It’s hard not to go into every episode of Hard Knocks with expectations after hearing the news stories spilling out of the camp during filming. So obviously, like everyone else, I was expecting a lot to do with a certain talented WR.
Yes that’s right! Hunter Renfrow! I actually like Hunter. I expect him to be a very shrewd bit of business despite his height and physicality, but I found it odd that HBO opened with him and the ripping he’s getting as a rookie over a certain star player who’s been in the headlines daily. Well according to Hard Knocks and the Raiders the media flurry was nonsense and all was good. This seemed very much forced.
Then came his entrance. Just as the coaches and players are wondering will Antonio Brown finally show his face in he strides with an entourage of cameras and a slow-mo to boot. I found it pathetic. This sort of “king is back” style return and all laughs and jokes. You can’t argue his talent or his numbers but Antonio Brown is yet to do it in a Raiders jersey and he’s acting as if he’s already a franchise legend where rules do not apply. I’d rather he would come in hungry with a chip on his shoulder and set a good example. All we’ve gotten is him in a hot air balloon entering camp, taking it easy with niggles, freezing off his fecking feet, going AWOL, and kicking up a fuss about his helmet. Not action or maturity, just a shambles and the whispers of anticipation of the coaches and players to get him on the field. But look. I’ll move on, we’ll be coming back to this later.
Another odd focus for the episode was the TE position, one which you would easily forget with the Raiders. Is that just me? I’d struggle to name them. Never even realised. Well the cameras decided to pick up on journeyman Wilson and his aim to earn a roster spot. But you’d easily forget that he was there to play football with the constant and dragged out slow-mo shots of the man’s hair, then followed by discussions about his hair with his dad as they went sailing. Bizarre. I like the family and outside football aspect but it felt like they were trying to force Cajuste Crystal Magic. Wasn’t going to happen. We did get a taste of his competition in the talented Waller. Hopefully a position battle comes from it.
Finally we made our way through what felt like filler footage to the actual Pre-Season action. Carr rocked down the field with his first drive and was quickly yanked out. Back to the back-ups. A story surprisingly becoming one of the bigger position battles in this season. Peterman v Glennon. May God have mercy on us all. Glennon came out swinging again and really dominated the battle. Nothing against Peterman who played well too but Glennon managed to tally the most snaps and looked sharp.
One trick up Nathan’s sleeve may be his rapour with Keelan Doss. They seem to be clicking straight away. Doss with his speed is getting separation and a lot of looks but it’s still not sure will he make the roster. I hope he does but may well depend on ABs return date.
It was another successful week for Oakland on the field, for as little as it matters. Focus was shown on Gruden rallying the defence to make Murray’s life hell, and it worked perfectly. A little montage of the Raiders sacking and pressuring Murray brought a creepy smile to Jonny Boys face. Speaking of Raiders defence, we had again more of Abrams but we definitely need even more of him. By far the most entertaining character and most likeable guy in the roster. Talented too. Raiders have landed a possibly brilliant future legend with him and the more we get to see the better. Easily a crowd favourite.
We also got a comedian (granted I didn’t know who he was) doing a Gruden impression. It didn’t exactly go well, even got to the point where he said he ran out of things to say. A bit of the classic morale comedy boost thing but was awful cringe for me. No surprise Carr organised it. Looked and felt like a last second thing too.
Despite this break we were quickly dragged back to the AB show. Just as the episode was wrapping up we were treated to a montage and somewhat teaser. Of course despite the beginning painting a happy family there was trouble with AB and the Raiders. Brown had gone AWOL again following his helmet appeal failure. Mayock showed his frustration and Browns absence and the episode ended there.
So some of the same really, the main focus on AB, a little trickle around the rookies, backup QB battle, and Keelan Doss. Oh sorry. New addition about hair too. Hopefully continues on. I am interested to see how the next episode goes but have to say I’m disliking how much it’s turning into the AB show. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it’s just because I don’t like him, but I’m not enjoying this season as much.
Anyway, despite being mentally worn down from it I will power on and hope we get lucky for the last few.