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Jets OTA Practice Report | Aaron Rodgers 'Doing Everything' in Phase 3 Practices

DC Jeff Ulbrich Excited About New-Look Safety Group; WR Mike Williams, RG Alijah Vera-Tucker Continue to Rehab


Quarterback Aaron Rodgers participated in the Jets' first two OTA practices Monday and Tuesday without any restrictions eight months following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.

"He is doing everything," HC Robert Saleh said Tuesday.

The four-time NFL MVP sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon on the fourth offensive snap of his Jets' debut in Week 1 against the Bills last September. He underwent surgery on Sept. 13, which was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The Jets activated Rodgers in Week 16 and he spent the final two weeks practicing with the team, but not playing with the Jets out of playoff contention.

Rodgers was sharp on Tuesday, spinning passes to every part of the field while completing throws to several pass catchers – WRs Garrett Wilson, Xavier Gipson, Allen Lazard; rookie RB Braelon Allen; and TEs Tyler Conklin, Kenny Yeboah and Jeremy Ruckert.

"We are looking for him just to get reacclimated with his teammates," Saleh said. "I know he had some practice at the end of last year, but this for him to push the envelope, continue his rehab. The arm talent, obviously, is still there. But it's really just reacclimating to everything."

Open Season at Safety
After Jordan Whitehead departed to the Buccaneers in free agency, there will be competition at safety heading into the 2024 season.

The Jets re-signed veterans Chuck Clark and Ashtyn Davis, and third-year vet Tony Adam returns. The club also drafted Alabama DB Jaylen Key and DC Jeff Ulbrich said that Isaiah Oliver, signed in free agency from the 49ers, will work at safety.

Adams started 15 games last year while Davis appeared in 17 (5 starts). Clark, who participated Tuesday's voluntary session, is coming back from a torn ACL he sustained in OTAs last offseason.

Oliver split time at safety and cornerback last year with the 49ers, playing in 17 games (5 starts). Key, whom the Jets selected with the final pick in April's draft (No. 257), got his first taste of what it is like to practice against future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday. The veteran signal-caller slipped a pass between the rookie and a second safety for a big gain to WR Xavier Gipson for a touchdown.

"Oliver is a guy with really a corner skill set from the standpoint of movement, cover skills, all these things," DC Jeff Ulbrich said. "But now, we are taking advantage of his intelligence and his ability to communicate and putting him back at the safety position. Then we are also excited about the young guys that we've added with Jaylen Key."

See all of the best images from Tuesday's practice of Jets OTAs in 2024.

Injury Update
Jets rookie left tackle Olu Fashanu, the No. 10 selection in April's 2024 NFL Draft, practiced Tuesday after working off to the side throughout rookie minicamp while rehabbing from a quad injury he sustained at the NFL Combine.

Wideout Mike Williams continues to rehab from a torn ACL he sustained in Week 3 last season while RG Alijah Vera-Tucker is on the mend after a surgical procedure to repair an Achilles tendon tear he sustained in Week 5 vs. Denver. Vera-Tucker got some sled work in off to the side during Tuesday's afternoon session.

"They're still not cleared for full football activity," HC Robert Saleh said of Williams and Vera-Tucker. "But they're working, they look good, excited about the progress they're making. … I believe AVT will be ready for training camp, we'll see."

LG John Simpson, acquired in free agency from Baltimore in March, also worked off to the side Tuesday. Simpson started all 17 games for the Ravens last season. LT Tyron Smith (33) was full go, participating in position drills and 11-on-11. Last year, Smith started 13 games and the Cowboys only playoff game.

"In a perfect world, you want all five of your linemen to play every snap from now till middle of February or whatever it is," Saleh said. "But you want to get those guys working together as much as possible now."

WR Garrett Wilson had a nice practice, hauling in a pair of catches from QB Aaron Rodgers – one on the sideline with CB Sauce Gardner in tight coverage, and another across the middle of the end zone for a touchdown. Gardner got Wilson back with a diving pass breakup. … QB Tyrod Taylor found WR Irvin Charles for a deep pass down the sideline during 7-on-7 work. … Taylor later evaded a heavy pass rush on third down and flipped a short pass to WR Malachi Corley and the rookie known as the YAC King did his thing after the catch. … Rookie CB Q*wan'tez Stiggers* broke up a deep throw from Rodgers intended for WR Xavier Gipson. … K Greg Zuerlein went a perfect 6 of 6 on field-goal attempts.

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