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Joe Philbin impresses director of 'Hard Knocks'


After a "Mad Men"-like hiatus, HBO's "Hard Knocks" returns in mere weeks.

We're about to cozy up to the Miami Dolphins. The Ochocinco deluge is assured, but the steady beeline through this narrative will be coach Joe Philbin, a man the general public knows little about.

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"Hard Knocks" director Rob Gehring of NFL Films is impressed with what he's seen:

"When you're around him, you're kind of like, OK, this is a guy who can turn this thing around," Gehring told "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."

Gehring directed the "Hard Knocks" series in 2007 (with the Kansas City Chiefs) and again in 2008 (with the Dallas Cowboys). This should give us hope.

Another fling with the Jets was tempting, but "Hard Knocks" is at its best tackling story threads occupied by under-the-radar types. If we're ready to run through a wall for Joe Philbin by September, the show has done its job.


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