To the surprise of no one, the Raiders were picked to be on the upcoming season of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Here are eight reasons it’ll be must-see TV.
If you canceled your HBO subscription after the disappointing Game of Thrones series finale, you’ll want to get that back by Tuesday, Aug. 6 when Hard Knocks premieres. The Oakland Raiders were the winners for the upcoming 18th season of the show that gives an inside look at training camp.
“Everybody wants to be a Raider. Now they’ll find out what it takes to become one,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis.
This season features to be one of the better ones because there is no shortage of intriguing subplots. So, let’s countdown some of the best subplots that will make Hard Knocks with the Raiders must-see TV.
1. Antonio Brown – Mr. Big Chest is a no-brainer. The Raiders traded for the former Steelers All-Pro receiver and is the perfect diva to enjoy the limelight. Brown is out to prove he has plenty of football left in him and now he’ll have the cameras in his face. You know he’s going to put on a show and say and do something outlandish. I hope he says something about Ben Roethlisberger and his exit from Steel City.
2. Jon Gruden – Really, I just want to see who he names as his Gruden Grinders. You know there will be some players fighting for a roster spot who he will fall in love with. Plus, we’re guaranteed for the obligatory shot of Gruden waking up at 3:17 a.m. and heading into work to break down film before the rest of the world has hit their snooze button for the third time.
3. Mark Davis – The Raiders owner is the one to thank for the Raiders being on Hard Knocks. He could have easily held his ground and urged the league to go in another direction. The Raiders couldn’t refuse, but the Raiders have been known to work around that before. If we don’t get a scene of Davis getting his haircut, what was this even for?!
4. Josh Jacobs – The former Alabama was the second of three first round picks by the Raiders. Jacobs was taken with the pick acquired in the Khalil Mack trade. He’s expected to get a big workload as a rookie, but it’s his story that will make him a compelling character. Jacobs has overcome a lot already in life, including living out of his father’s car. Jacobs is easy to root for as a player and a person. I can’t wait to see him.
5. Vontaze Burfict – The former Bengals linebacker will be making his second appearance on Hard Knocks. Cincinnati was featured a few seasons ago, but the controversial, and oft-penalized Burfict will have the spotlight on him wherever he goes and lines up. Training camp lends itself to a lot of scrums and fights. Burfict figures to be in the middle of one.
6. Richie Incognito – Nearly everything written above about Burfict applies to Richie Incognito. Another import with a checkered past, Incognito was a late sign by first-year general manager Mike Mayock, and it’s one that came with a lot of raised eyebrows. Mayock knows he signed a former Pro Bowl guard, but he’s hoping that talent overrides any concerns about his lack of character. An Incognito-Burfict brawl just feels inevitable.
7. Hunter Renfrow – Every season has a player or two with an underdog spirit that you can’t help but root makes the final 53-man roster. Renfrow, a fourth round pick out of Clemson, isn’t in danger of the Turk waking him at 5:00 and asking him to bring his playbook so he can be cut. But Renfrow is the perfect personality and player who will command a lot of attention during Hard Knocks, and not just because he looks like he could be one of the player’s sons.
8. Derek Carr – This is a big year for the Raiders quarterback who has had his doubters grow in the last two seasons. If Carr doesn’t have a big season, and the Raiders are picking near the top of the 2020 NFL Draft, they could be drafting his replacement. Hard Knocks is always good about making viewers root for the players and team to a degree. No, Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos fans aren’t going to root for them, but casual fans will. There will be so much hype and encouraging words said about Carr because of what they see on Hard Knocks. Just get ready to drink the Kool-Aid and jump on the Carr bandwagon.