HBO’s Hard Knocks with the New York Jets returned for Episode 4, the penultimate episode of this season’s docuseries. After last week’s episode featured Mike Evans insulting Quinnen Williams and Randall Cobb’s insight into Aaron Rodgers, what did Tuesday night have to offer? Here are the top moments from the fourth episode of Hard Knocks.
Best Moments From Episode 4 of Hard Knocks
Aaron Rodgers vs. Jihad Ward
Rodgers has never been afraid of trash talk, and his willingness to taunt doesn’t stop in the preseason.
After throwing a pass against the New York Giants in preseason Week 3, Rodgers thought Giants defender Jihad Ward could have stopped before running into him.
“That’s f—– bull—-, bro,” Rodgers told Ward. “What the f— is that? Show some respect, bro.
“C’mon, what the f— is that? Five damn steps (before hitting me)?”
Rodgers then hit Ward, a seven-year NFL veteran, with the ultimate insult.
“I don’t know who the f— you are,” Rodgers said. “I never heard of you.”
.@AaronRodgers12 said there would be some good trash talk in Hard Knocks.
He was right. pic.twitter.com/zaCX5fEglf
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 30, 2023
After Rodgers completed a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson, he couldn’t help but get back in Ward’s face.
“Don’t poke the bear,” Rodgers told Ward.
Rodgers knew what he was doing.
“Then I gave (Ward) a line that’s un-come-back-with-able,” Rodgers later told his teammates on the sideline. “I said, ‘I don’t even know who you are.’
“Then he said, ‘I don’t know who you are.’
“I said, ‘Bull—-.’”
Robert Saleh Stars In…The Sopranos
Robert Saleh made the trek to the Jets and Giants’ shared New Jersey stadium in advance of the clubs’ Week 3 preseason game, so it was only fitting for Hard Knocks to pay homage to arguably HBO’s greatest show.
— John Digles (@JohnDigles) August 30, 2023
The Jets might be one of the NFL’s most volatile teams in 2023. Their upcoming campaign could theoretically go any number of ways. A Super Bowl win is realistic, but massive expectations could lead to a catastrophic downfall.
But no matter how New York’s 2023 goes, at least we know the screen won’t cut to black at the end of the season.
Hard Knocks episode 4 pic.twitter.com/GWAI1pPS4R
— Rami (@RamiofTeaneck) August 30, 2023
Randall Cobb Goes Too Hard in a Preseason Game
Cobb is 33 years old and has spent a dozen years in the NFL. But he still doesn’t know when to take it easy in a preseason game.
Cobb was flagged for an illegal blindside hit on Bobby McCain in Week 3, leading his wife to guess he’d be fined.
“What are you doing bro? This ain’t 2014.”
Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb were made for each other. pic.twitter.com/xdOJKBnWAm
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) August 29, 2023
“Cobbie just lost all his f—— training camp money!” Rodgers said. “What are you doing, bro? This isn’t 2014!”
“I forgot!” Cobb said. “I blacked out!”
Jason Brownlee, Xavier Gipson, Tanzel Smart Fighting For Roster Spots
Hard Knocks viewers are always ahead of the action on the show, but that lag time was taken to the extreme in Episode 4 — all of us watching at home already know which players fighting for a spot on the Jets’ roster made it and which didn’t.
It seems that Xavier Gipson was never actually on the bubble based on the way his #Jets teammates and coaches talk about him on this episode of Hard Knocks.
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) August 30, 2023
In some cases, that can lead to heartwarming stories like undrafted rookie free agent receivers Xavier Gipson and Jason Brownlee, both of whom earned spots — at least initially — on the Jets’ 53-man roster.
In other cases, our knowledge as viewers can make some scenes seem devastating since we already know the player’s roster fate. Exhibit A on Tuesday night was defensive tackle Tanzel Smart.
Knowing Tanzel Smart got cut today and then watching Hard Knocks feature him and his family is gut-wrenching. He makes almost any other roster in NFL as a second-string DL #Jets
— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) August 30, 2023
Smart had to get an X-ray on his shoulder against the Giants but fought to stay in the game, knowing it was his only chance to make the Jets’ roster.
“I deserve to play with you guys,” Smart told other members of the Jets’ defensive line on the sidelines, who agreed with his sentiment.
New York released Smart on Tuesday. Because he’s a vested veteran, he doesn’t have to pass through the NFL’s waiver system and can sign with another team immediately. Smart should attract interest elsewhere; if not, a spot on Gang Green’s practice squad likely awaits.