The first voice you hear in the season opener of "Hard Knocks" is that of Jon Gruden. How could it be someone else?
From the moment the Oakland Raiders were announced as the theme of Season 14's "Hard Knocks", it was a matter of course that Gruden would be the star and showcase of the season. In a way, it does not differ much from the Raiders' organization in 2019. This is Chucky's show – and it's up to him that Oakland is a must for television again. It is a minute ago.
The Jon Gruden of 2019 takes a delicate balance. He's a Super Bowl winner, but most of the current Raiders had barely left elementary school the last time he coached a team into the playoffs (that's the 2007 Bucs). Gruden has the CV, but the newspaper is torn and yellowed in the broadcasting booth after a decade.
Despite all his public statements in the run-up to the announcement, "Hard Knocks" always made sense to Gruden. For many who watch the sport, the coach's return to the sidelines was greeted with a great deal of skepticism. Gruden's first year in action – a 4:12 finish and the trade with two superstars – failed to convince the doubters that he was no better off nominating Grinder and selling Corona beer.
Consider "Hard Knocks" as the perfect vehicle At this time, the 55-year-old coach has not passed by yet. To show that in 1970 he scored neither Don Draper nor Shaq on the Celtics or Rick Dalton in Italy spaghetti westerns. The true proof that Gruden is still important will come when he can make the Raiders relevant again. But for the moment? "Hard Knocks" is a unique opportunity to engage in positive personal branding.
"Everyone has dreams right now, right?" Gruden tells his players in the opening scene of the premiere on Tuesday. "Everyone in the NFL has a dream to make it to the NFL and I have to dream of winning a Super Bowl." "I have to dream of being in the Pro Bowl." I really do not like dreams anymore, okay? I like f —– nightmares. You have to end somebody's dream. You have to accept her job. You have to take her heart. – now? "
Gruden's monologue was heralding on Tuesday night, and a few minutes later we meet defensive attacker Ronald Ollie, who was on duty at the East Mississippi Community College in the Netflix series Last Chance U On the surface, Ollie seemed to be a perfect candidate to receive the five-arc arc treatment as a prop underdog long shot, but when Ollie retires with a practice injury and then declines an appointment, Gruden takes the opportunity to send a message .
"Do you know what? Here who does not want to play," growls Gruden on the practice field. "Do you know, if we do not listen to the coach, who will we listen to?"
That's how Ollie is sent to pack. In the NFL, a dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
– Welcome to the 14th season of "Hard Knocks" and the eighth year of weekly NFL.com reviews. As always, from now until the final on September 3, I will provide insights into each episode. New episodes will premiere on HBO every Tuesday at 10pm. ET and PT. I'll also talk about every episode in the Wednesday edition of the Around The NFL podcast.
– If you had hoped "Hard Knocks" would shed some light on Antonio Brown's mysterious injury situation, no dice. Narrator Liev Schrieber explains that Brown is "limping through foot injuries" and the internal Raiders talks we are seeing are not concerned with the genesis. The hope was that "Hard Knocks" would confirm NBC Sports' incredible report on Tuesday that Brown is dealing with frozen feet after "entering a cryotherapy machine without proper footwear." Let's hope Brown returns 100 percent soon. Let's hope that the report is 100 percent factual.
– More Brown: Early in the episode we see Brown train with a personal trainer and move like a 48-year-old father at an alumni flag football game for Thanksgiving morning. Later, we see AB look like AB during a Raiders training. If the foot situation is still a subplot by next Tuesday, Raiders fans may get nervous.
– What about the "Hard Knocks Theme" that gets the remix treatment in Season 14? The overtones of John Facenda lay like a warm blanket over David Robidoux's outstanding theme song. Somewhere, Steve smiles at Sabol.
– Derek Carr is a nice guy with muscular arms. That was my overall impression of the Quarterback's "Hard Knocks" debut. If I'm a Raiders fan, my only worry could be that Carr is a bit nice to being Grudens QB1. Remember, Gruden is looking for a team of monsters running on nightmare fuel. Carr seems to be a guy who insists he helps you get out of the fifth floor and then picks up the beer list.
– We have an early MVP candidate for "Hard Knocks" in the first round of rookie Jonathan Abrams. The questionable security from the state of Mississippi was the first installment in which he proved his horse-riding during a riding expedition with his rookie Clelin Ferrell, debated with a slightly annoyed Derek Carr on the correct pronunciation of "salmon" and with teammates and Gruden struggling for his physical condition during a workout with shorts and helmet.
Gruden said, "There is a new league that is forming if you want to compete against each other for $ 800 a week."
– "Old Town Road", which served as the soundtrack to Abrams and Ferrell's Napa Trail adventure, was the best possible in 2019. Abrams even knew it would come in real time. "You're going to be & # 39; old town Road & # 39; play as backsong! "
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August 6, 2019
– Richie Incognito is a big Guy Fieri fanatic. Who is surprised?
– John Madden's 2000 clip, preaching the virtues of the seven-headed barrier, was absolutely perfect. Both the connection of the Raiders coach to the current Silver & Black regime and what I (and I am sure many of you) reminded me of how much the retired Madden is missing from the modern NFL landscape. BOOM!
– Another year, another hard knocks playlist. Any song you hear this season will be curated in the Spotify playlist below. (Check out my collections of the Texans, Rams, Bucs, and Browns.) As always, we'll start with David Robidoux's legendary theme song.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus . More information about Hanzus is available three times a week in the Around The NFL podcast.