"Hard Knocks" Episode 2 Focuses On WRs With Trade, Citation
The second episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks" with the Browns "puts a lot of its focus on the wide receivers," according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. Former first-round pick WR Corey Coleman was "demoted to second team, and the disappointing third-year player decides to bypass" offensive coordinator Todd Haley and go to coach Hue Jackson to "voice his displeasure." After the opening credits, when the cameras "return to Browns camp, Coleman is gone, traded to the Bills." Jackson and the organization "decided it was more important to make a statement." Fourth-round pick WR Antonio Callaway "made the foolish decision not to tell the Browns about his weekend traffic stop and subsequent citation for possession of marijuana." It is "fascinating to watch it unfold at the next day's practice" (NFL.com, 8/15). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said of the Coleman deal, "If you're trading him to Buffalo for a 2020, seventh round pick, you called everyone. If you really want to give us compelling television, why not give us a scene or two of Hue Jackson meeting with his staff, or meeting with John Dorsey, the GM, and they're coming to the realization no one wants this guy" ("PFT," NBCSN, 8/15).
CALLAWAY CITATION: USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones notes HBO "received police dash camera footage of an officer pulling over and citing" Callaway with "misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license." Cameras then "closely followed Callaway through practice the next day as he kept the citation secret from his coaches" (USATODAY.com, 8/15). CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson wrote Callaway's citation "led to a pretty awkward conversation" between the receiver and Browns staff. In a meeting with Callaway, Dorsey said that he was "a little disappointed" and then told Callaway to "explain to us the whole situation" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/14).
HALEY'S COMET: THE RINGER's Danny Heifetz writes Haley is the "breakout star" through two episodes and "outdid himself in Episode 2." He "accidentally lobbied" for "No Love" by Eminem and Lil Wayne to be played in the episode, and he "roasted defensive end and self-appointed financial guru Carl Nassib." Haley's barbs are "cutting, concise, and as strangely endearing as they are funny." Unlike defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who "yells for the sake of yelling, Haley is always getting a point across" (THERINGER.com, 8/15). In Cleveland, Dan Labbe writes Haley "owned this episode." He "checked all the boxes: angry, funny, caring (in his own unique way)." Haley spoke with QBs coach Ken Zampese about whether QB Brogan Roback should "get game reps in the first preseason game -- while he was hanging upside down." One of Haley's other highlights came in the midst of Callaway's big second half against the Giants in the team's first preseason game, when Haley tells WR Jarvis Landry to "take Callaway under his wing." Haley said, "Larry Fitzgerald would do it" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/15).
NEW SEASON, NEW TEAM: PFT's Florio said of the Browns on the show, "There's something fascinating about this year's series and it all flows from the fact that you've got this sense of change, this new awakening in Cleveland, that they're doing things differently and there's a strange disconnect between that new vibe and the fact that the head coach, who is responsible for one win in two full seasons, is still there. ... That's what makes things compelling" ("PFT," NBCSN, 8/15). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote many seasons of "Hard Knocks" are "very light, focusing on colorful characters near the bottom of the depth chart and funny training camp moments off the field." This season "has some humorous moments," but more than any other season, this "seems like more of an examination of how the Browns sunk so low ... and how they're trying to dig out" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/14).