Last night really turned out to be must watch TV for Miami Dolphins fans as HBO aired the second episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins. The show was incredible, and really gave a good look inside the Dolphins over the past week. If you have not watched the show, it airs again on HBO tonight at 11pm Eastern. You may also want to stop reading, unless you want to what you are going to see.
The show opened with the incredibly heavy scene of Joe Philbin discussing the death of his son, Michael, back in Januaury. Philbin had been in Miami to interview for the Dolphins' head coach vacancy, flying home to Green Bay Saturday night. He arrived hom to get the phone call that his son was missing, and subsequently found dead in the Fox River. Philbin was hired by the Dolphins a week later after the coach spoke with his family, with them agreeing Michael would have wanted him to take the job.
Philbin used that experience to relate to the sorrow Philadelphia Eagleshead coach Andy Reid is working through right now, with Reid's son Garrett being found dead in his dorm room at Eagles Training Camp last week. Philbin explained that his wife, Diane, had gone to attend the funeral for Garrett, since she and Reid's wife Tammy, now have an unfortunate connection.
After taking us through the emotional reflection of Michael and Garrett's passings - which, to point out, the stoic Philbin even seemed to hesitate in his speaking a couple of times and had tears in his eyes - the show progressed back to the on the field Dolphins stories.
The tight ends took center-stage, although it was probably not a place they really wanted. Les Brown, who last week was seen as unable to block at all, demonstrated some progression this week, with coaches noting that, while he doesn't have the typical size of a tight end, he has the speed and hands to be a wide receiver. Which, brings us to the question - why aren't they using him as a wide receiver?
After Brown, the cross hairs of the coaching staff clearly fell on Michael Egnew, with some of the shrapnel hitting Charles Clay. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, in a meeting room filled with the entire offense, put it pretty clearly for Egnew. "I would cut you today if I were the General Manager," Sherman explained to Egnew. He then added, after calling out Clay's name, "I've got nothing to say about you except you aren't good enough."
Starting tight end Anthony Fasano appeared to be the only tight end above thee fray, as he was asked by the coaching staff to get the rest of the tight ends in line.
After the tight ends, the show turned to one of the two themes that continued to pop up throughout the show. The quarterback story line started by showing David Garrard, and how far above Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill he appeared to be. He was clearly the starting quarterback for the Dolphins, and was ready to take the reins. "I'm so fundamentally sound, coach. I know," Garrard said as he came off the field after one set of drills. Everything seemed set up for the veteran free agent signing.
Behind Garrard, the show still showed Tannehill as the progressing rookie, looking more and more like a potential starter. The show's narrator described Tannehill as working to move from "hotshot prospect to starting NFL quarterback." Plenty of scenes of Tannehill throughout the show (and, of course, his wife Lauren as well), including one scene in practice when he dove forward for a first down. Garrard said to him on the sidelines, "Please don't dive out here on the practice field."
Later on, Tannehill made the same move on during the team's first preseason game. He then said on the sideline, "As soon as I did it, I was like ‘What am I doing?'"
The show also highlighted Tannehill's first touchdown pass, a completion to Clay as he crossed the middle of the field and turned into the endzone. Sherman radioed down to ensure that the team got the ball and kept it for Tannehill, commenting, "Make sure we get that ball. It's his first touchdown." Then, as an aside, he added, "Hopefully he'll have a lot of those."
Cut with other story lines and scenes between, the show also took a look at Garrard's knee injury. Garrard, who was laying on a table at the time getting treatment, explained, "I didn't bang it on anything. I didn't fall on it or anything. Maybe it's just Father Time."
Garrard has since had surgery and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks (although I have seen some numbers saying 6 weeks).
Other story lines for the show included the wide receivers, starting with SI.com's Peter King talking with general manager Jeff Ireland. King asked if there was a problem at wide receiver for Miami this year. Ireland explained that he was "evaluating them closely" and that the team has a bunch of "fours, fives, and sixes," and are looking for guys to step up and become a "threes, twos, and ones."
The show also had some fun moments, like looking at the rookie haircuts (Josh Samuda clearly has the best of the bunch), as well as the offensive line using the film room to watch the Dolphins Cheerleaders perform "Call Me Maybe."
Of course, the story line that made this episode of Hard Knocksone of, if not the, most anticipated shows in the series' history was the implosion of Chad Johnson over the past week. Early in the episode, some of the footage showed Johnson having problems with the play calls, or route running - the same issues he had with the New England Patriots last year - highlighted by the one target he had in Friday night's preseason game, when he let the ball go right through his hands.
The show ended with Johnson, seen entering jail following his domestic violence arrest then coming back to the team's facilities, being released. Johnson was brought into Philbin's office, where he immediately began apologizing for embarrassing the organization and for letting down Philbin.
"I let you down a little bit...a lot," Johnson stated. "I understand what you're doing. You got the message across clear the first day we met. I apologize for embarrassing you, and our organization, my teammates."
However, as we all know, Johnson did have his contract with the team terminated on Sunday. Philbin, speaking to Johnson during the show, explained, "Where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we are headed, I don't see the mesh right now. I wish it was different. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging. I think it's best for us that we part ways at this point in time."
The show then cut to a Dolphins staff member cleaning out Johnson's locker, throwing his shoes into a box, and taking his name down.
Fade to black.