Hard Knocks Episode 4 Recap

By Thomas Galicia (@thomasgalicia)

Our segment in this new episode shows offensive lineman Jeff Steinbach speaking to Jeff Ireland about his impending retirement. Cut in with these images is Coach Joe Philbin announcing Steinbach's retirement. 

Afterwards we see Steinbach speaking to the cameras about how this team is "moving forward", which is the tone of this episode considering what we're going to find out at the end. 

Then we see the coaches meeting and discussing the upcoming game against Atlanta. Kevin Burnett discusses how everyone is at-risk.

News we didn't know until this episode: Daniel Thomas apparently has a tardiness problem. He was late for the team flight to Carolina, then was late for a team workout. We see Thomas speak to Coach Philbin in an attempt to motivate. Something must've worked as Thomas would be the best player on the Dolphins' offense against Atlanta. 

After this we see Coach Philbin talking to his coaching staff prior to the film session

A film session is looked in on, where offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is speaking to the offense about protecting their teammate. We see footage from the game against Carolina where Bush is being easily met at the line by the Panthers' defense. Sherman would tell his charges "we should be helping them off the ground, and not allowing people just to run him back into the ground." Sherman's harsh yet true words would be followed by Coach Philbin reiterating Sherman's points. 

After a montage set to music of a Dolphins practice, we see Richie Incognito telling tight end Michael Egnew to change the password on his iPad, then to check his Facebook. Incognito apparently hacked into Egnew's Facebook and posted "I just [sic] pooped my pants."  Incognito then added "I was going to put something rude, but then I saw the picture of your girlfriend and I felt bad." I'm actually surprised that we haven't seen more of Incognito on the program; he's a very engaging personality. Probably not enough important footage of him. 

After this we see a profile of rookies Jarrell Root and Chas Alecxhi, and the friendship that has forged between the two. Our first shot of them is the two talking about fighting while they were eating, then Root talks about how the two are "similar in a lot of ways" as well as the connection between the two. This is followed by a further conversation the two had in the locker room about how Root only has one tackle "a tackle for loss" as Root puts it. 

Alecxhi's story is then told about how he survived being lost in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico for eight hours. Alecxhi explained how that made him grateful for all of the opportunities that the Dolphins' have given him. Alecxhi has since been cut from the team, while Jarrell Root is still with the team. 

The cameras revisited Les Brown (released by Miami on Saturday), who sees his reps in camp decline. Brown speaks about how he's going to keep working hard and believing himself, as well as how it was a long shot for him to even get to the point he's at. 

My favorite part of the episode came next; a shot of Lauren Tannehill and Jackie Long (wife of Jake Long) talking to reporters about the back to school event at a local mall sponsored by the Dolphins' charitable organization. This is set next to how Lauren is adjusting to South Florida well, while Ryan is still working on the details. 

In this segment about Tannehill, Reggie Bush speaks highly of him, stating that "he looks like he's been in the league for years." However a somewhat funny scene occurs next as Tannehill admits that he doesn't know the divisions in the NFL. He's quizzed about who's in what division. Tannehill claims it's because he wasn't a real pro football fan growing up, so he's still a bit confused. He also mentions how Miami could be in the AFC East if they're at the bottom of the map (from a geographical standpoint this is true, however historically our rivals are the Jets, Bills and Patriots, which is why we're in the East and the Colts went to the South). As part of the quiz when asked to name the teams in the NFC East, his first answer was the Chiefs. Yes, I face-palmed. 

A shot of Ruth's Chris Steak House comes next, and Mike Pouncey and his girlfriend Kristian Fong are he having a conversation about Miami's quarterback situation. Fong asks Pouncey how he feels about Tannehill, to which Pouncey replies that he liked working with all of the quarterbacks. She would then throw in a "you better win this Friday", which we obviously know doesn't happen. 

After a montage of the scenes of South Beach and Downtown Miami (which I have to mention to everyone who has never been to Miami are a full bridge apart from each other and both are far away from the Dolphins' training facilities), we see Jeff Ireland's son Riley walk into his dad's office. Ireland's son mentioned that it was tough for him to catch and throw the footballs used. In his very characteristic cold manner, Ireland just replies "I couldn't throw them when I was 11 either; you can catch them though", then we see a photo of Ireland when he was a ball boy with the Chicago Bears as he explains "I was 12 in that picture catching footballs." 

Ireland's "two great loves, family and football" are discussed. Ireland was raised around the game, which could explain why he does business the way he does. "I've been trained since I was 11 years old to do this job," says Ireland, who's talking about his childhood and how it set him up for his current career. 

We then see the preparations for the game against Atlanta, which includes Jarrell Root arguing with coach Kacy Rodgers. Philbin then speaks to Root, telling him to "watch his reply" and how the coaches are here to help. 

The struggles that the Dolphins defense has had all training camp (and preseason) are also put under a microscope. We then see the defense practicing harder than they have, along with Sean Smith explaining that he "wants Tannehill." Smith picks off Tannehill in practice, then taunts him by saying he'd like to "sign it for ya", then mocks a signature of the football. 

The first hint of the Vontae Davis trade comes up next. The Colts had sent Ireland a text inquiring about a Davis trade. At first they requested him for nothing more than a sixth round pick, a trade that Ireland turns down right away. However Ireland does kick the idea around a bit, citing how Davis is developing and is a contributing player who is going to play quite a bit. 

From there we go to Mike Sherman giving a motivational speech, then the monsoon that engulfed Sun Life Stadium prior to the game against Atlanta. 

The performance of the running backs is highlighted during the game, as is Tannehill's perfect run and slide for a first down. Miami's running game was strong against Atlanta, and this episode highlighted that, as was the toughness of the offensive line. 

Also highlighted were the team's red zone problems. The first mistake being a time out called by the Dolphins because Jonathan Martin's shoe coming off. This is followed by both of Anthony Fasano's drop (including the end zone drop). Then they go back in time (the game's highlights weren't shown in sequence) and also show Tannehill's interception, which came off of a tipped pass (but shouldn't have been thrown in that spot to begin with). 

The defense is then highlighted; first Vontae's called back interception (called back because of his own penalty), then the fourth down stand the defense had in Atlanta's first offensive drive of the game. 

From there we go to the second half of the game, as well as the failings of the second team defense. Jarrell Root is again highlighted (third time this episode) along with Les Brown and Chas Alecxhi, the former saw limited action, while the latter never got onto the field at all. 

The game part concludes with Moore explaining to the team how there's "no urgency", as well as the team playing in the rain. Les Brown's wife even explains how Brown "can't seem to catch a ball." 

We then conclude with the next day in Dolphins' camp, and the ringing of the telephone as players are called and informed of their impending release. Ireland is short and too the point while releasing players, and while it could be described as very "cold", such is the business of the NFL. Chas Alecxhi seems to have a good attitude about it, and seems grateful for the opportunity. On a personal level, I hope this kid succeeds. None of the coaches had anything bad to say about the kid. 

The final cut of the day is that of Les Brown. Ireland tells Brown that "I couldn't have asked for a guy that more represented what we want from a makeup standpoint from you." Brown's attitude is also a good one as he says he's going to believe in himself and keep working. Then in an interview, Brown talks about how tough it was and how he's going to miss his teammates and coaches. Tight Ends coach Dan Campbell also said good bye to Brown, and seemed choked up while doing so. Brown left a message on the white board stating "Thanks for all of the great memories! I love you guys! -Les." 

We finally get to Vontae Davis and his eventual trade. Davis is seen by himself in the bubble, appearing apprehensive. We then see the coaches discussing Davis' interception, with Philbin explaining "I've never seen anything like it, just a total lack of awareness." Ireland is then seen attempting a phone call while we hear a news report of Jim Irsay's tweet. 

Then Ireland is explaining to Philbin how the Colts offered Miami a fifth rounder for Davis, but now has gone down to a second rounder. Philbin then explains how he likes Davis but "wonders if we're able to get him to where we'd like him to be." Ireland then explains that he told the Colts they're intrigued but that a second rounder isn't enough. We see him on the phone telling the Colts "it has to be something that's going to blow me away, you called me; you're getting the player, I have to be the one that has to be satisfied with the compensation." Then we get cut back to Ireland, who explains that he's about to pull the trigger to Coach Philbin. 

Vontae Davis is seen walking into Ireland's office. Ireland explains the trade to Davis. Davis' first reaction is "I wanna call my grandmother." Ireland asks if they could do business first (explaining the incoming Tropical Storm Isaac and how the Colts might want him to leave before the storm gets there). Ireland was honest with Davis, explaining that he thinks the world of him as a person, but that his performance has been up and down. Davis asked what he was getting traded for, and Ireland replied that it was a couple of picks, then told him that he wants Davis to have a good career, then tells him it could be positive for him. 

This is followed by footage of Davis' locker being cleaned out, and the end of the episode. 

This episode saw more of Jeff Ireland than we had seen. It was a very informative look at how cold and callous the business can be. From Les Brown's emotional send off to Vontae Davis' last days with Miami, leaving a team is tough to go through, but in the end, it's just business. 

Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. 

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