The Arizona Cardinals are going to get a lot of national exposure this coming season. In addition to four prime-time games, the Cardinals will be featured on HBO’s in-season edition of Hard Knocks.
"It's definitely exciting, that's once in a lifetime," said Budda Baker. "A lot of people who probably don't know the average NFL players are able to get a little bit more insight of who we are, whether it's, of course, on the field, but off the field as well. And it's definitely a great experience."
Zach Ertz has experienced the in-season focus before, when Amazon's All or Nothing featured the Philadelphia Eagles.
"You have mixed emotions," he said. "Obviously, as a player, you don't want things to get too personal that you don't want out there, but at the same time, it's a great opportunity for fans to kind of see what the day-to-day life of an NFL player is like. It's not all the amazing things that happen on Sunday, it's a combination of a lot of work during the week."
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t seem overly excited, not that any NFL head coach is about having a bunch of cameras around, but he also understands the positives that can come from it.
"For the brand, exposure to all those things, it's a tremendous opportunity for the Cardinals," he said.
Kingsbury pointed to the Indianapolis Colts six wins in seven games with the cameras rolling on HBO's inaugural in-season version of Hard Knocks last year, as being, perhaps, the second half jolt needed for a Cardinals team that has struggled to finish seasons.
"We obviously struggled the back half of last season, it has an opportunity to come in and guys will perk up when the cameras are around," Kingsbury said. "You don't want to look bad on camera, it's just kind of human nature. If we approach it the right way, and still continue to be our authentic selves, I think it can be a real push at that point."
As for which Cardinal will perk up the most and be the star of the show?
"I mean, probably JJ," said Baker.
"Obviously DHop's got his own personality, JJ, Kyler," said Ertz. "I don't know, there's a lot of personalities on this team. Hopefully they just film a lot of wins."
"If they could go film Hopkins suspension, that'd be the best TV ever," Kingsbury quipped.
Unfortunately for Kingsbury, he won't get his wish. The cameras won’t be following the Cardinals until Hopkins is back on the field, with the in-season series not beginning until November.
The Detroit Lions will be featured during the preseason.