The week’s Hard Knocks episode was pure brilliance, showing really how in-depth HBO can go into a football team. It started with a heartfelt story about coach Joe Philbin’s son, who passed away last winter, and tied that to the recent passing of Eagles coach Andy’s Reid’s son. It shows the connection these two coachs share as Philbin’s wife attended Reid’s funeral.
The Bad: One thing that this episode did very well was show tight end coach Dan Campbell really rip into each tight end’s problems, and each player had plenty of problems. Les Brown still cannot block. Rookie draft pick Michael Egnew couldn’t hear snaps counts, didn’t know plays and was completely confused the entire practice. In a meeting, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman tells him, “I’d cut you today if I was the general manager. I would cut you.”
That’s exactly the kind of thing you want your coach telling to your players, hit them with reality so they can improve.
The Good: With that said, the shining star of the show was wide receiver Chris Hogan, or 7-11 as the players call him because he is “always open.” There was mentions throughout the show of holes in the Dolphins receiving core, and players like Hogan or youngster Roberto Wallace who need to step up and fill bigger shoes.
The Funny: One specific incident definitely made me laugh, as the Dolphins have given their rookies the worst and most embarrassing haircuts. The worst happened to Josh Samuda, who lost his eyebrows to a razor and had a mohawk shaved into his head in the shape of a penis. But even better than this was the sense of humor of the offensive line coach Jim Turner, when he played the Miami Dolphins cheerleader version of Call Me Maybe for the players. Then he returned after the video and mentioned how the frowns have turned to smiles and all the tables have been lifted six inches.
The Ugly: The best was saved for last, as HBO really impressed me with their coverage of Joe Philbin firing Chad Johnson. If you have been living under a rock, Chad Johnson was just recently arrested for “head-butting” his now ex-wife Evelyn Lozado. This takes a prime subject out of the show, but added for a great end to this episode. Basically, Philbin broke up with Johnson, and when I say that, I mean that he pulled out all the cliches, “It’s not you, our organization is going a different way.” It started with Johnson apologizing and whining about how he will be different. The tension could have been cut with a knife. Watching that all play out was a rare, but uncomfortable moment.