Hard Knocks Episode One: Thank God For Chad Johnson
Thank God for Chad Johnson. Last night, the "Look At Me" wide receiver was the star of the first episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Miami Dolphins on HBO. You get the feeling the Dolphins brain trust of General Manager Jeff Ireland and Head Coach Joe Philbin picked up the boisterous playmaker in the off-season just to give viewers a reason to tune in because everything else about the Dolphins is about as exciting as watching a bed-ridden senior citizen stroke victim fill out her absentee ballot.
Even with all the hip-hop video style footage of practices, the tear-jerking scenes of an undrafted rookie getting cut on the first day of camp, and the build-up over the looming QB battle between Matt Moore, David Garrard, and first round pick Ryan Tannehill, nothing on Hard Knocks is going to come close to what the man formerly known as Ochocinco does or says while the cameras are rolling.
Here were the three most prominent story lines of the first episode:
The Miami Beach Senior High alum makes his grand entrance more than ten minutes into the episode when he waltzes into a private coaches meeting. Philbin and his subordinates look at Johnson with dumbfounded expressions.
"I don't have anybody to go home to," Johnson announces. "I am not allowed to go home."
He adds that his wife Evelyn Johnson of Vh1 Basketball Wives reality show fame doesn't want to see him until training camp is over. Philbin, who looks like your old high geometry teacher who takes the fun out of lighting firecrackers, shoots Johnson a disapproving look. The wide receiver gets the message: "Oh, this is confidential?"
"Yes, we are going to start saying bad things about you," Philbin retorts.
Later on, we see Johnson cutting on the field and stretching out his body to corral passes over the middle. "I feel good," Johnson boasts. "I feel like a cheetah. I feel black." In a one-on-one interview, Johnson explains why he only caught 15 passes as a member of the New England Patriots last year. "I took a year off to give everybody else a chance to catch up," Johnson asserts with a straight face.
He also lets the audience know he knew that Evelyn was his soulmate while playing a game on his Playstation. "If you pause Call of Duty for somebody, then she's the fucking one," he says. Johnson's climatic scene comes during a press conference in which he tells a roomful of reporters that he'll go into porn if the Dolphins cut him before the season starts in September. When the room erupts in laughter, Johnson insists he is not joking. "It's not funny," he says. "I gotta earn a living."
He is also asked what it was liked to be coached by New England's Bill Belichick last season. "I learned to shut the fuck up for a year," Johnson says. "I didn't think I could do it, but I did it."
Of course, hard-ass Philbin wanted to put Johnson in detention for dropping an F-bomb in front of the media. In a subsequent practice, the head coach basically orders Johnson to stop cussing. "We all want to be on the same page as to how we portray this organization," Philbin scolds. "I temper my comments ... You catch what I am saying?" Philbin later tells the interviewer that Johnson's spot on the team could be in jeopardy if he doesn't "fall in line."
So let's see if we get this right. The Dolphins don't have a receiving corps that is going to light the scoreboard so they bring in one of the most electrifying ball catchers in the game knowing he has a big mouth. But their stick-in-the-mud head coach is threatening to cut his ass because Johnson uses profanity? Yep, the Dolphins are sure-fire Super Bowl contenders this year.