‘Hard Knocks’ 2020: Rams, Chargers reportedly to be featured on show if training camps happen this summer

The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer if training camp happens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. An official announcement is not expected to come this week.

The 2020 NFL Draft was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas later this month but the COVID-19 crisis has led to it to be conducted virtually. As time passes, it becomes less and less likely that in-person football activities will take place for awhile. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was one of several major league commissioners to join a call with President Donald Trump recently. During that call, Trump reportedly said that they expected the season to go on as scheduled. 

The two teams in Los Angeles were likely very appealing as the league continues to provide spotlight for their fledgling franchises. Each has relocated within the past five years. The idea of featuring two teams is likely a byproduct of a shortened offseason. In the past, the production crew would be filming through organized team activities (OTA), mini-camps, training camp and the preseason. A portion of the OTAs have already been cancelled and it is reasonable to believe the same fate might be awaiting the rest of OTAs. Training camp usually commences in late July, early August.

The Rams appeared on the show in 2016 under head coach Jeff Fisher. The Chargers will be making their first appearance, however. Thirteen teams have appeared on the show since it began in 2001. The Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys are the only two teams to be featured twice. The Oakland Raiders were on the show in 2019. 

Sean McVay’s team is coming off a disappointing season that ended with a 9-7 record. They had made it all the way to the Super Bowl the previous season. The team elected to sever ties with long-time defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and hired defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell this offseason. Todd Gurley, who recently signed with the Atlanta Falcons, was also let go. 

The Chargers are undergoing their own changes with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers moving on to the Indianapolis Colts and running back Melvin Gordon moving on to the Denver Broncos. They did, however, sign cornerback Chris Harris Jr., defensive tackle Linval Joseph and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga as well as trade for offensive guard Trai Turner. Anthony Lynn’s team also holds the rights to the No. 6 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. There is some chatter that they might use it on a potential franchise quarterback, which would be even more appealing to “Hard Knocks.”

There are exclusions to the show. A team can decline the opportunity if they have been to the playoffs in the prior two years, have a first-year head coach or have appeared on the show in the previous ten years. 

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