Anyone who’s watched the new season of “Hard Knocks” would get the same sense that the show is about Aaron Rodgers as much as it is about the New York Jets.
The latest episode was no different. The superstar quarterback was heavily featured with his heated back-and-forth with New York Giants defensive lineman Jihad Ward being the highlight of the episode.
Rodgers’ arrival to New York has brought along lofty expectations, as he joined a team that went 7-10 last season but had one of the league’s top defenses and a pair of young, promising players on offense.
Skip Bayless is a bit skeptical, however, of Rodgers entering the season, especially with the way that he’s handled himself on “Hard Knocks.” On Wednesday’s “Undisputed,” Bayless said that Rodgers has turned the series into a “one-man Broadway show,” adding that he’s “dominated ‘Hard Knocks’ in a way no other player has.”
For Bayless, “the real hard knocks” for the Jets begin in the regular season, and he wasn’t feeling too optimistic about them as he ran through their schedule for the first weeks of the season (which includes matchups against the Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, Broncos and Eagles).
“What if the Jets stumble out of the gate? It wouldn’t surprise me at all,” Bayless said. “What if Aaron falls back into the blame, deflecting and finger-pointing he was known for in Green Bay? Remember, the Packers finally concluded that Aaron Rodgers was more trouble than he was worth, especially after his stats last year were almost all career lows.
“Aaron’s playoff record is 7-9 since his lone Super Bowl 13 years ago. That’s why I call him the most overhyped player in NFL history. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long fall for the Jets, as a long autumn and long plunge. What if the only thing they win is ‘Hard Knocks?'”
Aaron Rodgers says Jets are ready for Week 1 matchup vs. Bills
New “Undisputed” panelist and former Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson agreed that “Hard Knocks” is too glitzy for his liking, mentioning that teams he was on in the past opted not to do it, and he even said Bill Parcells “laughed at it” during his time with the Cowboys.
However, Johnson thinks the on-field results will be different than what Bayless thinks they’ll be for Gang Green.
“This is a different situation,” Johnson said of Rodgers. “He’s reunited with [Nathaniel] Hackett. They have a defense that’s lights out. They have a defense they say is ‘Sauce everywhere.’ When you’ve got a quarterback with a head coach that has a defensive mind, you don’t need Aaron Rodgers to throw for 5,000 yards. You need him to be efficient. I need you to do things when we need you to do them.
“Like, that throw the other night in the preseason game against the Giants, it was a laser throw over the head of the defender into the hands of Garrett Wilson. That’s what you need. Can he do that in the postseason as well? You’re hoping [he can].”
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