Tag:John Conner
Posted on: September 2, 2010 2:10 am

Hard Knocks review: Episode 4

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After a one-week absence, I’m back with my review of the fourth episode of what has been a very good season of Hard Knocks.

 -The episode begins on a down note. Apparently, nobody has any leadership with this team. It’s a concern for the coaches. This, not surprisingly, will be a theme.

- What a nightmare for Tim Cowlishaw. The Jets front office is talking about his reporting that Darrelle Revis and the Jets would sign a deal. GM Mark Tannenbaum has no idea what anybody is talking about. As a reporter, this is an interesting perspective. Unfortunately for Cowlishaw, we know how this ends.

- It’s hilarious that Mark Sanchez walks into the quarterbacks meeting without a binder to talk about the gameplan for the Redskins games. That’s a rookie mistake for a guy who’s not a rookie any more. Hell, even the guy who’s going to get cut at the end of the show has his binder ready to go. Unless he was set up, and of course, it’s a veteran move by Sanchez to get back at his offensive coordinator by changing his screensaver into something not exactly manly.

- Kellen Clemens’ meeting with Tannenbaum is interesting. Tannenbaum says he wants to cut Clemens’ salary to the minimum but he would guarantee that throughout the year. Also, by the way, Mark Brunell is the No. 2 QB, Tannenbaum says. Responds Clemens, “Here’s a question for you. What if I say I’d rather not?” Tannenbaum without missing a beat: “We’d probably cut you. … Probably sooner than later.”


- Ah, I could tell some stories about Laveranues Coles. Unfortunately, none of them would be all that interesting because he HATED dealing with the media in Cincinnati. As in, he never did it. Interesting to hear how the coaches seem to like to him, especially because Santonio Holmes is suspended for the first four games of the season. But then again, the team just cut Coles. So, that’s kind of weird.

- Wow, FB John Conner just lifted a Panthers special teamer off the ground with a block on kickoff return. As Rex Ryan said, “He knocked the piss out of the guy.” I think if he had the opportunity, Ryan might like to make out with the Terminator.
- Jason Taylor seems to have a problem getting to the stadium on time. Not just in the New Meadowlands, but at Hofstra too. The first time, it was a big joke. It wasn’t so funny the second time.

- And what’s up with eating cheeseburgers on the field before practice? The coaching staff is running a real disciplined workout, eh?

- Man, the players just LOVE it when a jackass runs onto the field during practice and the security details rocks the crap out of him. It’s funny, though. Whenever you see somebody disrupt a sporting event, there are always a few level of emotions you feel. No. 1, Hey that’s kind of funny. That guy is just running around out there, isn’t he? No. 2, All right, this guy is kind of getting annoying. When will the game restart? No. 3., He’s not taking off his clothes, is he? No. 4, I wish somebody would hit this guy and get him out of here.”

With the Jets, they fast-forwarded to No. 4 real quickly.

- Uh-oh, so it turns out Rex didn’t like the whole cheeseburger thing at practice. I love after his impassioned speech about being a professional and being a leader, he ends it with, “Now, let’s go eat a g------ snack!”

- Boy, Vladimir Ducasse didn’t look so good in the Redskins game, huh?

- Ugh, it’s brutal to watch these guys’ faces when they realize they’re going to be cut. But that’s cold how Ryan talked to Coles when he was cutting the 32-year-old WR. “We have to have money in place in case (Revis) shows up without a new contract. There’s a great possibility you’ll still be on this football team. But if we have you in the first week, we have to pay the whole season. The way our money is right now, we can’t do that.” Coles takes it well, and I know he’ll be OK. We’ve had chats about finances before, and I know he’s smart with the way he handles his business.

-And that’s the way the show ends. Not my favorite episode of the series, but solid nonetheless. We’ll see what happens in the final cuts next week.

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 9:48 am

Review of Hard Knocks episode 2

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Here were the three things I was looking forward to watching in the second episode of Hard Knocks:

1) How many F-bombs does Rex Ryan drop? How many does he drop in regards to Tony Dungy?

2) I’m interested to see after the Jets secondary’s pitiful performance vs. the Giants, how much Darrelle Revis will factor into the episode?

3) Where FB John Conner, the Terminator, stands in his competition with Tony Richardson.

-The episode opens with audio from the Bruce Springsteen concert before the Meadowlands was demolished. I don’t know, I just don’t get the whole Springsteen thing. I have tons of friends who love him to death. He just doesn’t do it for me. But I admire the passion. Especially because at least three of those fans probably will never talk to me again for having written that.

-Uh-oh, I smell a preview of what’s to come. The Jets are talking about how bad the secondary – and the defense overall – has been during practice. I just wonder if that storyline will continue for the Giants game? Great line by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine: “If we were grading some guys just based on this practice, there’s a bunch of you who’d be (cut). I don’t know if we’d even spend the money on a plane ticket. We’d probably send you home on a bus.”

-RB Joe McKnight sweats a little bit when he’s running his sprints, eh? He’ll be sweating more if he doesn’t start performing better soon. Coaches yell at him, and he acts like a teenager who’s being lectured by his parents. Like he doesn’t give a crap.

-Mark Sanchez is complaining about having to pay 59 cents for extra Ranch dressing for breadsticks from Pizza Hut. “It’s like asking for ketchup at McDonald’s and them making you pay.” This, from a guy who gets $28 million guaranteed on his five-year contract. But then, they cut to Mark Brunell, he of the recent bankruptcy, and you say, “Well hell, maybe being cheap is the way to go.”

-FYI, how cool does Mark Brunell seem? I want him to be MY quarterback mentor.

-Never heard this saying before, but I guess it makes sense on some level. From Marty Schottenheimer, father of Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer: “The one thing I always said about the quarterback. The guy who has a rookie performance at a certain level, if the next year you can get him to play at the same level, you’ve made progress.”

-You didn’t hear much about rookie CB Kyle Wilson, Revis’ replacement, during the Jets-Giants game. I’m interested to hear what the coaches thought of his performance. After all, Rex said Wilson had impressed him the most during practice.

-Holy crap, how many children does Antonio Cromartie have who are between the ages of 2 and 3? I think that’s, like, five of them. I think that’s eight children overall by, what, five different women? And it’s nothing to Cromartie. No shame. Which you kind of have to respect, I guess.

-Wow, Rex doesn’t drop an F-bomb until 26 minutes into the hour. That’s something, all right.

-Shake Weights > Snuggies. I think the Jets are mocking the Shake Weights, but hey, somebody must be buying those things.

-Nick Mangold showing us why Andy and I are so brilliant. We both had him No. 1 in our top-five positional rankings at the center position. I think Kris Jenkins would agree with Andy and me, as well.

-John Conner is supposedly a young Tony Richardson. The old Tony Richardson can’t like hearing that.

-Before the Giants game, Pettine is challenging his defense to play well without Revis. The first-team defense looked good in the first half, though they seemed to have some sympathy after Giants QB Eli Manning had his forehead sliced open.

-It’s crazy the Jets coaches had no idea who Giants WR Victor Cruz was before he killed them with three touchdowns. The sad thing, the coaches say, is that they’re going to have to play with some of those cornerbacks who got burned.

So, the answers to my previewing questions.

1) Only two. Which, frankly, is disappointing and unacceptable.

2) Revis’s name didn’t come up much, but it’s pretty clear the impact his absence had during the preseason game. And how much it could have during the season.

3) It sounds like the coaches are really high on Conner. As in, he might take Richardson’s job.

Overall, a good episode. So far, this is the best season of Hard Knocks we’ve seen in quite a while. Points off for the lack of F-bombs, but still, a strong episode.

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Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:00 am

Hard Knocks, episode 1 review

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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com