This year’s NFL Hard Knocks will be interesting viewing. In particular, as a first-time watcher, and a Raiders fan, I’ll be all ears.
I don’t quite know what to expect from Hard Knocks, but judging the quality of NFL Films and general multimedia my expectations are quite high.
The NFL have by far the best video production team out of any of the three sports covered on the website. From the Mic’d up, to the official highlight videos of games – they have the modern online viewer basking in the plethora of content available to them.
But there will be the added incentive of the insight into this year’s Raiders camp – as intriguing a team as any in the league.
Here’s 5 hopes I have for the season.
Rolling the tape on Jon Gruden, 24/7
For all that Gruden didn’t live up to last season in terms of his coaching – he makes up for it as an onlooker with his charisma. Gruden was a successful NFL analyst after his initial coaching stint, and has always had the bravado necessary to spur on a team. Whether that ends up in actual results, remains to be seen. But the Hard Knocks series gives the viewer a unique insight into the backroom, the training ground and team meetings. Seeing Gruden in situations where he’s not playing to the camera, coincidentally when a camera will be capturing it, will be interesting to watch. There’s no doubt the Hard Knocks production team will strike gold with some of his performances.
Gaining an insight into the work ethic of Antonio Brown
What has surprised me as a relative NFL newcomer is the love the league has for Antonio Brown. At age 30, despite making arguably his last career switch and looking for a swansong home in Oakland, his peers and NFL writers still regard him as one of the best WR’s in the league – if not the best. Brown brings a unique quality to this Raiders team who haven’t boasted this level of talent since the days of Khalil Mack. Gaining an insight into his work ethic, his training routines and his overall character will be particular intriguing television as a Raiders fan.
Showing the transition of the rookies
As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t watched Hard Knocks, so these are all assumptions or at the very least, predictions. One element I’m hoping for is some in-depth coverage of how the rookies transition into the league. First round pick Clelin Ferrell will be particular interesting to watch given how high he was picked and his resume with Clemson. You’ve also got Josh Jacobs, the running back out of Alabama, who is touted to be a good building block for years to come. Even some of the undrafted players, the walk-ons, to see them develop will be interesting to see.
The Front Office at work
I imagine that while the team and their preparation for the season ahead will be a focal point – that they’ll have to show some of the front office at work too. This involves owner Mark Davis, who hasn’t been a huge fan of the series, dotting the i’s along with the role that Mike Mayock plays as GM. Some people have labelled the Raiders front office as ‘dysfunctional’ for some of the trades they have made this past season. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of pressure on them ahead of this forthcoming season to perform. Seeing the front office at work and how they influence the team will be another thing to watch out for in my opinion.
The Oakland Heritage/Las Vegas Maneuver
2019-2020 could be last season for the Raiders in the Coliseum. It has been a stalwart arena in the league for many years, but time came for them to upgrade and move on. Las Vegas is their next home – but it won’t come without a big farewell to their roots in Oakland. Hard Knocks really have landed themselves in the perfect situation here. Capturing the last pre-season practices before gearing up for a last appearance in Oakland. There will be a lot of talk too about how ready the stadium is in Las Vegas, and how the players feel about the move too.