By Thomas Galicia (@thomasgalicia)
We expected this week's episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Miami Dolphins, to be a big one.
Between David Garrard's surgery and Chad Johnson's drama—plus the first preseason game—episode two had the potential to be an explosive episode.
Prior to the explosive scenes came a hugely emotional scene: Coach Joe Philbin reacting to the news of the passing of Eagles coach Andy Reid's son. Philbin's wife Diane attended Garrett Reid's funeral. Philbin himself and his family were in a situation like this earlier this year as his son Michael passed away only weeks before he accepted the job in Miami. From then on it became about Philbin still dealing with the loss of his son, who drowned in a lake near his college campus in January. No parent should ever have to go through the pain of having to bury one of their children, and one couldn't blame Philbin for being emotional when it came to the subject of his son. While emotions were setting in for coach, at the same time he managed to keep his calm and composure together while expressing his thoughts.
Later in the episode we saw a light-hearted look at Dolphins rookie hazing. Doing weird things with their hair seemed to be this season's theme. The man who probably had it the worst was Josh Samuda. On top of losing both eyebrows, the Mohawk that he sports is designed to look like a Johnson; Chad Johnson got cut this week just in case you've been living under a rock, but we'll discuss that later. (Note to the editor; it's an Austin Powers reference, please do not fix.)
Meanwhile we also got a good look at offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who's presence and command on the show (coupled with how Tannehill develops over time) might just bring him another shot at becoming an NFL or college head coach. Sherman was especially tough on his tight ends (which makes sense due to the importance of the position in his West Coast Offense), even going so far as to tell third round pick Michael Egnew: "I'd cut you today if I was the general manager. I would cut you. Get your head out of your [sic] butt. You were drafted as a high pick. Get your (bleep) going. It's not good enough."
That's exactly what you want to hear being told to someone who was essentially acquired in exchange for Brandon Marshall, who by all accounts is having a very good training camp in Chicago.
Sherman would then focus his attention on Charles Clay, who had an excellent game against Tampa Bay playing alongside Tannehill, Pruitt, Wallace and the rest of the second-team offense. Clay however was having trouble with some of the plays in practice, which led Sherman to tell him: "Charles, I'm telling you right now, I've got nothing to say about you at these meetings other than, he's not doing his job. You hurt us the other day."
Sherman would then tell the rest of the tight ends: "We watch a practice like this, we're calling tight ends around the league. That's how it works. There's no full scholarship."
Meanwhile tight ends coach Dan Campbell talked a little bit about one of last week's featured stars Les Brown, stating: "He's not built like a normal tight end, he's built more like a wide receiver." This leads me to this question: why not try him out as a receiver instead of at tight end? His main issue has been blocking, and the Dolphins are actually decent at tight end with Fasano and Clay (who is improving), while Egnew is going to be a project. The Dolphins need a wide out, so why not give Brown a shot there?
Speaking of receivers (the position that played the most prominent role in this episode for obvious reasons), Jeff Ireland talked about the Dolphins wide out corps; or lack thereof. Ireland expresses to Peter King that:
"We've got fours, fives and sixes," said Ireland on the broadcast, as in No. 4, 5 and 6 options at wideout. "What we need are threes, twos and ones. And I have to find out that we have to find out who those threes, twos and ones are, and if we have any of those guys."
Of course it is Ireland who made the decisions on who to draft. I should mention that he asked one possible number one if his mother was a prostitute, traded another number one for two third round picks, and passed up on number one receivers like DeSean Jackson (chose Phillip Merling instead with that second round pick in 2008) and Demariyus Thomas (he was decent with Tebow, wait until you see what Peyton Manning does with him).
This time around though Ireland seemed a bit more authentic than last week's Tannehill contract "drama".
Also on the receiver front were the questions about Roberto Wallace. The coaching staff has the same ones that fans do (mainly why he hasn't been a bigger part of the Dolphins offense and why he hasn't become a star in the same manner that Miles Austin had become with the Cowboys). This was answered as they gave him the nick-name "ankle weights". Why? Because he has problems getting away from his defenders—problems that he didn't seem to have during Friday's preseason game.
Another wide receiver Chris Hogan got his profile this week. Hogan is shown working out and practicing and from the looks of it was doing quite well. Running back Reggie Bush noticed, and stated that Hogan's nickname was "7-11". Why "7-11"? Because as Bush puts it: "Open for business, 24 hours a day, seven days a week." Bush would later add during the show: "Give it to 81, coach. He's always open. Just give it to him. 7-11."
Before we get to the Chad stuff, there's the issue of David Garrard. How did he injure his knee? At first we thought it was a matter of age and the lack of game shape Garrard was in, yet everything in this episode showed the former Jaguars quarterback to be throwing the ball well and having a grasp of the offense. Things were looking good, and Garrard was the presumptive starter not just for the preseason game against the Buccaneers, but perhaps the season.
But then Garrard did what any father would do and took some time out to play with his kids at the pool. That's where he suffered his injury. He needed 100ccs of fluid drained from his knee and will likely be out three to four weeks. So much for front-runner status.
Then there's Chad Johnson. Throughout the episode we start seeing little hints that his time in Miami was going to come to an end. Johnson had difficulties learning the playbook (same problem he had in New England). It's one thing to not be so impressive in training camp, and another thing to get into legal trouble during camp. But ultimately the impression I got was that his overall antics (which along with the legal troubles would have likely been overlooked had he come to camp prepared and learned the playbook) and his lack of playbook knowledge sealed his fate, and the arrest was only the straw that broke his back.
The release itself was awkward to say the least. You get the impression that Philbin had a hard time making the cut, but at the same time was the main guy behind it. The two were bound to clash eventually, and usually when that happens its the head coach that gets the boot no matter who's really the trouble maker. Hence, Philbin did the right thing not only for himself, but for the team.
The reality of the Dolphins is this: they're not a playoff team this year with or without Chad. Yes, losing Chad will make their receiving corps that much worse, but what good is an attention-seeking wide receiver when he doesn't know the plays and has now gotten himself the wrong type of attention? This isn't a statement proclaiming him guilty as he is innocent until proven guilty (I'm actually pretty convinced that it was Evelyn that headbutted him), nor do I think he is a bad guy. This is a statement on Chad Johnson the football player and the fact that his personality doesn't mesh well with what the Dolphins are trying to accomplish. There's no harm in admitting that. Philbin's decision to cut Johnson was best for both parties once you strip down all of the possible ramifications. Miami won't regret it, and in due time, Johnson will understand why (based on what was seen, he already did understand before he got cut).
However it would be a thrill to see Johnson come back to the Dolphins training facility in the last few episodes with new schemes to come back to the team. Would he change his name back to Chad Ochocinco and explain that Chad Johnson was the guy they cut? Would he come back sporting new facial hair?
If he does do that, then maybe we'll get scenes like this.
Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.