Aaron Rodgers insists concern over Jets' O-line 'pretty low'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This would've been a good time for New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers to break out his famous "R-E-L-A-X" line from 2014.

Despite six sacks and numerous pressures in a joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, Rodgers insisted his concern level about the offensive line is "pretty low." He preached patience, suggesting the pass-protection issues will get resolved once the starting five is set.

"It's Aug. 16, so we've got some time," he said. "Also, it's coming up."

The Jets faced the Bucs without guards Laken Tomlinson (leg) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (ankle) and left tackle Duane Brown (shoulder), who remains on the physically unable to perform list. Rodgers was pleased with how the makeshift line responded from a physicality standpoint, but mentioned that it "missed some real easy stuff" in pass protection.

The six sacks occurred in a span of 10 dropbacks against a talented Tampa Bay front. Perhaps showing frustration, Rodgers -- under pressure -- sailed a throwaway so far out of bounds that it went into the crowded bleachers. Afterward, he tried to project calm while answering questions about the line -- easily the biggest concern surrounding the team -- but there might come a point soon when he asks the coaches to settle on a lineup for the sake of continuity.

"I don't get concerned about things I don't have a huge role in -- yet," Rodgers said. "That might change. At some point, I might say, 'Hey, I need the five who are going to be in there to be in there with me for a solid week,' but I don't think we're at that point ... because I don't think there are five guys that have earned those spots. So, I have some patience."

The Jets' line struggled in last week's joint practice against the Carolina Panthers, prompting a tirade from coach Robert Saleh later that evening -- a scene included in this week's episode of "Hard Knocks" on HBO. On Wednesday, Saleh declined to comment on the latest performance, saying he spent the practice on a different field with the defense and didn't see the offense firsthand.

The line's situation could improve in the coming days, as Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker are listed as day-to-day with their injuries. Brown, 37, who had shoulder surgery after the season, is "getting a lot closer" to being activated, Saleh said.

In addition, there are positional battles at center (Connor McGovern vs. rookie Joe Tippmann) and right tackle (Max Mitchell vs. Billy Turner). On Wednesday, Tippmann lined up at left guard, a position he hadn't played before.

2020 first-round pick Mekhi Becton is healthy and practicing at left tackle, but hasn't been able to get any first-team reps even with Brown sidelined.

"He can do it; it's just a matter of being available," said Saleh, who has expressed concern about Becton's durability in the wake of two surgeries on his right knee.

The unsettled line has put 39-year-old Rodgers in a tough spot. He's trying to galvanize the offense, but it's difficult with a revolving door up front. He might not get any game action in the preseason, and the Jets have no more joint practices, which could make it harder to build continuity as the season approaches. "At some point," Rodgers said, "we need to figure things out so we can get guys -- at least get a week or two -- playing next to each other."

In other developments, running back Dalvin Cook arrived during practice. He observed, signed his one-year contract and attended meetings. He will fly home to South Florida for the birth of his first child, then return next week. He won't practice for about a week, having had shoulder surgery in February, but the Jets expect him to be ready for Week 1.