Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, Episode 3 Review

Our beloved misfits are back. Chad. Tank. Katie Brown. First, let's talk about the music. The orchestral theme used throughout Hard Knocks is a theme of struggle and determination. Great french horn work. It's inspiring. Again, the filming was gorgeous, with dramatic live action mixed with slow motion.

Episode 3 should be called "Reps." We see Chad Ocho Cinco complain about getting play repetitions or "Reps." Yet, we know he's going to make the team. It's the guys who are unknown are the ones that need them to show the team to keep them. It becomes who through his play is going to stand out. Hello rookie running back Bernard Scott. Aha, that's who safety Tom Nelson is.

We meet Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer. Wow. He's a cussing and fussing coach. He's mean but with a purpose. He challenges rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga to play with injury. For that matter so does head Coach Marvin Lewis. Zimmmer's meaness is to cajole his defense to play harder. He wants them to play with pride. He likes underdogs. He likes the fact that guys on the roster are players that others didn't want. Now, I see why guys want to play for him. He brings out the best in his players.

The comedy. First, Carson gets to joke about his injury saying he has more white blood cells than most people. Unfortunately, the camera pans to his swollen and bruised ankle. Um, Carson it looks ugly. Then there's the rookie talent show. The rookies do a hell of a job. They tease the veterans, as we see a guy play veteran safety Roy Williams during his off time; lying in bed infatuated with a R&B singer. There's an excellent haka done by the Samoan players, one of them was Maualuga. I'm not sure but some of those other rookies are not Polynesian. Kudos, guys. There's a funny take on Dhani Jones and a dig at unsigned Andre Smith's shirtless sprint. Of course when it comes to comedy, we must go to Chad Ocho Cinco. He claims to coin the phrase, "Kiss the baby" to signal that the game is over. Sorry, Chad. Reds' color man Jeff Brantley coined that one. Then he makes a joke about a condom that is going to be named after him. Funny. We watch him at the preseason game with New England. First, he jaws with Patriots' Coach Bill Belichick, getting a laugh from the stone faced coach. Did he just call head coach Lewis, "Boss man?" Of course, there is his extra point kick and his kickoff. We hear offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski worry about Chad tackling and getting hurt on kickoffs, and Lewis joking to Bratkowski that Chad doesn't tackle, so don't worry.

For the uninitiated, the Bengals have a revamped offensive line to protect the franchise QB Carson Palmer. We watch top draft pick tackle Andre Smith's agent Alvin Keels arrive to negotiate. They go into Katie Brown's office. And four hours later, nothing. The reality not portrayed by NFL films is that the Bengals refuse to pay more than what the Raiders paid for Darrius Bey, the pick after the Bengals. Thus, the Bengals are attempting to defy the slotting system that all the other NFL teams have followed. Hello!? Katie, did you see Carson's swollen ankle?

We learn during the Patriots game that the coaches hate to lose, even if it is a preseason game. There's also Zimmer's defense. They pressured the quarterback all during the game. It's something we haven't seen in a long time. Later, there's a coaches' evaluation. Maualuga is making his mark. Tom Nelson is standing out.

I'm rooting for the misfits, the guys from WKRP in Cincinnati. The grade for this episode is A+.

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