One man's "Hard Knocks" diary, admittedly written while wondering if the Celtics-Heat rivalry can get any better after the Delonte addition. The only the way the Heat can respond is by signing Brandon Spikes.
10:02 p.m.: Previously on Hard Knocks: Mike Westhoff says a bunch of stuff that sounds cool when he does it, but not so much when I give it a try. Alone. On a Saturday night.
10:03: Running backs coach Anthony Lynn just called out LaDainian Tomlinson in a meeting for being the biggest phony in the history of the NFL. "Just because you tell everyone you're classy doesn't make it so," Lynn said before kicking LT out of the room. OK, none of that actually happened, but Lynn did say that there is a "leadership problem" at RB. That's a knock on LT, right? Right?
10:04: Matt Cavanaugh is the Jets QB coach. Why is every QB coach a former lousy NFL quarterback? Is there a rule somewhere that eliminates anyone with a career passer rating over 70.0? I guess we know what Kyle Boller will be doing in 10 years.
10:05: Oh great, a Rex montage. Complete with swears and tough talk. I thought we were past this, HBO.
10:06: This is great. Remember Tim Cowlishaw "breaking" the story that Revis was going to report to Jets camp? Turned out to be bogus, but the Jets didn't know that. GM Tannenbaum: "Where do you think this is coming from?" Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine: "Why does Tim Cowlishaw keep reporting about Revis?" The whole group -- including Rex and owner Woody Johnson -- looked frazzled over the Cowlishaw report, almost as if they expected Revis to actually walk through the door in his uniform.
10:08: Schottenheimer and Sanchez in a meeting. Sanchez always has a lost faraway look going during these discussions. KInd of reminds me of when I'm lecturing my 3-year old daughter. I half expect Sanchez to sneak away and pee on the floor.
10:09: Big worries for the Jets at left guard. Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse in a battle to replace Alan Faneca. So far, not so good. Ducasse's training camp highlight was wining second AND third prize in the "King Ugly" contest and a blown assignment by Slauson in the Panthers' preseason game led to a clear shot on Sanchez's left knee in a play that was eerily similar to the Bernard Pollard shot.
10:11: Man, Sanchez gives off the vibe of someone who is really impressed with himself. It seems that he's inhaled the hype. Remember, this was statistically the worst QB in the NFL last season.
10:12: Sanchez does pull off a once-in-a-generation prank, drawing a mustache on a picture of Schottenheimer's son. Brilliant stuff, a real whopper.
10:13: Kevin O'Connell is in a battle for the third QB spot. I know he ends up getting gassed, but I wanted to bring up O'Connell if only to mention that I sat next to his sister on a JetBlue flight from San Diego to Boston a couple of years ago. She seemed very nice and didn't even laugh when I purchased the Julia Stiles classic rom-com "The Prince and Me." Even held my hand each time I cried.
10:14: But it's Kellen Clemens, not O'Connell, who has the inside track on the No. 3 QB spot. Problem is he makes too much money. So Clemens and Tannenbaum have a sit-down to try and figure something out:
Tannenbaum: Here's what we'd like to do. We'd like to adjust your salary to what your minimum would be --
Clemens: Right, right
Tannenbaum: -- but we would guarantee it for the whole year. And our thinking is this -- Mark (Brunell) would be the No. 2, OK?
Clemens: Right. (realizing that he's about to either lose 750K or get gassed) Um, OK, well here's a question for you. What if I say I'd rather not?
Tannenbaum (maybe a quarter-second pause): We'd probably cut you.
10:16: And that back-and-forth is what makes "Hard Knocks" great. That is stuff you just never see.
10:18: Rex Ryan just explained who Santonio Holmes is to a visiting Bobby Bowden. "His legal trouble chapter on Wikipedia is 396 words," Ryan told an impressed Bowden, who at this point resembles Clark Griswold's uncle from "Christmas Vacation." This guy was a major Division I head coach nine months ago?
10:20: "We are talking about one of the iconic players," said Schottenheimer about … Johnny Unitas? Jim Brown? Walter Payton?
How about Tony Richardson. I know he's a popular guy in the locker room and a solid veteran, but iconic is a reach.
10:24: The Jets love Tomlinson, Tomlinson loves the Jets, blah blah blah. Call me in Week 4 after he has six carries in a loss. It'll be all about where's the respect, I just want to win but …
Again, the worst loss of Tomlinson's career was the home playoff game to the Pats in 2007. And his biggest gripe was the Pats stealing the dance of Shawn Merriman.
10:25: Jason Taylor shows up late for the Giants preseason game, which strikes the Jets brass as … funny, actually. I'm thinking it might be best that Taylor didn't land in New England.
10:26: "We got the most gangsterest team in the NFL!" declares a giddy Holmes at practice when he sees Antonio Cromartie eating a cheeseburger. Great quote from a guy that has been arrested for domestic assault and battery. Roger Goodell must be thrilled.
10:26: Oh, and Taylor (driving a Maserati that probably cost at least as much as my 1996 Toyota Camry) showed up late for the Gangsterest practice of all time. This is a guy that we are supposed to buy as consumed with winning?
10:28: Third preseason game and it's the same set-up: Can the offense do anything?
10:29: Rex cranks it up in his speech the night before the game:
"You guys know that I'm about as positive as there is. I believe that our team is better than every [expletive] team in the league. I believe our players are better than any players in the league, right? Those are true statement, what I believe. But this team is only going so far if I'm the only guy that leads. I'm not a great leader. I'm not a great leader. I can't lead myself, this whole group of men. We ain't going to win guys if it's abut me. I'm sitting back here waiting for us to understand the team we are going to be. What the hell are we waiting on? What are we waiting on? Do you want it or not? Do you understand there is a price to pay? can we have fun -- you're damn right we can. I demand that we have fun. But there's a difference between having fun and being a jackass. Our defense was a jackass when we went to Hofstra, eating a bunch of [expletive] cheeseburgers. That's being a jackass. You can be a world champion -- but not like this. We won't win it. We'll sit back and say 'why didn't we do it?' We didn't do it because where were our [expletive] priorities? How about our offense? When are we going to get it together, put it together? Can we not run the ball down their throats every snap? Can we not throw it anytime we want to [expletive] throw it? Let's make suer we play like the [expletive] New York Jets, and not some [expletive] slapd--k team. That's what I wanna see tomorrow. Do we understand what I wanna [expletive] see tomorrow?"
Staged? A little bit, sure. But say this for Rex: The guys buy into it. Now if Sanchez turns out to be a bust Rex'll be making a version of that speech to get the rest of the ESPN pre-game show crew fired up in 2014, but for now he owns that room.
10:33: Game Three -- and you know it's a big game when Jason Taylor shows up almost a half hour before kickoff.
10:34: Big start for Tomlinson vs. the Redskins. Don't count out LT having a big year, though. He's hellbent on proving the Chargers were wrong in letting him go, even though it made all the sense in the world and LT actually wanted to leave. But LT won't let delusion get in the way of proving a point that no one cares about. If Rick Reilly does one of those hideous Hometown shows with LT I swear I will never watch ESPN again.
10:35: LT springs off a nice run, and the guy making the tackle talks some trash despite being part of a grope that just allowed a 43-yard rush.
10:36: "That's why my brother got rid of your ass," Ryan tells the defender, the first time that line has ever been uttered by someone other than Uday Hussein.
10:36: Sanchez throws a Copyright Drew Bledsoe red-zone pick and falls down while kind of trying to make a tackle.
10:38: Ducasse gets blown by on the line and gives up a wide-open hit on Sanchez. Could be a real problem this season.
10:40: Larry Johnson TD catch for the 'Skins, and it looks like Rex wasted the kind of speech you can only give a couple of times a year before it gets tuned out.
10:41: Another loss. You can play the preseason games mean nothing card but the problem is that everything we've seen from the coaching staff indicates that they don't believe that.
10:42: Sanchez through three preseason games: 75.6 passer rating, 5.6 yards per attempt (23rd in the league). Again, you normally wouldn't care but there isn't the body of NFL work with Sanchez.
10:42: Jets in The City. Here's Braylon Edwards trying on a scarf at a Times Square store, looking for something to go in concert with his pink shirt. Just like Chuck Bednarik did in 1954.
10:44: Back to the Clemens saga (not THAT Clemens saga) -- looks like he's going to take the pay cut and stick around.
10:45: Cut day, otherwise known as "I'm going to sneak up and start whispering because it's not obvious at all that I'm telling you it's time for the bread line. And by the way we need your playbook" day. Wide receivers Marcus Henry and Aundrae Allison and DE Rodrique Wright among the victims.
10:48: Rex breaks the news to Lavaraneus Coles -- they need the money for Revis so he's out. Coles takes it OK, he knows the deal. Even Rex haters have to admit that he's great in these moments, all straight talk but with a real personal touch.
10:50: Kellen Clemens makes it official and O'Connell is out. And we fade to black.
10:52: Next week: Rex in a hot tub. Hey, I've seen worse.