For New York sports fans, this is true the doggiest August in recent memory. The Mets are unquestionably dead, the barrage of trades of overpriced, underperforming older players and the candid admissions of failure by owner Steve Cohen, not to mention Max Scherzer’s leaking of what line of logic Billy Eppler gave him regarding expectations for this year and next, followed by two embarrassingly lifeless losses to the second-worst team in baseball have made them irrelevant. My jerseys are going into cold storage effective immediately.
And as I packed up those boxes, I came across those I had placed there last fall when the team the Mets once shared a stadium with–can you believe that was 40 years ago?–yet again underachieved. Lucky for me the Jets just happen to be opening up the 2023 preseason tonight at the Hall of Fame game in Canton, where they will be a de facto road team against the Cleveland Browns, who typically play their games 60 miles away, which is an hour and five minutes drive with light traffic. Expect slightly heavier traffic should you be in the area tonight, not to mention the largest audience of any llive broadcast network event of this summer. Because even meaningless bonus exhibition football matters more than reality TV, hame shows and Canadian import comedies.
And with these Jets, who are serving as the subject for the upcoming season of HARD KNOCKS, there is indeed a reality show TV aspect built in. Thank you, Aaron Rodgers, because even though you have no intention of playing a single down of competitive football until 9/11 versus Buffalo, you’ve succeeded in giving the inexplicably optimistic fan base some blind hope that your 40-year-old body will somehow find Ponce de Leon in the Jersey swamps and catch up with your mouth. which earlier this week rose to the defense of your offensive coordinator and buddy Nathaniel Hackett after Broncos coach Sean Payton called out the obvious underachieving that Hackett produced as an inept leader that he believes helped his new team lose nine of 2022’s first 15 games.
No doubt that storyline and backstory will make up much of Tuesday night’s season opener for the HBO/MAX reality series, and once you read the results of Warner Brother Discovery’s second quarter earnings call from this morning, you’ll grasp why our friend Yosemite Zas probably has his Jets gear nearby tonight as well. And it pretty much assures the Jets will somehow stay relevant, and shreds of hope for more, will remain by the time Rodgers and Payton, not to mention his equally star-crossed and expensive aging quarterback Russell Wilson, come face-to-face in Week 5. Mark down Sunday October 8th at roughly 4:25 ET as must-see TV,
For now, we’ll need to settle for action involving back-ups and dreamers, as CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin wrote:
Will any starters play?
Some, but not many. With Rodgers resting for the Jets, former first-round pick Zach Wilson will start at QB for New York, marking his first action under center since Week 15 of a tumultuous 2022 season in which he was benched twice. The Browns, meanwhile, will rest QB Deshaun Watson and veteran backup Joshua Dobbs, turning to ex-Vikings prospect Kellen Mond as their starter. Rookie fifth-rounder Dorian Thompson-Robinson is also expected to see significant snaps at QB for Cleveland.
Another name to watch is Mekhi Becton, the former first-round Jets tackle, who is slated to take as many as several dozen snaps, per Saleh. Slimmed down and technically competing for both of New York’s starting tackle jobs, Becton’s played just one game the last two seasons. Though not a lock to make the final roster, Becton could play a vital role in the trenches if he stands out this preseason, with Rodgers’ line headlined by other injury-riddled veterans in Duane Brown and Billy Turner.
There’s also the spotlight again being shone on last year’s quarterback Zach Wilson, still on the Jets roster and at the moment the primary number two. And when the guy is front of you is 40, injury-prone and already looking ahead to the chance of a catfight between he and that other underachieving quarterback named Wilson, the Russell that plays for Hackett, know that his chance for relevance at some point in this soap opera and powderkeg is probably pretty high.
If nothing else, at least tonight Zach won’t be playing from behind or for a team with a losing record. That, and the fact that scant little else is on tonight, will be reason to watch for a while.
And then, we can coast until 9/11 in the swamp or until 10/8 in the Rockies.
Or perhaps just until Tuesday night’s HARD KNOCKS.
Yep, it’s their opponents tonight who are wearing brown, but the green and white (and sometimes black) clad Jets are indeed the sh-tshow of the moment.
Let’s watch, shall we?