Six NFL teams are eligible to be featured on "Hard Knocks" in 2018. Well, sorry, five NFL teams and the Browns.
Along with Cleveland, the Broncos, Chargers, Ravens, 49ers, and (licks thumb, flicks through notes, scans) oh, yes, the Redskins could all be the center of HBO's fantastic program come training camp this summer.
But of those six squads, one has by far the strongest résumé. Here's a hint in GIF-form:
It's the Washington Redskins, and it's not that close.
As mentioned before, "Hard Knocks" is a show about professional football teams. HBO would be better off airing re-runs of "True Detecitve 2" than putting the Browns on their channel for a month-plus in the summer.
As for the Ravens, they were already the center of "Hard Knocks" back in 2001, its first season. Besides, Baltimore's offense is already so dreadful in the regular season, and that's when its had months to gel. Could you imagine watching that unit in training camp trying to figure things out?
The Broncos would be a decent choice, and an uncensored Philip Rivers would make the Chargers one, too. But this is "Hard Knocks" people, and "Hard Knocks" only comes around once a year for five weeks, so there's no sense in wasting a precious season on an AFC West team whose biggest dilemma is picking one mediocre QB out of seven to be their starter or finding a kicker who'll eventually screw them over numerous times in the fourth quarter.
That leaves the Niners and the 'Skins. And while it's hard to deny the potential of a team based in California led by a passer who would easily win "The Bachelorette," besides Jimmy G, San Fran lacks a lot of what makes for a compelling "Hard Knocks" subject.
The Redskins, meanwhile, have it all.
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Under center will either be Kirk Cousins playing under another tag or a pricey new extension, or a rookie or free agent being asked to replace Kirk Cousins. Storylines galore either way.
Another thing that separates the Redskins from the other five franchises is their head coach. Few, if any, headmen are more suited for "Hard Knocks" than Jay Gruden. He'd drop more one-liners in the first five minutes of episode one than Bucs coach/local librarian Dirk Koetter had in the entire last season.
And, finally, Washington is loaded with additional characters who'd make tremendous cast members. The secondary alone boasts D.J. Swearinger and Josh Norman, two guys who should be legally required to be mic'd up at all times. Then there's Chris Thompson — America needs to know how nice Chris Thompson is. Plus, the 'Skins possess an X-factor no other NFL organization has: Jim Tomsula.
Of course, in the end, one really convincing blog post won't be enough to get the Redskins onto the show. HBO and the team's decision makers would need to come to an agreement, and the Burgundy and Gold already reportedly declined the opportunity once before.
But if they were to accept the chance this time around, they would absolutely go on to have a really engaging "Hard Knocks" stint. Few Redskins-related predictions ever work out, but that's one that feels solid.