The first episode of Hard Knocks was rather tame. There’s certainly potential for more excitement in the second installment of the HBO Series. Given all of the headlines Antonio Brown has generated as of late, this episode could qualify as must see television.
Just like in Part 1, this piece will serve as a running reactionary piece to the episode. All observations come in order as they appear in the episode. Some will focus on football…others, not so much. I certainly hope you enjoy this companion peace for Episode 2.
1. Jon Gruden starts the episode by asking for better etiquette. He quickly follows that up by dropping a vehement F-bomb. Don’t ever change Chucky.
2. Gruden makes a salient point that the Rams weren’t very good in 2017, but managed to earn a Super Bowl berth in 2018. Of course, Los Angeles didn’t immediately trade away their best defensive player. The Rams wouldn’t have made the Super Bowl if they’d dealt Aaron Donald for multiple draft picks.
3. Antonio Brown was way too excited to show the cameras the bottom of his feet. He keeps talking about needing to get his feet circumcised. Someone should probably tell him what that word means.
4. For those of you keeping score, the word helmet has not been mentioned once at this point in the episode. The show reports that Brown decides to leave camp due to his feet. I’m heart broken that no spray painted helmet was shown.
5. We get introduced to rookie receiver Keelan Doss. He looks set to become one of Hard Knocks’ classic guys to watch as the Raiders get down to their final cuts. Perhaps he is actually hiding Brown’s helmets to better his chances of making the roster.
6. Derek Carr has a really unnerving habit of giggling like a school girl when he gets wrapped up in non-contact drills. This can’t inspire his teammates with a lot of confidence.
7. Mike Glennon vs. Nathan Peterman’s battle for the backup quarterback position is the NFL equivalent of a scoreless tie.
8. Hunter Renfrow would starve if he was forced to make his way through life as a lounge singer. He better cling to football for as long as he can.
9. Maxx Crosby, in sharp contrast, won over his teammates with his selection of song. GM Mike Mayock was not as impressed with his lack of historical knowledge of hip hop’s forefathers.
10. Gruden lets fans know that Sean McVay started in the NFL as a member of his staff in his final year with the Buccaneers. He referred to him as a “secretary” of sorts. Safe to say McVay has made the most of his opportunities since his days in Tampa Bay.
11. Clelin Ferrell plays really hard, but he doesn’t play like a guy with the edge to become a dominant pass rusher. This is certainly a small sample size, but he might need a little more dog in his game.
12. Gruden’s refusal to answer the question of whether or not Brown would be ready to play when the regular season begins should not be an encouraging response for Raiders fans.
13. We finally get a mention of the helmet issue! It’s just a clipped news report at first, but later we get a weird clip of Gruden saying he “wishes” Brown was there. At least HBO didn’t completely ignore the issue.
14. Richie Incognito reveals that he’s learned something valuable from counseling. Instead of jumping into a fight, you should just count to 10.
15. Brent Musburger in a floral/Hawaiian shirt is really jarring. He needs to get back into a suit ASAP. At the very least, the Raiders should hook him up with a team polo or two.
16. Crosby looks like a player who can make an impact as a rookie. He’s far from the finished product, but he’s got good quickness and excellent length. As soon as he learns to really use his long arms he’s got a chance to make some big time plays. Suffering a broken hand is a blow for Crosby, but don’t look for it to cost him a future with the Raiders.
17. Mike Glennon can make all the throws required of an NFL quarterback, but he can’t read a coverage to save his life. The fact that he isn’t figured out professional defenses by now tells you all you need to know about his career prospects.
18. Peterman’s mobility makes him a better fit for the Raiders’ personnel. The offensive line will struggle to protect the quarterback at times. Glennon is a statue whereas Peterman can get outside and create some yards for his offense. Don’t be surprised if that swings the backup competition in his direction.
19. Jon Gruden is a strange guy, but he’s not stupid. Supporting Antonio Brown publicly is the right option for the team’s head coach. He needs Brown on his side to make something of this season.
That’s all for our wrap up of Episode 2. The previews for next week promise more of Antonio Brown and his helmet issue. Our hopes of seeing footage of the spray painted helmet aren’t dead quite yet.