For the fourth week in a row, we’ve been subjected to the another episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns.” This season has revealed the inner workings of the NFL’s worst team over the last two seasons, and it feels like the Hue Jackson experiment is headed toward another calamity.
While there have been moments of team building and belly jiggles, it’s still not changing the fact that the team is showing signs of dysfunction, and it starts from the top. The Browns are making strides with new personnel, but things don’t feel like they’re getting much better as a whole.
This week’s episode, to be frank, was one of the most boring to date. It started with the reveal that wide receiver Josh Gordon returned, but isn’t doing anything besides jogging, and finished with the Browns preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which finished with a baseball-esque final score, 5-0.
Todd Haley was pissed, Jarvis Landry seemed uninterested and the quarterback battle between Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield was a pinky finger away from blowing to extraordinary proportions.
There were some good highlights, but the message is the same: Cleveland is still a work in progress.
Hue Jackson Looks Lost and Probably Needs a New Job in 2019
If anyone was even remotely curious why Cleveland is 1-31 in the last two seasons, look no further than the head coach in charge. There just is a little something missing. Or maybe, it’s a lot.
Hue Jackson might look like the least capable coach during the show’s history, and that’s saying something. You’re safe now, Joe Philbin.
This will not be the greatest turnaround in sports history, as Jackson said in the third episode. In fact, this sure looks to be his final go around with the Browns.
Jackson keeps things loose and has some nice, candid conversations with his players, but that doesn’t win football games, and it doesn’t appear like that will change much this season.
At least, not enough for him to stick around, barring a miracle. — Brett Regan
Myles Garrett Could Be the First Player to Reach 25 Sacks
He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds, and Myles Garrett plays NFL football like everyone else is still in high school.
This week, we caught another shirtless glimpse of Garrett’s insane physical form, resembling some kind of god, and watched him continue to be the best player on the field every snap. He dominates at the point of contact, is able to power or finesse his way around anyone across from him, and is devastating when get gets near the football.
From his love of poetry to his affinity for Al Green’s jazz, Garrett’s calmness and sense of creativity make him the single most terrifying defensive player I’ve ever seen.
He’s combining Reggie White’s demeanor with Lawrence Taylor’s unique ability to get home to the quarterback. Myles Garrett is setting up to be the best defensive player in the NFL for the next several years.
He’s 22 years old, and the kid’s a freak of nature. — John Duffley
Carl Nassib is a Strange, Strange Dude
For everything Myles Garrett is for the Browns, his defensive end counterpart is not. That’s not to say Carl Nassib isn’t talented, but he’s becoming as bizarre as those who believe this team will be very good this season.
Nassib, the 2016 third-round selection from Penn State, made a big splash during the season premiere — when the show was actually good — with his outspoken personality and savvy financial planning, but has been a made-for-television clown ever since.
From calling offensive coordinator Todd Haley “Toad” to his latest alien conspiracy theory above, Nassib, who has 52 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and nine pass deflections with the Browns, is one of the most interesting characters on this season’s Hard Knocks.
Do you know what that means? The show needs to wrap it up. — Brett Regan
Somebody Give Devon Cajuste a Job
Tight end Devon Cajuste and his father stole our hearts earlier in the season, after HBO documented the struggle by Devon’s father, Gregory, through physical ailments and battling to see his son’s NFL journey.
In episode four, it’s starting to be clear that Devon Cajuste probably won’t make the final 53-man roster with three other tight ends ahead of him.
More importantly, though, we realized that Cajuste has a thing for funny colored rocks, and they apparently give him his power.
The Stanford-bred tight end hasn’t had the easiest transition to the NFL. He’s on his third team since 2016, and he’s yet to make an active roster. Cajuste works hard, no doubt, and he’s so unorthodox, but it’s hard not to root for the guy.
He doesn’t cause a commotion, he’s well-liked by everyone on the team, and he’s doing the little things to get better. Even if that means holding onto a couple of crystals to recharge his battery.
Somebody give him a job. Please. — John Duffley