Livescore Tuesday, April 23

The Jets are one of the four NFL teams that could be forced to participate in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” during 2023 training camp and the preseason.

If coach Robert Saleh gets his way, the NFL will look elsewhere for a participant.

Saleh was asked about the possibility of appearing on “Hard Knocks” at a news conference on Friday. He made his opinion of the Jets’ candidacy for the show clear.

“I know of several teams that would love for Hard Knocks to be in their building,” Saleh said. “We’re just not one of them.”

Saleh would go on to say that he “hasn’t gotten word” about whether the league has made a decision. That means the Jets are in play to be a part of the program.

But why wouldn’t the Jets want to be on the show? There are a few reasons that it might prove difficult for New York.

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Why the Jets don’t want to be on ‘Hard Knocks’

It’s understandable that the Jets wouldn’t want to be on “Hard Knocks” in 2023. Why? It’s because they don’t need another distraction to surround their offseason program.

The Jets are already going to be under a microscope this year. They are already facing lofty expectations for 2023 after trading for 39-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and that will raise the stakes for the team.

Given Rodgers’ age, the Jets need to be in win-now mode. They certainly have the roster needed to compete, and if they can’t, Saleh’s job will be in danger. Coaches on the hot seat rarely like having distractions around, so it’s sensible that Saleh would be opposed to “Hard Knocks” for this reason.

Additionally, one can expect that there will be a media circus surrounding Rodgers during his entire time in New York. After all, he is the best quarterback to play for the Jets since Brett Favre, so he will be watched quite closely.

So, the last thing New York needs is another set of eyes — or cameras — consistently watching Rodgers. Especially given the drama that has surrounded him, and his interactions with the media, in recent seasons.

Also, it’s worth noting that the Jets haven’t just added Rodgers this offseason. They have introduced plenty of other players to the mix on offense — including Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb — and have a new offensive coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett.

Those incoming players will need to ingratiate themselves with the Jets’ scheme and culture. “Hard Knocks” could make it a bit harder for them to do that.

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Will the Jets be on ‘Hard Knocks’ in 2023?

It’s hard to imagine the NFL choosing another team for “Hard Knocks.” The NFL can only mandate a handful of teams each year to do the program. They must not have a first-year head coach, have made the playoffs in either of the last two seasons or have appeared on the program over the last 10 years.

For 2023, that applies to just four teams. One is the Jets. The others are the Bears, Commanders and Saints.

It’s hard to imagine any of those groups having as much intrigue as the Jets. New York not only has Rodgers on a new team and Saleh on the hot seat, it also has a big character in top cornerback Sauce Gardner. The team also has enough young talent — like Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall —  to intrigue casual fans who might not otherwise watch the show.

So, it seems likely that the NFL will choose the Jets if it comes to it. But perhaps like last year when the Lions volunteered for the position, another team will step up and spare the Jets from having to participate in the program.

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Jets history on ‘Hard Knocks’

The Jets participated in “Hard Knocks” once before. That came in 2010, when the team was chronicled as former Ravens coordinator Rex Ryan still was in charge of the team.

During that season, Ryan produced numerous memorable quotes while the team dealt with a holdout from star cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The Jets were well-received as a part of that program and made the playoffs after posting an 11-5 record during the 2010 season. They then made a run to the AFC championship game, upsetting the Colts and Patriots before losing to the Steelers 24-19. So, perhaps some New York fans would view going back on the program as good mojo for the team.

That said, it’s hard to blame Saleh for not wanting distractions given the amount of pressure on his shoulders in 2023.

Even still, that won’t necessarily prevent the NFL from choosing the Jets. They will go for the team that will draw the best ratings, and that would presumably be the Rodgers-led squad.

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