greater than two dozen Corridor of Famers, most carrying their signature gold jackets, attended a tribute earlier within the day for legendary Browns operating again Jim Brown, who died in Could.
Brown was remembered for his soccer accomplishments, and far more.
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis delivered probably the most impassioned remarks about Brown, who grew to become his mentor.
“He grew to become a father to the fatherless, gave hope when there wasn’t hope,” stated Lewis. “I’ve by no means met a higher particular person.”
The Browns wore “32” decals — Brown’s quantity — on their helmets for the primary time.
Jets: LB Hamsah Nasirildeen (neck) left after being damage on New York’s first defensive collection and did not return. … CB Brandin Echols (hip) and LB Chazz Surratt (hamstring) had been each dominated out after halftime. Surratt’s interception within the first half arrange New York’s TD. … LB Maalik Hall left within the fourth with an undisclosed harm.
Reporting by The Related Press.
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