Could these cameras be leading to a problem in the locker room?
The Miami Dolphins again took the spotlight last night with the airing of HBO's Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins, and the show did not disappoint. The show was highlighted by the Chad Johnson, with the episode ending with head coach Joe Philbin telling the wide receiver it was time for the club and Johnson to go separate ways. The show became the second most watched Hard Knocks episode ever, trailing just the 2010 season finale with the New York Jets.
Of course, Johnson's release wasn't the only scene that featured Dolphins players being waylaid for almost one-million viewers. The show featured tight end Michael Egnew and receiver Roberto Wallace being blasted with a double barrel shotgun of criticism.
Egnew was called out in front of the team, and the cameras, by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who told him that if he (Sherman) were the general manager of the Dolphins, he would cut him right then. The production also showed coaches telling starting tight end Anthony Fasano to work with Egnew, and make him understand the playbook and his role.
Today, Egnew responded to the criticism, stating after the team's final public practice of training camp, "I guarantee any player can tell you the experience," he said. "It's one of those things that happens a lot because he wants the best out of his players. It just so happens that mine made the episode and it's OK."
Egnew also said he had shut off his phone because of the calls and texts he knew he would be getting after that scene aired.
Wallace, meanwhile, was called "Ankle Weights" by coaches in a film meeting because he was running slowly. Today, Wallace responded, saying, "At the end of the day it's a show. That's what they'll do. Obviously they pointed out all of the negatives which is part of the show. People like drama more than anything. They did it to Vontae [Davis] last week. I try to come out here and try to get better.
"Whatever criticism the coaches have, I can't control that. What I can control is my effort and my attitude. So I come out here with a positive attitude every day and leave it at that."
The reactions from players today, however, was not just about what was seen on the show last night. As the media crowded around Egnew to get his comments, a veteran walked past David Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, looking at the horde. He told Hyde as he walked by, "See why we didn't want this show?"
Even as players react to what was seen on the show, the one small comment to Hyde raises the question of how players are reacting to show away from reporters - and HBO cameras. What will be the ultimate fallout from the show? Will it all be forgotten once the season starts and the cameras are gone? Will players realize some of the tough love was exactly that - love?
Or could first-year head coach already have a problem needing his attention in the locker room?