Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

It's official: Bucs and 'charismatic' roster set for 'Hard Knocks'

TAMPA — On the day Hard Knocks, HBO's NFL reality series, announced it was going to training camp with the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter's reaction reflected that of most head coaches about the show.

"I like watching the show," Koetter said. "I wish I wasn't on it."

Quick to note "they picked us," Koetter nonetheless has accepted that the fans' pleasure may be worth his pain. For five weeks this summer, the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series that started in 2001 and is done in conjunction with NFL Films. The premier episode is 10 p.m. Aug. 8.

Matt Dissinger, the director of the show for NFL Films, said Wednesday the Bucs were chosen ahead of seven other eligible teams because they are considered an ascending franchise with young stars such as quarterback Jameis Winston.

"This is clearly a team on the rise," Dissinger said, "a team I would imagine would pique national interest. I'm sure the fans here in Tampa are very excited. But I think this is an opportunity to get Jameis, Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy — this gets some of those names out to a national audience. And it's very appealing to us. A young, charismatic roster. I think it's a good match.

RELATED: Ten things to know about Bucs and 'Hard Knocks'

"It seems like whatever team we choose on a year-to-year basis, it's almost a perfect point in time for us to be there, and that's the way I feel about this season with Tampa."

Hard Knocks will have an NFL Films crew of 30 people recording more than 1,500 hours of tape during the series. At least 10 players and/or coaches will wear microphones, and the crews will have access to every room in the facility and will shoot footage away from One Buc Place. That means 350 hours of film are shot for every one-hour episode, which has averaged 3.9 million viewers per episode (including repeats) the past three seasons.

For a team that hasn't made the post-season in nine years, Hard Knocks represents a windfall of marketing and rare national exposure for the Bucs. Misconceptions still may exist about Winston, who won a Heisman Trophy and a national title at Florida State and had off-field legal and other problems before becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the Bucs in the 2015 draft.

"There's no doubt from where we sit how we perceive Jameis Winston," Koetter said. "It will be a great opportunity for people who maybe aren't as familiar with the Bucs to see what Jameis is like on a day-to-day basis. I said many times before, there's nothing that's not pure about Jameis Winston, and that will come across."

RELATED: Gear up for the Bucs' soap opera with shoulder pads, columnist Tom Jones says

Koetter said about a dozen players on the Bucs roster have been part of Hard Knocks with other teams. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was the head coach of the Falcons and Koetter was their offensive coordinator when the series went to training camp with them in 2014.

General Jason Licht and Koetter said they did not believe Hard Knocks would be a distraction while preparing for the season. The Falcons went 6-10 after the show spent training camp with them in 2014.

"In no way was that a distraction, in my view," Koetter said.

"This is the NFL. There are bright lights. I look at it as it's just part of the deal. I think we'll be fine. There's going to be some stuff. It's a TV show. The real TV shows are Sundays in the fall. Those are the ones I worry about.

"In different markets around the country, there is more attention paid (to different teams). We're not, by any means, a team that's paid the most attention. We'd like to be. We'd like to be the team that's playing at the end of the season. Once again, this is just part of it."

RELATED: The Bucs and 'Hard Knocks:' Who has control over what you see?

Even so, all those cameras have been known to turn the most introverted player into Carrot Top. And Koetter knows the process of picking the best 53 players for the roster in a highly competitive environment is never easy.

"One of the things we've got to look at is when they come in here, there's 90 guys fighting for 53 jobs," Koetter said. "So, yeah, there will be some fun, there will be some different stuff for the players, but at the same time, this is a hard business, and I think HBO and NFL Films do a good job of pointing that out."

It's official: Bucs and 'charismatic' roster set for 'Hard Knocks' 04/19/17 [Last modified: Thursday, April 20, 2017 12:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.