New York Jets starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his long-awaited debut this Saturday against the New York Giants, per a report from Brian Costello of The New York Post.
The appearance of Rodgers, who has yet to take the field for the Jets, adds another layer of intrigue to the annual preseason showdown between the Giants and Jets. Most of the time (the Rex Ryan era aside) this game is little more than a friendly rivalry game between two teams that share a stadium and city, but rarely play each other. But every four years it takes on added significance as the NFC East and AFC East play each other.
This is one such year, as the Giants and Jets will meet on Oct. 29. But the addition of Rodgers to the mix makes the game that much more interesting.
The drama surrounding the trade between the Jets and Green Bay Packers was of the major story line over the summer. Every party involved was publicly pushing for the trade to happen — the Packers wanted to move on from Rodgers to Jordan Love, the Jets were desperate for a viable starting quarterback, and Rodgers wanted to reunite with Nathaniel Hackett, with whom he had won two of his four MVP awards — but the two teams struggled to come to mutually agreeable terms.
The deal was, obviously, ultimately struck, and the addition of Rodgers raised the expectations for the Jets significantly. But this is our first chance to see him on the field in Green.
This raises the question of how many starters will play for both sides. It would make sense for the Jets to play their starters for a series or two around Rodgers to help build familiarity prior to Week 1. The Giants, however, have been very careful regarding player health and exposure to injury. They rested most of their starters in the final preseason game a year ago, and it was expected that they’d do so again. And considering the Giants will see the Jets when it counts, they have little incentive to show any more of their schemes than are absolutely necessary to play the game.
However, it will be fascinating to see if the coaching staff is tempted to test their starters against an opponent that is expected to be (much) better than the Carolina Panthers.