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Hard Knocks Review: Episode Two

HBO once again put some film together that makes me excited to be a Bengals fan.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

It is really cool to pair up the news that you get from here with the action you see from Hard Knocks. Some things I was really looking forward to seeing in this episode were:

  • Vontaze Burfict and Stephen Jackson mixing it up.
  • AJ Green rehabbing his injury.
  • Terrence Stephens singing.
  • The behind the scenes of the Bengals at the Falcons.

We got all that and more. The episode began with the scene from the training room. It was funny how the players razzed Andy Dalton about his focus on the two injured wide receivers. It is obvious he shares the same concerns that we as fans do. It is still mind blowing seeing the science behind an NFL player rehabbing and the pool AJ was running in was pretty freaking cool.

In practice we got to see how the coaches really don't want anyone near the quarterback, at all.

"DQ, STAY AWAY FROM THE QB" - Marvin Lewis.

I agree, lets not have any more star injuries in practice. Like Marvin said, you don't make the team on the practice field, you only buy playing time.

There was a lot of focus on the Bengals backup quarterback battle. While it seems Josh Johnson probably has the spot to lose, the coaching staff is concerned with his accuracy. In the edits from the show, he looked pretty bad. On the other side, John Skelton, seemed to draw the coaches ire with his inability to learn the plays. His "cool as a cucumber" approach also did not seem to win any favor with the staff.

Then the Margus Hunt show began. We all know the kid is raw. However, at one point in the episode, Mike Zimmer dropped a JJ Watt comparison to the talent the kid has. Really, there isn't any bigger praise you can put on the kid over that. It was cool to see the human side when the surprise visit from the girlfriend was orchestrated. I just got really excited from the praise the kid received throughout the episode.

Tyler Eifert currently is housed at the Andrew Whitworth residence. Which to me, was not all to surprising. When I was at the Taste of the NFL event, the two were inseparable. Not a bad guy to pal around with Eifert.

I understand the desire to fit Orson Charles into the slot the Bengals have open at fullback. But, it is hard not to root for a guy like John Conner when all he seems to do is hit people, hard.

Vontaze Burfict may be coming into his own as a dominating presence. We hoped he would get some of the attitude from James Harrison, but the kid seems to have plenty of his own. During one of the joint practices with the falcons, Burfict had a run in with Stephen Jackson. Of course on twitter it seemed like a major issue, but what I liked is that Burfict stood his ground and kept a level head. He was intimidating without being a thug. I expect great things from him and from his swagger, it seems he is ready to deliver.

I wrote about Terrence Stephens singing earlier today. The episode did not disappoint. The guy really does have some pipes. What seemed like another chance to embarrass a rookie turned into a group of NFL players cheering for a guy that is a decent singer. The camaraderie in that scene was awesome and the reaction of some of the players was a cool reminder that these people do get tight and the team is pretty close.

I wrote about my boy Dane Sanzenbacher plenty this week so I will spare you here, but it was good to see as many people on the show were excited about his play as we were. Sure John Skelton through a heck of a pass, but it was the Dane show at the time.

I am happy that swimming has no place on an NFL field. One of the funniest parts of the show was watching the players attempt to swim across the pool. No one had a chance of making the distance underwater and while Geno Atkins may be accused of walking like a duck, he swims like a stone.

All in all another solid episode of Hard Knocks. Kudos to the HBO crew for putting together an entertaining look at the Cincinnati Bengals. I can't wait to see next weeks episode.