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!

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

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First a few updates:

1. Sorry for the lack of a morning article, but fortunately all the Terrell Owens nonsense has already came and passed. It would have made absolutely zero sense for the Jets to sign him. Anybody think the Jets just put their “interest” out there to drum up media attention before training camp starts? Anyway, I am glad the Owens circus will be joining the Chad Ochocinco Johnson circus in Cincinnati. The Jets were equipped to handle the Bengals offense in 2009 and that is still the case, even after the Owens signing.

2. Jason La Confora is reporting the Jets are working out quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow along with a few other veterans.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

4. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks on HBO tomorrow night at 11 PM.

5. Justin Tuck told the New York Post the Jets talk too much. I think Justin Tuck should spend more time worrying about improving his defense to being anywhere near as good as the Jets, instead of getting jealous of their press clippings.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

In the second part of our training camp preview, we look at the major storylines that will be or should be covered from Cortland, New York.

Brad Smith is Versatile – The beat writers love putting together massive amounts of articles about how versatile Brad Smith is every summer. The worse was in 2007 when Transformers came out in the theaters and there may have been 900 articles comparing Smith to the movie because of all the positions he can play. We have all seen Brad Smith play receiver, running back, quarterback, cover kicks, and return kicks. There is a general understanding of his versatility. Rex Ryan will provide no help in avoiding this story either because every time he mentions Smith, he cites his rushing and passing statistics in college.

Danny Woodhead Is Small – Another beat writer favorite, that HBO is a lock to eat up in Hard Knocks. “Danny Woodhead may be small in size and have played at a small college but nobody would ever say his heart or toughness is small.” He is an easy guy to pull for because of his long shot odds and he does help himself by playing two positions, running back and receiver. However, in the end there will be too much ink and time dedicated to a player who isn’t going to make an impact on the Jets season. Considering his nondescript special teams performance in 2009, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut before the end of camp.

Nick Folk – This is a story that will rightfully be scrutinized by everybody. Folk’s daily statistics are going to be closely watched by everybody who is properly concerned about the Jets kicking situation. He may be back to back bad days away from being cut. Hopefully, he can build on the momentum he had at the end of mini-camp, when he had a few very good practices. Beat writers…get those Folk stats going.

An Unlikely Marriage – The somewhat awkward ongoing interaction between Jason Taylor and Jets fans should be something frequently focused on by the beat writers, HBO, and the national media. At this point I think it is clear that Jets fans have embraced him in hopes that he brings 1o – 12 sacks to the team.

PhotobucketChemistry! Chemistry! Chemistry! – The most overblown issue about the Jets this season. Here is my response (http://turnonthejets.com/2010/04/29/death-of-the-jets-chemistry-discussion/).

LaDainian Tomlinson’s Attitude – It will be interesting to see how Tomlinson handles being the Jets backup running back. Will he demonstrate any frustration with Shonn Greene receiving more touches or if Joe McKnight comes in to spell him for a certain situation? This is going to be the first pre-season Tomlinson has played extended reps in for a long time. He needs to prove to the Jets and the rest of the NFL, he can still be a productive player.

Vladimir Ducasse – You can bet any offsides penalty or allowed sack by Vladimir Duccasse will be covered like a natural disaster. I am already waiting for the first wave of “how much will the Jets pay for releasing Alan Faneca” stories.

Contracts – The biggest story heading into training camp is the contract situation of Darrelle Revis. Everybody will be waiting on pins and needles to see if he shows up and if he does show up, how he carries himself. Will he ignore the media or will he just ignore their questions about his contract? Will he address the situation openly? Nick Mangold has already ended the circus around himself by claiming he will show up. Darrelle Revis has decided to keep us waiting.

Eyes On The Waist – Whenever you have a public weight loss contest, you are calling attention to your figure. Let’s see how Rex Ryan, Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins look in August and who the ultimate winner of their contest will be. Jenkins has been on an all cookie diet and on Twitter Damien Woody is promising a huge surprise about the contest.

PhotobucketThe Sanchize – Of course we will get the daily round up of Sanchez’s statistics, along with the feature stories about whether he “gets it” yet or if he can avoid holding the Jets back. I can’t even imagine how many minutes HBO is going to spend with cameras jammed in his face. Unfortunately, we can’t even vicariously enjoy his bachelor lifestyle because he has settled down with Meadow Soprano. Then again, I doubt the nightlife in Cortland is anything to get excited about.

Share The Love – One of the things I am most fascinated to see is how the passes are being divided up between Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller. Beyond that, how much of the Tiger formation will we see? Can David Clowney still make an impact with so many players in front of him? What about lesser name players like Britt Davis and Aundrae Allison? There will be plenty of receivers looking for receptions this August and it will be entertaining to see how Mark Sanchez, whomever the backup ends up being, and Brian Schottenheimer attempt to keep everybody happy.

Injury Watch – Kris Jenkins coming back from his ACL surgery. Jason Taylor has been dealing with shoulder issues. If Shonn Greene gets banged up at all this training camp, it is going to raise millions of valid questions about his durability. Sanchez is also coming back from off-season surgery, so his mobility will be something to keep an eye on.

Your Daily Stand Up Routine – You have to look forward to Rex Ryan’s press conferences and any face time he gets on Hard Knocks. He is bound to give bulletin board material to New England and Miami, along with claim every single person in the Jets organization is the best in the NFL at what they do.

TOJ TV

Why The Jets Must Be On Hard Knocks

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First a few updates:

1. Jets safety Eric Smith signed his one-year tender today as a restricted free agent. Smith is expected to compete with Brodney Pool, James Ihedigbo, and any other player the Jets may add at the safety position through the draft or free agency for the starting role opposite Jim Leonhard. Smith has grown on me but I still don’t think he has the skill set to be a full time starter. He is a better fit as a role player on defense, like being used as a blitzer and in coverage on tight ends or running backs in certain packages. Smith is also a pretty good special teams player.

2. Some thoughts on other NFL moves– I am not sure what Pete Carroll and the Seahawks see in Charlie Whitehurst but I can’t believe what they gave up to acquire him and how much they are paying him, considering he has never played an NFL snap…I don’t know who has a worse quarterback battle this year, the Browns (Jake Delhomme vs Seneca Wallace vs Brett Ratliff) or the Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Trent Edwards vs Brian Brohm), who remembers the days of Chad Pennington vs Patrick Ramsey vs Kellen Clemens vs Brooks Bollinger?…I find it funny that Chad Henne, who has started 13 career NFL games and has 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, along with a career 75.2 QB Rating, thinks he is qualified to say that Tim Tebow isn’t a NFL quarterback…I think Anquan Boldin is going to have a monster year for the Ravens…Derek Anderson will be starting by week five over Matt Leinart…Hey Oakland, you have a problem with your franchise quarterback when you are bragging about him “slimming down” to 271 pounds.

3. The Jets off-season program begins on Monday, apparently there is some concern about Braylon Edwards showing up since he hasn’t signed his tender yet. All I know is that Edwards better get to Florham Park, find a jugs machine and get to work. Couldn’t you see Mike Tannenbaum findng out Edwards didn’t show up, and working out a trade for Brandon Marshall in about an hour?

4. The talk about Laveranues Coles returning to the Jets has quieted down for a few days, yet it is still a move I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jets make. As long as Coles can swallow his pride and accept his role, he would be a perfect fit as a #3/slot receiver.

5. Remember there are other sections to the website besides the home page. We have the “2010 Draft” Section, which includes a comprehensive list of players the Jets could target (courtesy of www.thejetsblog.com), a list of all their draft picks, and the top five players at each position. We have the “2009 highlights” Section, which includes multiple highlight tapes of the Jets past season. We have also have the updated depth chart, statistics from last year, the Jets 2010 opponents…and of course, the About The Author page.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 75 fans away from 300.

Why The Jets Must Be On Hard Knocks

I have always been a big fan of HBO’s Hard Knocks, which documents a NFL team’s training camp experience. It is a fascinating and highly entertaining look inside the dynamics of a NFL roster and coaching staff. After watching every episode covering the Bengals last year, all I could think throughout this past wild Jets season was how perfect they would be for Hard Knocks. Sure enough, it was recently reported the Jets are a serious candidate for the show, which makes sense for so many reasons that it would be a crime to the entertainment industry if they weren’t chosen.

First off, look at all the television shows you are getting rolled into one by featuring the Jets (please have a sense of humor and don’t criticize me for being insensitive, obviously TOJ is pulling for Rex to get healthier, etc):

  • The Biggest Loser – Rex Ryan is an overweight NFL coach attempting to lose weight, so much so that he decided to have lap band surgery this past off-season. Watch Ryan fight the temptations as the players around him stuff massive amounts of food down their throat in-between practices, couldn’t you see a distraught Ryan after the offense scores on his defense during a two-minute drill racing up to his emergency stash of KFC, while Mike Pettine and Brian Schottenheimer attempt to hold him back?
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  • Entourage – Instead of having a bunch of east coast guys follow their friend out to the west coast, we could watch a bunch of west coast guys follow their friend (Mark Sanchez, of course) out to the east coast. This is an even better fit since Sanchez looks exactly like Vinny Chase. The only problem is that the Jets hold training camp in Cortland and Sanchez’s hometown buddies likely won’t be accompanying him to upstate New York. Regardless, it would still be entertaining to watch Sanchez, Erik Ainge (as Johnny Drama), Dustin Keller (as E), and Braylon Edwards (as Turtle) enjoy that Cortland night life and sweep upstate New York ladies off their feet,
  • Antonio Cromartie Plus 8 – Since TLC cancelled Jon and Kate plus eight for various reasons, Antonio Cromartie and his seven kids could step up to fill the void. Yes, I know I put plus 8 but considering Cromartie’s rate of procreating, bumping the number up to 8 is a safet bet.
  • The Late Show With Bart Scott – Scott runs his mouth enough to carry on a monologue for an entire hour…no guests would even be needed.
  • Iron Chef 77 – We all know Big Jinx loves to cook and who is going to be brave enough to tell him he didn’t put together the best meal?

Second, look at all the terrific plot lines you have going on with the Jets team this upcoming season, there will be more going on than an episode of LOST and no time travel, alternate time lines, smoke monster, 4 toed statues, or polar bears would even be needed:

  • Braylon Edwards dealing with irony of being a wide receiver who can’t catch…The camera could watch him in front of the jugs machine taking one off the nose every 5 minutes.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson attempting to handle not being the most popular running back on his team anymore…The camera could watch him sulk to himself as Shonn Greene and Leon Washington rack up big plays against the Jets defense in practice and then in pre-season games.
  • Vernon Gholston standing at 6 foot 3, 265 pounds, running a 4.4 forty, being able to bench 675 pounds…yet not being capable of recording a single sack or meaningful tackle, the audience could watch in awe as he aimlessly runs around the field and collects 6 million dollars from the Jets.
  • Dwight Lowery watching and re-watching footage of the AFC Championship Game as he slowly drives himself insane, while muttering “Garcon” to himself.

PhotobucketBeyond all of this the Jets have the best corner in football. The work of Darrelle Revis should be documented for all defensive backs to learn from. The same thing goes for Nick Mangold, who is the best center in football and of course could also throw in an advertisement for the shampoo he uses to keep that long hair going strong. You have Washington and Jenkins battling back from injury, a 82 year old fullback named Tony Richardson who is still a beast lead blocker, Calvin Pace giving advice on what supplements to take, and Shaun Ellis running a D.A.R.E. program.

How could you not choose the Jets? C’mon now, HBO.

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