The Buccaneers are ready to embrace the growing likelihood that they will be featured on Hard Knocks.
Last year marked a big turnaround for the Buccaneers. 9-7 marked the first time the Bucs put up a winning record since the year 2010. Excitement is in the air at One Buc Place as the team prepares to take the next step in Dirk Koetter’s second season. Signing DeSean Jackson showed the world just how serious the Bucs are about becoming a contender.
You know what also happens to up and coming teams? They end up being considered for the Hard Knocks program. Everyone reading this is familiar with it, it’s the show that goes behind the scenes of NFL training camp, lifting the cloak of mystery on the season preparation.
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Fans typically enjoy watching the program, but teams don’t enjoy being on it. Especially the coaching staff. They feel it takes away the focus of the players, as former coach Herm Edwards told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:
"“But if you’re part of the league, you understand it takes the fan behind the curtain,” said former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards. “As a coach, the biggest concern is that guys get out of character. Some of your guys, it’s hard to have a conversation with. Then the cameras show up and they become a movie star trying to build their brand.”"
However, the Bucs don’t feel the same way. According to Stroud, the Bucs expect to be selected for the show. They are ready to commit to it but simply want to be told sooner rather than later. Co-chairman Joel Glazer feels good about the team doing it if they are selected:
"“I think our players are at a point in their maturity that they would be able to handle it,” co-chairman Joel Glazer said. “They recognize what goes along with it. We’ll always be supportive of the league. Nobody is rushing to the podium for that necessarily. But I do feel I have great confidence in this team.”"
Glazer hit it right on the head when he mentioned that teams really don’t want to be a part of it. The feeling makes sense, as when there is negativity in a particular training camp, it is publicized for the world to see. One of the most memorable was the Darrelle Revis holdout during the 2010 edition with the New York Jets. A diner became famous and so did Rex Ryan’s tirades against Revis’ agents.
However, for a team that is looking to get noticed by a national audience, Hard Knocks could just be the way. It puts an up and coming team on a national stage. As Herman Edwards pointed out, being on the show stands to benefit Jameis Winston. Think about it? How many doubters were there when Winston entered the league? How many are still out there? Quite a few, considering the reaction to his small error in the Florida classroom a few weeks ago.
If the world gets to see the kind of leader he has become, it will do a lot for his image around the league. Being on the show, if selected, will not be a bad thing for this team.
What do you guys think? Would you be excited to see the Bucs on the show? Talk about it in the comments below.