HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring the Dolphins premiered last night and “all things considered, it was an opening episode with the seeds planted for storylines to grow, including the highly monitored quarterback battle,” according to Izzy Gould of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. There is a scene at the end of the show where coach Joe Philbin “enters the quarterback room and all four players are seated." They appeared “nervous at his presence,” and then Philbin “delivered the order of the Dolphins' first depth chart: David Garrard, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill and Pat Devlin.” Garrard, Moore and Tannehill and “their families were shown in the first episode.” The show also “captured Tannehill's late-night meeting with Philbin at the team's training facility July 28 when he broke a two-day holdout to sign his rookie deal.” In addition, the audience was “treated to some bits and pieces of the negotiation as scene from the Dolphins' offices” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/8). In Miami, Adam Beasley notes CB Vontae Davis, the “former first-round pick who was expected to start at corner, is for now a second-stringer, and ‘Hard Knocks’ showed us why.” Davis “didn’t enter camp in good enough shape to hang with Joe Philbin’s up-tempo practice.” And, he “apparently has a small bladder, getting called out for leaving a 75-minute walkthrough to use the men’s room” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/8).
THE REVIEWS ARE IN: ESPN.com’s James Walker wrote the first episode was “a good start to what should be an interesting season” (ESPN.com, 8/7). PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Mike Florio wrote the show “delivered what it always has: Behind-the-scenes access and insight that’s uncommon even in the NFL.” The reason the show “works, in fact, is that it isn’t really about the news but about the people” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/7). In N.Y., Michael Shain writes Philbin likely will “end up being the show’s biggest star when the four-week series ends” (N.Y. POST, 8/8). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin writes WR Chad Johnson was “one of the big stars of the show” (PALM BEACH POST, 8/8).
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE: While previous HBO behind-the-scenes shows have thrived due to the salty language used by coaches, specifially Jets coach Rex Ryan and former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, no coaches used foul language in the initial episode. Philbin at one point told the coaching staff Johnson "met with the media today and dropped the f-bomb about seven times." Philbin: "You represent the organization, you represent everybody and it’s not the way we’re going to do it.” Philbin later told Johnson, “We’re glad you here, like what you’re doing, but we all want to be on the same page as to how we portray this organization to the public. You have a responsibility, just like I do. I have sometimes a better sense of humor than I let out too … but I temper my comments at times. You catch what I’m saying?” Johnson said, “I was just keeping it loose, having fun.” Philbin replied, “It’s just like me being a coach. If you drop one f-bomb, maybe in the right setting, it has an impact. When you say it six times, it’s like, ‘Clean up your language’” (“Hard Knocks,” HBO, 8/7).