FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Garrett Wilson has heard the comparisons to Davante Adams from the moment Aaron Rodgers joined the New York Jets in April.
The quarterback has helped fuel some of that talk himself, raving about his new No. 17 and how he can someday be like his old No. 17 if he keeps working the way he has.
“The talent is really impressive,” Rodgers said of Wilson during training camp. "He makes difficult things look easy.”
Wilson is coming off a season in which he was selected the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year — the first in franchise history — after catching 83 passes for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns. And that was while working in an offense that struggled all season with inconsistent quarterback play by Zach Wilson, Mike White and Joe Flacco.
Now, Wilson has Rodgers throwing him the ball. And the two quickly built a rapport during the spring and in training camp.
“Our chemistry is good, man,” Wilson said. “It's as good as it can be at this point. We still have to get out there and get some game reps. You got a little taste of it, but a full game, we'll really see where we're at and where we stack up.”
That peek came in the preseason finale when Rodgers made his Jets debut and completed three of his five passes to Wilson, including a perfectly placed 14-yard touchdown toss to cap his second and final series against the Giants. Next up is the regular-season opener Monday night at home against Buffalo.
“We feel like we bring some great things to the table,” Wilson said. "I know that we’ve been working on it since day one and every rep I get with him is huge. I know we've got the same mindset. ...
“We're nowhere where we want to be, but we're in a good spot.”
Rodgers has repeatedly referred to Wilson as “special.” The quarterback knows he can throw the football a tick faster than usual because he's confident Wilson will be open.
But it goes far beyond just Wilson's speed and ability to catch the football.
“I just think he has a good focus on what to do to get better every day and there is a lot of learning, teaching moments throughout the entire offseason and even training camp and even today there are things that happen,” Rodgers said. "The beautiful thing about him is he is so sharp and he has such great recall, there is not repeat mistakes.
“If something happens once, the next time it comes up, he's going to fix it.”
That's similar to Adams, who became Rodgers' go-to receiver during their eight seasons together in Green Bay. Adams made three All-Pro teams and six Pro Bowl squads while establishing himself as one of the best at his position.
All of that has Wilson, who grew up a fan of Adams, watching tape of the current Raiders receiver on a daily basis.
“We go back and watch the 2019, 2020, 2018 Green Bay Packers and he was unguardable at that point,” Wilson said. "Aaron didn't miss, the offense rolled. There's a few games in there they got beat, but they were impressive. And that's every day because it's all our offense. It's exactly what we're running now.
“And it's just easy for me to see him do it and be like, ‘OK, that’s how I should make it look.' And knowing how great he was and seeing how he made it work because this offense is catered to a receiver.”
Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was in the same role with the Packers from 2019-21 and had an up-close view of how Rodgers and Adams built their on-field chemistry.
He sees some of the signs of that beginning with Rodgers and Wilson, who he called a “unique" receiver who's still learning the system.
“It's going to be something that's going to be continuous,” Hackett said. "There have been some great opportunities, both in practice and we saw a couple in the game that were pretty spectacular. I think that's just the beginning of it. There's going to be some hiccups early because it is new, it is different, and everybody changes when there is 80,000 people in the stands.
“So, I think we are going to have to work through those things, but I am excited to see where these two go.”
NOTES: RT Mekhi Becton didn't practice while dealing with an illness. ... LT Duane Brown (shoulder) and RB Breece Hall (knee) were limited.
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Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press