By Juan C. Lozano | Aug. 29, 2018
Episode 4 of “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Cleveland Browns” premiered last night on HBO. Head Coach Ranking is watching from the coaches’ perspective. Each week after “Hard Knocks” airs, we’ll offer our key takeaways.
1) Veteran leadership needed
One of the major themes in this episode was veteran leadership. The show starts off with a team meeting where head coach Hue Jackson is asking the veterans and leaders on the team to step up and improve their on-field practice habits. He does not identify players whom he believes are leaders. This is in sharp contrast to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who yelled at both receiver Jarvis Landry and the WR coach Adam Henry when Landry stopped running on a ball that was thrown out of bounds during the preseason game vs. the Eagles. Later during the game, Haley apologizes to Landry for yelling at him and the two seem to reach some sort of meeting of the minds. Haley lectures Landry on the leadership that he needs to see out of him.
2) Feeling defensive
Hue Jackson is defensive when asked a question about whether rookie QB Baker Mayfield is “outstanding with the 2’s,” saying that starter Tyrod Taylor needs every rep with the first team in the new system. Is he already feeling the pressure to start Mayfield?
3) Dorsey stays involved
Tight end Devon Cajuste is working after practice (on blocking) with veteran tight end Darren Fells, a converted basketball player who has been in the league for a number of seasons but didn’t play college football. Interesting to not see the younger tight ends in the group (David Njoku, Seth DeValve). What’s also interesting is that Browns GM John Dorsey is active during practice. Dorsey, a former LB, tries to interfere with the tight ends catching passes. In an earlier episode, we saw Dorsey front and center when coaches made Njoku stay after practice to catch passes. This is consistent with his reputation of being a more hands-on GM.
4) Eagle observations
Free agent acquisition and former Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks gives an honest critique of his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles (specifically QB Nick Foles, TE Zach Ertz and LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai) during a defensive meeting.
5) Where are the assistants?
I’m very surprised at how little attention they’ve given to position coaches. They’ve only really focused on Jackson, Haley, DC Gregg Williams and OL coach Bob Wylie.