Aaron Rodgers Ribs Zach Wilson For Not Making His Life Hell, As The Young QB Shows Humility In First Media Session Since The Jets' Huge Trade

Heheeeeeeeeeee. Aaron Rodgers having a little fun at Zach Wilson's expense. In case you forgot from early January, Wilson was still trying to talk a big game after a horrendous two-season stretch to begin his NFL career. He had a defiant attitude and some of that cocksure persona that was supposed to make him a hit in New York. Instead, Wilson was on track to be a massive bust as the former No. 2 overall pick.

You almost have to respect that type of attitude, though. Wilson wasn't going to back down from any challenger. His dream to be a franchise quarterback wasn't completely dead at that point — even if it's rare to see someone struggle so bad and somehow explode in Year 3. The only real instance of that is Josh Allen, who at least had insane athleticism and even better arm talent to rely on till he more fully blossomed.

No way Wilson was going to beat out Aaron Rodgers. At least from what Wilson said at the podium on Friday in his first public comments since the Rodgers trade, he seems to have enough self-awareness to know that he fucked up.

Laughing at oneself! A great sign! Even better? Get a load of how transparent Wilson was about the Rodgers trade, how he eventually embraced it and how much fun he's having:

The young man has been humbled and then some. By all accounts, Wilson is doing whatever he can to learn from the living legend who sits above him on the depth chart. Good for him for not packing it in, sulking and moping around the facility and trying to demand a trade. Wilson must've recognized his best bet was to be the apprentice to Rodgers' enlightened Jedi master.

Speaking of fun, Rodgers couldn't be much more pleased by the change of scenery from Green Bay and is fully in the honeymoon phase:

And by the way, after Rodgers gave Wilson a good dig over that "hell" quote, he expounded more on the potential he still sees in the young signal-caller (h/t NFL.com):

"He's been a joy to work with, and I give him so much credit because it's a tough situation. What he went through, the frustration last year. Probably a lot of the words he heard from people and if he's checking social media … that can be tough sometimes to deal with that. I think as a young player, the confidence is so important. So, my job, Hack's job, Rob's job, Todd's job, is just to continue to encourage him and help him build that confidence back up. 

"[…] [He's] also just been in my hip pocket learning. Ton of questions. In the locker room, in the meeting room after hours. I love that, because I feel like that's a big part of my role here to not just play at a super high level for this team and help us win, but to make sure he's ready when his time comes, and I really enjoy that opportunity."

Talk about good vibes in the quarterback room. Rodgers added that he'd spent time with Wilson off the field prior to landing with the Jets, so there was already a personal connection in place. 

It's pretty crazy to see Rodgers embrace his role as a mentor to such a degree given what he went through with the Packers when they drafted Jordan Love to replace him. Granted, a much different context, yet it shows that some of the work Rodgers has done on himself in recent offseasons is, in fact, paying dividends.

But what a gift for Zach Wilson. Taking all the awful lumps and growing pains you could possibly imagine across two years in the NFL. Thinking maybe your career is fucked. In comes Aaron Rodgers to give you a PhD in elite quarterback play and how to prepare. 

I feel like that's where the Jets initially screwed themselves: handing Wilson the starting gig as a rookie without a viable veteran in place to guide him and help him prepare. Seldom does that go smoothly unless, you know, your name is Joe Burrow.

Giphy Images.

SORRY. HAD TO. WHOOOOOOO DEYYYY.

OK but back to the Jets. Still early. It's the offseason. Not even training camp. I know. HOWEVER. I feel like the Aaron Rodgers-Zach Wilson dynamic couldn't be going any better to this point. Rodgers is clearly in a good headspace. Wilson has matured. While the hope is that Rodgers plays beyond 2023 of course, he's also (admirably) doing all he can to get Wilson ready to roll. You love to see it.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok