An uncommon season of Hard Knocks (we didn’t get one word about Corey Davis retiring!) continued with an episode ended by the first featured cut of training camp.
Best moment: Jerome Kapp in the spotlight
After undrafted rookie Jerome Kapp went viral for his performance as B-Rabbit from 8 Mile during last week’s episode—even getting a shout out from the rapper Eminem, who played B-Rabbit—the former Kutztown receiver had another segment of his own this week. Hard Knocks has been light on insight and access this year with the Jets firmly not wanting to participate, but Kapp talked with the crew and talked about what a dream it is to have the opportunity to play in the NFL—showing emotion while talking about his family and the sacrifices his parents have made for him. These are the types of stories that help make Hard Knocks a great series that’s been around for so long. Unfortunately, Kapp was ultimately cut, but he can hold his head high and might get more chances in the league.
Worst moment: Aaron Rodgers lashes out
The presentation of a television show can obviously make things appear different than they actually are, but Aaron Rodgers’ first summer with the Jets seems to have had major highs and lows throughout. Early in this week’s episode, Rodgers was not at all happy with the performance by the offense in practice, and he vented on the sideline by yelling—and dropping f-bombs every sentence—about the mistakes. The future Hall of Famer expects perfection from his teammates, but it’s just a hint at things potentially snowballing if things go south with a challenging early-season schedule for the Jets.
Funniest moment: Randall Cobb’s kids
The reaction to Randall Cobb’s blindside block was also funny, but his young sons Cade and Caspian were hilarious throughout the third and final preseason game versus the Giants. From looking for “Uncle Aaron” and their dad, to Cade saying “no, no, no” in response to his mom Aiyda’s comment about the game, it was cool to see them so attentive to their dad’s career.
Underrated moment: The Sopranos parody
Pop-culture references are common every year in Hard Knocks, and HBO/NFL Films went the extra mile with an extremely effective parody of The Sopranos intro—with Robert Saleh in the role of Tony Soprano—on their way to the preseason matchup at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Kudos for the crew for picking up the requisite camera shots to make it look great.
Best quote: Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb
“Cobby lost all his f***ing training camp money… What are you doing, bro? This ain’t 2014.”
MVP: Xavier Gipson and Jason Brownlee
Along with fellow rookie receiver Jerome Kapp, Xavier Gipson and Jason Brownlee gave good access we are used to seeing more often on Hard Knocks. Gipson and Brownlee—though built differently with different sizes and playing styles—have bonded and grinded through camp together, with a relationship that started at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl during the pre-draft process. The ping pong game was funny, with Gipson literally rolling on the floor laughing during Brownlee’s up-downs as payoff from their bet. Those that avoid spoilers should tune in for the season finale next week to see where Gipson and Brownlee stand on the final roster. Both players appear to have support from coaches and teammates for their ability.