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Highlights from Browns’ press conference on being selected for Hard Knocks

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Including information on how many hours of footage is shot, whether Hue Jackson’s lake jump will be featured, and more.

After Wednesday’s OTA practice, Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson welcomed HBO Sports Executive Vice President Peter Nelson and NFL Films Vice President/Senior Coordinating Producer Ken Rodgers to Berea. The four of them held a joint press conference to discuss the Browns being selected to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks this year.

You can listen to or read the entire press conference transcript here. Below is a reader’s digest of nuggets I came away with:

Jumping in the Lake?

  • Many fans thought that the perfect start to the series would be showing Hue Jackson jumping into Lake Erie. Rodgers said that they could ask, but he said, “the truth is that when we shoot things in the offseason, they are the first things on the cutting room floor because what happens in camp is so immediate, so interesting, and so exciting that backstories really take a backseat.”
  • Personally, I think they could easily start the show with a 15-second clip showing Jackson jumping into the lake, along with a voiceover explaining how it was was a cleansing of an 0-16 season and looking forward to starting fresh. Then everything else could be current — modern day in camp. (shrugs). Doesn’t sound like that will happen.

Browns Were the Top Selection All Along

  • Much like the Browns had the No. 1 overall pick, Cleveland was the No. 1 choice to be on this year’s Hard Knocks all along. They kept it quiet and are thrilled to have gotten the team they wanted. “Some people are cynical and say there might not be anything good out of this pick,” said Rodgers. “I do not know who would say anything like that, but we are out to prove them wrong. We think this is going to be one of our best seasons of Hard Knocks in its history.”
  • Why were the Browns an intriguing option? Here is what Rodgers said:

“The Browns were intriguing for us really because of the overall storyline that is a part of the American culture, which is we tell our kids that it is not about how hard you get knocked down; it is about how you get back up. This is a unique situation, having such turnover on the roster, of starting new with some old pieces, with some valuable new pieces that will speak to fans. What we generally think of when we select a team is who would the national audience be interested in finding out what is going on with a team. Nationally, right now, the Browns are a big story, and rightfully so. Our goal is to create fans across the country, not just here in Cleveland, for this franchise. This happens naturally. That happens because you might be a fan of a team, but you grew to like the players and coaches on the Hard Knocks team and they are suddenly your second-favorite team, and you follow them a little bit closer. It has really helped build the audience for the show, changing teams like this. The unique storyline was one that was present from the start, which was really the end of last season.

We have bene interested in the Browns for quite a many years. We have such respect for the franchise. Of course, if you grow up under Steve Sabol as a filmmaker, you know about the Cleveland Browns and you are told about how important that franchise is. We kept an eye on free agency and the draft, but we had already targeted our No. 1 pick. I think that solidified it in the fact that they had quite an interesting free agency period and draft. It was definitely thought of way before then that this is the team that we wanted to do.”

Production Notes

  • Will Hue Jackson or John Dorsey have a say in what does/doesn’t air? Not really, but HBO/NFL Films already do a lot of whiteboard erasing in post-production to protect teams’ plays, phone numbers, or other sensitive information that could affect competitive balance. The show will be screened to Jackson and Dorsey right before it airs, just in case they hear anything like an audible that didn’t get cut out and could tip off other teams to something. Other than that, it’s a true documentary of what you see is what you get.
  • Every show is comprised of what happened the previous seven days. It’s a real-time show, so they don’t have the luxury of having months of time to edit and craft storylines. However, the “storylines present themselves.”
  • For every one hour episode that airs, 400 hours of footage were shot. That means 399 hours of film isn’t used. So you can get a pretty good idea of how they’ll always have enough material to make an entertaining show.
  • There will be a dedicated Internet pipeline installed in Berea so that as practice is being filmed, the footage will be fed back to NFL Films. A team of 25 producers go through to footage on an hourly basis back at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.