Posted: 8:28 am Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
By Post Staff
The Dolphins’ training camp has the potential to be one giant distraction.
For six weeks, the Dolphins will have 24 cameras in their face, chronicling their every move as they navigate through a grueling camp. Their appearance on HBO’s reality show “Hard Knocks” will air the coaches’ and players’ most private moments for all the country to see, smashing the culture of secrecy that has become so prevalent across the NFL. And the players’ focus might be as much on their upcoming camera appearance as it is on studying the playbook.
But Dolphins fans shouldn’t worry, former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said Tuesday, because all of those “distractions” are overblown. And Edwards should know — his Chiefs appeared on Hard Knocks in 2007. The show will be good publicity for the Dolphins, who could use an image enhancement after a rough offseason of bad press, Edwards said.
“It’s harmless. It’s really pretty good for an organization,” Edwards said. “For Miami, this will probably be a good deal for them, because they’ve been under the microscope a little bit.”
“It provides good access to your football team to the fans. It takes you behind the curtain, and you really get to see how hard the players and coaches work.”
Edwards said he had a lot of fun doing the show. His team went 4-12 that subsequent season, but because the Chiefs were decimated by injuries and started 11 rookies at the end of the year, not because of any distractions created by Hard Knocks, Edwards said. The bigger challenge than keeping the players and coaches focused, he said, was enduring six weeks of living in a fish bowl environment.
“It gets a little long. That’s the only thing,” Edwards said. “After that fifth or sixth week, it becomes a little tedious. I think everyone gets a little tired of it by the end.”
Edwards said having the cameras around was actually good for keeping players focused and competing hard at practice.
“I always stressed to them, ‘You’ve got to practice well, because you don’t know what they’re going to use,’” Edwards said. “You don’t want to be the guy on national TV getting chewed out.”
New Dolphins coach Joe Philbin will likely be guarded with his words at first — he’s the first rookie coach to be featured on the show in its seven seasons — but Edwards expects him to figure out what he can and can’t say. The Dolphins will have say over what appears in the show, which is made in conjunction with NFL Films.
“Coaches just have to be themselves, (although) I stressed that you have to watch your language a little bit,” Edwards said. “After the first two weeks, they’ll get used to it. At first they’re a little hesitant about what to say in meetings, because those cameras are always going.”
Several pundits yesterday, including those on ESPN shows PTI and Around the Horn, questioned HBO’s choice of the Dolphins because of the team’s poor record the last three years and lack of superstars on the roster. Edwards, instead, can’t wait to see how the Dolphins’ three-headed quarterback competition between Matt Moore, David Garrard and Ryan Tannehill plays out.
“You couldn’t pick a better team. Are you kidding me?” Edwards said. “You’ve got a quarterback competition, and now it’s kind of elevated because fans will get to see the practices. All of a sudden, you’re evaluating the quarterback in front of the country. That will be kind of interesting.”