Latest "Hard Knocks" Episode Puts Brown's Helmet Saga On Full Display
The third episode of this season's "Hard Knocks" on HBO "wasted little time" in getting to Raiders WR Antonio Brown, setting up his helmet issue three minutes into the hour-long show, according to Charean Williams of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. After the first segment last night, "much of the rest of the episode centered around Brown’s feet and his helmet issue" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/20). In S.F., Matt Kawahara notes the episode "paid plenty of attention" to Brown’s helmet saga "and the receiver himself." As it was for "much of Raiders camp, it is for 'Hard Knocks': Brown commandeers the narrative." However, what was "arguably much more impactful" was the episode’s feature on TE Darren Waller, who has been "open about past issues with substance abuse" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/21). In Las Vegas, Adam Hill notes the episode "featured a lot of helmet talk and a preseason game" against the Cardinals. Some takeaways from the episode were that there was "so much Antonio Brown" and that players "care about their Madden ratings" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/21).
NAVIGATING THE SHIP: NFL.com's Dan Hanzus writes last night's episode "offered up a lesson in perception versus reality." Brown's helmet saga "looks like a terrible situation," but the Raiders "don't seem like a team torn asunder by their mercurial star." "Hard Knocks" has shown a "professionally run training camp filled with players and coaches who seem to genuinely like being around each other." Hanzus writes Raiders coach Jon Gruden "does at least one thing every week" that cracks him up "because of the, well, inherent JON GRUDENNESS of it all" (NFL.com, 8/21). NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com's Scott Bair noted Gruden "continues to carry the show more than anyone, showcasing a magnetic personality that is TV gold" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 8/20).
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? In San Jose, Chuck Barney writes "Hard Knocks" producers "evidently thought we needed some comic relief from all the AB drama, so the episode begins with an appearance by comedian and impersonator extraordinaire Frank Caliendo, who immediately does his best" Gruden impression. Viewers "could use some chuckles" because Brown's situation is "getting really, really old." The "best part" of last night's episode was the "game footage" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 8/21).