Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown with his wife at the premiere of Hard Knocks

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

Hard Knocks: Episode 1's biggest hits

Highlights from the first episode of Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns

August 8, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The 13th season of HBO’s Hard Knocks, produced by NFL Films, featuring the Cleveland Browns debuted Tuesday night in strong fashion.

The show opened in predictable fashion with scenes of workers tearing down the LeBron James mural downtown followed by Hue Jackson’s Lake Erie cleansing but by the end of the episode, that 0-16 season felt like a distant memory.

Here are the biggest hits from episode 1:

- Hue Jackson's loss of his brother 8 days before training camp, then his mother 2 weeks later took center stage in the episode. The human toll the losses took on Jackson is visible and how the Browns' coach tried to internalize it was exposed. He grieved with cameras rolling in his office instead of in private behind closed doors. “Get yourself together. You’ll be alright. Keep going. Oh gosh come on. Just deal with it,” Jackson told himself as he rubbed his head after general manager John Dorsey, senior vice president of communications Peter John-Baptiste and director of football operations Simon Gelan left his office. Dorsey had just orchestrated a group hug between the 4  while offering support and encouraging him to grieve. “We’re here for you. We’re all in this together,” Dorsey told Jackson.

- Rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield provided the comedy in the season premiere. Mayfield didn’t know that Bob Evans was a restaurant chain, but at least Mayfield has seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He also can't sing, even though he gave ‘Take me home, country roads’ his best shot in front of his teammates. Here's hoping there's more footage of those type of moments coming in the series. 

- Linebacker Carl Nassib was a star. Nassib has a future as a financial advisor and counselor. Nassib colorfully explained to a few of his fellow defensive players the concept of compound interest – how to double $1 million in 7 years and then “You double your money every 7 years for 42 f---ing years and you get 64 [million] times your original f---ing money,” Nassib explained, which blew their minds. Nassib admitted he bought a rolex so he could impress Taylor Swift when he met her when she performed at FirstEnergy Stadium. He joked that he proposed. Hue Jackson asked him if it was working out and he said "not right now." 

- Jarvis Landry stole the show. First, his workouts are LeBron James-like, in that they are intense and insane. “Jarvis is f---ing good,” Nassib was captured as saying. After Landry was shown making that spectacular one-handed catch during the scrimmage a defensive player was captured saying: "We got us a playmaker." Landry’s speech in which he tore into the receivers for not producing in practice is why this franchise has any hope of a resurrection. “I don’t know what the f--- has been going on here and I don’t know why it’s been going on. But if you’re not hurt, like if your hamstring ain’t falling off, f---ing bone; your leg ain’t broke. Like you should be f---ing practicing. Straight up. Like that s--- is weakness, and that s--- is contagious as f---, and that s--- ain’t going to be in this room, bro. That s--- been here in the past, and that’s why the past has been like it is, bro. That s--- is over with here, bro.”

- Receiver Josh Gordon texted Hue Jackson from a new phone number following his mother’s death. Jackson read the text to general manager John Dorsey. “I just want to say thank you for sticking by me when I needed it most. You and your family are in my prayers tonight. I wish you all the love, peace of mind. God bless the household. Sincerest condolences. I will see you soon.”

- Linebacker Christian Kirksey can drop some beats on the drums. “Music is the way I live life,” Kirksey said. Here’s hoping he provides more of the score for this season of Hard Knocks. He also provided another memorable speech to his teammates when he implored them to take out a piece of paper and write down “their why.” Why they play the game and then tape it somewhere they can see it when they wake up and go to bed.

- Rookie quarterback Brogan Roback didn't stock the RV fridge the way veteran Drew Stanton prefered it and Stanton let him know it. Roback's cameo was pretty strong. 

- Offensive coordinator Todd Haley and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens debated the merits of giving players days off during camp with Hue Jackson. The exchange was compelling, and awkward. “If we live in our fears,” Haley said. “Our team has got to get mentally tougher and be able to fight through the s--- we gotta fight through. We gotta change this drastically and if we got guys who haven’t done s--- sitting around doing nothing, I just don’t know how we’re gonna do it.” Jackson politely reminded Haley who's in charge.

- Haley also foretold the trade of Corey Coleman when he was caught on camera yelling at Coleman for not making a catch. “Come on Corey, That's a big play. Corey, get in there and get it. Have some f---ing desire. Geez oh man.” The trade of Coleman will be chronicled next week in Episode 2.