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Could 'Hard Knocks' help New England?

Posted by Albert Breer  March 26, 2010 11:21 AM

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I honestly don't think the Patriots will glean much valuable info off the broadcasts. But it still could help New England, in weakening an opponent. We mentioned the Cowboys appearance in 2008. I saw first-hand what that camp was like, and what Dallas' 2009 camp was like, in the sterile Alamodome. And I wrote about the difference right here.

No less an authority than a team captain said there was a big one.

"I was never OK with it. Never," linebacker Bradie James told me in August after the 2009 camp concluded, when it was asserted that the players were fine with the extravaganza that 2008 camp became. "You had characters. We play football. This is not soap-opera central. Training camp's important and when you have people still worried about being individuals, you never come together.

"That's what the cameras did, we became part of the show. This year, we've been able to focus on football. It's been nothing but football. Every day's Groundhog Day."

The New York Daily News' Rich Cimini touched on this in a blog post this morning:

Finally, my two cents: I don't think "Hard Knocks" will hurt the Jets' ability to win football games, but I don't think it will help, either. The worst thing that can happen? The HBO cameras uncover a morsel of information -- or perhaps a Ryan comment -- that fuels a tabloid frenzy. You know, another Channing Crowder-type remark or maybe a shot at Bill Belichick. Other than that, I don't think this will become the demise of the Jets.

But, on another level, it's somewhat troubling. Though it's not the team's intention, the outside perception is that the Jets are putting show biz ahead of football. For a team that hasn't won anything in four decades, that could be a red flag. Remember, nothing fills seats better than a winning football team. Maybe the Jets can have it all, I don't know, but they're clearly going down a different path than ever before. That press conference yesterday was -- how can I put this gently? -- surreal. Cheerleaders at a press conference? Leon Hess has to be rolling over in his grave.
In the end, this probably all boils down to the individual team. The Cowboys handled it poorly. The Bengals handled it well.

We'll see what the Jets do.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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