What I’d most like to see from ‘Hard Knocks’


Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates a touchdown catch against the San Francisco 49ers with wide receiver Roddy White (84) during the second quarter of the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t have HBO. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last time I watched something on HBO, this was the intro:

I have nothing HBO. I’ve heard fine things about a whole bunch of shows I’ve never seen, including “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones,” but I just don’t watch enough television or follow enough series to warrant it. Now, I’m reconsidering, and it’s solely because the Falcons are going to be featured on Hard Knocks.

But I admit I will be watching partly to be entertained and informed, but also partly to be able to get the wincing over when something horrible is said or done.

Because let’s be honest, Hard Knocks isn’t designed to be the happy-feely show. If you’re not familiar with it, hit your Google machine. You’ll find it.

But once the cringing is over, hopefully there will be some good insight. Some things I’d like to see:

  • Healthy Roddy White and Julio Jones, mentally and physically. Both are coming off injury-plagued 2013, and both are dealing with family tragedies in the offseason — White’s brother was shot and killed, Jones’ brother was shot and lost a limb.
  • The Devin Hester factor: If he is half the spark in the locker room as he can be returning kicks, look out.
  • Matt Ryan, team leader. I think Matty Ice sometimes gets forgotten as a force on the team. He’s not bold and brash, and he’s not got the Mannings’ Q-rating. A little fire in the belly on camera might change that image.
  • Mike Smith, with a moderately warm seat. Coach Smith is not at the edge of a cliff. But have another 4-12 season and check his seat temp.
  • Hey, look, an offensive line! With Jake Matthews and his first round pedigree, it’s time that the line comes together and gives Matty Ice some protection. And any good solid O-line is also a cohesive unit in the locker room. Can the young stud be the leader of the pack, even before his first Sunday?

The Atlanta Falcons debut on “Hard Knocks” will be on Aug. 5.