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Bush admits players were 'not in favor' of Hard Knocks

A few last words on Hard Knocks before we put that subject to bed: The Dolphins participated in the show for five weeks during the preseason because coach Joe Philbin was convinced it would be good for the team.

He is in the minority within his own organization.

I've talked to people at every level of the organization. I've talked to players. For attribution, they tow the company line, either endorsing the Dolphins' participation or saying it didn't affect things negatively.

Privately, multiple players I've spoken with say they didn't like the idea of Hard Knocks. I also know the personnel department generally didn't like the idea of Hard Knocks.

And while all that initially remained a whispered sentiment, the bloom is finally coming off that rose publicly now. Last week Reggie Bush, who so far is Miami's best player this young season, told the media that the attitude of players toward Hard Knocks was, "Let's just deal with it."

Said Bush: "I don’t think guys were in favor of it, but we used it to our best advantage and just had fun with it and made the most of it (and) tried to continue to play football.”

The idea that most players were not in favor of Hard Knocks surfaced again publicly Wednesday when Bush told New York reporters on a conference call, "“I don’t think it helped us.

"I guess, if anything, it was a great show. I think they do a great job at capturing just what it takes to be in the NFL, to go through an NFL season and training camp, the business side of things, sports side of things. I think that’s great for fans. I think, for football players, I don’t think it makes or breaks us.

"I think a lot of guys probably prefer not to have the show around because then you kind of have to watch what you say and how you act, speak differently and walk differently. Especially in this day and age, you just never know, especially when they’re cameras around. You just never know what kind of things get out there. You always want to err on the other side of just, err on the side of caution."

I know for a fact that one reason general manager Jeff Ireland has been getting more attention both on the road and obviously at home games from fans is because they recognize him more than in the past based on his appearances on Hard Knocks. That attention turned negative last week when a fan told Ireland he should fire himself.

I know players that were negatively portrayed on the show hated it. Roberto Wallace didn't appreciate coaches making fun of him, calling him, "Ankle weights Wallace" as they watched tape of a practice.

Meanwhile, Philbin remains a staunch defender of the show and would recommend it to fellow coaches.

“Well I think every situation is unique and different," he said. "I would say if somebody asked me, the NFL Films is a first class company in every regard. Their staff are true professionals, they treat players with great respect, they’re very hardworking, dedicated people.

"So in my opinion, anytime you can associate, you know, if you’re in the banking industry and you can associate yourself with Goldman Sachs, you might want to at least investigate it and see if it is the right decision for you and your company. So if you’re in football and the NFL and NFL Films comes calling, you can make up your own mind but I was very impressed with the quality and the professionalism of their staff."

Four things:

First, Goldman Sachs is a prestigious 250-year-old investment bank but it bet on the 2007-2008 sub-prime mortgage housing collapse and profited from people losing their houses. It also took $10 billion in government TARP money then turned around and offered nearly 1,000 employees bonuses of $1 million each with that taxpayer money. So Goldman perhaps isn't the best analogy here.

Secondly, Hard Knocks was very careful to never, ever show coaches in a bad light even as they were helping to craft an 0-4 preseason record right along with the players. The show made a very clear distinction that it was the players not meeting standards but never suggested coaches could improve also -- which they needed to, by the way.

Thirdly, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said he learned to steal the Dolphins snap count by watching Hard Knocks.

Finally, Philbin admits he never watched the show. So his minority opinion is based on, well, what?

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