HBO’s Hard Knocks 2018: Episode 1 Review
The creators of the Hard Knocks series, HBO, have done it again. Another home run with their franchise selection to follow this year, the Cleveland Browns.
The first episode of this year’s series starts out saying goodbye to King James. The question is, what does Cleveland do next? Who will carry the sports torch now?
We start out with third year head coach, Hue Jackson, making good on a promise from his inaugural season. He stated that if the team was not better in 2017, he would go jump in the lake. Well, the Browns were in fact worse, so he did. Jackson under went a “cleansing” in Lake Erie, to be specific. So his 1-31 record as head coach of the Browns is washed away, and we can focus on moving forward with the 2018 version of the Cleveland Browns.
One of the top stories coming out of Browns camp was addressed right off the top. Josh Gordon will not be at camp. If you have checked out the 2018 MFST Fantasy Football Guide, you know how high our Editor-In-Chief, Dan Schalk, is on Josh Gordon this year. I have a direct quote for Dan from the narrator of the Hard Knocks series, “Josh Gordon is one the NFL’s best receivers. Just about unstoppable when he is on the field. The problem is he’s never on the field.”. Of the Browns last 48 games, Gordon has missed 43 of them.
I will say I retract some of my earlier comments on My Fantasy Podcast about Jarvis Landry. His workouts are intense and he has sick hands. The Juice just may get loose this year. IF he has a reliable quarterback. Bless him.
We also saw some off-the-field moments like Baker Mayfield’s quarterback RV, and Christian Kirksey’s drum skills. Kirksey also posed a question to all of his Browns teammates…why? Why do you do this?
There were also questions being asked among coaches in a coaches meeting where offensive coordinator Todd Haley and other coaches were questioning the strategy to let some players sit out of practice. The sentiment seemed to be that the losing culture will never turn around in Cleveland unless these guys step up, play through pain, and play with passion. Hue Jackson’s response was it’s not worth it to risk losing certain players, and oh by the way, it’s my team!
It was sort of a quiet, unassuming start to the series this year, but that’s what you might expect from a team that went 0-16 last season. I did appreciate the tone being set by the HBO crew, and sometimes the story writes itself. That story so far this year will be head coach Hue Jackson. As if the pressure of starting a new season, sitting on a record of 1-31, coming off a winless season, isn’t enough, coach Jackson has lost his brother and mother in the last two weeks.
Through all of this, I did find my answer to Christian Kirksey’s question. Why? Why am I intrigued by the Hard Knocks series this year? Why will I be rooting for the Cleveland Browns this year?