Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of a Washington Redskins helmet against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Redskins have an image problem, and their solution might be found in HBO’s sports-based reality series ‘Hard Knocks.’
HBO’s Hard Knocks, if you’ve never tuned in, chronicles the life of an NFL team from drills, instruction, to the fun moments of being an NFL player, staff, and coach.
According to Sports Business Daily, the show got renewed for another four seasons. This is more than enough time for the Redskins to give it a try. Who knows, it might even help them be more successful this season. According to the show’s website, they have seen results:
“The last six teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. Teams who have recently earned playoff berths immediately following their appearance on HARD KNOCKS include the Bengals (2009, 2013), Jets (2010) and Houston Texans (2015).”
The Redskins finished last season 8-7-1. In 2015, they finished 9-7. If their math is correct, then an appearance on the show could do the trick. The real question is, would anyone watch, and would it do more damage than good?
This franchise is no stranger to the media, but it’s all been in the worse of ways. From the controversy about their name, to where the next stadium should be built, to how they treat players and staff, there’s more than enough reasons not to like the Redskins.
But if there were a “Hard Knocks” version for the Redskins, what would it look like?
Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Giants won 19-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
3. Jay Gruden Finally Giving Stability at Head Coach
Hard Knocks, Episode 1: “Last Man Standing” – Jay Gruden has been with the team since 2014, and, while there have been some rough spots, he has proven he can win games and have decent seasons. Signing the extension just got real for him.
Team owner Dan Snyder believes in him. This is an owner that has employed eight coaches (including Gruden) since his purchase of the team in 1999. Getting past a first term proved difficult for his predecessors. Gruden, however, has tapped into something different. Only Snyder can answer that question.
On the horizon he’s dealing with a team that looks very different. He’s dealing with a starting quarterback in limbo. There’s no general manager. He’s also calling the plays, and leading a new crop of offensive and defensive coordinators.
In addition, he’s coming of a heartbreaking season that saw so many opportunities to get to the playoffs go up in smoke. To get a closer look at his method, his leadership skills, and how he gets the team pumped up and ready for the upcoming season(while motivating himself), would be an interesting watch.
Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terelle Pryor (2) is back in the pocket to throw a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2. Terrelle Pryor’s Mission To Prove Himself
Hard Knocks, Episode 2: “Prove Yourself” – In what would be a very interesting “Hard Knocks” episode, the show could give viewers a closer look into the most interesting off season pickup: quarterback turned wide receiver Terelle Pryor.
Pryor, who played for the Cleveland Browns last season, signed a one-year, $6 million contract to play another season as wide receiver. While many speculated he was the “invisible quarterback in waiting” should anything happen to Cousins, he confirmed that wasn’t the case. In fact, he has a great deal of experience working with many quarterbacks, thanks the Browns’ shaky season at the position.
“Obviously, I would like to play with Kirk,” Pryor said. “I’d be an idiot if I didn’t believe that. He’s a great quarterback. Hopefully that’s what happens.”
Besides, Pryor said, “I played with six quarterbacks last year. I don’t think it can get that bad.”
Last season, Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,077 yards. He comes in the wake of two 1,000-yard receivers who left for other teams. He doesn’t have the impressive history or experience to prove why the Redskins signed him. Pryor has a lot to prove to the NFL, to the Redskins and to himself. If last year wasn’t a fluke, he’s got to prove it. He’s not alone in this category, but he’s the most notable.
Oct 28, 2016; London United Kingdom; Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman wears sunglasses and hoodie at practice at the Twyford Avenue Sports Ground in preparation for game 17 of the NFL International Series against the Cincinnati Bengals. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Josh Norman Experience
Hard Knocks, Episode 3: “Firecracker” – Josh Norman is the “Hancock” of the NFL: Heroic efforts that come at the cost of several mistakes. While Norman is no stranger to rough play against receivers (especially Odell Beckham Jr.), he’s entering a new season with new faces that will look to him for leadership on the field.
Several questions that Hard Knocks could answer regarding the star cornerback for Redskins fans are:
Does he think the beef between him and OBJ will ever end? Do they communicate off season? Is there any hopes peace?
What are his plans to prevent being penalized for unnecessary roughness?
Are the Redskins even concerned?
How big of a deal is it to have a defensive back like him practice against receivers that are still new to the job?
Does he think the Redskins defense can step it up this season? Seriously?
Josh Norman without a doubt was worth the investment. The real question is, can he top the 67 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles that made all the difference last season? And can he do this while maintaining poise? Only time will tell.
Norman is now a veteran in Washington — a role he’s yet had to fill in his NFL career. Seeing how he either embraces or rejects that role with his enigmatic personality would, if nothing else, be great television.