When Chad Johnson signed with the Dolphins back in June, a lot of folks gagged that Stephen Ross was only doing it to further bolster the spectacle that is the Miami Dolphins on "Hard Knocks". That very well may have been the case, but it worked. Chad stole the show in the first episode. He was in turns ridiculous, profane, relatable and, at one point, actually kind of affecting.
Joe Philbin might end up being a decent coach in the game. To his credit, he doesn't seem come across as a screaming hard case like a lot of head coaches would. Still, he's no Rex Ryan, even if that's a high bar to set for entertainment.
As usual, "Hard Knocks" gloms onto a few borderline roster players as sidebar storylines. The one grabbing the most screen time in episode one was Les Brown, a tight end who hasn't played football since high school. He got an invite to camp because he ran a 4.3 in a tryout, but now coaches have discovered he can't run block to save his life, or, more appropriately, the life of one of their running backs.
Luckily, there are other worthwhile elements present to keep this "Hard Knocks" from just being the Chad show. Mike Pouncey seems like he will provide choice moments as the season goes on. Reggie Bush fumbled in practice, which was delightful. There was even a cameo by Braylon Edwards, who got to disclose his recent DUI to Jeff Ireland before being shown the door.
It seems like we have a pretty good "Hard Knocks" ahead of us. Here are the high points of the first episode:
Early on, Chad barges in on a coaches meeting, claiming drily that he has nowhere to go because his wife doesn't want to see him. On first viewing, I thought this might have been scripted because a stunt like this would normally be a situation where a coach would quickly tell Chad to fuck off and get out. As the show wore on, Philbin's even-tempered demeanor makes ehat happened more believable.
This was the one moment of hilarity from Philbin, giving Vontae Davis shit for terrible bladder control. This after a segment of Davis being lectured for getting gassed in practice.
HBO knows how to please its audience. Though some "Game of Thrones" level nudity might have been nice here.
That's right - Matt Moore eats baby food and watches "The Bachelorette", 'cause he don't give a fuuuuccccckkkkkk.
Mike Pouncey wasn't given a ton to do in this first episode, but he was entertaining when he was on screen. At the beginning of the show, he was shown getting a pre-camp haircut and nose hair trimming. Gotta look fresh for Philbin. The minute you start slacking on nose hair grooming is the minute you lose your job.
Some honest self-assessment from Chad. It would be difficult not to acknowledge that he had a lackluster year last year and he doesn't shy away from that, but there's also a rare serious expression of confidence and determination that breaks away from the usual silliness and bravado.
Evelyn Johnson (nee Lozada) explains how she met Chad. That's adorable and all, but drive-thru hook-ups offer much more memorable stories, guys.
Chad claims Evelyn shut it down last year when he sucked in New England. I have my doubts about Cobweb Mode leading to a marriage proposal, but Chad is crazy enough for that kind of thing.
Words to live by, folks. Chad also got some gamer action in during the episode, playing Reggie Bush in FIFA.
Chad cusses a bunch and says he's get into porn if football doesn't work out during a press conference, prompting a minor scolding from Philbin. Chad also painted his fingernails black, so he might be hanging out wit Goth Rodgers some during his off day. When not getting arrested, he says.
I want more like this!
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