HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – On the premiere episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks featuring the Houston Texans, fans were introduced to Houston’s NFL franchise with an up-close and inside look at a team that may have one of the smallest national profiles of any of the league’s 32.
Despite having the runner-up for the league’s MVP award in JJ Watt, the Texans are a team that could use the exposure Hard Knocks provides. As one of the most highly respected organizations in the NFL, the Texans are an afterthought in terms of their on-field success as head coach Bill O’Brien mentioned in the cold open for Tuesday’s premiere episode.
Coach O’Brien has the right to view the episode before it airs in case any last minute edits needed to be made. After Wednesday’s practice he mentioned he isn’t a fan of watching himself on television.
“Can’t stand it. I just cannot, it’s one of those, part of the job obviously,” O’Brien said. “They pay you a lot of money and there’s a lot of things that come with that job and that responsibility and you take it very seriously. But when it comes to those things, I’m a football coach and that’s not something that I’m real comfortable with.”
The HBO series featured several Texans players closely including Watt, who was shown in a variety of impressive workouts including an after hours workout where he was the only player on the field.
Watt sees Hard Knocks as a great opportunity for the franchise and his teammates.
“We’re a fairly new organization in general, Watt said. People probably just don’t know a lot of our guys, a lot of our players, so it’s good for the organization to get that exposure, to be out there in the world. It’s a lot of fun to see so many different people get spotlighted.”
Some of the comic relief from the first episode came from Ben Jones who is replacing Chris Myers as the team’s starting center after playing guard last season. Jones was shown telling a story where he threw up on a football during his college days. H was unaware of the cameras being on and was surprised that conversation made it on air.
“It was pre-practice. It was at 7:35 in the morning, Jones said. “I was like, I’m not mic’d up, where did that camera come from? I swear they’ve got cameras everywhere out here.”
Left tackle Duane Brown was featured briefly on Tuesday. He said he enjoyed the first episode especially during the highlight of the team’s trip to Richmond, VA.
“They got a nice introduction to the players’ personal lives and I think everyone got a glimpse of what it was like to practice against Washington,” Brown said. “See the intensity of it, so I think it was good.”
One thing that was clear from the premiere, the team doesn’t mind getting a little colorful with their language. With the show being on a pay network, profanity was not censored leading to many re-thinking their choice of words for the rest of camp.
“I need to stop swearing, or cut it down at least, O’ Brien said. “My brother texted me, he thought it was awesome. My mom texted me, she didn’t think it was too awesome.”
Watt knows that even with the colorful language, the world knows that they are seeing some authenticity on the show.
“The nation is seeing the Houston Texans and nobody is putting on a show, nobody is putting on a front and sometimes that means some verbiage is used, but like I said, it’s all real. It’s all real.”
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 3-7 pm on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio