Hard Knocks: The Miami Dolphins, Episode 4 Discussion

Throughout this season, Dolphins fans Vinny Ginardi and super-guest blogger Patrick Dillon will discuss each episode of the HBO series Hard Knocks. The two will exchange their thoughts on each episode and the ins and outs of the 2012 Miami Dolphins. They are hoping this will not be the most entertaining part of the season.

Vinny Ginardi:  Ted Ginn. Brandon Marshall. Vontae Davis.

Those are, in order, the last three Dolphins jerseys that I have added to my collection. I’m either going to stop obtaining jerseys or start getting them of players that I wouldn’t mind see leave.

But I didn’t want to Vontae Davis to leave. Davis has become one of the better corners in the league, and while he may have showed some inconsistency so far in practice and in preseason games, that is no reason to give up on a first-round talent who could become an elite player at his position, especially when that player is only 24 and playing on a rookie contract. The exchange between general manager Jeff Ireland and Davis says it all.

Davis: What did you trade me for?

*Awkward Silence*

Ireland: A couple of picks…a couple of picks.

That’s it? A couple of picks? Maybe Davis showed up out of shape and lacked consistency these past few weeks, but the with the apparent rise of Sean Smith, Miami could have had a very young, strong cornerback duo to build the defense around. I know the Dolphins are looking to rebuild, but it’s difficult to imagine them finding a talent like Davis in the second round. UGH.

Pat Dillon: I feel your pain Vin…but not in terms of your jersey situation. Two words: Dan Marino. He is not getting traded anytime soon, so getting his jersey is a safe bet.

On a serious note, I agree with you. The defense as a whole has not performed well at all this preseason. They made strides during the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, but they still have a long ways to go. The defense is going to have to play really well since this offense isn’t going to light up the score board this year, and I am sure I speak for the majority of Fins fans when I say that we thought Vontae was going to be a big part of that.

During his three year career, he has shown flashes of brilliance that led him to believe he was on the path to greatness, even prompting him to say before the start of last season that him and fellow corner Sean Smith would be the best CB tandem in the league. That was dismissed quickly, but all around the league, it was known that Vontae had a lot of potential. It is that potential that makes the trade confusing. This whole team is based on potential: Ryan Tannehill’s, the wide receiver’s, the new defense, etc. There are particular players that show up when the game matters and it’s go time. Vontae should have had a chance to show his ability in a meaningful game(s) before being shipped off for POSSIBLE potential aka draft picks

Traded.

Even though the trade was unfortunate, it was interesting to see the inner workings of a trade unfolding. First, I think the fact that the discussions started via a text message saying, “What do ya think about trading Vontae Davis?” is funny to me. It feels like such a joe-schmo way to engage a very serious decision. Also, we as fans have an idea of the “bartering” that occurs between the General Managers of each team involved in a trade, but seeing Ireland on the phone being a straight-shooter with the Colts while his daughters were showing him drawings was fascinating. Then, the final meeting when Vontae was told he was traded was indeed awkward. I am not sure which sequence of Hard Knocks was more uncomfortable to watch: Philbin cutting Chad Johnson or Ireland informing Vontae that he was traded. If I was the producer of the show, I would have shown Vontae calling his grandmother and told him to put the phone on speaker. There’s no way that that call wasn’t entertaining! I think that is going to be my saying if someone gives me bad news.

My Boss: Pat, I am sorry but you have been fired.

Me: Can I call my grandma?

My Boss: What?

I will miss you Vontae. This team has a lot less “swag” now :(

Besides the trade, the other big issue of the show was cutting down the roster to 75 players. What are you thoughts about who was cut, if they were deserving, if other players should have gotten cut instead, etc.?

VG: Before I get to your question, I do want to go on record as having a Dan Marino jersey. It is also signed by Mark “Super” Duper. Hell, here’s a picture of Mark and I last year, just kickin’ it, back when having long hair was in:

Anyway, all of the cuts seemed deserving to me. Unfortunately, even Les Brown’s did. You have to respect the guy’s attitude and work ethic, but he just doesn’t have the size and strength to be a tight end. Even though Hard Knocks gives us more of an inside look at training camp, we still don’t know everything that goes on, but I was surprised that they didn’t give Brown an opportunity at wide receiver. It’s a position where Miami is extraordinarily thin, and Brown has the height and speed where he could have been successful. I honestly hope he finds a position on another team and makes the Dolphins regret their decision to cut him.

Overall, I thought that this was probably the least interesting episode so far (though it is always nice when Ryan Tannehill’s wife and Les Brown’s girlfriend get some screentime). Outside of Brown getting cut, I didn’t really care about any of the others. The Chaz Alecxih focus felt a little forced since we hadn’t really heard much of him before this episode. I couldn’t agree more with your take on the lack of seriousness of how the trade discussions were handled. Jeez, I think I put more contemplation and debate into fantasy football trade discussions.

What are you expecting/looking forward to heading into the final episode next week?

PD: Just stick with that jersey or even better, get a jersey with your boy Super (also, grow back the hair!)

I was not surprised by Les getting the axe. Like you said, he really should just try to be a receiver. He is WAYYYY too skinny to block linebackers and defensive linemen. This was best shown in the episode when Les looked like he was trying his absolute hardest and Jared Odrick (the starting Defensive-End), going at half speed, knocked him down easily. He needs to get a lot bigger and stronger in order to compete (maybe he can talk to Melky…too soon?)

Chaz Alecxih! What a ridiculous story! He is jet skiing in the Gulf of Mexico, drives out really far from his friends, and his jet ski dies while he is by himself. An hour later he gets hot and has to pee, so he jumps in the water, but as he jumps, he kicks of the jet ski, and the jet ski floats away from him and the current takes it. After being in the water for EIGHT HOURS, he is finally rescued. Unforunately, he got cut because I believe the Dolphins front office and coaches realized that there’s no way he could make the team, because then every player that got cut would say, “You didn’t cut the guy that stranded himself at sea because he had to pee?!?!?!??”

For next week, I am looking for the episode to be a lot more intense as they have to cut the roster down even more, from 75 to 53 players. This preseason has been full of surprises, so I believe there will be a controversial cut that will be made, and I am looking forward to the reaction from the veterans. Also, I hope they focus on the receivers as this is the position that STILL has the most questions. Lastly, I hope they show the special teams. WHERE IS THE LOVE FOR DAN “I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A” CARPENTER AND BRANDON “OUT HERE IN THE” FIELDS?!