The cool thing about Hard Knocks is the quick turnaround that each of these episodes has. What’s happening the previous week — or even a few days ago — is the focal point of these Hard Knocks episodes. So, in a way, we know what to expect on the next episode, in terms of the biggies.
In the case of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns’ third episode, we knew that Dez Bryant was visiting Cleveland and that Josh Gordon was making his grand return. Not to mention that Jarvis Landry was also a focal point in this episode. Three of the biggest receiver names in the game took center stage, and it really makes you think: What if all three of these guys are on the field together?
Dez Bryant’s visit to Cleveland didn’t end with a contract, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely off the table. But from the behind-the-scenes look we got, it seems like Dez is as enchanted by the Browns’ organization — and how the arrow is suddenly pointed up — as the Browns are enchanted by his talent and ability to contribute to this offense. How this pans out, well, we’ll know before the episode airs, surely. But you have to believe there’s a good possibility Dez could be wearing that orange and brown.
But there were also some surprises in this episode. Some very pleasant surprises that were hilarious and/or heartfelt. Whether it was learning about Moose the Browns’ office dog or witnessing the teasing war between Carl Nassib and Todd Haley or this show forcing me to know who the hell Brogan Roback is (by the way, he’s someone that knows way more about butterflies than one should. Also, he’s the one behind the Tyrod Taylor name drama.)
Speaking of Tyrod Taylor, I’ve been so entertained but also mildly irritated by this pronunciation drama that started after last week’s Hard Knocks where Roback called Tyrod, Tuh-rod. Everyone had assumed he’d misspoken. But Baker Mayfield soon confirmed thereafter that Tyrod told them that his name is actually pronounced Tuh-rod. It caused a spark of intrigue in the media and also played a focal point in the media. And it reminded me of the drama that Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky endured when it came to what people should call him – Mitch or Mitchell. The truth is, these players don’t care. They’re here to do their job and focus on their team. They couldn’t care less about how you’re saying their name.
But that doesn’t mean us fans can’t be entertained and care a hell of a lot about it. Because I was intrigued. Tyrod was over it. But all I want is some clarification: What the hell do I call you? When even offensive coaches are calling him Ty-rod, I’m going to settle on Tuh-rod, because well, he told me to.
Yeah, there was also another preseason game where the Browns went up against a Buffalo Bills team that just seemed to collapse within itself. AJ McCarron went down. Josh Allen backed up Jalen Ramsey’s words. And Nathan Peterman continued to be the guy when you say his name you do a little sad, sympathetic head shake. Who’d have thought that I would say that the Browns were the better team out on the field? Because they were.
1. Moose | If you know me well at all, then you’d know the moment that Moose, the Browns’ dog, showed up on my screen that he was going to be the undisputed No. 1 star of this episode for me. There’s nothing like a dog to get my attention, make me care, and want to tell the entire world about the beauty that is Moose. They had a sign made. MOOSE CROSSING. Hard Knocks wanted you to know for damn sure that Moose the Browns’ dog was the star here. His sign. His chew toy. His tail. His brown fur. The accompanying music track as he roamed the facility. If you weren’t a dog person, this would’ve made you fall in love. Yes, in case you were wondering, I did get emotional over Moose. Call it puppy love.
I’m a firm believer that every NFL team needs to have a franchise dog that just roams around the facility with a smile on his face and love in his heart and that happens to just bring a calming presence to all. There’s nothing like a dog to make someone smile. There’s nothing like a dog to distract me from the bad that surrounds my football team, or this Browns football team. My only regret about this entire thing is that we didn’t meet Moose sooner. Like, come on, that’s two wasted hours without the wonder that is Moose.
2. Tyrod Taylor’s Name | I’m someone that wants to know how to correctly pronounce people’s names because I’ve gone my entire childhood and life with people saying it incorrectly. With that said, the saga that has become the pronunciation of Tyrod Taylor’s first name has been wildly entertaining and mildly annoying at the same time. After Brogan Roback (whoever that is) referred to Taylor as “Tuh-rod” in last week’s episode, the NFL world was on fire as the news that Tyrod Taylor’s name has been mispronounced since college came out! There was naturally a lot of focus on the matter during the episode, as it was a huge focal point last week in the media. Is it “Ty-rod” or “Tuh-rod.” The quarterbacks say, “Tuh-rod.” Then you have coaches saying, “Ty-rod.” For the love of God, can someone give me a definitive answer. See, this is why Taylor didn’t correct people’s pronunciations of his names all those years ago.
3. Carl Nassib vs. Todd Haley | My love for Carl Nassib grows stronger with each passing moment. So strongly that I’m actually sad that there are only two episodes of Hard Knocks remaining where I’ll get to see Nassib in all of his glory. Nassib excudes confidence, swagger, and Hollywood persona. No wonder he’s a Taylor Swift fanboy. Taylor, you’d love him. Carl Nassib is my new favorite person, and I almost feel sorry for laughing so hard when he sucked so bad against my Bears last year. Almost.
But the real star of this week wasn’t just Nassib, as he always is. It was the feud known as Carl Nassib vs. Todd Haley. The defensive end and offensive coordinator’s star status was on display as they chirped at each other from the practice field. Making fun of each other’s names, taunting each other, including lines like the classic, “Don’t bro me.” I was entertained 2,000 percent. Also, in case you were wondering, I’m Team Nassib.
Everything You Need to Know About Episode 3
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns airs Tuesdays at 10pm on HBO.