Even if the Jets wanted to stay out of the spotlight, they couldn't. A week after making their 2023 "Hard Knocks" debut, Gang Green added another big name in Dalvin Cook, then returned to TV on Tuesday for Episode 2 of the annual training camp series.
Cook, the former Vikings star, only joined New York a day before the HBO show returned to the air, so he didn't play a role. That meant "Hard Knocks" once again revolved around none other than Aaron Rodgers, the Jets' truly prized acquisition of 2023.
Here's a roundup of the most notable Rodgers moments from Episode 2:
- The QB was genuinely taken aback by the magic tricks of "America's Got Talent" act Oz Pearlman, who paid a visit to team facilities and forecast a Jets Super Bowl victory over the 49ers.
- Rodgers wasn't too happy with the snaps in the lead-up to joint practices with the Panthers, telling lineman Wes Schweitzer the balls were getting to him "a little late, a little swirly." It foreshadowed deeper issues with the O-line (more on that below).
- Why does A-Rod touch and pick up grass while he's on the field? He explained that he initially started it "to get a little dexterity" and better grip during cold games in Green Bay, but it also helps identify the wind direction. As a bonus, he said, it provides "a little moment of meditation" with "the elements" during games.
- Former Panthers QB Jake Delhomme was a guest at joint practices and became the latest to offer up Rodgers praise, telling companions during drills that Rodgers delivers passes like "he's in slow motion."
- Jets coach Robert Saleh, who often seems to defer to Rodgers' preferences while leading the team, all but questioned the O-line's effort after a rough first day against the Panthers: "(Nothing) f---ing matters until the big boys up front change who the f--- we are. We as coaches, we as an organization, can't want it more than you."
- Zach Wilson, the Jets' former first-rounder, remained all smiles while learning and playing behind Rodgers, joking that he got "Dad's approval" for his game-day apparel after showing off an arm sleeve to his counterpart.
- Rodgers found much-maligned tackle Mekhi Becton on the sidelines of the Jets' preseason game against Carolina, acknowledging his progress, telling Becton he wants him "out there protecting me" and offering to meet up with the lineman during the week.
Rodgers and the Jets will return to "Hard Knocks" on Aug. 22.