There's no secret new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is a big reason QB Aaron Rodgers is a Jet.
Their friendship, dating to 2019 with the Packers, is well documented. They have similar senses of humor, among other things, off the field and a similar aggression between the white lines.
"I mean, the guy's a killer," Hackett said of Rodgers on an episode of Flight '23. "I mean, all he wants to do is attack. He is the epitome of an attacker. He wants to score as much as he possibly can. I know a lot of people say that, but it's in everything he does whether we're in the meeting room, whether we're on the field, whether we're throwing the ball into the different little squares we have. He wants to win everything and it's great because he's always practicing that and always believing in that, so when he's on the field, it never changes. Every single thing about him is about competition."
See the top images of the Jets during the 2023 offseason program.
In three seasons in Green Bay together, Rodgers threw for 12,416 yards, 111 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 67.1% of his passes. The Packers went 39-9 and Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs, in 2020 and 2021. Jets head coach Robert Saleh said there have been a couple "whoa" moments throughout the spring watching Rodgers, something Hackett has grown accustomed to.
"I think we all see him make these incredible plays, these incredible throws, but for me, it's his ability to see the field and his true understanding and intelligence of the game of football," he said. "I mean, he goes out there and he's playing five different games within just the one game whether he's messing with a defensive coordinator, messing with a player, a defensive line, utilizing his cadence. All those little things that he does, they're just taken for granted. It's his ability to get free plays, his ability to get just a simple, easy play, when he knows exactly what the defense is doing. It's incredible to me."
Rodgers has started to settle in with his new team, teammates and a different shade of green in a familiar offense (with new wrinkles). He spent the spring participating in the team's offseason program, something he had not done recently with Green Bay, helping his new teammates learn Hackett's offense. Rodgers even quizzed players in meetings, which his teammates appreciated. The future Hall of Fame signal-caller, entering his 19th season, has seen every look defenses have to offer and sometimes relies on hand signals to communicate with his wide receivers, so being on the same page is paramount.
"A lot of the time, he knows exactly where he's going to go with the ball and when and how he's going to maneuver people," Hackett said. "Before he even grabs the ball, he knows exactly what's going to happen across the board. He knows that if something breaks down in front of him, he can get out of the pocket. He has this unbelievable accuracy, but at the same time, he has the ability to extend the play. So you're really never dead. You're either going to get the play that you want for the reason that you want, or he's going be able to make something happen just because of his athleticism and his ability to throw out of the pocket."