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HBO’s Hard Knocks New York Jets Take On Baltimore Ravens Tonight On ESPN

Posted by on September 13, 2010 at 6:49 PM EST

new york jets hbo hard knocksThe stars of HBO’s Hard Knocks, the New York Jets, kick off the 2010 NFL season tonight against the Baltimore Ravens.

This past season of HBO’s series Hard Knocks focused on the New York Jets. As it has with past seasons that included the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs, the show followed the team from the first day of training camp through the final pre-season game and the last cuts to get the team to the final roster of 53.

Check The Odds For Jets Vs. Ravens At Bet Us

Last season the New York Jets were a surprise story. With a new coach and rookie quarterback there weren’t a whole lot of expectations for them to even have a winning season much less make the playoffs. That they made it to within two quarters of going to the Super Bowl was a welcome surprise to their fans and the city of New York.

The Jets will not fly under the radar this season and that reality is made plenty clear from the opening scenes of the first episode of Hard Knocks. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan tells the team as they arrive at their training facility that this is a team that expects to be in the Super Bowl. While every coach says that and would like to think it is true, Ryan and his coaching staff, as well as the team, believe it. They were close last year and have made some off season moves that they feel will put them over the top.

This season of Hard Knocks on HBO splits time between the on field practices with and the players trying desperately to make the team and the coaching staff that is working hard to make sure they pick the right players and put the best possible team on the field. It is a painstaking process that they don’t take lightly. Some players with promise get injured early and are cut. Others are told that they will not make the team at their desired position so they better focus on performing well on special teams if they want to make the squad. One of the most interesting position battles is at fullback. Veteran and team leader Tony Richardson returns for another year and young drafted upstart John Conner (who the team calls The Terminator) shows great promise. Stuck in the middle is Jason Davis who has all skills and talent to make the team, but he is stuck between the legend and the new kid. There are three guys and only two spots. Rex Ryan knows right from the start that all three will be playing in the NFL this season, he just needs to make sure he picks the best two for his team because the guy they cut will end up on another squad.

Hard Knocks takes us into the lives of the New York Jets players and shows us some of their lives off the field. We see Bart Scott playing with his little daughter in the pool. We see players going to clubs and bars, hanging out and having fun. We see how Jason Taylor seems to get lost everywhere he drives. We see the joy and heartbreak of making the team or not making the team.

Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback. There is no question about it. During the off season they brought in veteran Mark Brunell to be his back-up and mentor. That leaves the number three spot up for grabs between veteran backup Kellen Clemons and a young player they traded for. Clemons is eventually offered the job if he is willing to take a pay cut and after much agonizing he takes the offer.

If there were themes that ran through this year’s Hard Knocks it was that Rex Ryan loves the fat jokes made about him and does whatever he can to encourage them and that the New York Jets really need Darrelle Revis. Revis had been MIA all pre-season as he holds out during a contract dispute. Considered one of the best shut down corners in the game, Revis is a major part of their plan. After five episodes and endless hours of negotiations, Revis signs and finally joins his team as training camp comes to an end.

As interesting as the team is, Rex Ryan is the star. He curses, gets excited, is passionate and funny as hell. The guy is crazy in all the right ways. He looks and sounds like a guy who stepped out of Hollywood Central Casting for a role as a football coach. He jokes with his staff and players, but it is always clear that he is in charge.

One question does remain: Does having this show air about your team in training camp pull the curtain back too much for your opponents? Some will say it does and it does nothing but give you opponents fuel and information to use against you. I guess only time will tell if that is the case this season.

Some of my personal favorite highlights:

Antonio Cromartie having trouble remember the names of all of his kids and which mother they are from.

Mark Sanchez’s ongoing prank war with various members of the team and staff.

A rookie “ugliest guy” competition where the winner was so ugly he won first and second place.

Joe Namath showing up at camp and giving advice. When asked if he ever had a good time he says with a laugh, “On the field. Off the field it was all business.”

Here’s the Odds for tonight’s Ravens Vs. Jets from Bet Us:
Baltimore Ravens +1.5 (-110), Over 36.5 (-110) more.
New York Jets -1.5 (-110), Under 36.5 (-110) more.

Watch tonight as the New York Jets take on the Baltimore Ravens in the first game of the NFL Monday Night Football doubleheader at 7pm ET on ESPN.



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