Hard Knocks rings twice

Posted Jul 18, 2013

The last time the Bengals were on Hard Knocks, they swept the AFC North. The last time Hard Knocks starred the Bengals, the HBO series won an Emmy for Outstanding Edited Sports Series.

The last time the Bengals were on Hard Knocks, they swept the AFC North. The last time Hard Knocks starred the Bengals, the HBO series won an Emmy for Outstanding Edited Sports Series.

Both are hoping the lightning of 2009 strikes again.

"For us, that summer I think, took the series to a new level," said Ross Ketover, the series producer who sat down with head coach Marvin Lewis at Thursday's Paul Brown Stadium news conference. "They were a playoff team back when we were here four years ago, and they’re a playoff team again now. But we looked at it, and it really is a totally different team. The quality is still just as good, and it’s a totally new roster."

The 24-hour cameras and intrusive microphones that make Hard Knocks such good television are also why most teams have rejected the HBO offers so often that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is talking about rotating teams on the series. But Lewis said Thursday that the club's trust in NFL Films carried the day, as well as the belief that his team that has made the playoffs the past two seasons won't be distracted by the cameras when everybody reports Wednesday before Thursday's first practice and Friday's first public workout.

“The maturity of our group plays out," Lewis said. "It’s got nothing to do about what the people from NFL Films are doing; it’s what we are doing. They are going to try and capture that the best that they can. We can’t worry about that. We’ve got some things internally that are important to us as a team. We have to go back to those things and stand on those same principles. It is time to shut your mouth and go back to work. We don’t need to be doing some of the things that we like to do when we are not doing football, but now it is time to do football.”

But Lewis says he found himself enjoying what they dug up the last time. This time around the Bengals are going to be working around five camera crews as well as eight robotic cameras in various offices, ranging from the draft room and site of the personnel meetings, to the offices of Lewis, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, running backs coach Hue Jackson, linebackers coach Paul Guenther, and secondary coach Mark Carrier, the office where Lewis holds his coaches meetings. Up to a dozen players and coaches are also expected to be miked during any one day.

"I find it funny because I’m not in every position room day to day but to see some of the coaching that goes on, and critiquing and correction with some of the guys and the beauty with how they are able to portray it is great, but never belittling the player,”  Lewis said.

Lewis and the team have the right to quash anything it sees in the final cut of each of the six shows. But if Lewis had it back, he wouldn't edit out his emotional postgame plea "to act like a pro" in the wake of a miserable 24-21 preseason loss to the Rams.

Even though he thinks that kind of stuff should remain in-house and that he still keeps getting reminded of it. As recently as Wednesday, actually.

But he kept it in.

"Because at that point, what’s done is done," Lewis said. "I have the opportunity to see what’s going to go on the air that evening. We don’t want anything to do with football, our football and what we’re doing and our communication with football to be on the show. That’s really what we’re looking for is to make sure that we keep things strict to us confidential.”

But then again, he's not sure how much of it really matters. Especially after Cincinnati's excruciating 17-13 loss to the Hard Knocks Dolphins at PBS last season.

"The Dolphins did it last season, and they beat us here last season. I watched Coach (Joe) Philbin and his staff, I watched the shows. So I know it," Lewis said. "And before we did it last time, I was given the Chiefs and the Cowboys to watch and see and if you're not gaining anything as a coach because I could sit and in 30 seconds gain something and I don't feel it helped us one bit versus the Dolphins last year.

"I don't remember one thing that occurred and I sat down and took notes. It's nothing we can't gain from the videotape that we do each and every day.”

Lewis had to admit that he was surprised over the outrage expressed in 2009 when the Bengals cut a player in the wee hours of the morning before he woke up. But Lewis said The Turk will still call early.

"You don’t want to go up to the guy in the cafeteria and say you are going to let him go. If it was you guys (the media) we would do it in front of everyone," he said. "You want to make it as private as you can. You want to treat him with the respect that he has for you and minimize the emotional part as much as you can.”


Recent Articles

  • Defense flexes muscles for December

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 1 hour ago

    With their franchise heading into December trying to secure its third AFC North title and sixth playoff spot in seven seasons, the Bengals defense is flexing its muscles at just the right time:

  • Marvin Lewis news conference transcript

    Posted 14 hours ago

    Marvin Lewis news conference transcript 11/30/2015

    Views: 736
  • Notes: Geno makes push for DPOY; Porter waived; Ex-Ravens CB added to PS

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 19 hours ago

    The Bengals are back to No. 1 in NFL scoring defense after Sunday’s 31-7 victory over the Rams, the fourth time in five games they’ve held foes to 10 points or less.

    Views: 3,999
  • Preserve and protect

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Nov 30, 2015

    It was another day at the office Sunday for Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s playbook in the 31-7 victory over the Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. The guys without the ball got it published when the offensive line held Rams Pro Bowl tackle Aaron Donald to just three assisted tackles.

    Views: 4,860
  • Bengals up front about playoff run

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Nov 30, 2015

    They have been the heart of five straight winning seasons and when they helped nail down the fifth one Sunday in a one-touchdown dismissal of the Rams at festive Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals defensive line went looking for a lot more than that. "We put our resume out there today," Domata Peko said.

    Views: 6,629

Recent Videos