Almost ready for a Week 2 "Hard Knocks" diary?
Just one thing before we can get started.
(Pause as we wait for a blessing from Saint Tony Dungy. Got it. Thanks, coach. We'll keep it no worse than PG-13 here.)
Here we go ...
10:02 p.m: Late start tonight. Previously on "Hard Knocks" shows Mark Sanchez skipping passes five yards in front of receivers and a really fat guy dropping some serious F-bombage. I was hoping for one more shot of Joe Namath wearing the best pair of nut-huggers since Kiki Vandewehge at the 1987 NBA Three-Point Shootout, but no luck.
10:04: Bruce Frederick Springsteen! Singing "Wrecking Ball," a song he wrote for the destruction of the old Giants Stadium. No bigger Bruce fan than me, but this song is a larger piece of crap than anything that has ever come out of Rex Ryan. I'm thinking Bruce wrote this song during the drive to the show to avoid having to talk to Patti and Clarence.
(Here's "Wrecking Ball." And here's a couple of reasons to forget that four-minute crapfest and understand why Bruce is the greatest songwriter/live performer in rock history.)
10:06: Dennis Thurman, not Rex, with the first F-Bomb of the night. Who had that in the pool? Maybe Rex is taking the night off.
10:07: Scratch that.
10:08: Joe McKnight, rookie back from USC who "threw up at minicamp," according to our buddy Liev Schreiber.
10:09: Nice montage of McKnight "f--king up," to quote running backs coach Anthony Lynn. To be fair McKnight is used to Pete Carroll doing the "I stole your nose" routine after a fumble, so maybe he isn't ready for NFL pressure.
10:10: McKnight now bitching to the coaches. "He's just mad 'cuz he's taking a paycut," cracks a teammate.
10:12: Rex attacks a bag of M&M's, looking like Michael Douglas in Demi Moore's office in "Disclosure."
10:13: Mark Sanchez has tried to crack about 450 jokes in the first two episodes and has yet to hit. He's like the bastard child of Jay Leno and every under-25 guy on a reality show.
10:14: Awkward moment as Mark Brunell tells Sanchez that his daughter is a college freshman, complete with the "Is it worth it?" look from Sanchez. Not the last "I'm too old for this s--t" moment for Brunell in 2010.
10:17: Trying to figure out who has the most vacant stare on any HBO show: Sanchez or Vince Chase. I'm guessing both have taken the Sasha Grey ride at the HBO Theme Park, though.
10:18: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer telling Sanchez that he sucks in a meeting. Well, not really, but you can tell he really wants to . I can't get past the feeling that everyone in the organization is terrified that Sanchez is the one guy that can take an 11-5 team to 8-8.
10:20: First-round pick Kyle Wilson gets the "things are going well" music, complete with love from Rex. Always good.
10:22: Antonio Cromartie is a guy that Chargers fans couldn't get enough of two years ago, but were thrilled to see leave after last season. He's like a male version of Jacoby Ellsbury.
10:22: The Jets brought in Cromartie, who blew a wide-open tackle on Shonn Greene that led to a 53-yard TD run in the playoffs. Biggest play of the game and the season for the Chargers. It would be like the Pats signing Marlon McCree in 2007.
10:24: Cromartie running down the birthdays of his kids. I'm not kidding, I think he has 13 or 14. I'm going to watch the repeat to confirm. And I think two of them are named "Jersey."
10:26: "When it comes down to it, it's not the f-word that Rex Ryan likes best. It's the c-word."
10:27: It was coaching. I'm disappointed too.
10:28: I think Rex just offered LT a drink and tour of his hotel room. Come on, can we wait until Tomlinson plays a game before everyone takes a bow for this move?
10:29: I was waiting for the first Mike Westhoff segment. He's the special teams coach/cancer survivor/guy who looks like he was in the CIA 25 years ago. He seems above this whole "Hard Knocks" deal.
10:30: Westhoff tells his guys that the defense is great, the offense is loaded and who the hell knows what we've got with the special teams. Nice to see a coach (or owner or GM or player) not mugging for the camera.
10:31: Punter Steve Weatherford with the "shake weights." It's a weight that you can shake. Get it? One of those things that isn't really that funny but everyone on a team feels the need to throw at least one fake laugh at. Moments like this would be perfect for my idea of the Patriots hiring Steve Burton as a Fake Laugh coach. Would take the heat off all the other guys.
10:32: "At camp, everyone is looking for a playmate. Luckily, Kris Jenkins and Nick Mangold have each other. Every day they go mano-a-mano. What complicates this, of course, is that the two have been married since 2008."
OK, one of those three sentences were not spoken by Liev. I'm not telling you which.
10:33: Mangold has the "I'm OK now but once Revis gets paid I'm outta here" look going.
10:34: The Jets are switch Vernon Gholston (Grade A bust) to defensive end. This is the football equivalent of NBC moving that Jonathan Silverman sitcom from Tuesday to Friday in 1996.
10:35: "Is he Deacon Jones? No." Ryan on Gholston. Thanks, Rex.
10:36: Rex is borrowing Martin Sheen's chiclet teeth this season.
10:37: Movie night for the Jets. I'm guessing they are going to see either the new Todd Solondz flick or "The Kids are All Right." And it's "Dinner for Schmucks."
10:39: Game night -- Jets vs. Giants. Can't wait for 42 angles on the Eli hit. He was out of it after that smack -- looked like Shooter in "Hoosiers" yelling at the referee. Maybe it was a tribute to Dennis Hopper by Eli.
10:41: Woody Johnson tells Rex Ryan how much he loves him. No, really. I'm sure that'll still be the case if the Jets go 6-10, right?
10:43: Sanchez throws an INT on the Jets first play. Hey, no problem. It's not like he had a 12-20 TD/INT ratio last year.
10:45: Kyle Wilson and Cromartie on the sidelines. The sound is a little muddy, but I'm pretty sure I heard "suggests an early James Michener."
10:46: Rex screams "Thatta way, pound his ass!" on a Shonn Grenne rush. First time that phrase was used on HBO since season 3 of "Oz."
10:48: Man, that was a rough hit on Eli, who actually manages to look smarter after suffering a concussion. No easy feat.
10:49: John Conner (young fullback on the rise, about to take out classy vet Tony Richardson) is Sam Gash. His blocks sound different. My favorite player on the Jets, which is kind of like saying the bald guy was my favorite character on "Sex and the City."
10:50: McKnight needs to "drop his nuts and run" according to Ryan. That's a long way from Pete Carroll's whoopee cushions and fist pumps.
10:51: The Giants second-stringers (with Jim Sorgi at QB) are just killing the Jets backups, which leads to more s--t's and f--k's from the coaches than all the Smokey and The Bandit blooper reels combined.
10:52: Tom Coughlin looks just like Ron Howard's dad. That's all I've got.
10:52: Rex (who wasn't much of a factor this week -- wonder if that was some late editing from Mr. Goodell?) gets the last words of the episode:
"One thing I know I have to count on -- when you have that Jets decal on the side of your helmet you have to be a bad mutha."
Half Parcells, half Jules Winnfield.
10:53: Next week on "Hard Knocks": More Shecky Greene stuff from Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards goes bowling. A can't miss, no? I'll be there.