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Hard Thoughts: Breaking Down The Second Episode of HBO’s HARD KNOCKS

Reviewing Episode 2 of Hard Knocks

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Hard Thoughts: Breaking Down The Second Episode of HBO’s HARD KNOCKS


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Scott:

Previously on Hard Knocks:

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Tyler, is this a lie? Last week’s season premiere featured the ascendence of Jonathan Abram plus Freddy Gruden Kruger — that was hot enough. But on Friday the 10th, reporter TK scorched more Earth:

Peep every tweet in this thread, reader. Peep them twice. In all my years of watching and covering sports, I have never encountered a saga more maddening than this one. (If only because it may amount to nothing!) They are the Raiders Camp’s red pill: a reveal of the brutal truths that truly define Gruden’s squad at present — disorganization and ruckus. The Raiders are who we thought they are: a team of misfit personalities captained by a smart but showboating schemer; a team who’s 2018 disarray has only blossomed this summer. 

To its credit, “02” doesn’t shy away from that. This season’s second installment is a messier affair than its first, both structurally and content-wise. Though it also opens with a monologue for the ages, it quickly dovetails towards the chaos that is Antonio Brown and his circumcised feet. 

I repeat: circumcised feet. 

Was this the highlight of Episode 2?

Tyler:

I gotta say the circumcised feet thing was definitely gross, and could be the highlight even though AB only appeared momentarily. I digress, it’s the 2nd Hard Knocks and Derek Carr still has that stupid ass sleeveless jersey. How do you even order that Jersey? “Give me the douche bag jock, please and thank you.”

You get me @seattleram_nfl, you get me. Anyway, can we please trade Derek Carr’s sleeveless jersey for a heart warming stringy haired white guy giving his everything and winning over the pity of America. Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet and I’m aghast, but stay tuned.

Scott:

I thought Gruden’s mid-practice exchange with Doss was particularly telling of both the big G and general football culture. What begins as an on-field exchange of praise and pleasantries between coach and wide receiver is weaponized as a (good-natured?) ribbing of Doss in a later players meeting. Gruden then extols Doss’ successes to stoke his team’s fire — it works. “02” is a sneaky examination of how both coaches and athletes continuously scour for emotional kindling, vacillating between branches that are mythic in size (the three “G’s” of the LA Rams) and small, but notably joyous (the karaoke hazing of poor Hunter Renfro). When their searches come up empty, despondency hits hard. Whatever I think of Gruden, his sadness at Brown’s lingering absence feels genuine and kind of broke my heart.

Tyler:

Speaking of coach and wide receiver exchanges… Jon misses AB. It’s kind of depressing how sad Gruden is without his friend Antonio Brown. If you watched this past episode then you should review while playing this drinking game. Listen specifically for how many times Gruden mentions AB… You will be so drunk you probably can’t run… like AB. Anyway, have fun and feel the love of AB.

Scott:

I’m glad Abram got as much on-field screen time as off this week. He appears to be the real deal. I thought he passed the eye test during Saturday’s NFL Network broadcast and the Hard Knocks footage reinforces that: his skill set is fast, nasty, and unapologetically brave. It’s no wonder he isn’t scared of Aaron Donald during scrimmage; ditto that he’s wearing Charles Woodson’s number.

This chat was both my favorite part of “02” and, I think, the Raiders path forward. Abram, even at this early stage, doesn’t emulate the Raider legend so much as channel him. He’s less The Autumn Wind than Kendrick Lamar’s legendary spot on “Control” — a promise to body all comers. After two episodes, it would seem Oakland is looking to their legacy to forge their future. If Abram and the saga of Antonio Brown are any proof, the past might already be ash and smoke. Neither are like anything we’ve known before. Ditto the 2019 NFL. I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

Tyler:

Though it seemed to be an up and down week at camp with the Rams, the Raiders did however manage to pull out with the inconsequential preseason victory. Although he basically won the meaningless contest for the Raiders, Nathan Peterman is trash (how is he still on a team? PERIOD). I know that Gruden has similar feelings for Peterman as he does for AB. It’s an odd affair.

I may be worried about Peterman, but he was not the worst QB for Oakland week 1. It was clearly Mike Glennon. The Raiders back up threw 2 bad interceptions that definitely cost the team’s opportunities in scoring distance.

Since Glennon could not bring us in, let’s see if Hunter Renfrow is able serenade us to some comfort.

Nope. let’s just stop there. See ya’ll here next week.

Author

  • Scott Thomas

    Scott Thomas is a former AAU National Karate champion who now acts Off-Broadway. He can be seen in A24’s Skin this summer; as importantly, he’s a Bulls fan. Should you crave his Marvel Cinematic Universe takes, he co-hosts THE INFINITY PODCAST with Patrick Willems and Rachel “Quirky” Schenk. Should you wish to debate how clutch Russ is or Mitch Trubisky with him, you can do so on Twitter or Instagram at @OGScottieT. Current cast member of Ten Bones “Entirely From Memory” series at Littlefield, former ringer for the War Horse softball team. BEAR DOWN.

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Scott Thomas is a former AAU National Karate champion who now acts Off-Broadway. He can be seen in A24’s Skin this summer; as importantly, he’s a Bulls fan. Should you crave his Marvel Cinematic Universe takes, he co-hosts THE INFINITY PODCAST with Patrick Willems and Rachel “Quirky” Schenk. Should you wish to debate how clutch Russ is or Mitch Trubisky with him, you can do so on Twitter or Instagram at @OGScottieT. Current cast member of Ten Bones “Entirely From Memory” series at Littlefield, former ringer for the War Horse softball team. BEAR DOWN.

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