There has been a noticeable lack of access and insight compared to previous years, but the Jets have continued to entertain on Hard Knocks this summer.
Best moment: Aaron Rodgers and Zach Wilson
Aaron Rodgers has drawn a ton of praise for how he’s been on Hard Knocks, but Zach Wilson deserves some recognition as well for the way he’s handled a tough situation. It was cool to see Wilson’s teammates support him during his long run in the preseason game against the Bucs while also giving Rodgers a hard time about not being able to run like that anymore. On the bench, Rodgers and Wilson shared another genuine moment, and there seems to be a tremendous rapport of master and apprentice right now.
Worst moment: The rookie show
I mentioned rookie show as the worst moment last week, but I’ll use this space this time around to give undrafted rookie receiver Jerome Kapp from Kutztown University major props for his rookie show performance as B-Rabbit from the movie 8 Mile. It brought the house down, and it was good to see the veterans for the most part singing along with the rookies after last week’s disaster. Kapp no doubt gained major respect from his new teammates, which is a plus.
Funniest moment: Thomas Morestead sprinting off the field
Randall Cobb noticed that punter Thomas Morestead, who doubles as the holder, sprints off the field after kicks; and he was telling just about everyone to watch it happen. It was a really funny moment, and the Hard Knocks cameras perfectly captured Sauce Gardner in slow motion pointing and nodding in approval as Morestead sprinted in the background. As the 37-year-old Morestead explained to Cobb, it’s his way of staying loose as he gets older.
Underrated moment: Israel Abanikanda escapes serious injury
Despite signing Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook (a move we didn’t get much of a look at in this week’s episode), the Jets are very high on rookie running back Israel Abanikanda. He unfortunately suffered a leg injury in the preseason loss to the Bucs, but the episode ended with the good news that it is a relatively minor thigh injury as “Izzy” and his family were featured on the cut-to-black. The former Pitt star is someone to keep an eye on long term.
Best quote: Quinnen Williams
“Mike Evans called me fat. He called me fat, bro.”
MVP: Garrett Wilson
The starters—even Aaron Rodgers—will be playing in the final preseason game against the Giants, which Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner were happy about while talking to head coach Robert Saleh. But to this point, the biggest look we’ve had at the Jets’ star players has come in practice. 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson had an excellent joint practice with Tampa Bay, perhaps giving a glimpse of things to come this season. Rodgers was talking to former Jets Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards and immediately used the word “special” to describe the young receiver.