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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Week of Hard Knocks at One Buc Place

After a seamless first week with the crew for HBO's Hard Knocks show, the first episode nears and multiple storylines have begun to emerge.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finished one week and six practices of training camp, all of it captured by a couple dozen NFL Films lenses of impressive variety. A half-dozen camera crews walk the practice fields while the team is working, and there are fixed cameras in key areas inside One Buccaneer Place. There's even a drone for aerial footage.

All of this is being used to produce the current season of HBO's popular NFL reality show, Hard Knocks, *for which the Buccaneers were selected for the first time. And, as predicted, none of it has adversely affected the team's preparations for the upcoming season. Head Coach Dirk Koetter insisted during the formal announcement of the Bucs' selection in May that *Hard Knocks would not be a distraction and, a week into camp, that has proven to be true.

"No, [it's] no distraction at all," said Koetter after Thursday's practice, surrounded by cameras of which only one belonged to NFL Films. "The Hard Knocks crew is as professional as they come and they are not a distraction at all."

If anything, the cameras' presence has built up anticipation for the first episode, which is just days away. The show will premiere on HBO at 10:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 8, at which point it will be evident which storylines the producers have emphasized in the early going.

HBO has released a handful of short clips since training camp began last Friday, and they seem to confirm some of the best guesses as to which Buccaneers would be the show's "stars." Several clips have featured quarterback Jameis Winston, one shot earlier in his Alabama hometown, another showing an impromptu interaction with a young fan. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is in another, as his sideline conversation with guard Kevin Pamphile about another HBO show, Game of Thrones, was captured during practice. And Koetter himself is the focus of a fourth clip in which he delivers a motivational message to the team's rookies.

Other possible storylines viewers may see on Tuesday, based purely on speculation after a week of camp developments, include:

  • The battle for the placekicker job between Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk
  • An early round of roster cuts and additions
  • The battle to get good practice work in during a week of frequent rain
  • Jon Gruden's visit to One Buccaneer Place for his Ring of Honor press conference, which included a long conversation in Koetter's office
  • The competition among young linebackers to win reserve jobs, which includes several undrafted players
  • Doug Martin preparing for a comeback season, as well as an early-season suspension
  • A strong week for the defense, with young potential stars like Kwon Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves making an impact

Even after each practice, the NFL Films cameras work hard capturing personal moments on the field, such as players relaxing with their families and special guests getting opportunities to meet their Buccaneer heroes. With the hundreds of hours of footage being shot, it's a mystery what will make it onto the air next Tuesday night, but Buccaneer fans will find out soon enough.

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