So far Hard Knocks with the Oakland Raiders has not disappointed. There has been the Antonio Brown cryofreeze accident as well as his helmet saga. There has been the team bonding, individual storylines. Am I the only person counting the seconds until Ritchie Incognito loses his stuff? The current season has had all the ingredients of good training camp entertainment.
Not to mention, there’s the tie-in with former Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden now with the Raiders. Tampa Bay knew “Chucky” long before he brought his scowl to Oakland. For seven years he helmed the Buccaneer ship and a lot of what Hard Knocks is showing is classic Gruden. It all feels like a worn-in pair of hiking boots. You still get blisters, and you must properly dry them out, but when you stick your feet into them each time they just feel familiar.
On this week’s episode, the Los Angeles Rams were in Alameda to scrimmage the Raiders before their preseason matchup last weekend. The highlight of the episode was when it went into depth how a 22-year-old Sean McVay came to the 2008 Buccaneers. The now-Rams head coach was, basically, an unpaid secretary and worked his way up the coaching ladder quickly. An even juicier point here is that there are several parallels between McVay’s meteoric rise and that of Gruden himself.
A video clip from SBNation shows some vintage Buccaneer Gruden with a young Sean McVay long before he started wearing that stylish facial hair he sports today. In fact, it looks like in a few of the pictures that he was still too young to actually grow facial hair.
As week 2 of the preseason shifts into gear, Hard Knocks will roll on. This week Antonio Brown returns to camp and the cuts should start. Who knows, with the Arizona Cardinals as the Raiders opponent this week and the Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich/Todd Bowles connection, maybe the Buccaneers get a mention once again.