Hard Knocks: Five NFL Teams For HBO to Consider For 2012 Season

By Dan Parzych

Now that the Atlanta Falcons have officially turned down an offer to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks for the 2012 season, the hit network is still looking for a team to follow around when training camp kicks off in a few months. Here’s a look at five teams that make strong candidates to appear on the hit HBO show.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles ended up being one of the biggest disappointments considering all of their key offseason acquisitions that included Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Jason Babin. Despite all of these acquisitions, the Eagles contained one of the league’s worst group of linebackers and it showed on a weekly basis as the team struggled throughout most of the 2011 season. Philadelphia failed to reach the playoffs and how the team handles the pressure this season will certainly be fun to watch during training camp.

4. New York Jets

Everybody saw how entertaining the New York Jets were on Hard Knocks a couple of years ago and there’s no question it would be the same case once again in 2012. Rex Ryan is always guaranteed for a good laugh, but the network would love to capture the day-by-day battle between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow at quarterback. Despite Sanchez being the clear favorite at this point, this sounds like a similar scenario last season when Tebow was a member of the Denver Broncos and Kyle Orton seemed like a “lock” for the starting job.

3. Indianapolis Colts

No rookie will face the type of pressure that Andrew Luck will face as the new starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 (assuming Jim Irsay lives up to his word and selects the Stanford star with the first pick in the NFL Draft). It’s one thing to become the new franchise quarterback, but how does one player replace a future Hall of Fame quarterback like Peyton Manning? How Luck handles the pressure as the new go-to guy for the Colts will be a hot topic for most of the 2012 season and football fans would certainly love to watch the process from the beginning.

2. New Orleans Saints

2012 was supposed to be a big year for the New Orleans Saints after finishing 13-3 last season as they look to become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their own city. Instead, nobody knows what to expect from Drew Brees and company considering all of the allegations that have taken place this offseason. How the team handles the pressure of dealing with a new coach and what not will certainly be interesting to watch–especially during training camp.

1. Carolina Panthers

It took two games for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to prove all critics wrong about whether or not they made a mistake with selecting the former Heisman Trophy winner with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft after he became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400+ yards in his first two games. Newton arguably displayed the best rookie season in history in 2011 and he’s quickly developing into one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Imagine what Newton plans on doing for an encore during his sophomore season now that he has one year under his belt.

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