Hard Knocks

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The HBO series “Hard Knocks” features different NFL teams every year. In 2018, it featured the Cleveland Browns but in 2019 it features the Oakland Raiders with “made-for-TV” head coach Jon Gruden. The drama has been highly entertaining this year, which is to be expected with Gruden and new Raiders receiver Antonio Brown sharing the screen. However, with Gruden’s background as a quarterback whisperer and tedious film guy, it doesn’t bother him at all that he is on TV. His prior job was in the booth as Monday Night Football’s main attraction on ESPN.

Gruden gets to help make the ultimate decision in terms of what appears on the series and what doesn’t. The classic Gruden moment had to be a montage of one of his favorite lines “knock on wood if you’re with me.” Raiders banging on desks in team meetings became a recurring theme this season and it seems like the team is buying what Gruden is selling. One thing is for certain. When the Raider head coach speaks, we tend to listen.

To get a glimpse into the mind of “Chucky” Jon Gruden’s “QB Camp” aired on ESPN every year before the draft where he’d talk to the top prospects coming out of college. The man is thorough, to say the least. He brought out the film and meticulously looked at every single example to try to improve the team in every way he can. This is a team that went 4-12 his first year back as head coach and there’s a true belief that the Raiders are going to surprise people this season. Gruden needs to build the team in his image and ultimately inspire hope in his fan base for their move to Las Vegas in 2020. Teaching the little things on Hard Knocks is a part of that.

Gruden Stars in the New Season of Hard Knocks
Another thing Hard Knocks has done is to showcase Gruden’s talent in coaching up quarterbacks. He took his own reclamation project in the former fifth-round draft pick, Nathan Peterman, and made everyone believe in him this year. Peterman has outperformed Mike Glennon this preseason, throwing for 317 yards and three touchdowns on 40-57 passing, albeit with these reps being taken after Glennon. Put that next to Glennon’s statistics of 32-48 passing for 413 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and Peterman looks like the better quarterback. Gruden has not ruled out the possibility of having three quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster. Peterman came to some notoriety in the worst way while with the Buffalo Bills when he threw five interceptions in one half of a start in Buffalo. In 2018  Peterman threw for only 296 yards on 44-81 passing for one touchdown and seven interceptions.

Nathan Peterman is showing that people can trust him again although everyone initially ruled him a bust. Thanks, in part, to Hard Knocks for making him a fan favorite for whom everyone is rooting…  In this case, he is and it looks like Jon Gruden has a successful quarterback revival working.

Watch Hard Knocks on HBO