An enlightening chapter in Miami Dolphins history came to a close tonight as the final episode of “Hard Knocks” premiered on HBO.
As expected, the season finale focused heavily on the final round of roster cuts and included some tough to watch moments.
A quick recap:
- One of the first things we saw was footage of Jake Long on the ground in the bubble after suffering his knee injury, which athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill later tells Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman is an MCL sprain and that he will likely be ready for the season opener.
- Next, the wide receivers are focused on, as we learn a little bit about what the coaches think about some of the guys on the bubble. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi says “7-11,” Chris Hogan, plays smaller than he is and needs to be more physical; Philbin is clearly frustrated with Clyde Gates’ route-running; Marlon Moore is standing out on special teams.
- During that sequence, we also hear Sherman telling the quarterbacks that the previous night he received a text from Chad Johnson telling him “I’m open.”
- Philbin is impressed with the chemistry of the quarterback room and the quality of the guys in there (it seems as men, not just players.) The head coach has also taken a liking to second-year QB Pat Devlin and at one point Sherman asks Devlin where he and the head coach went to dinner the previous night.
- We learned that FB Jorvorskie Lane is affectionately referred to as “Butterball,” though he is late to a meeting and his former college coach, Sherman, gives him an earful afterwards.
- One of our final “family” scenes of the show was Ryan Tannehill and wife Lauren attempting to put together a piece of furniture from Ikea. There are some frustrations. I feel their pain.
- Before the final preseason game at Dallas, Rizzi is speaking to a bunch of the players about the importance of this game for their careers.
- At Cowboys Stadium, we see Tony Romo giving TEs coach (and former teammate) Dan Campbell a jokingly hard time for comparing Devlin to him in a previous episode.
- After the game, Philbin tells the team that they were out-coached, out-played and out-hustled. He says he isn’t sure if he’s ever been this disappointed in a team before.
- Next, it was the on-screen return of Johnson. We see him training at the beach, at a boxing gym and ironically, at his alma mater, Miami Beach High School–on the Stephen M. Ross Field (yes, that Steve Ross.) Johnson takes responsibility for his actions and seems to understand why the Dolphins moved on from him. When asked if he would be back on an NFL field again, his answer was “depends.”
- On the final cut-down day (last Friday), we see snippets of the conversations between Ireland and WRs BJ Cunningham, Jeff Fuller, Roberto Wallace and Gates. Ireland clearly has a special attachment to Gates and is disappointed that things didn’t work out.
- Hogan is also released and Ireland says he likes what he’s seen against the 2’s and 3’s but feels Hogan didn’t do enough to take advantage of his opportunities in the Dallas game.
- Several of the final few minutes of the show focus on David Garrard’s workout last week before returning to practice. At one point, Philbin says that the QB looks better than he expected he would. The final scene of the show, though, was Garrard clearing out his locker after he was released this afternoon.
- While the episode took us through many of the tough parts of pro football, the final credits rolled over some amusing footage, including players and coaches discussing getting calls from friends and family about things they had said on the show and some other funny moments.
And just like that, “Hard Knocks, Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins” came to a close.