This August, the Miami Dolphins will make their debut on the HBO and NFL Films production Hard Knocks. The show follows a team throughout training camp, showing practices, coaching decisions, and personnel moves in a behind the scenes way, engaging fans with the NFL in a way never accessible previously. For the Dolphins, this means giving the fans access to a team that is traditionally closed off and secretive about what they do.
As Hard Knocks gets closer to its season premiere, the possibly storylines the show will potentially use are starting to emerge. Yesterday, the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson wrote about his time talking to NFL Films producer Ken Rodgers and show director Rob Gehring, relating what they see as focus areas heading into the show.
One storyline that seemingly fell into the show's lap is Chad Ochocinco. The Dolphins signed the veteran wide receiver after he had one lackluster year with the New England Patriots. Prior to moving to New England, however, Ochcocinco played for the Cincinnati Bengals, where he was a major portion of the 2009 Hard Knocks season.
"As a television producer, I'm glad they signed Chad because I think it's good television," Rodgers told Jackson. "I'm more interested in him as a player than a TV personality.
"In Cincinnati, he was a lovable goofball. We are interested much more in Chad's football story than we were in Cincinnati. He's got an A-list storyline as far as trying to resurrect his career. He doesn't have too many chances left."
The show will also, potentially, focus on the position battles, which Rodgers explains, "are interesting and the quarterback battle is something every fan likes to see."
Other players who seemed destined to have prominent roles in this year's show include Les Brown, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, and Jared Odrick. Brown is trying to make the team after giving up football and playing basketball throughout college. Meanwhile, Wake is at the peak of his career after being undrafted in 2005, and playing the 2007 and 2008 seasons in the Canadian Football League.
While Wake is a story, the competition for the defensive end opposite him is also a focal point for the show, with rookie Vernon and third-year Odrick both trying to establish themselves in that role.
But, Rodgers adds, " "[H]alf of our plans go out the door immediately upon arrival because other storylines are better. We will shoot up until Monday for every show, which airs Tuesday nights. I can't even say the quarterback battle will be in Show One. We're not locked into anything."
The Miami Dolphins season of Hard Knocks will debut on August 7 at 10pm Eastern.