By now you know that the Miami Dolphins will be the team profiled on HBO/NFL Films Hard Knocks this year.
It definitely feels wrong for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to pursue greater attention ***** antics after Channing Crowder, Jason Taylor, Chad Henne, and Brandon Marshall leave. Though the Dolphins would never be of particular interest to most fans the previous cast of characters would have given us something to immediately look forward to: The quotable linebacker, the handsome veteran, the maligned quarterback, the troubled dynamic receiver. Those storylines would have written themselves before the show started giving us all something to look forward to.
But the good news is that most of the Hard Knocks installments have turned up story lines and personalities that were unexpectedly interesting (Carson Palmer was a hoot on the Bengal’s turn on the show) and some usually colorful folks we thought would be interesting on screen turned out to be BORING (think normally boisterous RB Larry Johnson in his apartment alone painting. Cute but zzzzz).
A few things that might provide a spark for Miami Hardknocks:
The QB competition – I thought Matt Moore did a great job last year and I’d like to see him get a chance to start somewhere. I don’t think this will happen in Miami given the hype around Tannehill and whatever juiced up promises the Dolphins made Garrard to get him down there. Remember, Garrard was unceremoniously dismissed from the Jaguars and spent last season at home nursing a back injury. But certainly Matt Moore (along with Joe Webb) is on my two person list of guys I think deserve another chance. The list used to be 3 but I’ve given up on Jason Campbell. I think he has bad mojo. That’s a story for another day. I think the QB competition will be something to watch especially how a first year coach justifies whatever end decision is made.
Lauren Tannehill’s star rising – one of the biggest stories of the draft was Ryan Tannehill and his young dude response to questions about why he got married so young. His typical way of answering such inquiries is to point to his wife and say “wouldn’t you?” I’m sure people would cause I’ve noticed that simply being blonde carries a lot of weight! I expect to see Lauren play some role on this show not just cause of Ryan but because, for some reason, the NFL now thinks that wives and girlfriends are part of the league’s draw. Just ask NFL.com which posted a slide show of NFL wives and girlfriends which the Houston chronicle responded to. And you can also touch base with the new owner of the Jaguars who apparently factors in whether a guy is happily humping or not when he decides whether to sign them. Anyway, Hard Knocks will provide Ms. Tannehill and lovers of blonde aspiring models everywhere with a mutually beneficial opportunity.
Vontae Davis – Davis is a pretty lively person (as is his brother Vernon – TE SF49ers). I could see Davis stealing some of the show here along with Davone Bess. Unfortunately, Davis has the added storyline of a brother who was recently charged with murder. It appears that Vontae and Vernon’s (TE 49ers) younger brother Michael has some serious mental health issues that unfortunately manifested themselves in him sneaking up on people in DC and hitting them over the head with a hammer. I can’t imagine what an off season Vontae has had dealing with that. Plus I would guess that seeing his brother’s success on the 49ers might give him some renewed energy.
Reggie Bush being corny and boring – Reggie Bush is a gorgeous man but dear lord he is boring and he can’t stop himself from saying things that reveal the severe depths of his obliviousness. His personality is very forced. But that’s fine cause his initial fame was mostly earned via talent and good looks–he didn’t exactly go begging for it. Even when he was dating Kim Kardashian he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about all the attention. But I think the expectation of casual fans will be for Reggie to hold the camera’s attention and I just don’t think he can do that but unfortunately he may decide to try. If he tries that will provide a different kind of fodder for all us bloggers and fans.
Celebrity Dolphins Minority owners – No one loves the limelight like Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. He loves it so much that he actively recruited famous folks like J. Lo and Marc Anthony and Serena Williams to buy into the Dolphins. He owns 95% of the team so clearly he didn’t have a financial need for more owners. He just wanted to ratchet up the appeal of the team which, so far, hasn’t happened. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ross encourage Dolphins minority owners to make some forced-feeling appearances at Dolphins training camp a place where no celebrity would normally ever go. Hell, players don’t even like being there.
Ultimately, the Dolphins aren’t an ideal choice from a market or personality perspective. In fact, they’re really not a good choice from a “winning” perspective either. Most teams would rather not have cameras around for a team that has so many critical things going on including a first year coach who hasn’t yet installed any plays. But the Dolphin’s often disastrous way of conducting business might be good for us watching at home.