RB’s Hard Knocks Diary: Episode Two
Somebody on the Houston Texans needs to tell Brian Cushing that he's taking too much pre-workout. Dude needs to chill.
HBO's Hard Knocks showed us the Bro-tastic life of JJ Watt last week, and after letting episode two sit on my DVR for a while, I learned there is an even finer example of walking testosterone: Cushing. On top of making fun of a child's haircut, he picks fights and asserts his dominance with some seriously bar-talkish phrases. Don't worry, we'll get into the details shortly.
A few things from the first episode held true as well. Vince Wilfork seems like the coolest guy on the team, and it's not even close. Just hearing him talk about breakfast foods with JJ Watt might have been the best part of the episode.
In terms of continuity, DeAndre Hopkins' storyline progresses to show us a part-time fashionista that also questions his decisions. Is he trying too hard? We'll investigate.
On top of an introduction to former number one overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, Hard Knocks also spent some time telling the story of a local Louisiana favorite: former LSU running back Alfred Blue. With Arian Foster sidelined, could it be time for him to shine?
Just like always, Hard Knocks is making me care about a team that I typically don't devote a single iota of emotion toward. Damn you, HBO. Stop making me want to check in on the Texans every week.
Chill Out, Brian. We All Know JJ Watt Is The Boss Anyway
I don't care how hard HBO tried to convince us all that Brian Cushing is a loving family man and a sensitive sweetheart. While that might be true at home, the guy is a Grade A bully on the football field...which is why he's so good.
Typically, starting fights with your co-workers, belittling them and making fun of their children would be the type of thing to get you fired. Not whenever you play football and play like a heat-seeking missile. Yes, he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in his career. You certainly don't have to like the guy. I surely don't, but I respect the hell out of his devotion to the persona. He wants you to hate him. Mission achieved.
The climax of Cushing's antics came whenever Alfred Blue decided to block him a little too hard. He should have known that was an attack on "Cush's" manhood.
After demanding that Blue come back and perform the drill again and again, Cushing finally destroyed Blue and the tackling dummy in one swift takedown. After strutting off to the sideline saying, "that should count for two sacks," he delivered this gem of a phrase to one of his teammates.
"First of all, you're not going to block me. Second of all, you don't want to fight me. Third of all, I'm the man."
The last two points sound exactly like something somebody would say to you at the bar while poking you in the chest and smothering your face Long Island Iced Tea breath, "Try me, bro. I dare you. I took Judo in fifth grade and I don't care if that's your girlfriend."
Luckily, Blue took it in stride. He simply responded with a laughing, "Cush crazy as hell," to another teammate after the little display of dominance. Way to take it like a champ, Blue...which leads us to our next point.
"You're My Boy, Blue!"
Former LSU Running back Alfred Blue went through some hard times in Baton Rouge. After Blue's family's house was involved in a serious fire, the local community banded together to support the hard-working member of the Tiger football team. He repaid the community with a lot of versatility on the field and a shot in the NFL.
Blue's chances of making an impact this year sky-rocketed when Arian Foster's injury came about. Blue and his fellow former LSU running back Kenny Hilliard will be asked to fill the void. It will be like the good ole days in Death Valley for the two of them if the cards play out right.
Fantasy football fans know how many touches Foster collected when healthy. If Blue can prove to be as effective in the passing game, he could take the primary role in the backfield. To get your hopes up, Blue spent some time as a slot receiver at LSU, so he's more than familiar with the passing game.
Let's all just hope he stays healthy. For a humble, soft-spoken guy, life could pick a lot worse of a candidate to reward.
Now on to a not-so-soft-spoken character. Last week, DeAndre Hopkins trolled DeAngelo Hall after breaking his ankles with a move in open space. This week, he tooks us on a shopping spree.
DeAndre Hopkins, Aspiring Runway Model
There's always a pretty boy on every team. DeAndre Hopkins isn't nearly on Russell Westbrook level yet, but he better look out before he starts looking ridiculous.
He said shopping is his "second office." First off, your first office isn't an office, it's a football field. Seond, your second office isn't an office because you spend money in it. Offices are where you're supposed to make money. You're not Kanye yet, man. Unless he's starting his own clothing line, this just seems like a quick way for him to spend part of his massive game checks.
By all means, I'm not hating on him for buying some jeans that are tighter than some would comfortably wear. I've been known to do the same thing. Being stylish is a tough line to walk though.
For example, Hopkins is fine with the shirts and pants and jewelry. It's whenever he's contemplating buying a European man-bag to compliment his Pharrell Williams style Arby's hat that I start to question whether he's trying too hard. Also, don't apologize or act tentative if you're going to make a bold decision. Buy the European man bag if you want it. Don't ask your teammates if it's cool or not.
It's what Russell Westbrook would do. It's what Kanye would do. Go for it, Hop. Buy the whole damn mall out. Wear a scarf and a million bracelets like Johnny Depp. The world is your oyster, so wear some pearls.
Final Notes From The Diary
I almost made a subsection called "Clownin' Around" about Jadeveon Clowney, but I decided against being an intolerable hack for the time being. Maybe later I'll decide to numb your mind with idiotic clown puns, but I'm no Bozo.
Really, there just wasn't much to say about the former college stud than, "Man, Jadeveon Clowney sure looks like a beast." We all know that though. If he can actually wear pads and a helmet and hit people, the Texans could have one of the scariest pass rushes we've seen in a while. With Vince Wilfork eating up blocks on the inside like buffet dinner rolls, Clowney and Watt will have a lot of room to work. Scary thought.
They tried to sell us all on the quarterbacks again this week, but I'm still not buying. I'm a Cleveland Browns fan. Have fun with Brian Hoyer. As Randy Jackson would say, "He's just OK, dog." The same goes for Ryan Mallett. He just doesn't strike me as an intelligent, devoted chap.
Fantasy note, Cecil Shorts could be a sleeper opposite Hopkins, if and only if, one of the QB's decides to go into a phone booth and turn into a real gunslinger.
We will wrap this week's diary up with some musing on why Hard Knocks is such a great concept, and why it only works on HBO. There was a little segment where JJ Watt was talking to some members of the secondary about wearing jock straps. They insisted that going without is the better way to go, seeing as it allows for a full range of motion. Watt wasn't having it. In his line of profession, where piles and scrums are common, it's in his best interest to keep the equipment secured. All of this would get cut from a regular cable show. Not on HBO. Nope, they let you in on a little literal jock talk to cement the football vibe.
By the way, I agree with the defensive backs. How are you supposed to run with that?
Quote Of The Week: Bill O'Brien's Media Tips
Head Coach Bill O'Brien gave the rookies some go-to phrases if they don't know what to say to the media. Ever heard one of these before? The answer is yes.
"I'm working hard trying to be a good teammate."
"I'm taking it one play at a time."