Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hard Knocks: Episode 1 Thoughts & Observations

I'm sure most of you were able to watch the premiere of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins on HBO last night. Although I didn't watch it live, I was able to catch up on it this morning. As always, I came away floored by the production, the editing and the construction of a behind-the-scenes training camp show. As a football fan, there's nothing cooler than seeing things you never get to see elsewhere. When it's your favorite team, that's just a bonus.

And because it's our own Miami Dolphins that are featured on this season of Hard Knocks that I can break down the episode in detail, giving my thoughts and observations on how what is shown on the program could eventually effect the final roster and the franchise long-term.

Without further adieu, here are my thoughts on the first episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins in somewhat of an episode chronological order...
  • It was tough to see Derek Dennis get cut, especially with an NFL Films camera following him and letting him say all kinds of ironic things while they already knew it was going to happen. NFL Films doesn't have the crew to follow everyone, so it's clear they knew he was going to be cut when they were speaking to him/following him in the hotel and locker room. Not faulting NFL Films because their job is to observe, but just tough to watch Dennis in that situation. In case anyone didn't know, though, Dennis is currently with the New England Patriots after signing with them on Aug. 2.
  • I expect the Dolphins were putting up a front when they said they'd let Ryan Tannehill re-enter the draft in 2013 if he didn't agree to their contract terms. That was never a realistic option for either side, although you have to give Dawn Aponte and the Dolphins credit for playing such a bluff. After finding out that offset language has become standard since 2010 with this organization, I don't have as much of a problem with the Dolphins insisting on Tannehill's contract having it, also.
  • Love the Bob Ross reference when Paul Soliai was painting bleaching product into the rookies' hair. Now I finally have reason to create a "Bob Ross" tag on the blog.
  • Chad Johnson seems to be his usual self. The guy can be funny at times, but I personally would grow tired of his act pretty quickly. It seems practically impossible to ever get him to be completely serious, because he has such a dry sense of humor and you can never really quite tell if he's messing with you. He's clearly the kind of guy that's only worth the hassle if he's producing on the field, and whether he can remains to be seen.
  • I definitely enjoyed the fast-paced camp Joe Philbin has implemented and I'm curious where he came up with that method. It certainly seems beneficial for a team to get so many reps and for the coaching staff to get so many looks at guys, especially with uncertainty at so many parts of the roster. There's always optimism when a new coach comes in, but hopefully Philbin is the guy and justifies it.
  • It's interesting the local media didn't entirely pick up on Vontae Davis' conditioning issues, even if they don't have the cameras and microphones HBO does. It certainly makes Omar Kelly look like the buffoon we all know him to be, as he's spent the last week defending Davis, saying he was never in the doghouse and downplaying his lack of participation with the first team in practice. It's clear now that Davis' conditioning is a problem and the coaches are not quite enamored with him yet. It will be interesting to see how he responds, because he could either use it as motivation to be great or he could completely shut down and end up pushing his way out of town. For those thinking he could be traded or released sooner rather than later, I simply don't see it. Davis is the Dolphins' most talented and established corner and the team has little depth, so it seems extremely unlikely things would come to a head so quickly.
  • Les Brown is a great story and an easy guy to root for (even if he does say things like "you're lookin' hot, as ushe" and "real talk"), but there seems to be no way he makes this team. His blocking was clearly exposed in this episode and he can't afford to be so one-dimensional with other receiving tight ends Charles Clay and Michael Egnew already locks to make the roster. At this point, I'm wondering if Brown will even justify a practice squad spot. It's certainly not a lock and it's all a matter of whether or not the staff thinks he has enough room to grow, because hard work can only take you so far sometimes.
  • The coverage of the quarterback situation was interesting, because they hardly focused on David Garrard' quality play that's been talked about in camp and how he appears to be the favorite for the job. I know it's NFL Films' job to make things dramatic, but to convey that Ryan Tannehill has a realistic chance of opening the season as starter and that Garrard isn't the leader isn't really true.

All in all, I really enjoyed the episode and I look forward to seeing future episodes with new storylines. The Vontae Davis situation is certainly one to watch. It also looks like John Jerry will get a little screen time in the next episode, which will be interesting given his weight issues and the lack of a schematic fit as he's buried on the depth chart.

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