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Hard Knocks Director Impressed With Philbin
By on June 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

With less than a month remaining until training camp, the “Hard Knocks” crew has already started filming, completing a few dry runs at last week’s mini-camp.

NFL Films’ Rob Gehring, who will direct “Hard Knocks,” joined The Finsiders to give a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s production and talk about some of the potential angles he might take. 

Thus far, in his limited time around the team, Gehring has been drawn to Joe Phibin, whom he described as being “magnetic.”

“When you’re around him, you’re kind of like, OK, this is a guy who can turn this thing around,” said Gehring, who previously directed “Hard Knocks” in 2007 and 2008. “He’s a leader. I almost equate him to a field general. After having just been around him for less than a month, I’m like, I’ll run through a wall for that guy.”

It will be interesting to see who snags some camera time once things start rolling during training camp. A starring run on “Hard Knocks” can expose a player to the masses, turning a lesser-known  into a full-fledged star. Which Dolphins players have the personality to break out? Gehring said that a few guys on defense stand out.

“Every time the DB’s are on the field, you know where Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are,” Gehring said. “You can hear them both, you know where they are. I think there’s definitely kind of an Ochocinco factor into play now, where those guys are jawing with him.”

The Dolphins will be holding an open competition at quarterback, a  built-in storyline that would intrigue with or without the cameras around. The innocent bystander loves a  quarterback competition, probably because of the position’s importance and some implicit promise of tension-filled battle. This situation is unique, though, because the Dolphins have three guys with a legitimate chance to start.

“It is fascinating that the Dolphins have a situation where it’s really up for grabs, and there’s three guys that all can play and all are very good players,”  Gehring said. “That’s certainly an interesting angle.”

HBO and NFL Films, unlike other production companies, have the ability to remain flexible during what can be a very volatile time. If there’s a roster move or breaking news, the crew can make a quick turnaround, switching gears only a day in advance.

“If we were a Hollywood studio, we would have lost our funding,” Gehring said. “We’re talking about a 200-to-1 ratio. We shoot probably shoot 200 hours for one hour of the show.”

Though star power may be what initially lures the casual fan–think Ochocinco in Cincinnati–the show was conceived because of fringe players, the guys that are fighting for their NFL existence. Gehring said they try giving  fans a look at what it takes to make an NFL roster, especially if there’s an intriguing backstory attached.

“For us, it’s about those long shots,” Gehring said. “It’s about those Bobby Sippios of the world as much as it is about the Reggie Bushs of the world.”

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Please Note:
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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