Morgan ‘excited’ to return home to Lambeau
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – James Morgan is coming home.
Morgan, a 2015 graduate of Ashwaubenon High School and current member of the New York Jets, is coming to Lambeau Field for a Saturday, Aug. 21, preseason game against the Packers in front of family and friends.
He became the first Green Bay area quarterback to be drafted since the Packers selected former Wisconsin quarterback Bud Keyes (Green Bay West) in the 10th round in 1988.
“It was a great learning year for me in terms of seeing how the NFL works with preparation, speed of the game and so on,” the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Morgan said. “I was able to refine my weekly process for game preparation by trying different things to get ready.”
After trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in the offseason, Morgan is one of three quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster.
He’s joined by Bringham Young University’s Zach Wilson, who was selected in the first round of the 2021 draft with the No. 2 overall pick and Mike White, who’s currently entering his fourth season in the NFL.
Morgan is listed second on the depth chart behind the rookie Wilson.
After going 2-14 overall in 2020 under head coach Adam Gase, the Jets went a different direction in hiring San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as head coach.
“I think we have some momentum going forward,” Morgan said about this season. “Coach Saleh’s biggest thing he talks about is ‘all gas, no brake.’ He wants everyone to buy in and give it all they have. I think seeing that from week to week is for sure a goal for us.”
The Jets and Packers are holding two joint practices Aug. 18-19 at Ray Nitschke Field in advance of their preseason game.
It will be the first time the Jets will hold joint practices with another team since 2018 when they traveled to Richmond (Va.) and worked with the Washington Football Team.
The Packers held joint practices with the Houston Texans in 2019.
“It’s exciting for me (to come back to Green Bay),” Morgan said. “I’ve been to both Packers Training Camp practices and lots of games, so to play (in Lambeau Field) is something I visualized lots as a kid. It will be great to go out there and compete.”
Morgan said it will be nice to have his family and friends in attendance as well.
“Lots of them have made great efforts to go out and see me at college, which I appreciated, given how far away I’ve been,” he said. “It will be nice to be close to everyone for a change and get a chance to see my family and friends.”
After starting his college career at Bowling Green State University, Morgan transferred to Florida International University under the tutelage of head coach Butch Davis, where he passed for a combined 5,312 yards and threw 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his two years with the Panthers.
He was selected as the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year in 2018.
Morgan, who said he grew up idolizing Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, threw for more than 7,500 yards in his three years as the starting quarterback for Ashwaubenon, which is about a mile from Lambeau.
“I had lots of fun with the guys I played with (at Ashwaubeon),” he said. “I’m still friends with many of them, and I’ll remember the times we had in practice and Friday nights.”