Aaron Rodgers enjoyed a solid debut for the New York Jets in their preseason game with the New York Giants this past weekend.
He was met with cheers from the crowd at MetLife Stadium before he threw a sensational back-shoulder touchdown pass to wideout Garrett Wilson in the first quarter. Rodgers finished with 47 passing yards and the touchdown in two possessions.
Perhaps more interesting than his performance — we all know Rodgers is good at football — was his on-field banter with teammates and opponents. After Rodgers connected with receiver Mecole Hardman on a 10-yard play on his second drive, Giants defensive end Jihad Ward gave the Jets quarterback a shove he didn't appreciate.
"That was [expletives], bro. What the [expletive] was that?" Rodgers said. "Show some respect, bro. C'mon, what the [expletive] was that? Five damn steps — I don't even know who you are, bro."
Officials had to separate Rodgers and Ward after the play. Coincidentally, Rodgers threw the touchdown pass to Wilson on his very next attempt.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 30, 2023
Now, Rodgers may say he doesn't know who Ward is, but that doesn't mean he and Ward hadn't met on the field before. Ward got a better hit on Rodgers last season when the Giants faced the Green Bay Packers in England on Oct. 9, 2022.
Random Jihad Ward clip from the Giants win v. the Packers pic.twitter.com/VzYEuG7vM7
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) August 30, 2023
Ward responded to the episode on Wednesday, and said that HBO showed only Rodgers' side of things.
#Giants LB Jihad Ward said that HBO only showed Aaron Rodgers’ side of things on #HardKnocks. He took time to tell his.
What frustrated Ward and his teammates is the dirty hit from Randall Cobb & then how Rodgers, Cobb & others on the #NYJ were “laughing” about it & making… pic.twitter.com/gFTc1364H3
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) August 30, 2023
The issue apparently stemmed from a blindside block from Randall Cobb, who was penalized on the play.
From Hard Knocks: After #Jets Randall Cobb laid the massive blindside block on a #Giants defender, Aaron Rodgers said in the huddle:
"Cobbi lost all his f---ing training camp money."
"What are you doing bro? This ain't 2014!"😂
(🎥 @jetfella)pic.twitter.com/sUOcpESXYo https://t.co/v4vaqpR5ao
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 29, 2023
Cobb's hit and Rodgers laughing at it after, Ward said, was "sucker s***."
'Cobb lost all his training camp money!'
Rodgers didn't shy away from making fun of his own teammates, either.
When veteran wideout and longtime Packers teammate Randall Cobb was called for a blindside hit on Giants linebacker Jameel McClain on the second play of the Jets' first drive, Rodgers quickly reminded him of the new NFL rules.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) August 29, 2023
Rodgers appears to be fitting in well with his new team just months after being traded to New York from Green Bay. But this is preseason and training camp. The Jets still don't know what they'll look like during the regular season, especially with a matchup against the three-time defending AFC East champion Buffalo Bills on the docket in Week 1.