While Allen Lazard may be adjusting to a new team, he is already enjoying everything that comes with being a member of the New York Jets.
"Oh, it's been great," Lazard said. "You know, just getting to spend time with my teammates, with my new coaches, be able to cultivate our scheme and stuff on the field and create that bond. It's been a great time hanging out with people outside the facility as well and be able to explore the big city and have some fun extracurricular activities."
Lazard was an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2018 and signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad. That December, Lazard was signed off the Jaguars' practice squad by the Green Bay Packers and started his five-year NFL career in Wisconsin working with QB Aaron Rodgers. He starts his sixth year in the NFL on a new team, but with the same familiar face at QB.
"Playing with Aaron is a huge privilege and honor to play with someone of his caliber of talent, but also who he is as a person is someone who is very special to have in my life," Lazard said. "To be able to have him on the field again, to have his leadership, his talent, and to kind of be able to cultivate everybody else and bring it along. I know he's just as excited to have you out there as well."
See the top images of the Jets during the 2023 offseason program.
Not only does Lazard have Rodgers as a familiar face, but he also has OC Nathaniel Hackett. Lazard played under Hackett, who was the OC for the Packers, in the first full three seasons of his career.
"They've done a great job," Lazard said about the Jets coaching staff helping him adjust. "You know, a few of them have come from this offense or from this scheme before, so they have history and knowledge in it. For me, playing in the same offense really my entire career, having Ccoach Hackett every single year except for last year, and then be able to reunite again with him here, has been a rejuvenating feeling to be able to have him and his energy around."
Lazard has joined a wide receiver room that is packed with talent surrounding him. The Green & White have the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year in Garrett Wilson, Mecole Hardman Jr., and former packer Randall Cobb on the roster this season. For Lazard, it was a fellow undrafted free agent that stood out to him during offseason practices this year.
"I would say Irv [Irvin Charles] has definitely kind of had a few 'wow' moments for me," Lazard said. "Our room is very talented, and we're deep. So, it really kind of happens with opportunities throughout practice and everything, being able to get a ball thrown your way and be able to make a play. So, Irv's done a great job of just being consistent, working hard every single day, and I've seen him improve vastly every single day. That's the biggest thing about right now. It's just that we're focusing on the details, focusing on lining up, where we need to get to, the depth, the timing of the routes. I'm seeing him improve steadily and it's very encouraging."
Going into Year 6 in the NFL, Lazard has already accomplished so much on the field. He led the Packers last seasonwith career highs in targets (100), receptions (60) and yards (788) and had 6 TDs. The biggest thing he wants to improve on in his first season with the Jets is an intangible.
"I think the biggest thing I'm going into this season with is just being a leader," Lazard said. "I'm going to the Year 6 now. I started off on the end of the depth chart and the practice squad and everything. Now I'm a starter and getting paid pretty nice. So, I have a lot of experience and I think I can just share that knowledge with other guys. Maybe that'll help them here, maybe that'll help them there. I'm just encouraged guys bring the team along and develop that championship mindset."