The familiar feel of an NFL offseason that approaches the start of preseason games is usually felt with the Hall of Fame game, followed by the season premiere of the HBO series “Hard Knocks”. Last night, kicked off its 13th season, with the NFL’s worse team, the Cleveland Browns under the spotlight. Although the Browns have one win in the last two seasons, the talent on the roster and the changes in the front office have brought a certain type of optimism to the Dawg Pound. Here are a few things we observed in the first episode.
The Jarvis Landry speech heard around the world…. @!$%#@#$
What many football fans are focusing on after the Hard Knocks season premiere, is that of the speech given by newly acquired Jarvis Landry. It was real, raw, emotional footage of an aggressive player that has the fight to try and change the culture of a locker room and organization that desperately needs it.
The thing that stuck out to me was the number of explicit words that were used during the mini-tirade.
and a Bi*ch
24 is an interesting number, as that’s the total number of fuc*ks Landry has given while scoring his 24 career touchdowns.
One thing he will need to give 10 sh*ts about, will be getting to double-digit touchdowns as he has never done that in a single season in his career. Last year has his best, coming off a 112 reception season while getting in the end zone 9 times.
The one thing that was a bi*tch last year, was his single rush, in which he lost 7 yards.
Call it a conspiracy or call it magic, but the 102-second lecture resembled that of a team destined for the postseason. Ironically, Landry has participated in 1 playoff game which was during the 2016 season, in that game he had 102 total yards…Interesting?!?!
The Quarterback Competition Is Real
Many people wanted to tune into this season of Hard Knocks to see the extra happenings off the field with some players.
Baker Mayfield draws much of the attention of the Browns faithful and with good reason. In the first episode, you see a focused 23 years old kid that has all the attributes of a winner. More importantly, it looks like he really has the support of Hugh Jackson and it’s vital to have your head coach as your biggest believer as a rookie.
Tyrod Taylor also showed that he can make throws and make good decisions. Coming off the trials of Deshone Kizer and a stable of quarterback bust, the Browns organization will be pleased with Taylor’s ability to manage games and play conservatively when needed but also open up and make downfield throws when asked to open up. The connection we saw from him and Jarvis Landry could serve to be lethal and a consistent receiver is something Taylor has always lacked.
The battle for the starting spot will be something to watch for and the anxiety of Cleveland fans to see Mayfield maybe be unwanted noise in the midst of this season. If the Browns organization has learned anything from its mistakes, one being their rookies shared struggle as starters with Cody Kessler going 0-8 as a rookie in 2016 and last season with Kizer’s abysmal 0-15 campaign as a starter.
Patience Cleveland, Patience… For Now, just treasure the RV.
Dawg Pound barking loud as ever
One thing I noticed in last nights episode and something I’ve been hearing about all offseason, was how committed the Browns fans are this year. Just imagine having 9 first rounds picks from 2011- 2016, and none of those highly drafted players being on your roster anymore. The life expectancy of a first round pick in Cleveland in that time span is 2.3 seasons. Buying the jersey of the incoming first-round draft pick has become a high risk for the Browns fan base, but Mayfield brings a sense of hope and jersey sales have shown that with Baker’s jersey currently sitting as the second highest rookie jersey being sold.
The Real Hugh Jackson
Hard Knocks has given us the opportunity to get closer to the game and see what actually goes on behind the scenes. In past seasons we saw many personal moments from the Vontae Davis ” I want to call my grandma” trade bit, to other memories like when Darrelle Revis was holding out and then Jets head Coach Rex Ryan wondered around the empty room hotel room of Revis talking to himself telling the All-pro defensive back to show up.
Yesterday, we once again got the inside view to something personal, death. Browns Head Coach Hugh Jackson has been dealt some tragic news in the last few weeks with the loss of his brother and mother. Betty Lee, his mother, had been dealing with illness for some time and passed away at the age of 83., while his brother John Jackson Jr., died unexpectedly. Both within a couple of weeks and Jackson has found comfort in football during these harsh times.
“It’s been a difficult period of time for me but everyone has to go through this in life,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s not easy but I always try to focus on the fond memories I’ve shared with the people I’ve lost and that helps get you through it.
In the first episode, we got to see just how close this coaching staff is and what Hugh Jackson means to this team. Not just in the moment of grief, but even in pieces of the show where he has on the field, you can see and feel the passion he, his staff and players share for one another.
To be 1-31 in the last two seasons, and to still have the undoubted support of the organization speaks volume, last night we got to see just that.
“Dee, Jimmy (Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam), our players, coaches and really the entire organization have been so supportive and that helps. We’re a close-knit group. This is a family and I’m so appreciative of everyone’s support.” Coach Hugh Jackson
The first episode was dedicated to Betty Lee