‘Hard Knocks: Cleveland Browns’ 1×04 Review: Impressions are Everything, Preseason is Nothing

When it comes to preseason football, it’s meaningless. At least when it comes to your starters, including your starting quarterback, backup/future franchise quarterback, and rookie cornerback. In the latest episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Cleveland Browns, we saw why coaches like Sean McVay and Matt Nagy had the right idea about resting their starters in meaningless preseason games.
There’s been a lot of discussion recently, at least on my Twitter timeline, regarding some coaches’ decision to rest their starters for a game of preseason or even the entirety. People ask, “Why? What about those young players that need the reps?” Oh, yeah? What about the young players that also should be healthy come the start of the regular season when the games actually count and offenses actually resemble what they’re running?
In the Browns’ third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it was ugly. And you should expect that when going up against that Eagles defense. Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was banged up and his pinkie finger disjointed and popped back into place. Luckily, it was his non-throwing hand. But can you imagine if that was his throwing hand? The outrage that would’ve come with losing your starter in a stupid, meaningless preseason game?
As if that wasn’t enough, the Browns imagined for a second what might happen if Baker Mayfield was hurt, after the rookie quarterback took a brutal blow in the game and didn’t get up. Just the thought of seeing your franchise quarterback on the ground, making no move to get up, is a terrifying thought. And just imagine, it all happened in a preseason game.
The thing about preseason is that
Aside from the preseason mess, the fourth episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns was another entertainer. Mostly because of stars Carl Nassib and Baker Mayfield and Todd Haley and the other supporting cast.
While the preseason might mean nothing, the impressions that those rookies put on sure meant something. The Browns unveiled their tradition called “The Rookie Show,” where the rookies get their chance to give it to the veterans on the team. Armed with footage from Hard Knocks, rookies like Mayfield and receiver Blake Johnson had some impressive performances.
Remember Jarvis Landry’s passionate, expletive-filled motivational speech? Johnson helped bring that speech to life with a reenactment where he was on the field, still playing, with a broken leg and two broken legs and it was just so hilarious to watch. Then you had Baker doing a solid performance of the Taylor Swift-loving Nassib dishing out some financial advice. It wasn’t perfect — only because Nassib is just so damn good at being himself. Finally, Baker poked fun at GM John Dorsey, where he even dressed the part right down to the glasses, the voice, and the obsessive gum chewing. Everything about “The Rookie Show” was so perfect. The only thing better was the revelation of something called, “The Nap Trailer.” Dear God, what do I need to do to get one of these at my job?

Three Stars

Baker Mayfield might have a second career in stand-up comedy…or impressions.

1. Baker Mayfield | The Browns drafted Mayfield No. 1 overall to be their star quarterback of the future. But Mayfield is proving that he’s a star in a different sense in this latest episode of Hard Knocks, where he stole the show with a dead-on impression of Browns GM John Dorsey. The Browns do something called “The Rookie Show,” where the rookies have a chance to rag on the veterans. And not only did Mayfield kill it impersonating the financially-smart, Taylor Swift-loving Carl Nassib, but he just destroyed it with his imitation of Dorsey. Dressed in everything from the hat to the glasses and right down to the voice and annoying gum chewing, Baker delivered a motivational speech inspired by Dorsey.

2. The Rookie Show | I had no idea that something like “The Rookie Show” existed, but now I want to see every team’s rookies make fun of the veterans every year. Using clips from Hard Knocks, rookies like Baker Mayfield and Blake Johnson poked fun at guys like GM John Dorsey, Carl Nassib, and Jarvis Landry. Baker laid into the Taylor Swift-loving financial advisor Carl Nassib, as well as Dorsey, while Johnson took Jarvis Landry’s motivational speech to heart in practicing through the pain. It brought laughs from all around. And it entertained the hell out of me. I’m going to need access to all of the archives, please.

3. Carl Nassib | Like I said last week, it’ll be damn hard for Carl Nassib not to make my “Three Stars” list every week because he’s literally that entertaining. I would actually watch a reality show following Nassib because I just want to see how else he could possibly shock me and what other hot takes come from his mouth. Case in point, his discussion with Myles Garrett and Nate Orchard about the existence of aliens. Not only did Nassib, and Garrett, remain adamant in aliens’ existence, but Nassib had facts to back his opinion up — as he always does. Apparently, a former Canadian minister of defense alleged the U.S. government had been in contact with three separate alien species. Oh, there’s proof. Please never stop talking, Carl.

Everything You Need to Know About Episode 4

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns airs Tuesdays at 10pm on HBO.

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