Hard Knocks embarks on Arizona Cardinals at pivotal point in season
TEMPE — Lights, cameras, Hard Knocks.
In less than a week, we will get our first real behind-the-scenes look inside the 2022 Arizona Cardinals when their season of HBO’s Hard Knocks debuts next Wednesday.
No more waiting for 30-second trailers of players working out or coaches looking clicking through game film to drop.
But while the Hard Knocks: In Season premiere date is right around the corner, that doesn’t mean the HBO cameras are just getting rolling.
For a majority of the season, additional cameras, mics and bodies have been spotted throughout the training facility and during games.
The series is great in shedding light on the innerworkings of a team and the players who make it up. It gives fans a different perspective of what truly goes on behind closed doors.
It can also give a little too much.
“They do a great job of kind of laying in the shadows and you don’t notice it much — almost to a fault,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “You’ll say some things that maybe could get you canceled and have to kind of give them the ‘OK, that’s out,’ but it doesn’t interrupt anything. They do a great job with it.”
“I hate watching myself do anything, so I won’t watch it, but I am excited for fans to see the type of people we have,” the head coach added. “I know they do some behind the scenes with families and origin stories and things like that. We have some great stories on our team.”
Kingsbury isn’t the only one who has to be minding his Ps and Qs, either. In addition to the head coach getting mic’d up and filmed on the regular, the same goes for the players.
Some, like quarterback Kyler Murray, haven’t had the cameras follow him outside the training facility just yet. Although, the signal caller did sport a mic on Wednesday.
There are certainly more eyeballs on Murray and the rest of the team, but he’s keeping it business as usual with his eye set on the Seattle Seahawks.
“I wouldn’t say it changes you,” Kyler Murray said. “I just think you’ve just got to know when you can say stuff. You’ve just got to be smart. Somebody’s always watching. You never really want to give anybody anything bad to say about you. It’s nothing new for me. It’s kind of how I was raised. Treat people how you want to be treated.”
When you look at how this season has progressed for Arizona, picking up the team at this time brings with it a heightened level of intrigue.
Staring at a 3-5 mark entering a Week 9 matchup against a Seahawks team riding a three-game win streak, Arizona needs a win to stay competitive in the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers on the schedule the next two weeks.
One of the biggest issues for Arizona has been playing from behind. Per Kingsbury, the team has trailed 91% of the time through the first eight weeks of the season. Arizona has held some sort of a lead for an average of six minutes per game.
“We think our best football is out in front of us and it has to be these next three weeks against three really good opponents,” Kingsbury said.
Interestingly enough, the Cardinals find themselves in a similar spot as the first Hard Knocks: In Season team, the Indianapolis Colts. Joining the show at 3-5 — the same mark as Arizona — Indianapolis proceeded to go 6-1 before a pair of losses ended its playoff hopes.
Taking the next two or three games will keep the Cardinals squarely in the hunt for the division. Dropping multiple could be the death sentence for this iteration of Arizona. Just a loss to Seattle would move Arizona three games back of the division leaders, who would also hold the tie breaker over the Cardinals.
And no matter what, the Hard Knocks cameras will be right there to catch it all. Good and bad.