Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hard Knocks Observations

Last night, HBO aired its second installment of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and once again succeeded in putting on an entertaining, informative, and, especially for Bengals' fans, thought-provoking program.  This week's segment focused primarily on the team's preparation for its first preseason game and its aftermath.  Instead of flooding the blog with a barrage of one-liners, here are three observations I came away with from the show.

Coaches' Evaluations:  I could watch a whole show on Bengals coaches evaluating their players.  I found the scene after the New Orleans game where the coaches (sans Mike Brown) evaluated the team's performance to be revealing but too short to satiate any hunger to know how the players really stand among the coaches.  In particular, the portion of the meeting where they discussed Chris "Slim" Henry as a guy who still has some maturing to do as evidenced by his desire to make a lot of commotion after big plays.  Hard Knocks showed a clip from the first preseason game of Marvin Lewis pleading with Slim to get away from the Saints' sideline after a touchdown and that pretty much summed it up.  It capped off a portion earlier in the show that discussed Chris' past problems, the changes he's made in his life, and the Bengals' -or should I say Mike Brown's?- willingness to give him one last chance to walk the line.  

I can guess but I'd also be curious to know for sure which areas Bob Bratkowski referred to as lacking talent on the offense.  

Carson and Chad: Last night, we got a glimpse of Carson on the field and how he interacts with the other players.  Since Carson arrived in Cincinnati, I've never been impressed with many of his interviews or conferences in the sense that I thought he really assumed and was comfortable with the mantle of leader of the team but I always suspected that it was just his distaste for interacting with the media.  Despite that, I've continued to read reports to the contrary.  After last night's episode, he seemed much more comfortable in the leadership role than I had previously thought.  He was also pretty funny and I thoroughly enjoyed the clips of him and Kyle cook as well as his refined palate for Gatorade.  

As for Chad: I like Chad.  A year ago today, everyone was scheming for the best way to get him out of the 'Nati, perhaps rightfully so.  But when he's focused on being the best at his position and is in the right frame of mind he's a treat to watch.  Despite what John Kiesewetter thinks, I think Chad has made Hard Knocks even more fun to watch.

Andre Smith: If the edit of Katie Blackburn's conversation with Alvin Keels is any indication, Andre Smith might last longer than Justin Smith.  Keels is supposed to be in town after the Patriots game- let's hope that goes better than what last night's episode would suggest.  That's all I have to say about that.

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