Hard Knocks: The Miami Dolphins, Episode Five

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: Before we get into anything else…

THEY HAVE PARTIES FOR THE RELEASE OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS CHEERLEADER CALENDARS? HOW WERE WE NOT THERE, PAT?! HOW?!

But anyway back to the finale. I’d have to imagine that the finales of previous Hard Knocks seasons were a little bit more compelling. Butbecause the Dolphins lack starpower and the main storyline (the quarterback situation) was wrapped up a few weeks ago, the finale focused mostly on players who were going to get cut. I found this pretty interesting, but I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see more these past few episodes from some of the players who will likely make an impact during the season.

My biggest takeaway from the series as a whole was getting an inside look at how the business side of football operates. We discussed this a little last week, but it is so much more relaxed than I thought it would be. Trade proposals start via texts and even meetings that Jeff Ireland has with players that he is about to cut feel less tense than I imagined they would. Of course, I’m sure not every organization is run the same way, but I was just surprised by how this one was conducted.

Oh, and we finally had a Dan Carpenter sighting!

What’d you think of the finale, Pat?

Pat Dillon: All I am going to say is that Jeff Ireland better not trade any of these girls. YOU GOT THAT JEFF? NONE OF THEM!!!!!!

Also, I lied when I said “All I am going to say” in that previous paragraph.  I didn’t hate that sequence.

We had to see Tannehill and his wife build (unsuccessfully) a cabinet but we couldn’t use that time for more of the MDC! They should have had Jim Turner there at the event and gotten his reaction afterwards, but not right afterwards since he probably couldn’t stand up after that, if ya know what I am sayin’. The MDC are having an overall great offseason, and we all thank them for that

I like hearing the random stories about some of the players that are on the bubble or that make the team. I enjoyed the story of Javorski Lane’s career up to this point. He was a running back for Mike Sherman three years ago when Sherman was the head coach at Texas A&M. At the time, Lane had success, but as a 300 pound RB, Sherman told him that if he wanted a shot at the NFL, he would have to get down to about 260 lbs. He has and have shown the Fins enough this training camp to make the team. I’m excited to watch him play fullback for the team, especially if he keeps trucking defenders like he has in pre-season.

I wasn’t a fan of the Chad Johnson “interview”. Why would they spend time on a player that isn’t on the team anymore?  The only part I thought was funny was when they showed the tattoo he had of his now ex-wife #awkward.

Instead of the Chad Johnson segment, they should have used that time discussing the ramifications of the Davis trade in more detail. As a fan of the team, I wanted to see who was going to replace Vontae. Hard Knocks touched on the subject in the beginning of the episode, but should have spent more time on it.

What were your overall impressions of the finale and of the five episodes overall, as this was your first time experiencing Hard Knocks?

VG: I agree completely with what your point on the Vontae Davis trade. I remember reading that some players were confused as to what direction the team was going in after the trade was made, so I would have liked to see more reactions from the players.

Overall though, I really enjoyed my first experience watching Hard Knocks. The show does such a good job of presenting the football players as people and not just as the athletes we see every Sunday. It’s much easier to relate to these players when we see that in addition to practicing and preparing for games, that they like to make jokes, play instruments, and spend time with their families. While sometimes this can be a little dry (Tannehill and his wife unsuccessfully making that cabinet), other times it can be pretty entertaining (Isaako Aaitui and Jarrell Root performing “My Girl”). I’m planning on watching next season, no matter what team is the subject.

Chad Johnson working out on the beach.

Somehow we haven’t really discussed in any of our posts how poorly the team has looked in every preseason game. There were some signs of encouragement in the final game against Dallas, as Tannehill and the offense put together a nice drive. But outside of that, nice drives were few and far between. Without any true weapons on offense and a rookie quarterback under center, it could be an ugly season for the Dolphins.

How did this season of Hard Knocks measure up to the previous ones? And what do you expect from Miami this season?

PD: I knew that you would be in on this show, so I am not too surprised that you will tune in next season.

I have only really tuned in consistently to Hard Knocks this season and in 2010 when they were at the Jets training camp. Even though I hate the team, I must say the 2010 season was better. There were just funnier moments (Antonio Cromartie forgetting his kids’ names, Bart Scott making fun of Mark Sanchez, and when the players had Shake Weights) and the personalities on the Jets are just more entertaining as well (Ryan, Scott, Mike Westoff, Revis, etc.) There were definitely hilarious parts this season (Tannehill not knowing ANYTHING about NFL divisions (side note: this is really encouraging as a Dolphins fan…said no one!), Jim Turner making boner jokes, the rookie haircuts, and Chad Johnson’s entire time on the show), but the personalities are definitely not as interesting, especially the head coach. However, there were so many different events that occurred in this five week span (3 way QB competition, rookie head coach, Chad Johnson arrested followed by his release, the Garrard injury, Tannehill named the starter, and the Vontae Trade) that made this season very memorable and entertaining, in a unique way.

We haven’t discussed how bad the Dolphins have been/how bad they are going to be because the Dolphins are our baby Vinny. We don’t want to accept that our baby is ugly, cries in the middle of the night, and that there are so many other better babies out there. We both know that this is going to be a tough year for us as fans. The only silver lining is that we get to watch Ryan Tannehill and hope that he can be this team’s starter for years to come and hopefully lead the team to a championship sooner rather than later.

As you mentioned, the offense has no game changers. Sure, Reggie Bush is a threat, but the receivers and tight ends don’t make the opposing defense nervous. Unless Philbin has been saving his good plays for the regular season, we better get used to results similar to what we have seen from the offense in the preseason. As for the defense, they have definitely improved from the beginning of preseason and they will be relied upon to keep this team in most of their games. I truly believe that this facet of the team is underrated and that it will win the team some games this year. But as this league has shown us in the past couple of seasons, great QB play = championships. Ryan Tannehill will no doubt struggle as a rookie, but the team will only go as far as he takes them. I am optimistic about Tannehill and I believe that he will be the solution for this team…in the future. However for the 2012 NFL season, I see the Dolphins finishing under .500, with a record somewhere between 4-12 and 6-10. I would have no problem being wrong/surprised though. Fins up!