Last night, HBO Sports' Emmy-winning reality series "Hard Knocks" debuted its latest season, which will cover Reggie Bush and the Miami Dolphins throughout spring training. Since its inaugural series in 2001, "Hard Knocks" has provided its audience with an all-access pass to an NFL training camp, and tuning in from week to week we see just how cutthroat and high-stakes NFL training camp is and what a grind two-a-days can be.
This installment of the series, which is shot by a 24-person NFL films crew, should be particularly fascinating. There are a number of intriguing stories to follow through the season on "Hard Knocks;" here are five we'll be watching closely:
5. The New Guy
This is the first year for Miami's new head coach, Joe Philbin. At the beginning of last night's episode, Philbin tells his charges that his only qualification for the head coach's job is that he'd spent 10,061 days as an NFL assistant coach.
What Philbin doesn't say, though, is that most of that time was spent as the offensive coordinator for the 2010 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Now Philbin's job is to breathe life back into the Dolphins, a historically great franchise that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
4. Reggie Bush
2011 was the best campaign of Red Bull ambassador Reggie Bush's five-year career. In 15 games he carried the ball 216 times for 1,086 yards (an average of 5.0 per carry) and six visits to the end zone. He also caught 43 passes for 296 yards.
One of the great things about "Hard Knocks" is that it gives you a ground-level, full-speed view of just how darned big, fast, and speedy these NFL players are. Reggie isn't big -- he's just 6-foot-even and 200 pounds -- but his speed, strength and quickness are world-class. And there are signs that he could be headed for a breakout season.
3. Return of Chad Johnson
During the offseason, veteran wide receiver Chad Ochocinco changed his last name back to Johnson. "Nobody wants to go out as a joke," HBO's Liev Schriber explains. After a season with the pass-happy Patriots, during which Johnson caught less than 20 balls, what we're all wondering is if Johnson has anything left in the tank, or if he's now just a loud mouth with diminishing skills and a Twitter account.
2. The Underdog
Undrafted free agent tight end Les Brown hadn't strapped on cleats since high school before reporting to Dolphins' camp. In fact, his only athletic achievement of note was playing hoops at tiny Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
Brown spent three years playing basketball for Westminster from 2006-'09, but left school after his junior year to take a job with private equity firm Huntsman Gay Global Capital. He returned to Westminster to finish his degree before leaving in October to work toward a shot in the NFL.
While one Dolphins coach describes Brown as a complete liability at run blocking and in pass protection, what he has going for him is game-changing speed, toughness and an incredible work ethic.
1. The QB Competition
The Dolphins have three intriguing quarterback options in camp this year: David Garrard, a solid 10-year veteran who missed all of last year after back surgery; 2011 team MVP Matt Moore; and Ryan Tannehill, the team's hulking 2012 first-round pick.
While Dolphin fans are hoping that Tannehill develops into their best QB since Dan Marino, it's Garrard who is currently leading the competition. If you believe Joe Philbin, though, the race is far from over.