News began surfacing Friday evening that the Bengals will return to HBO's training camp documentary, Hard Knocks. This marks the second time in five years that Cincinnati will be featured on the popular show.
Some have already begun questioning the need for the Bengals to appear, largely due to their impressionable age. In truth, there is never a "need". And unlike 2009, when Cincinnati was coming off a four-win season and badly needed to promote change (aka, sell tickets), there's a significantly different attitude and character that currently inhabits this year's squad. There is no Chad Johnson.
However, A.J. Green may brain-bang your mind with his impressive juggling talent.
To me Hard Knocks will always benefit the squad that's being featured. And contrary to the whole, "giving away information", NFL Films works well with teams, removing aspects that coaches do not like in fear of giving information away.
Yes. There are young players on this squad, but impressionable is hardly accurate. There's equally plenty of experience with Hard Knocks that gives Cincinnati a relaxed comfort zone and the younger players aren't that young. A.J. Green and Andy Dalton are entering their third season, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are entering their fourth. Of course there's rookies, but we assume that's true every year.
This will be Marvin Lewis' third appearance, starting with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001 and the Bengals in 2009. Mike Zimmer has also appeared twice already, starting with the Cowboys in 2002 and the Bengals in 2009. In fact, most of today's coaching staff remains from 2009, including offensive line coach Paul Alexander, Jonathan and Jay Hayes (tight ends and defensive line respectively), Paul Guenther (as an assistant position coach), quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, and strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton.
As for the players, there are 13 current Bengals on today's squad that were on Cincinnati's 2009 roster. Even players like Terence Newman and Adam Jones were featured in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys.
There's more than enough experience to help prepare the younger players on how to deal with Hard Knocks. And you have to trust that the younger players have more than enough maturity to handle it.
Players with experiences on Hard Knocks: