Why The Jets Are The Perfect Team For Hard Knocks

By Brett Walker

The start of August means that we are now only days away from the premiere of this year’s season of Hard Knocks – it starts next Tuesday (8 August) – and this year’s edition will focus on the New York Jets.

Embed from Getty Images

When you look at the facts – a new starting quarterback, one of the game’s most highly regarded young head coaches in Robert Salah, and the team has both the reigning Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year – it makes sense that the NFL would pick the Jets to be this year’s Hard Knocks team.

All of the above should make for the most compelling narrative of the four teams that were eligible this year, meaning the Jets being the focus should bring in the most viewers, particularly given that new starting quarterback is the four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers.

The same Aaron Rodgers that has also seen a dramatic change in his public image in the past couple of years given his views on the pandemic and vaccinations, his regular appearances on The Pat McAfee Show and his admissions about his off-season activities.

The Jets are also in a very competitive division – the AFC East – with three teams in the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots that will all think they have a fair to good chance of making the playoffs. Therefore, the addition of Rodgers at quarterback, who has then been surrounded with receivers he knows and likes in Randell Cobb and Allen Lazard, good young talent on both sides of the ball and an offensive coordinator in Nathanial Hackett that Rodgers has worked very well with in the past should make for very interesting AFC East match-ups this season, and maybe the division getting turned completely on its head.

The AFC as a whole is arguably the most exciting of the two conferences as well given it contains Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, a young and ever-improving Bengals team, and what should be a resurgent Ravens team led by Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and Odell Beckham Jr on offence, among others, Come playoff time then, the AFC side of the bracket should have some great match-ups again.

With the news that Rodgers has agreed to a new two-year contract with the Jets, taking a significant pay cut in the process, there is every chance we may see some further additions to the Jets’ roster during the course of the show too.

Jets Ready To Take Off?

All-in-all, this year’s edition of Hard Knocks should be good then, as there will undoubtedly be a lot of storylines and sub-plots for viewers to follow from home.

In particular, given how important the quarterback position is to the cohesiveness of a football team’s offense, and his stature as a future Hall of Famer, it should make for very interesting viewing to see how the Jets’ offence now develops around Aaron Rodgers. As a part of this, the relationship he builds with his new offensive line and the weapons he will have around him will be vital to the Jets’ success or lack thereof this season, and so, should form an integral element of the episodes.

Furthermore, one of the aspects that made last year’s edition of Hard Knocks with the Detroit Lions so good was the charisma and charm of Dan Campbell and his relationship with both his coaching staff and his players.

This year’s edition should be no different, particularly as we get to see how Robert Salah works with his new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and also how Hackett’s methods, and the plays he draws up to suit Rodgers’ style, will affect all aspects of the offense, from the o-line through to the receivers and running backs.

Once Hard Knocks is done and we are into the regular season, we will then also have another edition of Hard Knocks: In Season to look forward to as well, following last year’s edition with the Arizona Cardinals that (I’m sure unintentionally) gave us an inside look into a team and an organisation that was consumed by a combination of bad luck, on-field failures and off-field scandals.

Brett Walker

NFL Analyst

Having discovered the NFL in the late 90s, Brett was a Patriots fan before he’d even heard of Belichick and Brady. Based in Greater Manchester, he also writes about MLB and the NBA. Follow Brett on Twitter @BrettChatsSports.