The first “Hard Knocks” episode of the Browns era was an entertaining one.
We saw how Tyrod Taylor was firmly in the lead for the Browns starting quarterback position, if there was any speculation of a battle against Baker Mayfield at all, and we also saw some bad practices, where the team simply lacked focus and consistency.
This is evident in all training camp practices for every team, but it led to Jarvis Landry’s impassioned speech to the receiving corps that will probably go down in the “Hard Knocks” hall of fame.
Episode two also lived up to the hype. From the first preseason game to a rookie's run-in with the law, here's what we learned on Tuesday:
Head coach Hue Jackson berated his entire team for walking on the field, an example of strong leadership that we haven’t seen yet in the Browns' training camp. Even his QB, Taylor, told him that he just had to do that once and the players would remember it.
The second episode of “Hard Knocks” started off with Corey Coleman at home showing off his shoe collection. After that however, it moved on to offensive coordinator Todd Haley yelling at him for his lack of effort and Coleman backtalking his own coach.
Coleman went into Jackson's office and asked him why he was running with the second team. Almost through tears, he told his coach, “If y'all don't want me to play, why don't you just trade me?”
That's exactly what the Browns did, shipping him off to the Buffalo Bills for a future 7th round pick, basically nothing.
First-year wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who had been impressing in training camp, was cited over the weekend for driving with a suspended license as well as marijuana possession. What was interesting about this is that he tried to keep it a secret from his coaches.
Several times during practice before the news broke, his coaches asked him on the field what was wrong. Coach Haley described him as looking like, “a sad puppy dog.”
When the news broke, Callaway was called into coach Jackson's office to discuss what happened. Callaway had recently had his car shipped up from Florida and claimed that the marijuana was not his. Jackson said that he believed him, but if he was wrong, he told the rookie wideout, “I'm gonna have your ass.”
In the first preseason game later that week, the Browns decided to play him the entire game. This is probably the first time a player has ever been punished by being forced to play all offensive snaps.
This made me question Jackson as a head coach.
Callaway had failed a drug test juts a few months ago and has been caught with marijuana before. For God's sake, he was already in stage one of the NFL's substance abuse program. Jackson's faith in his players however, is very admirable.
The Browns traveled to New York to play their first preseason game against the Giants. Taylor started off strong, hitting Landry for 32 yards on their first offensive play.
Taylor went a perfect 5-of-5 and capped off the first drive with a touchdown to tight end David Njoku.
Mayfield later threw his first NFL touchdown to Njoku as well.
A tired Callaway caught his first NFL touchdown in the fourth quarter. He showed off his speed, turning a short pattern into a 54-yard score.
Coach Haley, obviously impressed, took veteran receiver Landry aside and challenged him to take Callaway under his wing.
“You need to take that kid on. I don't care if he's living at your house. We can't have him f*****g up. You've got all this passion. Take him in. Larry Fitzgerald would.”
The Browns defeated the Giants 20-10.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams quickly turned into my favorite character in “Hard Knocks” when he went off on his defense at halftime.
I can't wait to see more of this guy.
When Browns general manager John Dorsey was looking over a document that had his updated receiver depth chart after the Coleman trade, he joked to one of his coaches, “where is Dez Bryant?”
Dez is scheduled to visit Cleveland this week and I'm expecting him to sign with the Browns, but it shouldn't be taken as a sure thing.
Although chances he will start week one are slim, the No.1 pick in this year's draft is obviously going to continue to be a major storyline.
He's impressed everyone so far, but one has to wonder if his complacency as a backup will be a thing that remains as training camp moves further along.