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"Hard Knocks" Season Premiere Sees Concussions Addressed, Gets Positive Reviews

"Hard Knocks" Season Premiere Sees Concussions Addressed, Gets Positive Reviews

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HBO continues to garner praise from media critics for "Hard Knocks"
The new season of HBO's "Hard Knocks" premiered last night and it "was entertaining, as usual," according to Frank Schwab of YAHOO SPORTS. Even new Bengals LB James Harrison "being a complete jerk" to the HBO crew was "fantastic." One reason the show is "so compelling is it does a great job bringing viewers places we generally don't get to go. That is why the concussion conversation between WR Marvin Jones and trainer Paul Sparling "might have been the most interesting part of the episode." It was "proof that for all the concussion progress being made in the NFL, there is still a long way to go before players are completely on board" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/7). In Cincinnati, Joe Reedy writes compared to the last time the Bengals were on the show in '09, this season's opener "featured a lot more action and didn't waste that much time getting right into camp." The cinematography overall "was stellar, especially in capturing the scenes around the city and Paul Brown Stadium." There were "three stars" of episode one. The first is assistant coach Hue Jackson, who was "shown mentoring rookie Giovani Bernard along with getting under the skin of the defense." Bernard was the second star. Reedy: "I have a sense the NFL Films cameras are going to be following him plenty throughout the series." The third star goes to QB Andy Dalton, who "came across pretty well." Reedy: "How Dalton is portrayed as a leader to me might be the most important storyline in the series" (CINCINNATI.com, 8/7).

MAKE OR BREAK MOMENTS: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith wrote there "wasn't much action beyond introducing the players in the first half hour of the show, but that changed when it was time for the Oklahoma drill, the hard-hitting training camp staple that some teams have eliminated for fear of injury." Those are the "most exciting moments of training camp, but the quieter moments are also compelling." DT Larry Black was shown "on the field trying to hold back tears after suffering a dislocated ankle." Black is "out for the season" and was released by the team earlier today. The reality of the NFL -- and of the show -- is "we'll see a lot more big, tough football players trying to hold back tears as they lose their opportunities to injuries." Those are "terrible moments for the players involved, but they make for great television" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/6).

TWITTER REAX: FOXSPORTS.com's Alex Marvez wrote, "Biggest difference #Bengals #HardKnocks 2009 to 2013: They're talking Super Bowl now. Talking playoffs -- if that -- in 2009." Reedy wrote, "James Harrison said last week that Hard Knocks was a 'Pain in the A Double S.' He just showed it. #hardknocks." He added, "The two sequences with Gresham is the most he has talked on camera in three years #hardknocks." ESPN's Bill Simmons: "How great was that Gresham/Atkins showdown on Hard Knocks? They could have shown that entire drill as its own show - I would've watched." ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde: "Just once in my career I'd like to see the #Packers do #HardKnocks. I'd love to get that glimpse behind the curtain not even beat guys see."