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AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Ranking The Teams That Can Be Forced On ‘Hard Knocks’ In 2023

It should be a matter of days or weeks before the participant on the 2023 training camp edition of HBO’s Hard Knocks following an NFL team is revealed. There are four teams that can be forced to be on the show this summer because they fall under the criteria of:


-They do not have a new head coach.


-They missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.


-They must not have appeared on the show over the past ten years.


Four teams fall under that category this season, and it’s likely one of them will be on show in 2023. This is how I rank them.


4. Washington Commanders

I actually think the Commanders would be the most interesting team to be on Hard Knocks this year, assuming they will get new ownership which would be about as intriguing of a storyline as possible. And if current owner Daniel Snyder hasn’t sold by the late summer, that drama would be crazy. However, overall, it just feels a bit unfair to put a bigger spotlight on the likely new ownership given that it’s such a huge adjustment and everyone will be finding their footing. It feels unlikely to be Washington.


3. New Orleans Saints

New quarterback Derek Carr joining the Saints creates a compelling situation to track for the organization, but they ultimately don’t seem quite as exciting as the other teams that can be forced onto Hard Knocks. If New Orleans is selected, the injury status of former All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, who has basically had his past two seasons wiped out due to injury, would be something to keep an eye on.


2. Chicago Bears

Like most teams, the Bears do not want to be on Hard Knocks. The worst team in the league last year, they want to focus on getting better and not dealing with the extra attention. However, if forced onto the show, it would be nice to track young quarterback Justin Fields as he enters Year 3—with a much upgraded supporting cast including D.J. Moore, who was acquired in the blockbuster deal with the Panthers. Also, NFL fans would get more insight on a relatively under-the-radar second-year head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles.


1. New York Jets

Finally, with Aaron Rodgers fully expected to become a Jet at some point, New York is undoubtedly the best choice to appear on Hard Knocks in 2023. The Jets have a bunch of exciting talent including Year 2 stars Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson—the Defensive and Offensive Rookies of the Year—and Breece Hall—coming off a torn ACL. Those three in particular are a fun group, even doing a ceremony of burning the cheesehead Sauce wore after a win at Lambeau last season to extend an olive branch to Rodgers and get him to join the team.



The Jets would offer a great blend of personalities, storylines, and a team looking to contend.