Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hard Knocks: Episode 5 Thoughts & Observations

The season finale of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins aired last night and did not disappoint as it covered the final week of the preseason, including the game against Dallas as well as final cut downs and beyond.

Before I express my thoughts on the season overall, here are my observations from last night's episode...

  • From the coverage of practices, we learned that it was defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui that rolled up on left tackle Jake Long and caused a sprained MCL. Obviously not Aaitui's fault though. We also learned that Chris Hogan hasn't translated his production in practices to the 1's and it was clear Sean Smith handled him with ease. Coaches said he needed to play more physical. Meanwhile, Marlon Moore was deemed easily the best special teams player of the receiving corps and that's obviously why he's still on the roster.
  • I'm absolutely appalled that Ryan Tannehill and his wife shop at IKEA. They make way too much money for that cheap crap.
  • I'm glad they finally hit on Jorvorskie Lane's interesting story. It's clear he has a ton of physical ability and combines fullback size with some running back skills. Of course, he's still not a true professional yet and Mike Sherman had to get onto him for being late to a meeting. Sherman is obviously Lane's biggest backer though and wants to see him succeed, but he knows he has to be tough on him sometimes.
  • Some thoughts from the Dallas game: what an incredible display of power by Lane on that bulldozing; fantastic forced fumble by Marlon Moore on the kickoff and a great job of Dan Carpenter to recover; interesting that Sherman referred to Roberto Wallace as someone they needed to get out of the game because they knew he wasn't going to make it. Those of us on the outside knew he was on the bubble but we had know way of knowing his fate was already sealed.
  • I wasn't a huge fan of bringing back Chad Johnson on the show, but I suppose it makes sense from a mass appeal standpoint and his story began as part of the Dolphins' season. If I were Chad's lawyer, though, I might be more careful about letting him essentially admit guilt on camera.
  • Some of the cut observations: sixth-round wide receiver B. J. Cunningham was labeled inconsistent by Jeff Ireland; Jeff Fuller looked pretty crushed by the news but as we all know he's back on the practice squad; Ireland told Clyde Gates he expected him to develop as fast as anyone but that it didn't work out; coaches indicated route-running was a huge issue for Gates and questioned whether he'd ever be a "football player"; Ireland did however say that his biggest fear is someone else developing Gates; Hogan seemed bitter when he got cut, but that quickly changed to simply being excited for the opportunity to continue his work; the team clearly wanted Aaitui on the practice squad and I thought it was interesting he didn't even seem happy about going to the Jets because he wanted to continue working in Miami.
  • As many people know, Aaitui has since been cut by the Jets with a torn ACL and torn MCL. It's a heartbreaking postscript to the story but hopefully he rehabs and comes back next season. I know I'd like it if it were with the Dolphins. Both defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers seemed really impressed by Aaitui and wanted him to stick around before cuts.
  • Based on Ireland's discussion with defensive end Jarrell Root, who was waived/injured with a leg injury suffered in the Dallas game, the Dolphins intend to give Root an injury settlement at some point. He is currently on injured reserve after clearing waivers on Sept. 2.
  • I found it interesting that Ireland and Joe Philbin discussed seeing if David Garrard could "change their minds" when he was working out for them for the first time. This indicates that the team was skeptical he would return and was planning to roll with Matt Moore as the veteran backup. As we all know, Garrard didn't end up changing their minds and was cut yesterday.
  • We also got confirmation of what we already knew in that they kept four quarterbacks to give themselves more time to see if Garrard could get healthy and if either veteran would generate any trade value. As expected, most of the speculation about any other scenario turned out to be far from reality.
  • The end montage with all the cursing and jokes was great...as ugggge.
And with that, the Dolphins' run on Hard Knocks is over. I think HBO and NFL Films did a fantastic job with the series and I personally have no regrets about the Dolphins participating. It's obvious the cameras don't interrupt the work that'd being done and there is no distraction for the team, especially considering it's long over by the time the regular season rolls around. While there aren't necessarily benefits for a team being on Hard Knocks, I hardly think there are drawbacks either and as a fan, I personally was grateful for a look behind the scenes that I never would have had otherwise.