In the third edition of our takeaways from HBO’s special Hard Knocks featuring the Cleveland Browns, there were some shocking meetings and hilarious twists in this third episode. The third storyline showcased key events including Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant and their second preseason game against the Bills. There were so many interesting moments, it was tough to make the cut.
1) This episode was the first time we saw previous episodes come into full swing as the coaches, players and fans showed they have watched the previous episodes in the series. For example, Carl Nassib jokingly called offensive coordinator Todd Haley “Toad” because of last week’s episode where Haley joked about Nassib’s first name being way too old-fashioned.
This makes Hard Knocks much more enjoyable as you can see the reactions from people and how they react to seeing it on television. From “bless ‘em” signs to “we want Brogan” chants, Cleveland has embraced being the hosts for the show.
2) One thing that many fans of the show were anticipating was the arrival of Dez Bryant to the Browns’ facility. While Bryant may not have left Cleveland with a deal, we did get a chance to see discussions with Bryant and head coach Hue Jackson.
Based on the mood of the conversation and what was being said, it seems to be highly likely that Bryant will be a Brown by the beginning of the season. The bottom line of this move is that Bryant would be a major contributor next to Jarvis Landry for the Browns’ offense.
3) The first training camp fight at the Browns facility featured Jarvis Landry and cornerback Terrance Mitchell. After Landry caught a pass over-the-middle, Mitchell tripped up the former Dolphins receiver, causing Landry to face plant into the ground. Landry proceeded to stand up and whip the football into the facemask of Mitchell, causing chaos to ensue.
The best part of the fight may have been the reaction of Hue Jackson, who just decided that the best way to deal with the situation was to smile at Landry and not discipline either player at all. Linebacker Christian Kirksey was the one who gave Landry the best advice by noting the Browns couldn’t afford for Landry to break his hand. It was just another example of a player stepping in for a passive coach.
4) Entering the third episode of the series, only the three main coaches of Haley, Jackson and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had been highlighted. This changed Tuesday night as we were introduced to offensive line coach Bob Wylie.
Wylie is trying to bring more physicality to the Browns offensive line and is coming up with innovative ways to get this point across. He showed videos of three different animals in the wild and instructed his offensive lineman to adjust their tendencies to match the animals.
The coordinator also said that stretching was overrated, noting that in both World Wars, troops did not get to stretch before combat. Just your typical unit of an offensive line coach that anybody would love to play for. I do not know who I like more, Big Al or Wylie.
5) The debate on how to pronounce Tyrod Taylor’s name made its debut to Hard Knocks and the mystery is still being discussed. After Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt brought forward the issue on the show, Taylor and many teammates have been asked how to correctly pronounce his name.
This is one of those issues that happens quite often to players, but the catch for Taylor is that it took so long for anybody to notice. The show notes that Lee Corso was the first to pronounce the name incorrectly and it stuck since. However, Brandt notes in the show that this may not necessarily be true. In the future, we will have to wait and see how Joe Buck and others pronounce Taylor’s first name.
6) For roster longshots Brogan Roback and Devon Cajuste, it was a very poor showing from both fan favorites. For Cajuste, he did show his pass-catching ability by making a nice catch-and-run in the later portion of the game. However, Cajuste did wipe a touchdown off the scoreboard due to his offensive pass interference penalty.
Roback did not touch the field for a single snap at quarterback against the Bills. Roback may not make the Browns roster, but it would certainly help his cause if he was able to touch the field in the final two games to audition for other teams’ practice squads. If Roback gets cut before the finale of Hard Knocks, his personality and sense of humor will be missed.
7) Josh Gordon has returned to Browns practice after seeing glimpses of his arrival and training regime with the Browns strength coaches. Gordon’s arrival boosts the wide receiving corps even more, especially with the possible addition of Dez Bryant in the near future.
It will be interesting to see how much of Gordon is shown on the show as the Browns will be giving Gordon extra attention as the playmaking wide receiver is possibly the most valuable player on the team entering the season. When healthy, Gordon is easily a top-10 receiver in the league. I have no idea if Twitter will be able to handle a possible Baker Mayfield to Gordon connection in a preseason game.