After each new episode this season, we’ll update the list with the latest Gruden gems.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: HBO’s Hard Knocks is officially back for 2019. This season, the show is following the Oakland Raiders’ training camp, and the hype surrounding the new episodes is very real.
Hands down, one of the most exciting parts about this year’s series is getting to watch Jon Gruden on TV again. The Raiders brought back Gruden as coach in 2018 after he spent nine years at ESPN as a broadcaster. Gruden was known for being pretty out there in the booth, so seeing that goofiness while he coaches the likes Derek Carr, Antonio Brown, and Vontaze Burfict should be a treat.
Hard Knocks premieres Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. ET, and will air through the finale on Sept. 3.
Without further ado, here are some of the best moments from Gruden on Hard Knocks so far.
We’ll update this story each week with all the Gruden goodness, so you don’t miss any of it. You’re welcome, America.
In the season’s first episode, Gruden didn’t actually do anything too out there. His best speech probably was when he told his rookies he was more into nightmares instead of dreams.
“Everybody in the NFL: ‘I have a dream of making it in the NFL. I got a dream of winning the Super Bowl, I got a dream of being in the Pro Bowl.’
“I’m really not into dreams, anymore OK? — I’m into f*cking nightmares … You’ve gotta end somebody’s dream.” It’s an interesting analogy, but it kinda makes sense?
For Gruden’s rookies, being a Raider means becoming someone’s nightmare.
Your first taste of this year’s #HardKnocksNow, our behind-the-scenes looks at @Raiders training camp. pic.twitter.com/a0rCxPezM1
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) July 26, 2019
Also, shoutout to Gruden for mentioning the Bluebonnet Bowl, which used to be a college football bowl game played in Texas in the late 1950s until the ‘80s. RIP.
(HBO actually released this clip in a sneak peek before the season premiered, but hey, this was still definitely the highlight of episode one.)
Oh yeah, and we won’t get to see any rookie hazing from the Raiders under Gruden, either:
“We want to win and we want to win NOW.”
Jon Gruden sets the expectation in the @Raiders’ first team meeting. #HardKnocks (via @NFLFilms) pic.twitter.com/MlbnG36T6x
— NFL (@NFL) August 7, 2019
Gruden also allegedly told TE Luke Wilson he needs bigger calves.
Thankfully, HBO also released this clip before the premiere. Now we don’t actually see Gruden say this word for word. But according to Wilson, who recounts the exchange to teammate Paul Butler during practice, Gruden told Wilson that he’s “gotta get bigger calves.”
Special thank you to the HBO camera crew for panning down during this exchange to show us Wilson’s tiny calves. LMAO:
“Hey man, you gotta get bigger calves”
(via @HBO) pic.twitter.com/r1cVom996E
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 1, 2019
Besides his one-liners, what else do we have to look forward to with Gruden on Hard Knocks?
Well, as my colleague Charles McDonald pointed out, it’ll be interesting to see how Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock (who also was working as a broadcaster with NFL Network prior to joining the team) get along during the show.
Gruden’s relationship with the quarterbacks again should be a lot of fun, too. He’s already joked about what it’ll be like when he’s neighbors with Carr when they move to Las Vegas next year. And Coach is also a fan of Nathan Peterman, who never forget who once threw five interceptions in a 14-pass stretch during his first NFL start.
If the show ends up making you want even more of Gruden, you’re in luck. If last season taught us anything, it’s that we’ll be getting a whole season of these Gruden-isms.
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