One of the best sports documentaries will be returning for a 10th season this August as the award-winning “Hard Knocks” will be heading out west to follow the Los Angeles Rams.
Before we get into some potential storylines to follow, take a listen to the Hard Knocks introduction music to get yourself pumped up a bit. Go ahead and get your fill; I’ll wait…
Good to go? Alright, let’s dissect some stories the documentary crew can follow.
1. The return to Los Angeles
Unless you were born yesterday, or you’re currently hiding in a cave from the current presidential elections and got a little bit of an LTE signal, the NFL announced in January that the St. Louis Rams would be heading back to Los Angeles.
The Rams played in LA from 1946 until 1994 before relocating to St. Louis.
One of the interesting stories to follow would be perhaps an inside look into how the decision was made to send the Rams back home and some player reactions, as well as how they are adjusting to life on the other side of the country.
(Fun Fact: Although the Rams are best known for being from LA, they originally started in Cleveland where they played from 1936 until 1945.)
2. Jeff Fisher
Jeff Fisher will go down as the most mediocre head coach in NFL history.
He has an overall head coaching career of 170-156-1 and has produced only six winning seasons in his over two decade coaching career. He has 10 seasons under his coaching belt where his team finished with a 7-9 or an 8-8 record.
Despite his records and very few accomplishments, which includes a Super Bowl appearance in 1999, Fisher was held on for 17 years by the Tennessee Titans and is going into his fifth year with the Rams, with whom he has yet to coach a winning season with.
Maybe we’ll get an inside look as to who Jeff Fisher is as a person, and what goes on in his mind as a head coach that gives GMs and owners reason to hold onto him for so long?
Remember, former head coach Jerry Glanville once dubbed the NFL as standing for “Not For Long,” but Fisher seems to be the exception to that rule.
(Fun Fact: Fisher was the head coach of the last NFL team to relocate when the Houston Oilers went to Nashville, Tennessee in 1997 to become the Tennessee Titans.)
3. The Quarterbacks
Nick Foles put up some pretty good numbers in his three years with the Philadelphia Eagles (6,753 yards; 45 passing TD’s to 17 INTs and 4 rushing TD’s) to go with a 17-10 record as a starter before being traded to the Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford.
Foles was immediately pegged the starter but tossed 7 TDs to 10 INTs and went 3-8 in 11 starts before being benched in favor of Case Keenum.
Keenum flip-flopped between the Houston Texans and Rams in his first four seasons, but won two games with the Texans in his second stint in 2014 before being traded back to the Rams prior to the 2015 season.
He replaced Foles in week 13 and went 3-2 as a starter, tossing 4TDs to 1 INT.
Rams General Manager Les Snead said in a recent interview with NFL.com that Keenum will be the starter going into training camp, but I don’t feel Foles will go down that easy, provided the Rams don’t trade or release him prior.
The Rams may also draft a QB to throw into the mix as well.
“Hard Knocks” hasn’t really had good quarterback battles. The most exciting one was Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007, which went to the very last episode.
The 2012 Miami Dolphins and 2015 Texans both announced starters midway through the preseason, so that drained some fun.
4. Todd Gurley
The rookie sensation that was Todd Gurley took the league by storm after he made his first NFL start in week four of the 2015 season and rushed for over 140 yards against a very good Arizona Cardinals defense.
He finished the season with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 TDs.
I’d love to see if Hard Knocks goes into what his mindset was sitting the first four weeks of last season after he tore his ACL in his senior year of college the year before.
What will he do for an encore? Hopefully, we’ll get an inside look.
5. Will it be better than its predecessors?
The 2015 Texans was probably the best Hard Knocks the series has done yet, and not far behind it is the 2010 New York Jets which might still be my personal favorite thanks to the Rex Ryan quote from one of his speeches where he said…
Not many people probably remember the 2001 Baltimore Ravens or the 2002 Dallas Cowboys as the series went on hiatus after those two and they are rarely replayed on TV.
The 2007 Chiefs was fueled by then-coach Herm Edwards and had a pretty interesting QB battle, and the 2008 Dallas Cowboys had Terrell Owens to entertain us.
Marvin Lewis and Chad Johnson made the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals enjoyable, but when the Bengals returned in 2013 not much had changed other than that Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson were no longer on the team.
The 2012 Dolphins started out okay, but after Chad Johnson was released and Ryan Tannehill was named starting QB midway through the preseason, it lacked sparked.
The 2014 Atlanta Falcons was just terrible. I won’t even go there.
There aren’t many personalities that stick out with the Rams, and the QB situation may be the only exciting position battle. But regardless, I’ll be glued to my TV every Wednesday night in August.