COMMENTARY | San Diego Chargers fans would welcome the idea of the HBO series, Hard Knocks, showcasing their favorite team to the sports world.
But if the team is anything like the rest of the league, it probably has its reservations about appearing on the show that candidly depicts players, coaches, and front office staff in an all-access format. There are many stories to pay attention to in Chargers training camp in 2012, but it stands to reason that the coaching staff wouldn't want to disrupt a team who grossly underperformed in 2011.
There are also new faces who are expected to do big things for the Chargers, namely Robert Meachem, who was signed to fill the void left at wide receiver after Vincent Jackson signed a $55 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the offseason.
It may be a pipe dream, but it's fun to imagine what fans could expect to see if the show were filmed in San Diego. Here's what to look for if the Chargers found themselves featured on Hard Knocks:
Norv Turner and A.J. Smith uncut
Much has been made of Norv Turner and his expressionless demeanor on the sidelines during games and in press conferences. Fans that have grown frustrated with the lack of the Chargers' success in the postseason are quick to point out that the head coach is missing elements of fire and passion that are clearly evident in more exuberant coaches like Rex Ryan or Jim Harbaugh. Still, Turner has the respect and buy-in of his players. The show would finally give fans insight as to why.
Then, there's A.J. Smith, perhaps the most disliked figure in the Chargers' organization. Fans would love to get an idea of just what goes on inside the front office when he's involved. Is the perception of Smith as an arrogant, egotistical autocrat accurate? Viewers would welcome the opportunity to find out.
The real Philip Rivers
Much like his head coach, Philip Rivers collects differing opinions regarding his personality. Fans in San Diego love his passion for the game, but the more broad perception from a national standpoint is that he's a mouthy trash talker who doesn't show teams respect. Regardless of which school of thought is actually correct, this type of exuberance would make for great television, especially from a star quarterback.
Who will the defensive playmakers be?
There was a real edginess that was missing from the team in 2012, and much of it was because the defense didn't see any of its playmakers emerge as a dominant force. Defensive back Antoine Cason took steps backward and looked lost at times while the line had a very limited pass rush. Fans are wondering what the front office and defensive coordinator John Pagano have done to address those issues. Drafting Melvin Ingram with their first-round selection was a good start, but watching how the team develops him and the rest of the defense would be worth watching.
Training camp battles
The best aspect of Hard Knocks is the emphasis the production team places on training camp battles through the pre-season. Each year, young players and veterans alike fight to earn a spot on the roster. It would give the fan base even more insight as to which players went from barely making the team to having a legitimate impact in games down the line. That's the type of knowledge that gives fans a real connection to the team. Another good reason to watch training camp? All of the Chargers' rookies are signed, which is unprecedented for a Hard Knocks series, thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement.
There are a lot of perks with living in a wonderful place like San Diego for the players on the Chargers' roster. One of the things that is always lacking is the national attention and coverage they receive due to their distance from the east coasts' sports hub. If the team were featured on the show, it might pick up some new fans and gain some notoriety nationally. Simply put, there's plenty of room on the Chargers' bandwagon.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the San Diego Chargers and the NFL. He has written for southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com.
Follow Michael C. Jones on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.