HBO’s Hard Knocks Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins second episode was about as emotional as any episode in the series’ history. There were three specific storylines from the episode that highlighted the feelings among the players and coaches alike that encompassed the struggles of a grueling NFL training camp.
1. Joe Philbin’s level head
Joe Philbin is unflappable, that’s one thing that Hard Knocks has continually shown, even though it’s only been two episodes. The episode opened with the news that Philadelphia Andy Reid’s son, Garrett had been found dead. Joe Philbin’s son, Michael drowned in a Wisconsin river last year not long before he accepted the head coaching position with the Dolphins. Garrett Reid’s death gave Philbin a chance to reflect on his own son’s passing and while it was emotional, Philbin handled himself professionally as he is seemingly always levelheaded, regardless of the situation. Losing a son cannot be easy, however Joe Philbin seems determined to honor the memory of his son, and move on with his life, as Michael would have wanted.
2. David Garrard’s Injury
David Garrard was winning the quarterback battle against Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill and seemed poised to bounce back after a full year off due to a back injury. However, as the episode highlights Garrard injured his knee while at home with his kids and needs surgery. He will likely be out at least three or four weeks and the Dolphins quarterback competition has changed completely. Garrard at 34 years old fears that “father time” may finally be catching up to him as (according to him) this is only his second injury in his career as the other kept him out all last year. One cannot help but feel for Garrard, whom apologizes to head coach Joe Philbin, even though the injury was seemingly a freak occurrence. Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill will continue to battle for the starting spot. Despite the competition Moore, Tannehill and the now injured Garrard all genuinely seem to care about each other and are invested in trying to make each other and the team as a whole better.
3. Chad Johnson, Free Agent
Chad Johnson getting cut by Joe Philbin was easily the most heart wrenching moment in Hard Knocks history. The always confident and oft smiling Johnson was seen solemnly hanging his head as he entered Philbin’s office, knowing what awaited him. Johnson was arrested last week for allegedly (key word) head butting his new wife, Evelyn. If the allegations against Johnson are true there is no reason to sympathize with him. However, as Chad mentions, “I’ve never gotten in trouble” and its tough to see a man lose his job for his first arrest as a professional when so many NFL players get arrested every offseason. Philbin, who as always kept things on an even keel countered explaining, “Its not just what happened last night” and went on to say “I think it’s better if we part ways at this point in time. I’m sure it’s not good news. It’s not good news for us, either.” Chad understood and acted extremely professional (contrary to what some may have expected) as he shook Philbin’s hand and thanked him for the opportunity, even though it may be his last. This was a landmark moment for Hard Knocks as one of their best personalities on multiple seasons in Chad Johnson will likely never be on the show again.