Posted by Josh Katzowitz
I talked about this in my preview , but I didn’t love last year’s version of Hard Knocks, featuring the Bengals. So, I was interested tonight to see if I could resume my love affair with the show if I wasn’t intimately involved with covering the team. And the end result: Yeah, it was pretty good. Had to set up some storylines, but there were some laughs and some good in-practice footage. I’ll keep watching.
-The first voice we hear is coach Rex Ryan, and he’s already very salty. While talking to his team before he releases the players for the summer, he says, “We’re right where we want to be, no question about it. Enjoy this time. Get away from it. No matter what you’re doing, it’s better than my (bleeping) vacation. I’m cruising the Baltic’s with my in-laws and (bleep).” Great, great stuff already from Rex.
-I probably shoulld have counted his F-bombs, but I never did. If I had to guess? Maybe 30.
-It’s not often you get to see players training in the offseason. Dragging a tire behind you as you run hills doesn’t look fun.
-Like usual: a great intro. I love watching the mundane stuff you see every day but would never stop to focus on. Stuff like the FieldTurf spraying when a guy runs his sneaker along it in slow motion. I remember one day before practice last year when a Hard Knocks camera crew spent 30 minutes filming a worker painting one of the lines on the field before Bengals practice in Georgetown, Ky. Of course, the next week on TV, it looked like the most interesting thing in the world. Sure enough, just after I wrote that, the crew filmed somebody spray-painting a line in Cortland.
-Somehow I expected Rex Ryan to look thinner. But yeah, he looks better than before. Just not as much as I thought after his surgery.
-I was wondering how much they would focus on Darrelle Revis. I was wondering if they’d have filmed him. The answers: a pretty fair amount and no.
-Rex knows how to draw laughs from his squad. “Revis isn’t in this building right now. Does it matter that Revis isn’t here? Goddamn, he’s pretty (bleeping) good.” Big laugh.
-Ah, a Laveranues Coles sighting. This is his second Hard Knocks in a row. He must be loving it. That’s a joke, of course. Coles does not like dealing media. And when I say does not like, I mean he hates it. I interviewed him just once last year – which was more than just about anybody else - and he got pissed at me and abruptly ended it after a couple questions.
-How about Buddy Ryan in a tie on the sidelines in that archived film? I think Rex should bring back that look.
-Yep, we’ve got our long-shots to make the squad. Brashton Satele, a rookie LB, and Aaron Kia, a rookie OL from Hawaii. OL coach Bill Callahan is talking about out how Kia played in a spread offense in college and how he doesn’t know much the techniques around the NFL. Not surprisingly, he’s getting coached up quite a bit. Rex Ryan then calls him awful. Ugh. Satele, meanwhile, is impressing some people. Then, he sprains his ankle – which drastically decreases his chances of making the team.
-Lots of people being fined. Apparently, it costs you $5 if you’re caught running shirtless. Even Rex isn’t immune. He’s fined $1 per snacking offense.
-How about the hair-pulling by GM Mark Tannenbaum when dealing with the Revis stuff> I thought he was going to pull it out of his head.
-It’s a half-hour into the show before we’re introduced to Mark Sanchez. And he’s telling LB Bart Scott to shut up.
-Good lord, Joe Namath looks like my grandfather getting out of the front seat of that SUV. High belt line and a bit stooped. He does make a good point about how people shouldn’t fumble.
-I love the skills competition between Rex and Tannenbaum.
-Could there be a better name for a bone-crushing fullback than John Conner, who’s obviously nicknamed the Terminator? He should make the team just on his name alone.
-Well, they didn’t paint the Revis picture in very positive terms after the diner meeting, did they?
-We have our first casualties. Rookie LB Kevin Basped and his bad knees are let go, and Kia is laid off as well. Poor dudes. They don’t even make the second episode. Kia is told, though, that he could play in the UFL. So, he’s got that going for him. But man, he looks pretty pissed. Kia hands in his playbook, slams the door in the cameraman’s face and the episode ends.
-Once again, solid work from HBO. Looking forward to next week
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