After a long offseason filled with drama and intrigue, training camp has finally begun for the Raiders in Napa, California. With training camp beginning, that also means the beginning of filming for HBO’s Hard Knocks. Fans are going to get an in-depth look at the team and how they work during training camp. With so many big personalities on the roster and staff, it should be a lot of fun to watch. HBO has promised that show will focus more on football and less on storylines, so fans of the game should be happy about that. Unfortunately, the Raiders aren’t opening any practices up for fans, so you’ll need to rely on reporters and HBO to get your Raiders fix this training camp. This is a big offseason for the Raiders and there’s a lot of information to know. Luckily, we got you covered.
How to Watch Hard Knocks on HBO for Free & When You Can Watch
Who doesn’t like free stuff? If you’re a Raiders/football fan and are dying to watch Hard Knocks, but don’t want to pay for HBO, you’re not totally out of luck. There are ways to catch the show without having to pay a dime. The easiest way to watch HBO without paying is to take advantage of their free trial offerings. You can get seven days of HBO Now for free and just cancel it before you get charged. Now, keep in mind, you’re probably going to have to wait until all five episodes have aired and binge them in that seven-day period because the episodes come out on a weekly basis.
However, if you happen to have Amazon Video and Hulu, they also offer free seven-day trials to watch HBO through their apps. That’s a potential three free weeks of HBO with not much of a sweat at all. Just make sure you cancel HBO before payments go through because you don’t want to get hit with three separate HBO payments at once. Regardless, you’ll have to wait for a couple of episodes to be out to be able to see all the episodes for free, but it’s better than paying $14.99 a month for a streaming service you might not use very often.
The first episode premieres on Tuesday night at 10pm ET/PT. However, if you have an HBO GO account, you can watch it at 7pm PT if you’re on the west coast. Unfortunately, it’s unclear if you can watch earlier if you get HBO through Amazon or Hulu. If you’re impatient, it could be a situation worth monitoring.
Dates to Know for Raiders
July 23: Rookies, quarterbacks and select veterans report to training camp in Napa, CA.
July 26: The rest of the veterans report to camp. First team meetings and condition testing.
July 27: First practice as a full squad.
July 29: First padded practice of offseason.
August 6: First episode of Hard Knocks premieres at 10 p.m. on HBO. Will have weekly episodes in total.
August 7-8: Joint practices will be held with the Los Angeles Rams.
August 10: First preseason game vs. the Rams at 5 p.m. in Oakland.
August 15: Second preseason game vs. the Cardinals at 5 p.m. in Glendale, Arizona.
August 19: Training camp ends after final practice.
August 22: Third preseason game vs. the Green Bay Packers at 5 p.m. in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
August 29: Fourth preseason game vs. the Seahawks at 7 p.m. in Seattle.
August 31: Deadline to reduce the roster from 90 to 53 at 1 p.m.
September 9: First regular-season game vs. the Denver Broncos at 7:20 p.m. in Oakland at the Coliseum.
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Players to Watch
With so many new veterans and rookies on the roster, they’ll be a lot of chances to stand out. The player that will likely stand out more than anybody during training camp and on Hard Knocks is Antonio Brown. Brown is an absolute freak when it comes to working out. There’s no player that practices harders than him. He’s also charismatic and fun to watch. He’s going to be an instant leader for the team and his energy should resonate throughout the whole organization. Rumors are that he’s determined to turn the Raiders into a winner at whatever cost and that could mean great things for the team.
Derek Carr will also be a name to watch as the starting quarterback of a team will always get a lot of attention. The Hard Knocks crew began filming of the show at Carr’s house so he’ll be front and center for fans to watch. Like Brown, Carr is charismatic and great in front of a camera. He also has a great work ethic so he’ll be a lot of fun to watch in training camp. Carr has a lot to do to prove the doubters wrong in 2019. Look for him to come out swinging and put up a very impressive training camp.
The Raiders rookie class should also get a lot of attention. Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram will all likely be starters in 2019, so they’ll be getting a lot of reps in training camp. They’re rookies so they’ll have to prove that they’ve earned first-team reps, but expect all of those guys to step up to the challenge. Ferrell, Jacobs and Abram will all likely be featured heavily on the show, also. Ferrell and Abram are natural-born leaders and Jacobs has a great story.
What will also be interesting to watch is how some of the second-year defenders have progressed. P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst all saw plenty of playing time in 2018 because of the team’s lack of depth. Hurst was the only one to really impress and he could be a breakout star in 2019. Key has all the tools to be an excellent pass rusher. With a new defensive line coach in town, Key should listen to everything he’s saying so that he can start turning that potential into production. Key doesn’t have a starting spot locked up, so he’ll have to show that he’s improved if he’s going to keep his spot. P.J. Hall was the highest drafted of these three guys, but he seems to get the least amount of fanfare. He came from a small school and didn’t make a lot of big plays in his rookie year. He’ll have to fight to get playing time in a crowded defensive tackle squad.
Fortunately, there hasn’t been much injury concern so far this offseason. New linebacker Brandon Marshall missed some of the offseason minicamp practices due to an undisclosed injury, but he seems to be ready to go for training camp. His health is definitely something worth monitoring because he figures to be a starter for the team.