200 Miles From the Citi

August 18, 2010 11:30 PM

Hard Knocks: Week 2


I feel a little bit like I've been had.

To me, in the first episode of 'Hard Knocks', Mike Tannenbaum was the surprise character - candid, not contrived.  Much more access than I expected.

Maybe I'm naive...because the prevailing sentiment seems to be that Tannenbaum used 'Hard Knocks' for everything it was worth in his negotiations with Darrelle Revis.

Everything from the camera in his office to his "I feel like a failure" line, according to reviewers like Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, was scripted and manufactured to gain favor in the court of public opinion.

I'd rather not believe it - but it makes too much sense for me to ignore.

I will say this - everyone who gets any face time on this show has something scripted.  And Tannenbaum has gotten an unexpectedly disproportionate amount of airtime.  But the fact that the cameras are on all the time means that they're going to catch you unprepared at certain points.  

When Tannenbaum walks up to a rookie who is probably not going to make the team and tells him to become Mike Westhoff's best friend, that whole thing feels scripted.  I'm going to say 90% or more of what goes on in Tannenbaum's office is unscripted because first of all it would be impossible for Tannenbaum to concentrate on his job if he was always thinking about saying the right thing for the camera and second of all I'm just not that skeptical.

*Speaking of Mike Westhoff, I'm glad his story got told in some form during this series - it's an amazing story, and he's been a bright spot for this franchise through a number of failed head coaches.  And I'll say this now - though I'll say it again in the coming weeks with the general Jets previews - special teams, specifically the kicking game - worries me on this team.

*Another good story is Vernon Gholston - you just want to root for him.

*Another guy who has grown on me - mostly through what I've read in the papers, but certainly not hurt by the way he was featured in this episode - is Antonio Cromartie.  I find him well-intentioned, and quite charming.

*I didn't realize Joe McKnight was having such a hard time.  One of the most frustrating things about Monday night's preseason game was how long the starters played.  I was getting nervous with LaDainian Tomlinson running the ball late in the first half.  I would have liked to have seen McKnight get more touches earlier...and it certainly seems like he could use the playing time.

*The line of the night came from the McKnight situation.  Bart Scott said of the rookie out of USC that "Maybe he's mad that he's taking a pay cut [coming to the NFL]."  That also reminds me of last week, which I didn't address - how much Bart Scott talks, and how sometimes the only comeback is "Shut up Bart."

*I had been expecting the Mark Brunell age jokes for a while...but that segment turned into more of a 'Mark Sanchez is young' exploration (including how he reacts when things go bad) than an exploration of how 'Mark Brunell is old'.

*The talk this week was that HBO and NFL Films got a lot of calls from a lot of players' agents about a lack of face time in the first episode.  I was happy to see they didn't try to force people into this show.

*I was looking forward to this week's episode, what with having attended the game Monday night and all.  I forgot from previous installments of the show, though, that the camp action and the player interactions are more entertaining than the preseason games.

*Talk about grabbing my attention right off the bat - a video tribute to a stadium demolition?  Sign me up.

*That theme music and opening scene gets me really pumped up.

*Justin at Sports Crackle Pop! will cover anything I've missed in his review.

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