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'Hard Knocks' a Smash Hit, Say Jets

As far as the Jets are concerned, "Hard Knocks" was top-notch.

The players gathered after their morning practice, most under a tent due to the late-morning rain, and gave the first episode of the NFL Films/HBO series a big thumbs-up.

"It was good. I liked it. Very informative," said DT Sione Pouha. "I watched it in my dorm room. I ate a couple of brownies. I'll probably get fined. Then I watched the re-air. I had to watch it twice. I didn't want to miss anything."

"I think it's a great show," said RB Shonn Greene. "It gives insight on how we do what we do, insight into the team, how we're doing throughout camp, the personalities we have as far as coaches and players. The fans can see that."

"I watched bits and pieces of it," said LB Bart Scott, who shared the first show spotlight with head coach Rex Ryan. "I got some inspiring texts from my family. I think they enjoyed it. It's really just part of the show. I think people get a greater appreciation of the personality and the way we go about our business. I don't know if people get used to seeing coaches and the GM having fun."

S Brodney Pool didn't mind that he was left out of most of the Episode 1 storylines but he enjoyed seeing his teammates and coaches on camera.

"Rex was a clown, Bart was a clown," Pool said. "I liked it. I enjoyed listening to Rex."

Head coach Rex Ryan, of course, was a main attraction of the first show. And viewers have expressed ambivalence about listening to his expletive-laced address to his players at the first team meeting of camp, which needless to say led off the festivities.

"My mom's the only really disappointed person that I care about," Ryan said at his news conference early this afternoon. "But I'm going to be myself. You guys have been around me. Sometimes you get rolling. That's just what happens. I don't know why. I apologize if I offended more people than I usually offend. I apologize for that."

However, Pouha joined many of the fans who have chimed in on and elsewhere who acknowledge that a little cussing goes together with football and HBO, not to mention that the message in between those naughty words are a part of what makes Rex Rex to his players.

"You know what? I don't look at the cursing as much as the passion," Bo said. "It's more of his wanting to just explode out and grab you and convince you and let you know he believes in you. Rather than the selective words he uses, you can feel it. Skip the f-bombs and everything. You can really feel this guy is passionate about what he does, passionate about his players."

Ryan's passion extends to putting on a good show while showing fans who his guys really are under the helmets and pads and also letting others around the league know what kind of organization the Jets are running.

"We have so many stories to tell, so many coaches and players. You really want the country to see that," he said. "People understand this is a good environment to play in. We don't take ourselves too seriously. Yet when it's time to play, we're going to step up and give you everything we have. We professional but we're also going to have fun. Our mentality is what it is and we're not going to apologize for it."

"Rex has been this way for years," Scott said. " 'Hit the goalpost' and all the games we play. It just makes the day go by better and a little more fun. Nobody likes to practice in two-a-days in the heat. You have to find little things to help you get by, and that's one of the things that we do."

And one of the things NFL Films/HBO will do will be to put up Episode 2 next Wednesday night, and three more after that.

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