Hard Knocks Episode 1 Review – Selling The Miami Dolphins

Mike Donnelly reviews the first episode of Hard Knocks and he is selling most of what he sees of the Miami Dolphins

Outside of his Stock Watch and Fantasy Football columns, Mike Donnelly is throwing on the TV critic hat for us today. Here is his take on the first episode of Hard Knocks

After the first episode last night of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins, I felt compelled to write something about it. A few snarky Tweets weren’t going to be enough, especially since mine got drowned out in the massive tidal wave of snarky tweets that hit Twitter between 10 and 11pm EST from everyone else in the world. There was just too much to make fun of, between Joe Philbin being the most boring man in the entire world, Jeff Ireland being Jeff Ireland, and of course Lauren Tannehill, who has done the nearly-impossible and rendered her husband Ryan the second most overrated Tannehill in their household.

So what does all this mean? An emergency edition of Stock Watch: Hard Knocks edition! I’d attempt to drop more F-bombs than Chad Ochocinco did last night just to see if it’s possible, but just the thought of our fearless leader Joe having a Joe Philbin-style boring chat with me about how that’s unacceptable terrifies me. By the way, where’s the outrage today about Chad doing that? Everyone was ready to send Rex Ryan to the electric chair after the language he used two years ago when the Jets were on. Anyway, let’s get started…

SELL: Joe Philbin – If I were a Dolphins fan I would already start scouting the 2013 draft class, or just forget about football altogether. I mean it won’t be long until LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are back and I’d actually have something worth cheering for. Really, did you see Joe Philbin in “action” last night? The guy has got to be the least inspiring and dull professional sports coach I’ve ever seen. Can’t you just picture him giving the big “fire the team up” speech before a big game this year in his boring monotone as he’s twitching nervously like he was when talking to Chad Ochocinco Johnson? “Ok guys, we have a football game and we should all do our best, let’s go get ‘em” as everyone gets up and sullenly walks out of the locker room?

SELL: Dolphins QB Coach who looks like he’s 17 years old – For the record his name is Zac Taylor and he’s actually 29, just five years older than Ryan Tannehill, the 1st round pick that he’s supposed to be mentoring, and five years younger than projected starter David Garrard. How did such an inexperienced coach (who was an assistant in college the past 2 years) get such a prominent NFL job? Well the answer to that would be good old fashioned nepotism, as he is now married to offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s daughter, Sarah. When I pointed this out on Twitter and that this wasn’t mentioned on the show, Mike Sherman’s other daughter, Emily, somehow found my tweet on Twitter and proceeded to tell me I am pathetic, which really truly hurt my feelings in an unspeakable manner. I hope Emily is happy this year when the Dolphins quarterbacks are getting laughed off the field this year. I know I will be. Nuff Said indeed.

SELL: Eric Steinbach – When they said the Dolphins were bringing in two veterans for a workout and they showed the older, chubby, balding man standing there, I legitimately thought they were showing one of the facility janitors or low, low-level assistant coaches – you know, the kind of guy who holds the 1st down markers or something. When they said it was actually offensive lineman Eric Steinbach, my friend Dan and I who were watching the show together were absolutely blown away. He was walking with a limp in his big knee brace, appeared to have no muscles, didn’t seem that big at all in general, and Boring Joe Philbin even commented that he wasn’t that quick. Those all seem like important things for an offensive lineman, no? In short, Eric Steinbach was the least professional athlete-looking man I’ve ever seen, which makes a lot of sense since Jeff Ireland is the one who signed him.

BUY: Braylon Edwards mentioning Rex Ryan – Did anyone else get the impression Braylon Edwards would have rather been anywhere else other than in Jeff Ireland’s office talking to him about joining the Dolphins? Pretty awkward scene. Braylon was one of my favorite Jets players, so I’m glad he didn’t sign and ended up in Seattle to team up with Terrell Owens to form the 2007 All-Stars in the Great Northwest.

SELL: Lauren Tannehill – Mentioned this above, but it bears repeating: Over. Rated. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very pretty, but I just don’t get why everyone is fawning over her so much. I’d like to see more of those Dolphins cheerleaders though… (let’s just move on before I get myself in trouble)

SELL: Chad Ochocinco Johnson – Oof, that was painful to watch Chad. He seems like he’s just a big caricature of his former self at this point. His line about taking last year off to allow others to catch up to him was cute, but the reality is far worse for Mr. 85. The fact is that Chad just isn’t a good football player anymore, and that showed last year in a big way. If you can’t have success with TOM BRADY I don’t see it happening with David Garrard, sorry. And it sure did seem like he was trying just a little — ok, actually a lot — too hard to be “cool” with all the cursing and “outlandish” behavior. Again, I’m shocked I haven’t seen major outrage this morning that Chad dropped a few F-bombs. Where is Tony Dungy? For the love of God, can we please get Tony Dungy’s take on this?!?!

BUY: Chad and Reggie Bush playing Video Games together – There was just something very hilarious about this. Almost as hilarious as when Reggie Bush said he’s expecting to lead the league in rushing this year. That’s cute, Reg.

BUY: Boring Joe mentioning George Costanza – I loved that Philbin name dropped George Costanza and the Seinfeld episode where George makes grand entrances and goes out on a high note. I mean sure he didn’t exactly go out with a “bang” and more or less just boringly slunk out the door after nearly putting his quarterback group to sleep, but it was still cool to hear a good Seinfeld reference. Unfortunately for Boring Joe, I don’t think his Dolphins tenure is going to end on a high note either, and he’s far more likely to slink out of another door sometime in 2013 after the Dolphins struggle toward another 4-win season.

Looking forward to episode 2!

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #5

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Thoughts on the final episode of Hard Knocks…

1. The most interesting parts of the episode clearly were centered on the Revis holdout. I am glad we got some footage of Rex blowing up at his agents and saw the process of the decision to fly down to Fort Lauderdale. Great stuff on the ending but let’s see if Revis Island is truly back.

2. Jason Davis? Obviously wasn’t the happiest camper out there. I wonder if he will surface with another team this year.

3. I don’t think we will be seeing David Clowney back anytime soon. If the Jets add another receiver after week one, it would likely be Laveranues Coles. If you can’t impress on special teams, you aren’t making the roster as a receiver behind Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Braylon Edwards.

4. I would love to see Joe McKnight get bumped down to the IR with an “injury” and Chauncey Washington moved to the 53 man roster. I don’t want to see McKnight get hurt but the Jets have put players on the IR in the past for storage purposes when a serious injury really hasn’t taken place.

5. Congrats to Danny Woodhead who 100 percent earned his spot.

6. Woody Johnson sounded pretty dead set against budging on Revis after week two or contemplating trading him after the season. I think some of the Rex swag has rubbed off on him.

7. It has been an entertaining August and really an entertaining entire off-season for that matter, yet how long does it feel like it has been since the Colts knocked the Jets out of the playoffs last January? It has been an eternity waiting to watch this hyped up team on the field in a meaningful game. They have a hell of a chance right out of the gate to make a statement against a team that is supposed to be a legit Super Bowl contender. It is only one game, but let’s protect our new stadium and open it, the way we closed it.

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #4

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Thoughts on episode #4 of Hard Knocks –

1. You can’t help but feel for Kellen Clemens. The guy never really got a fair shake here in New York. He does deserve to be the number two quarterback this season. Hopefully, he makes one final strong case tomorrow night against the Eagles.

2. Cheeseburgers? C’mon man.

3. The Jets made the right call by keeping Tony Richardson over Laveranues Coles. With this particular team, T-Rich is viewed as one of the key leaders of the offense. Hopefully, Coles gets the chance to come back and contribute a few games after week one. It would be nice to see him grab a few more receptions in green and white.

4. It would easy to say the Jets appear too loose in training camp. However, keep in mind HBO is featuring what is most conducive to television.

5. That episode made me very anxious for week five to get here quickly. I want to see #10 out there in our offense.

6. Get a better GPS, Jason Taylor.

7. Do we really have to see Rex Ryan in a hot tub next week?

8. We got a good glimpse at what complete BS all the Revis rumors were last week.

9. Mike Tannenbaum might be spending too much time snacking with Rex.

10. We get it Rex…you love John Conner.

11. You could see Tannenbaum was a little pissed as he was cutting Kevin O’Connell. He traded for him last year to be the long term #2 quarterback and clearly misevaluated him.

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #3

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Thoughts on episode #3

1. I could watch Mike Westhoff coach all day. It sure looks like David Clowney is far from a lock to make the roster. I understand the guy’s frustration about not being part of the offense but he has to find a niche on special teams to stick around. Westhoff was pretty hard on Brashton Satele but coaches have no tolerance for injured players. Poor TJ Conley by the way.

2. Good to see Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul go at it with each other…a couple of hungry players who are anxious to prove themselves. Kroul is going to become a bigger part of the Jets defensive line rotation with the season ending injury to Ropati Pitoitua, which was a real shame because you got the impression he was ready to become a consistent contributor to the Jets defense.

3. “Boy, don’t get indifferent with me” — Welcome to the NFL rookie, Brian Jackson (King Ugly). You hsve to appreciate the rookie hazing when it is due. You know you aren’t getting away when Kris Jenkins has you in the bear hug.

4. If you could give some of Danny Woodhead and Larry Taylor’s attitude to Joe McKnight…the Jets would be on to something with their fourth round pick. It is hard not to root for guys like Woodhead and Taylor.

5. Rookie night? Fond memories…I had to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in front of the whole team my freshman year of college.

6. Where was the Jets version of “The Decision” with Darrelle Revis? I am still confident #24 will sign a new contract by the end of the week. Perhaps if I say it enough times, it will come true.

7. Good to see Schotty get going a little bit, as he should have after that ugly performance by the Jets offense. I love the passion Rex Ryan has on the sideline, especially his reaction after the hit by Chauncey Washington, who Ryan seems to be taking a liking to. The guy runs hard and all of a sudden could have a chance to sneak on the roster. Beyond that, I love how competitive he is by keeping the number twos in to make sure the Jets still won a pre-season game.

8. I was loving that ending montage with the Jets coming back to Florham Park.

Your Hard Knocks Parody

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #2

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A quick look at episode 2 of Hard Knocks

1. Does anybody else miss Leon Washington yet? I haven’t heard or seen one encouraging thing from Joe McKnight yet and he didn’t come off well at all in tonight’s episode. He looked like a spaced out kid, who thinks he has all the answers. Good move by Santonio Holmes trying to give him advice and running backs coach Anthony Lynn was working on him constantly, but it didn’t seem like it was getting through.

2. Sanchez, funny guy but pay attention when your quarterback coach is talking to you and stop stressing over the 59 cents extra on the Pizza Hut order, you have a 50 million dollar contract.

3. It sounds like a foregone conclusion that John Conner will be the starting fullback. I just hope the Jets aren’t stupid enough to cut Tony Richardson. There is value in keeping the veteran around and giving him a role on the offense.

4. Kris Jenkins vs. Nick Mangold – There is a battle worth watching…looks like Mangold got the best of him tonight.

5. I still don’t buy the Vernon Gholston hype. The Jets had to stage a fight for him to pick up the intensity.

6. Mark Brunell is a smart man for keeping his daughter far away from Sanchez. The veteran backup came off well in this episode as a valuable mentor for Sanchez, though.

7. Mike Westhoff is the man.

8. Where are you? – Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Nick Mangold, Calvin Pace, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Jim Leonhard, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller.

9. Somehow I think there will be some people out there mocking Cromartie’s clip naming all his children.

10. I’m glad they didn’t spent any time on the Revis holdout.

11. Somebody hide the M&M’s from Rex.

12. Bart Scott…nice zinger on McKnight taking a pay cut after leaving USC.

13. Sanchez, what is with the Karate Kid look in the weight room?

14. Steve Weatherford…funny stuff with the shake weights.

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #1

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A short and sweet review of episode 1 of Hard Knocks –

1. Overall, I was a little disappointed. Rex Ryan’s speech in the beginning had me ready to jump out of my seat and start fighting all the Giants fans around me (good thing I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be typing this right now). However, after that we spent a little too much time with Kevin Basped, Aaron Kia, Brashton Satele, and Jason Davis. I would’ve liked to see a little more Nick Mangold, Braylon Edwards, and Shonn Greene among others.

2. Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott didn’t disappoint. You have to love Jenkins passion on the field. He was going crazy during that goal-line drill. Scott was entertaining, as expected. I’m glad we got to hear his ribbing of Mark Brunell.

3. It sounds like the groundwork is being laid for John Conner to take Tony Richardson’s job. I would urge the Jets coaching staff to use extreme caution in this “battle.” It would be incredibly foolish to cut Tony Richardson, who is the strongest veteran presence in the huddle, especially with Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca now gone. It is one thing to gradually assimilate Conner into the offense but Richardson still has value on this team and should remain the de facto staring fullback, even if Conner eventually ends up taking more reps.

4. Broadway Joe…always fun to watch, although you certainly got the vibe everybody in the quarterback meeting room was humoring him and yessing him to death on his suggestions.

5. We didn’t see anything in this episode to make you think the Revis negotiations are ending anytime soon.

6. Nice catch Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and even you Mark Sanchez but work on those botched snaps.

7. Cafe Ryan? You knew the big guy would be sneaking pretzels and MMs, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.

8. Where were you? Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Jerricho Cotchery, Jim Leonhard, David Harris and  D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

Next Week – A big helping of Mike Westhoff and Mark Brunell on Old Timer’s Day at Hard Knocks.

Jets Wednesday Morning Recap & Hard Knocks Preview

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The Good – Another strong day for Vernon Gholston, who collected praise from all the beat writers for constantly being in the backfield today, including back to back pressures on Kellen Clemens and a pressure on Mark Sanchez. Brodney Pool recorded a sack against Sanchez. Clemens hit Marcus Henry for a 50 yard touchdown (how about that connection?). Donovan Warren picked off Clemens. Vladimir Ducasse had one of this better days, while working with the ones. Kevin O’Connell hooked up with Larry Taylor for a 40 yard touchdown.

The Bad – Nick Mangold got his bell rung in individual drills while battling with Sione Pouha and didn’t participate in team drills. Kyle Wilson got called for a pass interference, which brought back a Jim Leonhard interception. It sounds like the defense beat up on the offense a little bit, especially when the second units were going against each other. Marquice Cole was beat by Larry Taylor for a long touchdown, a day after getting some work with the first team.

Play Of The Day – The long touchdown receptions by reserve receivers, Marcus Henry and Larry Taylor. Mark Brunell had one of his passes batted up in the air, caught it himself and took off for a short gain.

Played Who Helped Himself – The summer of Gholston continues

Player Who Hurt Himself – The extended missed time by Brashton Satele can’t be helping his case to make the roster. You hate to see Nick Folk missing field goals from under 45 yards.

Sanchez Stats – 8/15 in team drills. He was sacked once by Brodney Pool (stats courtesy of Manish Mehta).

Folk Stats – 4/6…misses from 42 and 44 yards.

Injury Brashton Satele and Brian Jackson were out of practice today. Jason Taylor was back on the field. Joe McKnight and Jim Leonhard had their legs wrapped but were practicing.

Depth ChartVladimir Ducasse worked with the first team at left guard today.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Ryan called for Darrelle Revis to come to the facility with anybody he wants and the entire organization will show up. He will cancel practice. Ryan thinks this is the only way to prevent any confusion over who is saying what, and that if they do it that way “I bet something gets done.”
  • He said it was a “blatant joke” that Revis’ agents called Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson “blatant liars.”
  • Nick Mangold was held out for precautionary reasons after being hit on the head.
  • The Jets could still consider keeping four quarterbacks.
  • He wasn’t happy with the pass protection in today’s practice.
  • The player he has been most impressed with on the Jets defense so far has been Kyle Wilson, particularly his communication and studying skills…posturing?
  • He doesn’t think the Jets will run the ball as much as they did last year but will maintain a “Ground and Pound” mentality.

Revis Update – The big story of the day was Gary Myers reporting the Jets and Revis are 40 million dollars apart in negotiations. Despite the Jets offering a 10 year, 120 million dollar contract, the Revis camp isn’t satisfied because of the lack of guaranteed money and signing bonus.

Hard Knocks Preview

Enough of all the Revis talk for a second and let’s get excited about HBO’s Hard Knocks premiering tonight, featuring the New York Jets. A few things to look for:

An All-Time Record – Bart Scott may break a record for most words spoken in a single hour of television. He will absolutely break the record for most trash talking in a single hour.

Revis (whoops) – Apparently we won’t see much of a focus on the Revis situation tonight but I am sure there will have to be at least a few quotes on him from some of the players and coaches. I just don’t want to see any camera footage of Mike Tannenbaum arguing on the phone or the faces of Revis’ agents.

The Beard – Interested to see Braylon Edwards’ beard in HD tonight…that thing has a life of its own.

The Meeting Room – Among my favorite parts of Hard Knocks is when they show the coaches discussing the depth chart and specific players in a meeting room. Let’s see who Rex Ryan and company are high on and who is on their way out the door.

Camera Hogs – I am guessing we are going to see plenty of Nick Mangold, Bart Scott, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and to a slightly lesser extent Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Kyle Wilson.

QuotesI am sure Ryan will spend 15 – 20 minutes discussing a Super Bowl. Maybe he will take a shot at New England or Miami along the way.

Hard Knocks

Jets Fans: Stop The Pity Party

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Do you remember December 30th 2007? I do. I was sitting in the pouring rain watching the 3-12 New York Jets play the 4-11 Kansas City Chiefs. The Jets won the game 13-10. I left the stadium frustrated because we hurt our draft position, ultimately falling to number six where the team would select Vernon Gholston. Our quarterback of the future, Kellen Clemens, had just played one of his better games of the 2007 season: 13/25, 115 yards, TD. Our newly signed starting running back, Thomas Jones, scored his second touchdown of the season. The offensive line was in shambles. The defense prominently featured players like Dewayne Robertson, Victor Hobson, David Barrett, and Erik Coleman.

Fast forward to January 20th, 2008. The New York Giants upset the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, sending the Jets in-stadium rivals to face their division rivals, the New England Patriots (coming off a perfect regular season) in the Super Bowl. The Giants and Patriots went on to play one of the most memorable championship games in league history, while the Jets wallowed in complete and utter irrelevancy.

Do you remember those days? They weren’t too long ago. Do you remember gearing up for a broken down Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens quarterback battle? What about the few months of the Kellen Clemens/Brett Ratliff/Erik Ainge battle? How about heading into training camp with Brad Smith/David Clowney/Chansi Stuckey fighting it out for a starting receiver spot? At cornerback, do you recall players like Hank Poteat, Drew Coleman, and Barrett rotating in a starting spot? The Jets offensive line used to feature players like Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke.

Yes, the Darrelle Revis holdout sucks. There really isn’t a better way to put it. Revis was a player our organization was savvy enough to trade up to select, who developed in front of our eyes into the league’s best cornerback and arguably best defensive player. The entire league took notice. We got to see one of our players featured in Nike commercials and constantly be talked about on the NFL Network and ESPN. Everybody was looking forward to his encore performance to an epic 2009 season. Bring on Brandon Marshall. Bring on Randy Moss. Bring on Chad Ochocinco Johnson. Bring on Andre Johnson. Send every diva, big-name receiver at our defense and watch him disappear.

PhotobucketIt now looks like that may not happen. Before you bury the Jets organization, before you bury Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan, remember this: Tannenbaum brought this team back to relevancy with the resources provided to him by Johnson. He got us Mark Sanchez so we didn’t have to watch Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff one-hop curl routes. He beefed up the defense by trading for Kris Jenkins and Antonio Cromartie, hitting on David Harris in the second round, and signing Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Jim Leonhard. On offense, he collected an impressive arsenal of weapons for his franchise quarterback.

Rex Ryan may have hurt the Jets bargaining position by showing too much love for his player to the media. However, that is Ryan’s personality. Don’t talk about loving all the swagger and confidence he brought to the organization and then get mad when he gives due praise to a player. I will take the negative impact on negotiations Rex Ryan brings, in exchange for all the positives he has brought the Jets, which shouldn’t have to be listed.

Don’t talk yourself into hating Revis either. The Jets organization approached him about re-negotiating his contract and after hearing everything they said about him, he expects to be compensated at a substantially higher level in 2010 (currently scheduled to be the eight highest paid defensive back on the Jets). Yes, he should understand that Al Davis is clinically insane and gave Nnamdi Asomugha an aberration of a contract and yes he has three years left on his deal but this is a business. The Jets botched the Leon Washington situation to an extent, which has burned a scary image into the heads of current players. Who wants to shipped off to the rain in Seattle to play for Pete Carroll without a new contract?

There is plenty of blame to go around. The Jets organization gets a little. Darrelle Revis gets a little. Al Davis can have a little. Leon Washington’s injury is a factor. Yet, there is no reason to spend all pre-season pouting and looking for somebody to blame.

PhotobucketGuess what? Even without Darrelle Revis, the Jets are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They are still the favorite in the AFC East. They are being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. They have knocked the Giants and yes even the Yankees off the back page. We aren’t playing in Giants Stadium anymore. The Jets are playing in primetime in weeks 1, 3, and 5 to start off the season, along with Thanksgiving night and a December Monday night showdown in New England. Beyond that, there is still a relatively good chance Revis will join the team at some point before the regular season starts, despite all of Woody Johnson’s posturing today.

So relax Jets fans, life is good, enjoy the ride in 2010. We are the team everybody loves to hate and really what is better than that in sports?

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Thoughts On Hard Knocks Preview

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Wow, I’m not sure you could watch that 15 minute preview of Hard Knocks featuring the Jets and not leave with your heart pumping out of your chest. Can a fan of a team ask for anything more than this type of access? I will tell you this if I wasn’t a Jets fan, I would hate Rex Ryan. In the preview alone, he had to piss off every single fan of every other team. You could just have Ryan talking the entire time and it would be worth watching. There hasn’t been a Jets team with this much confidence, maybe ever. I don’t think they leave a question that it is Super Bowl or bust in 2010. Who would have thought the Jets would ever be the most hyped up team in the NFL? Yet, the real question is if they can back it up. A losing season in 2010, with these type of expectations could be one of the most painful seasons in a damn painful history.

Outside of Ryan, you have to expect Nick Mangold and Bart Scott to be stealing the show on Hard Knocks.

The funniest thing I saw in the 15 minutes? Ryan running out of the tunnel in one of the Jets games, yelling “that’s right, here come the Jets” and any other clip they were showing of him wired up on the sideline.

August is going to be more entertaining than usual, buckle up.

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