Marquand Manuel played for six teams as a defensive back over eight seasons in the NFL, including on the Packers in 2006 as a teammate of second-year backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Jets’ current safeties coach was “devastated like everyone else” when Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon on four offensive plays in Week 1 against the Bills in his first season with the team.
But Manuel praised Rodgers’ maturation earlier this week and believes the four-time league MVP will continue to have a big impact as the Jets continue to play without Rodgers with Zach Wilson as their starting quarterback. ing.
“I thank Aaron every day for what he’s done for us, and I told him this and he knows it too,” Manuel said Thursday. ” he said. “For me as a player and now as a coach… you can see the maturation process of who Aaron is now, everyone understands that. I’m applying everything I’ve learned to everyone on this team.
“He did a million things that you didn’t know about, planted seeds and added something, another dimension, that we weren’t able to bring. We loved it the way it was, and we still do, and that in itself helps us.
“So just watching him grow up makes me smile.”
As the Jets prepare for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, Rodgers, 39, has been away from the team while recovering from surgery last week to repair his Achilles tendon.
Rodgers appeared on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Friday and said he would not return to the Jets’ facility at Forum Park until he was able to walk again.
But Manuel said the veteran quarterback’s presence is still felt on One Jets drives.
“I can’t say he’s not here,” Manuel said. “The fact that what he put into everyone, whether it was his banter, how he was able to play or just the little little things that Aaron did, helped all of us. And with that same belief. , we still practice it every day.
“I can’t say enough about him, both as a teammate and as a guy. Watching him develop from when I played with him and against him, he’s a phenomenal worker. They have done more than 10 times more work than we expected.” It’s not only because of the durability of our team, but also because of the mentality that we bring to the practice field every day.
“I can’t say enough about the man I am grateful for and what he has done and continues to do for us.”