After a one-year absence, HBO’s Hard Knocks is back. And after a one year absence, so are our weekly Hard Knocks reviews.
This year, the NFL Films cameras will be chronicling the training camp exploits of the Miami Dolphins. And because the Dolphins share the same home state with him, we will be using Tom Petty song titles to headline our weekly recaps.
Let’s dive right in
-Before we start, there’s an important point to make. If you had grabbed me two days ago and asked me to name all 32 NFL teams, it’s quite possible that I would have gotten stuck trying to remember the Dolphins. They have been completely irrelevant for YEARS.
-We dive right in with the harshness of life in the NFL. Undrafted rookie guard Derrick Dennis is cut before training camp starts. Hell, he’s gone before the opening credits air.
-The team’s kick off dinner is at what appears to be a high end steakhouse. Why didn’t the organization go to Shula’s? I’ve always thought the former Dolphins coach’s steakhouse is a legit high end choice in Miami.
-I like how HBO establishes all three quarterbacks right off the bat. Going into the pre-season, it really seems like any one of them may end up as the starter. A couple of points on that front. If David Garrard missed last season with a back injury, maybe not so much with the wake boarding for him. And, obviously, Ryan Tannehill’s wife will be getting plenty of screen time. This is a time worn Hard Knocks tradition, dating back to Todd Heap with the Ravens in the series’ first season.
-Mike Pouncey is getting a full hair cut (and nose hair trimming) in his kitchen. There’s no way I could ever do that. I would be tasting hair in my cereal for months. Even if it wasn’t really there. I feel like shaved hair in a kitchen would be like glitter at a stripper’s house. No matter how hard you try, you can never actually get all of it cleaned up.
-Joe Philbin looks like an accountant. I’m interested to see what kind of demeanor he has on the sidelines. I would be willing to bet he’s a screamer.
-It took 19 minutes for Chad Johnson (who apparently isn’t Ochocinco anymore. Did I miss that?) to show up. And he walked into a meeting where he didn’t belong, probably because he knew the cameras were there. Like a lot of people, I figure the Dolphins signed him mainly so they would have an outspoken personality during this show. The fact that he gets his own segment proves that a bit more. And now he has a reality show wife. So, that’ll be great.
-I’m glad Philbin told him to watch his mouth and set him straight on behavior. That may prove to be a very interesting relationship.
- It’s interesting that GM Jeff Ireland doesn’t seem to blame Ryan Tannehill for holding out. He seems to acknowledge that this is all part of life in the NFL. And when he finally shows up, everyone seems pretty happy to have him around.
-Is Jake Long Howie’s son? Or is it Chris Long? I’m pretty sure it’s Chris. But not being sure is going to become an ongoing problem while I watch this season.
-Les Brown, the college basketball player turned finance guy turned NFL player, is my early bet for Hard Knocks break out star. Unless he gets cut right away.
-I’m surprised by how small the press room is. It always looks bigger when filmed from the back on ESPNews.
-Why are all the wives and girlfriends at training camp? I guess its because the players stay at a hotel instead of a college dorm. The mood so far seems far more casual than it has on previous seasons of Hard Knocks.