One man's "Hard Knocks" diary while wondering what Tom Brady does watch from 10-11 on Wednesday nights. I'm guessing either "Teen Mom" or "Alan Alda's Scientific American Frontiers."
To the diary we go ...
10:02 p.m.: Previously on "Hard Knocks" … pretty much a Joe McKnight blooper reel. All that was missing was a Mel Allen voice-over ("Now, time for TWIB notes from around the league). I don't know, every time HBO makes a guy out to be a total disaster he winds up coming up big in a preseason game and makes the team. I'm not falling for it this year.
10:03: We're a full two weeks in and we haven't had a full LaDanian Tomlinson segment yet. I hate to mention that, feels like I just jinxed a no-hitter. Tomlinson is my least favorite athlete of the last 20 years, a total phony. If HBO goes the "classy" route with LT I'm going to vomit every piece of food I've ever eaten, all the way back to the Gerber stuff.
10:05: Lesson from the Giants preseason game? If the Jets ever take out their entire starting lineup in the first half of a game they are in serious trouble.
10:08: If Woody Johnson made $200,000 a year he'd be the least popular guy at Jets fantasy camp.
10:09: Here's Mike Westhoff blatantly stealing my line to my wife in our hotel room on our wedding night:
"I don't give a [expletive] if you have the [expletive] triple Asian flu, when we call 'red' you get your ass outside and don't let that guy escape."
10:10: Westhoff is great, though, seriously. Easily my favorite character on the show. Doesn't care about the cameras at all, not a lot of screaming just to look tough, just does his thing. Here's what he said to tight end Matt Mulligan after a botched special teams play.
"Sometimes it's important for us to know what we can and can't do. Where our strengths lie. You're not Tony Gonzalez, but who gives a [expletive]. You're a good blocker, strong as hell. You're tough. Play to those strengths. Everything else will fall into place."
10:11: Mark Brunell is two years older than Drew Bledsoe and I still think the Jets might be better with him at QB than Sanchez (12 TD, 20 INT last year).
10:12: Has anyone ever looked cool on a exercise bike? Maybe Ivan Drago, maybe Jamie Lee Curtis in "Perfect" (her peak, I will not hear an argument) but that's it.
10:13: It's cut the punter day! Who goes, Steve Weatherford (veteran) or T.J. Conley (young guy who has maybe made the leap — he was gassed last year). Who goes? Most suspenseful reality TV moment since Helen Thomas chose Sam Donaldson over Bernard Shaw in 1982's "Who wants to bang a White House correspondent?"
10:14: And … it's the kid. Rex handled the gassing of Conley about as well as you can do it. Tells him he's an NFL punter right now, but comes across like he means it. Most coaches (at least most coaches in "Hard Knocks" history) can't get out that room fast enough, but Rex took his time and had an actual conversation.
10:16: Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul with a 6.5 on the preseason tussle scale. Not too shabby, but I need a cameraman to get knocked down and both helmets off before I get too interested.
10:19: Rex Ryan skipping with his wife and kids. For Antoino Cromartie to do this he would a need a setup like the government had in "WarGames."
10:20: Rex walking on the treadmill, complete with slow motion shots and music. I'm thinking this won't be Sally Draper's next solo time subject.
10:22: Just showed Adam Tadisch's Arena League TD catch (a Ben Coates special, dragged six guys 20 yards) which we're told is a YouTube sensation. Just watched it, not too shabby. Plus he looks like Brock Lesnar's mentally challenged twin brother. I'm intrigued.
10:24: Rookie DB Brian Jackson just gave coach Dennis Thurman some lip. Not good.
"Brian, come here. You aren't going to talk to me any kind of [expletive] way. You're a [expletive] rookie, boy. I don't give a [expletive] what you say, let me tell you something. Boy don't get any lip with me, I'll send your ass out of here. … Don't come out here if you don't know what you're [expletive] doing."
I love it. Any other job in America and Thurman would be fired within, what, 15 minutes?
10:26: With Thurman's blessing, the rest of the defenses ties Thurman up, drags him to a goal post and puts ice and powder and food on his face. I bet there's a deleted scene where Jason Taylor and Bart Scott waterboarded him for 15 minutes while Kris Jenkins ripped each toenail out.
10:27: Danny Woodhead (Division 2 running back) has been called "tough," "gritty," and "pesky" in the last 30 seconds. You figure out why.
10:32: I know we don't like him all that much around here, but it's still Rex Ryan > Joe West, right?
Rookie Night. We start with a local magician to kick off the show.
"The only reason he's here is because his fiancee is hot, obviously," says Rex.
(Hot I don't know. Not terrible, but looks like one (or two, I guess) shaky breast implant job. Shades of Tori Spelling in 1994. One's about a yard higher than the other. And yes, I re-watched it about 46 times to be sure.)
10:35: Ugliest rookie contest. Exactly what it means. Brian Jackson wins King Ugly. When do we get our first hazing lawsuit in the NFL? I'll set it at 2016, anyone want the over?
10:36: Bart Scott to magician: "Make Revis show up. That'd be a hell of a trick."
10:37: Camp breaks. Kind of like the last day at fat camp — everyone is happy to go and proud of what they've done, but they all know they'll be back next year.
10:38: Second preseason game in Carolina. Cue the " 'Hard Knocks' second preseason game" music.
10:38: Woody Johnson looks like a cross between James Taylor and Tom Wolfe.
10:39: Mark Sanchez first quarter: 5-for-10, 12 yards. A nice tribute to Scott Secules.
10:41: This defense is scary good. If it gets Revis back it has to be the best in the league.
10:42: Ropati Pitoitua tears his Achilles tendon and is carted back to the locker room. Tough to watch a guy realize that his season is shot.
10:43: Brian Schottenheimer halftime speech to his offense (just 45 total yards): "Let's just hope that Mark Sanchez doesn't actually suck, because if he does I'll be the quality control coach for the Rams next year."
10:44: Huge special teams hit by Chauncey Washington — earns three "Holy [expletives]" from Rex.
10:45: Now Washington is running the ball hard. Doesn't look good for Scrappy Woodhead.
10:46: HBO DID pull the fake-out with Joe McKnight. He breaks a punt return for 60 yards. I knew it!
10:48: "He doesn't know [expletive] from shinola." A Rex staple.
Just because I've always wondered ...
Shinola was a brand of shoe polish previously manufactured in the USA. The alliteration and the fact that the two commodities in the phrase could possibly be confused is the derivation. The distinction is well made; only one of them would be good to apply to your shoes and only particularly dim people could be expected to muddle them up. Of course, outside America, most people don't know Shinola from anything at all, as they've never heard of it. Even in America it would probably not be widely remembered but for this phrase.
This phrase is typical of the barrack room vulgarity of WWII, which is where it originated. Other "doesn't know" phrases, also mostly from the military are, "doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground" (or elbow, or a hot rock, or third base), "doesn't know enough to pee downwind", "doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass." The tone is lifted a little by the English conductor Sir Henry Wood, who expressed a similar opinion with "he doesn't know his brass from his woodwind."
10:50: A 6-0 Jets win. Game ball to Chauncey Washington.
10:51: Nick Mangold signing a $55 million deal and Logan Mankins putting his foot through his TV.
10:52: YouTube Tadisch gets gassed. "You are no Ben Coates, [expletive]," said Rex. OK, maybe he didn't.
Next week on "Hard Knocks"? The whole team bands together to get Vincent Chase away from the booger sugar and that no-good Sasha Grey.