Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, Episode 5 Review

This was the final episode in the series. And unless you're writing tragedy, in show business you should end on a high note. Unfortunately, the large majority of this episode was about the battle for the remaining roster spots. The show should be called "Cuts."

We find out that players who are battling for final roster spots and starting jobs have turned out to like one another. DeDe Dorsey and Brian Leonard who are fighting for a the final running back spot have respect for each other. Rey Maualuga and Rahsad Jeanty have develpoed a friendship. Yet, Rey is determined to start which means Rashad will be on the bench. These are the engrossing and dramatic elements of this episode. It's tough to take because somebody is going to be out of a job. The battle for the final fullback spot is the most riveting since we're rooting for the hard luck underdog Chris Pressley (If you want to see who makes it, check out the Bengals website.)

All is not tragedy. We're talking about the Bengals, the band of misfits. For comic relief there's Chad Ocho Cinco. There is a scene where Marvin Lewis instructs the players on what they can Twitter. And Chad does not miss a beat. In Chad's pad, which has large paintings of himself, Chad says they should just have the meeting with just him since the message was directed at him. Chad bemoans the loss of what he can Twitter and says it's like losing his "Johnson." Bengals owner and de facto GM talks about his late father, the great Paul Brown. He mentions that father was sparse with praise and laughs heartily. That's rare. It would be like a young Mr. Spock telling a dirty joke. The Bengals also show their compassion. Tight End Ben Utecht has suffered his fifth concussion. With the loss of starting tight end Reggie Kelly, the Bengals are very short in the tight end position. They place him on season ending injured reserve rather the risk his health in playing football. If you watch past the credits, you get a clip of DT Tank Johnson pitching a comedy about himself. See, I told you he should have a show. How about "Tank, plus guns and twins." Tank, I'm kidding and by the way, Bernie is not writing this. :)

Again, this show was beautifully filmed. There was use of freeze frame with slow motion. The music was well structured to follow the drama. The writing and direction for the series is on par with anything that Hollywood puts on. I just would not end the series with this type of episode which focused on cuts. That makes this episode a B grade.

But if you are a Bengals' fan there is always hope. Players talk about the upcoming season. Watching Carson work back from an injury gets the blood running. The episode discusses the "Who Dey" battle cry and its' history. We see players do the battle cry. Just saying the chant, gets one inspired. "Who Dey, Who Dey, Who dey think gonna beat them Bengals? NOBODY!"

Three years ago, Chris Pressley shows why he is a good blocker. (Okay, I'll tell. He made the Bengals practice squad.)

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