In one of the least surprising announcements of the offseason, HBO and the NFL announced that the Oakland Raiders will headline this year’s Hard Knocks. The show will follow the team throughout training camp and preseason. Mark Davis and the rest of the team probably aren’t too happy. But with tons of personality, viewers will not be in short supply.
Oakland Raiders Hard Knocks: What to Expect
Plenty of Personalities
Let’s just get this out of the way early. The Oakland Raiders were chosen for Hard Knocks because they have the biggest personalities in all of football. There is no denying this. Fans of the team may not like the choice, as it is just another unneeded distraction for the Silver and Black. However, they still will still tune in to every second of the episode to watch.
Head coach Jon Gruden headlines the group, but he will still look to set the tone and keep everyone on track. Luckily, Gruden is no stranger to the spotlight. He spent years with cameras directed right at him while he called Monday Night Football games. Sure it will be a little different with him back on the field, but it will be nothing he can’t handle. Plus, deep down, he probably embraces the chance to show the league that he can still get the job done day in and day out.
Antonio Brown is sure to be the player with the most cameramen following him around. Though he is one of the newest Raiders, he is also the biggest talent of the bunch. He is also the most outspoken, especially as of late. Brown has a target on his back from everyone except Oakland, so he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season. He’ll be out to show the world that he can still be a top wide receiver even on a new team.
But those two are just a few faces that are sure to have storylines. Vontaze Burfict is another big name with close ties to Brown – for all the wrong reasons. The producers of Hard Knocks will do all they can to build some type of storyline around them. The question is, will it be a positive coming together as teammates, or a negative with bad blood that can’t be forgiven. The two have stated publicly that they have no issues with each other, but it’s easy to say that until they line up against each other with pads.
Hard Work and Competition
One thing viewers can expect is for Gruden and new General Manager Mike Mayock to attempt to offset all of the big characters with good old fashioned hard work. Gruden and Mayock will serve as models of this themselves, and expect at least one episode with shots of the two, along with Carr, trying to beat each other to the office. There will probably be timestamps.
Gruden is known for his signature moniker of “Gruden Grinders.” He likes players that work as hard as he does. He likes competition, and he doesn’t necessarily give in to “seniority” with players. As he builds the team more in his image, there will be a ton of new faces at every position. In fact, aside from Carr and a few offensive linemen, the entire offense will be completely revamped. The defense was sorely undermanned last season and could see just as much turnover.
Despite some of their negative media attention, players like Brown and Incognito are known as some of the hardest workers in the league. They, along with the coaching staff, will set the tone for players, especially the crop of rookies like Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram.
Expect loud, high-intensity practices. Expect a lot of expletives from Gruden. There will probably be a few fights too. All in the spirit of competition.
Just Get it Over With
The only reason there was any doubt it would be Oakland was that it would be Las Vegas next year. In fact, if another team was chosen, the only way the Silver and Black aren’t on hard Knocks 2020 is if they make the playoffs this season.
In the end, it is probably better for the team long term. The move to Sin City alone will test the teams’ character. There will be tons of media attention and cameras on the players. So in a way, this can desensitize them a little. Not only that but relocating and having to deal with Hard Knocks is not a good mix. Look what it did to Jeff Fisher.
Gruden, Mayock, and Davis probably resigned themselves to the fact that it is better to get it over with now than wait another year. Either way, the Raiders will still try to “Just Win Baby” despite all the distractions the show brings. The players and staff may not like it, but this is set up to be one of the better Hard Knocks of recent memory.
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