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Hard Knocks Episode 1 Recap

Is There Room For More?

After the tribute to former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, new Jets Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to snap the Jets longest active playoff drought in sports and win the franchise’s second Super Bowl. The Jets lone Super Bowl victory was in 1969.

One Elite Quarterback To Another

Historically, the Jets have not great quarterback play the last decade or so which has ultimately led to their playoff drought. Rodgers is arguably a top-five quarterback of all-time and the best quarterback the Jets have had since Namath.

Rodgers Star of the Show

Due to how long it took for Rodgers to officially become a Jet and the nature of the team, he is not only going to be the star of the team, but the star of Hard Knocks. He was a key part of the trailer and him alone is part of a few storylines and mentioned in the Hard Knocks preview.

New Culture

In addition to obviously improving the team and their roster, one of the main goals for head coach Robert Saleh was to change and improve the culture of the team. Especially, with a young roster, the culture is even more important especially for a team with Championship aspirations.

In a team meeting, Saleh addressed the team with an example that crows are the only bird that will stand up and attack an eagle. Bald eagles will then fly as high as they can until the crow suffocates and dies. The point of this message was he wants his team to continue to fight like the bald eagle and will no longer be an easy win for other teams.

In addition to being the franchise quarterback, Rodgers is helping the culture as he has embraced the leader role and dad of the team. He has worked with and help develop quarterbacks Tim Boyle, Zach Wilson, and Chris Streveler. He also added that everyone should sit with somebody new and get to know all of the guys to help build that team chemistry.

Handshakes Are A Must

In just a few short weeks, Rodgers has already bonded with a good amount of the team and some more than others. Running back Michael Carter and cornerback Sauce Gardner each have special and unique handshakes with their quarterback.

Warm New York Welcome

As soon as Rodgers took the field for his first practice as a Jet, he was already greeted with thousands of Jets fans screaming his name cheering for him. Players noticed as well as Carter was very observant of the crowd’s reaction.

Nothing But Respect Between Reigning Rookie of the Years

Both Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson won Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year this past season have been competing with each other throughout camp. They go back-and-forth as no player has the clear advantage over another.

Sauce Needs To Stop Tugging

However, it was evident through this past season and the first episode of Hard Knocks that Gardner can be a little handsy. If caught that is a holding penalty which is 15-yards or even worse pass interference which is a spot foul. He was caught grabbing Wilson’s jersey in the first episode and has done it a few times this season especially against Courtland Sutton. Gardner needs to limit grabbing the jersey.

Bearcat Graduation

During the episode, they took a break from Jets football and went to the University of Cincinnati to see Gardner graduate from college. He was talking to former NBA player Nick Van Exel who was also graduating.

D-Line Big Broadway Guys

During practice some of the defensive lineman in Solomon Thomas, John Franklin-Myers, and Tanzel Smart were talking about how they love Broadway and want to be a show. It was interesting to see their personalities come out as that is something most football fans would have never known especially for Smart who is fighting for a roster spot and is not well-known.

Celebrity Row

Legendary running backs Tiki Barber and Curtis Martin were seen at Jets practice. In addition to the former running backs, former head coach Jason Garrett and rapper Method Man were also at practice. The voice of Hard Knocks Liev Schreiber was also in attendance at practice mostly spending time with Rodgers. Method Man even got to break the team down with a quote from legendary head coach Bill Parcells.

All Gas, No Brakes

The Jets identity and team motto is “All Gas, No Brakes”. That quote was seen multiple times throughout the episode on different doors and walls throughout the Jets facility.

Aaron No Look Rodgers

Throughout practice, Rodgers was showcasing his athleticism and elite accuracy as he was constantly completing no look passes with ease. His teammates Wilson, Gardner, and Carter were trying as well. However, Rodgers noted behind him, the teammate that was most accurate with the no look passes was backup quarterback Zach Wilson.

Rodgers-Hackett Bromance

Also featured on Hard Knocks was the reunited bromance between Rodgers and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The duo was together in Green Bay for three seasons where Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs. The two were constantly laughing and joking around and they have a great relationship.

Psych Out

Rodgers, Hackett, and a few other teammates were playing this fun little game inspired by the movie BASEketball but obviously a football version. However, they put an even more unique twist by saying random things to try and make the person throwing laugh and mess them up. However, there was also some trash talk going on as Hackett was throwing, someone mentioned Sean Payton. Earlier in the week, Sean Payton had some comments criticizing Hackett for his time as the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Rodgers defended his offensive coordinator and said Payton should keep his coaches name out of his mouth. It will be interesting to see what happens in Week 5 as the Jets and Broncos go head-to-head.

Rodgers Future Offensive Coordinator?

Rodgers is already a future Hall-of-Famer and now thanks to Hard Knocks, he can now cross acting off his checklist. After the Hall-of-Fame preseason game between the Jets and the Cleveland Browns, he may have a future as an offensive coordinator. During the game, Rodgers told Zach Wilson to throw it to Malik Taylor before the snap. Wilson then connects with Taylor for a 57-yard completion which was his best play of the game.

Saleh’s Guy Thriving in New Position

One guy that Saleh is infatuated with is quarterback turned linebacker Chazz Surratt. Yes, Surratt was a quarterback at the University of North Carolina and was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Surratt switched positions to linebacker in efforts to stay in the NFL. His speed and athleticism has helped him with the switch and he even had an interception in that game against the Browns.

Stay Tuned for Episode 2

Episode 2 of Hard Knocks will be out on Tuesday at 10 pm only on Max.


Brian Ramos is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his B.A. in Sports Communications, he has over a year of experience in the sports industry and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry, such as Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Don La Greca, Adam Schefter, and others. In addition, to writing, Ramos has called women’s lacrosse and baseball on ESPN+. Ramos has a podcast on YouTube called Cut The Nets, along with his co-host Jeremy Gretzer. You can find Brian on Instagram at @Brian.ramos0219 and Twitter at @brianramos0219.

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