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The NY Jets to Star in ‘Hard Knocks’ Whether They Want To Or Not

Everybody wants a piece of the New York Jets this season. NFL odds pundits can’t get enough of them. Fans and critics are eating up all of their narratives, and now, a show on how New York will prepare itself for the 2023 season is coming.

After commanding most headlines this offseason following the acquisition of former Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, the Jets were selected by the NFL to headline this season’s “Hard Knocks.

FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 26: New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers poses with a jersey during an introductory press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on April 26, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The problem here is, the Jets weren’t necessarily interested.

For those of you who are strangers to the world of “Hard Knocks,” the show, produced in conjunction with NFL Films and HBO gives a personal look into how a specific team, the Jets this year, prepare for the new season in their training camp. It dives into the day-to-day lives, both professional and personal of players, coaches, and team staff. Yes, it’s that personal.

When the time came for the NFL to choose what team would be featured in this year’s show, the Jets clearly stood out over the other three eligible candidates, the Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Commanders. And it makes perfect sense whether New York agrees with it.

Between having a team that’s being called out to be a contender this season and three NFC teams with little to no fuzz to offer, there’s no point to think over. Even with Jets coach Robert Saleh making his desire to not be featured on the show present, after the official announcement made by the league, there’s no turning back.

So what should Jets and football fans expect? What storylines should be featured? Let’s break down what could happen in this season’s edition of “Hard Knocks.

Will it be Rodgers vs Wilson, or Rodgers and Wilson?

If drama is what the NFL wants, then the whole Rodgers and Zach Wilson QB room conundrum should bring plenty. It’s no secret that the Jets were in dire need of a new QB, after giving Wilson two years to try and establish himself as the franchise’s starting QB.

Thus enters Rodgers.

The former Packers legend and Wilson’s childhood idol joined the Jets and automatically took over the QB1 position, leaving Wilson to find a comfortable seat on the bench and try to learn a thing or two. So, what will the QB competition look like in training camp?

According to various NFL news sites covering the Jets, Wilson and Rodgers have showered each other with compliments and support. While the former BYU star has talked plenty about how appreciative he is to have the chance to play with Rodgers, the latter has also made it a point to show Wilson support after the horrible 2022 season he endured.

In a show that dives deep into the private lives and thoughts of players as they prepare for the season, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between both QBs matures. While one will be touted with trying to lead New York into the playoffs and onward, the other will have the luxury of studying under one of the best passers in the game.

What Will Happen with Quinnen Williams?

The Jets will be starting training camp in one week. That’s also how long they have left to sign their star DT tackle Quinnen Williams to a new deal, one that he deserves above all other Jets players. Williams made it a point to skip on the team’s voluntary workouts after not agreeing on a new deal.

Not even getting a chance to hang out with Rodgers was appealing enough to bring Williams back.

Quinnen Williams

It’s long been speculated that New York should’ve had a deal already worked out with Williams. Yet, here we are, with no deal for Williams and the cameras ready to start shooting a week from now. And you know that if Williams isn’t there from day one, the show will turn into a digging mission to make that situation a pivotal talking point.

Some say that the Jets are waiting to find a form to restructure Rodgers’ deal before landing on a definitive contract for Williams. Others say that the differentiating point between both parties stands at how many years will the deal be for. Whatever it is, there’s one week left, Williams deserves a new deal, and New York better turn on the jets before it’s too late.

Gardner, Hall, and Wilson Season 2

Show me a better NFL draft class in recent years than New York’s in 2022. Hint, there isn’t one. Drafting the likes of AhmadSauceGardner, Garrett Wilson, and Breece Hall amongst others, the Jets made the best draft investment in years and started raking the rewards fast.

Now, with Gardner, Hall, and Wilson entering their sophomore seasons, what will be of them?

Gardner took no time establishing himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, closing out the season with the DROY award. Wilson finally gave the Jets something they had been dreaming of since Brandon Marshall’s days at MetLife, a true WR 1 star prospect.

And Hall? If he hadn’t fallen victim to a season-ending injury, he would’ve probably beaten Wilson out of the OROY award.

One of the main reasons Rodgers apparently joined the Jets was the potential he saw in the core of young, explosive talents. He saw in them the best pieces to try and build a championship-winning team. Gardner and Wilson are poised to make Year 2 better than Year 1.

Hall on the other hand will be coming back with a huge chip on his shoulder, one that could lead to him having one of the strongest comeback seasons for any Jets player in a long time.

In a team ready for the big time, the idea of a sophomore slump is not negotiable.

Coach Saleh Needs Winning Season, or Else…

What’s there not to love about Saleh and Jets GM Joe Douglas? When you see the two at work, you get a feel that they are men who love football and their jobs. So, why haven’t the Jets had any success since Saleh and Douglas took over?

Douglas has made it his mission to try and give Saleh the best team available, everybody knows that. While he is one of the main people responsible for picking Wilson over the likes of QBs like Trey Lance, Justin Fields, or even Mac Jones back in the 2021 draft, he bounced back in 2022 and has been able to build a competitive roster.

When the team needed help with their secondary, Douglas went and drafted Gardner, and signed DJ Reed, creating one of the best CB duos in the league. Speed in the rushing game? Douglas drafted Hall and signed Zonovan Knight. A new WR 1? Douglas drafted Wilson and look how that turned out. What’s that? That the real problem has always been in the QB department? Douglas brought in Rodgers.

So what has Saleh done thus far? Not enough if you ask football experts and fanatics. Now, with a team ready to compete for a spot in the playoffs, and who knows, maybe even a trip to Super Bowl LVIII, New York’s coach needs a winning season, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Unlike the past two seasons, in 2023 Saleh will have everything he wanted for his team right there at his feet. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want “Hard Knocks” to focus on his team. Instead of whining about it, why not step up and show everyone he has the chops to get the job done and go for greatness?

It’s clear that this is Saleh’s season to either rise to the occasion or sink and maybe start looking for a new job. If the Jets don’t make it to the postseason again this year, that will make it three years that Saleh hasn’t gotten the job done, and it automatically will lead to a conversation nobody will want to have.

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