Cardinals have a date with ‘Hard Knocks’ after turbulent offseason

The NFL and the Arizona Cardinals weigh in on the drama in the desert.

Amid several turbulent storylines during the Arizona offseason, the NFL announced Monday that the cardinals will be featured on HBO’s 2022 in-season edition of “Hard Knocks.” The Detroit Lions have the honors for the traditional “Hard Knocks” slot that allows HBO and NFL Films cameras to look inside a team’s preseason.

The Cardinals’ selection is intriguing after mixed results in recent seasons of “Hard Knocks” which failed to capture the series’ narrative drama at its best. Arizona faces uproar on multiple fronts, including with its best player, quarterback and head coach.

Kliff Kingsbury talks quarterback Kyler Murray will both be under pressure in 2022. (Mark J. Rebilas/Reuters)

Quarterback Kyler Murray was among several Cardinals veterans who did not show up on Monday for the first first day of OTAs. That’s not so remarkable on its own, as league veterans pass on officially designated offseason workouts as voluntary. But Murray, the first pick in the 2019 draft, is entering his fourth NFL season without a rookie contract extension.

The 2019 Rookie of the Year and two-time pro bowler made it clear through the pettiness of social networks and message from his agent that it displeases him. Now Murray is not showing up at OTAs.

Meanwhile, five-time All-Pro receiver Deandre Hopkins will start the season with a six-game suspension thanks to a positive test for a prohibited doping substance. The news came as a shock in May and promises to have resounding consequences on and off the court in Arizona this season.

Before the player drama surfaced, head coach Kliff Kingsbury was already under the microscope after three seasons of mixed results and a listless playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in January. He and Murray will be under pressure to deliver results in 2022.

Some of these issues will be resolved when the “Hard Knocks” cameras roll – up to a point, at least. We will then know whether or not Murray has obtained his contract extension. But the scenarios should be ample. And the NFL is fine with that.

Airing dirty laundry can be good for business. Just ask F1, which has seen its popularity explode in the US thanks in large part to the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ which allows cameras and inside investigators access to drivers, owners and steering and warts and everything. It creates compelling drama that sparks heightened interest in what’s happening on the track today. The sometimes unwelcome exposure is a small price to pay.

“Hard Knocks” works on a similar plane with the caveat that NFL Films is in charge of production. Don’t expect to see anything the league doesn’t want you to see. But the Cardinals offer the opportunity for a lot of fodder this year and the chance to breathe new life into the franchise.