The HBO hit, NFL Hard Knocks, returns again this year. They’ll also be returning to Cincinnati to cover the Bengals as they did in 2009. A lot has changed for the “Who Dey” nation. They no longer have the old faces of the franchise in Chad “Ochocino” Johnson or Carson Palmer. It’s a little disappointing that we won’t get to see Chad Johnson up to his old antics. With new youth on a rebuilt franchise though, the Bengals should make for a good series of shows.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will without a doubt be the two players that the cameras will want to follow around camp. The “Red Rifle” has a big season coming up, and what better way to watch him get prepared for it. In the midst of Dalton improving upon some things to take his game to another level, I hope producers will be picking his brain in interviews. We’ll get to see him in the film room, which is always fun watching coaches, coaching their players up. We’ll get to see A.J. Green, the things he’s doing to make himself a better receiver, and how he’s preparing for the different looks defenses are going to be throwing at him. Hopefully, I get to see rookie, Giovanni Bernard. I’m sure the producers will either focus in on him or the other rookie, Tight End Tyler Eifert, but I would like to see a lot of Bernard. I thought coming out of the draft, he had a little Chris Johnson in him, and was the best home-run threat at Running Back the draft had to offer. We all know they’ll follow someone on Offense who is an underdog to make the team. It’s hard to guess whom that might be. Rookie Wide Receiver Cobi Hamilton from Arkansas (6th Round pick), or un-drafted Wide Receiver Roy Roundtree from Michigan, would be my picks.
Geno Atkins has to be a player on Defense that HBO should focus on. One of the top, most disruptive players in the league, Geno doesn’t get a lot of exposure to the casual fan. He needs to be put on display for the world to realize who he is and what talents he’s garnered. A person that’ll we see from the 2009 show should be Ray Maualuga. He was a rookie in the past show and they could make an interesting play off him by showing how he’s evolved as a player since ’09 and learned the ropes of the game. One Linebacker I’m personally interested in them following is Bruce Taylor, rookie from Virginia Tech. He could be their underdog on Defense as he went un-drafted. Many, including myself, had him going in the 2nd to 4th Round. When I think of the Secondary, there are a few players they could go with. Adam “Pac Man” Jones, who was on Hard Knocks with the Cowboys in 2008, is the first that comes to mind. Reggie Nelson is another, as he’s been a steady player since coming into the NFL, and vital to the Defensive Backs. The player I would like to see the most on Defense might be Dre Kirkpatrick. The 1st Round pick from the 2012 draft was injured all last season and really didn’t get a chance to see the field much. I’ll find it interesting to see how Dre gets ready for potentially his first full season, and prove that he was worth the pick that they used on him.
There are also a few obvious talents that I have left off this list (Jermaine Gresham, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Johnson, and Devon Still) but I listed the ones that I’m most interested in seeing. The best part of this show will be the cut scenes, as usual. Even though it’s a low moment for the player, we as fans are interested in seeing that part of the show for whatever reasons. On August 6th the show will begin, so make sure to clear your DVR’d shows and tune in for what is always an exciting series!