Jets TE C.J. Uzomah has played with 10 quarterbacks in eight seasons. Entering Year 9 with 94 regular-season games under his belt, Uzomah is learning new tricks of the NFL trade from his 11th signal-caller, Aaron Rodgers.
"Every year I try to learn something different, but I'm learning a lot just with concepts with coverages with how he wants to how he wants us to run certain things," he said. "He (Rodgers) is opening up the playbook. It's not just unnecessarily you're running here, you're running to a spot and things of that nature. It's, 'Hey, if I have this drop, you can do this thing, I'll find you in this window. You don't have to you don't have to do XYZ.'
"Meetings is the biggest place where we feel his presence the most because it's not just someone talking to you. It's, 'Hey, we're going to stop for a second and talk about this just so that we're all on the same page.' It's been awesome."
Uzomah, 30, has experience with top-tier quarterback play. He overlapped with Bengals QB Joe Burrow for two seasons and they played in Super Bowl LVI together. Uzomah referred to Rodgers and Burrow as "unbelievable in their own right." But Rodgers' huddle presence has stood out to Uzomah in the month they've lined up together.
"[Monday] we weren't happy with our performance against the defense," he said. "We tied, but we were we were upset with how we performed. We were in the huddle [Tuesday] at pre-practice walkthrough and he didn't say get your stuff together, but essentially it was get your stuff together. We're finishing, we're doing all the little details, we're nailing it down because yesterday wasn't good enough. And that was it. It was monotone, just like that, and everyone's like, Oh, we're locked in. I think it's that presence that you know he's an expert out there. He's the GOAT. It's nice to have that have that presence for sure."
Until this week, Phase 3 of the offseason program, all the reps had been against air -- the defense was not permitted to line up against the offense. But Uzomah has enjoyed his first taste of Nathaniel Hackett's offense.
"It seems very tight-end friendly," he said. "I don't even know what playbook this is for me going into my ninth year. There are times where I'm like this is a different word that I've had for the past couple of years. It is what it is. It does make a lot more sense, the verbiage, and how we're communicating things and how we're checking things. It simplifies a lot. It allows us to play a little bit faster. So once we're dialed in on that, full steam ahead."
With Rodgers leading the offense, Uzomah couldn't help but smile when asked about the expectations of the 2023 New York Jets.
"Once this kind of news was announced, everything kind of escalated tenfold for sure," he said. "And then anytime we go out now it's or hearing something about going into the Super Bowl and this and that. It's outside noise though, right? Everything that we're focused on is in this building and in that locker room and on the field. A lot of buzz, but it means nothing until we go out there and prove it."
See the 2023 Jets on the field during Thursday's OTA practice at 1 Jets Drive.