Hard Knocks Precap: Don't Arm Wrestle James Harrison

Hard Knocks Precap: Don't Arm Wrestle James Harrison

My favorite part about football is the forced self-awareness. The coach screams at you in front of the whole team after missed assignment. You are held captive in a crowded film room to watch replay after replay of each one of your screw-ups, and must acknowledge it happened.

In a world where everybody is finding a new person or system to blame for all of their shortcomings,
it’s a beautiful and refreshing sight to see the professionalism in the heartbreaking cuts. It’s a common fantasy to leave your employer by giving a piece of your mind and maybe a strike to the face. After these men spend months pouring blood and sweat in weight rooms and practice fields, they manage to leave with a handshake and a “Thank you for the opportunity.”

The Benglals Finally Look Bad:

So far, this Hard Knocks has me feeling irrationally about a team that hasn’t been past the first round since Boomer Esiason, but this week showed the “Bungles” that I’ve grown used to over the years. There is typically at least one practice where the wear-and-tear of training camp catches up to force everybody to have an off day. After dozens of dropped passes, poor form, and laxadaisical effort, Jay Gruden recapped with the speech of the show, so far.

“Concentration, poise. You gotta have it on every snap in this game. Otherwise, you’re going to get your ass beat time and time again. You’re going to be 18th-ranked in offense. You’re going to be 9-7 or 8-8, and you’re going to be f—–‘ watching the playoffs at home every year. Yesterday, we took a major step backwards, and now today, we gotta take two steps forward.

“You gotta have great attention to detail, not just on Sundays, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you want to mull around at .500, f—–‘ then come out here and f— around and f— up. But if you want to be great, then you have to set your standards high and come out and go after it every f—–‘ day.”

Well said, Jay. Football is life.

This Week in Margus Hunt:

Defensive line Coach Hayes is quite impressed with everybody’s favorite Estonian. Coach Hayes first said the same mantra everybody seems sold on, that Margus Hunt doesn’t understand how good he is. Then he explained that if Margus continues to push, he can be a “$100 million player in this league.” That’s about when I looked at my Dunkin Donuts punch card and nearly cried.

Hunt took it to heart and wouldn’t even ease through warm-ups. “Hit me harder! I got insurance,” he reasoned during standing hand drills.

Then, he finally revealed where he gets his superhuman Estonian strength. Running back Dan Herron inquired, “What kind of food do you all eat where you’re from?”

“Plutonium,” Hunt answered sternly.

Either Herron misheard Ivan Drago’s accent or thought Plutonium might be a breakfast cereal instead of a transuranic radioactive chemical element, and followed, “I mean, what is it though?”

“Just straight up growth hormone,” Hunt quipped. Meanwhile, in New York, Alex Rodriguez hatched a plan to destroy all of his favorite Estonians’ urine samples.

Andy Dalton Stays Nerdy:

Andy Dalton is growing on me, mostly because he owns his nerdiness like no other football player since the artist of the “Annexation of Puerto Rico.” If anybody knows that Christian Rock Song Dalton was singing aloud in his locker, holla at me. I gotta finish up my new car mixtape.

Don’t Ever Try to Out-Man James Harrison:

This week’s testosterone battle occurred in the locker room where a round robin of arm-wrestling spontaneously broke out. After rookie, Jordan Campbell, defeated all the original participants, he got a bit cocky, “You want some too James?”

So far, James Harrison was acting as a peaceful bystander, but upon being asked, lept out of his chair like he sat on a tac. I timed it, and Jordan Campbell went down in approximately 1.7s. With all the screaming and chest pumping, I couldn’t make out everything James was shouting, except for one unmistakable declaration, “YOU WILL RESPECT ME!”

Stay crazy James.

O Yeah, there was  Game to be Played:

Practice before the game against Dallas was interrupted by lightning that, once again, reminded everybody that football players are really overgrown children. Reactions ranged from a genuinely panicked “GET US OUT OF HERE!” to the matter-of-fact “Yo, straight up bro, I don’t play that lightning stuff.” Practice was moved inside where Jay Gruden showed that beyond coaching, he has a silky jump shot.

Once I noticed it was a game against the Cowboys, it became clear Jerry Jones was about to make a cameo. He joked with the Bengals coaches about his famously enormous jumbotron, “Right when you punt, I’m dropping it 45 feet.” Then, in a moment of beautiful irony, the Cowboys punter hit the scoreboard, having to rekick. The second chance was, of course, returned 75 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Tate. The ensuing suite shot of Jerry Jones showed he was not making any more jokes.

It wasn’t enough, as the Bengals dropped their first game of the preseason prompting Marvin Lewis to give a speech not nearly as poignant or inspiring as Jay Gruden’s, “We gotta get back to work, men.” Ok, then!

Roster Cutdowns Still Aren’t Fun:

We begin the episode with Marvin Lewis interrupting the walk back from practice by calling Otis Hudson. Otis hangs back a minute to find out that he’s been cut. Couldn’t Marv have at least done it before practice?

When you get introduced to a character midway through a horror movie, it’s pretty clear that person is going to die (just wait for Todd from Breaking Bad). So when we get introduced to speedy WR Jheranie Boyd, bearded tight-end Richard Quinn, or arm wrestling linebacker Jordan Campbell, it was pretty clear the writing is on the wall.

Boyd, who was signed after AJ Green’s injury, roped me in emotionally with his two impassioned speeches to Marvin Lewis, begging to give him a chance to showcase his speed. “I think, when you guys brought me here, you brought me here for a reason,” Boyd pleaded. Marvin gave him the “if you try hard here, we’ll put in the good word” speech that spelled out the writing on the wall. He got zero snaps in the preseason game, watching AJ Green return, and the undrafted rookie was sent on his way.

Filed under: NFL, Reality TV, Uncategorized

Leave a comment