The second episode of “Hard Knocks” aired on Tuesday night and receiver Antonio Brown was a featured player. His ailing feet played such a big part in the show that they got their own story.
There’s plenty more to dissect from the NFL Films show, airing each Tuesday on HBO.
As an aside, there was no mention of Gabe Jackson’s MCL injury, which will keep him out a while, maybe until after a Week 6 bye. He’s one of the team’s best players, and “Hard Knocks” didn’t show any of it. Uncool.
There were plenty of fun segments in this one. Here are five things we learned from the second episode:
Jon Gruden loves to hate his quarterbacks
The Raiders head coach can be tough on quarterbacks. He loves them one minute and chides them the next, and the next and the next.
“Hard Knocks” showed Mike Glennon and Nate Peterman getting the full Gruden experience in this episode.
He loved Glennon’s touchdown drive to open Saturday’s exhibition versus L.A., marveling at his height and smart decisions moving the ball downfield.
Gruden didn’t like two interceptions that came after, saying “I can’t even look at the guy.”
He’s demanding of his quarterbacks, as we all know, but that played out clearly in this episode. Gruden has said plenty of nice things about Peterman in camp, but gets on him hard in the huddle while trying to be constructive with his criticism.
“I love you, but you can’t keep running into unblockable looks,” Gruden said. “…You’re a smart guy, but you have to have confidence to pull the trigger.”
Peterman comes off as a soft-spoken guy, and Gruden tried to get him to be more assertive in the practice huddle. He responds to a dressing down with a ‘yes, sir,” which generated this classic from Gruden.
“You’re too nice,” Gruden said. “You have to be more like me. You have to be a little bit of a jerk. …Okay, I am a good guy. Sorry for being a d--k.”
Maxx Crosby got a new plate
The episode went into detail on edge rusher Maxx Crosby breaking a bone in his hand during Saturday’s exhibition against the L.A. Rams. He tried to force a fumble out of Rams running back John Kelly and got hurt in the process.
“I was trying to punch it free,” Crosby told defensive line coach Brentston Buckner, “and it shattered.”
Crosby had a plate put in his hand – he had surgery on Monday – and head coach Jon Gruden said in a Tuesday press conference that he’ll be out until the Week 3 exhibition at the earliest. There’s little doubt he’ll be around for the season opener. He has a 4-6 week recovery ahead, but should be able to play through the injury with the right cast.
Keelan Doss is from Alameda?!?!
Hopefully everyone felt the sarcasm dripping from that headline. The “Hard Knocks” episode really worked the Keelan Doss hometown hero angle, which came up time and again in different segments in the show.
He was born and raised in Alameda, just minutes from the Raiders' complex and Oakland Coliseum, where he played his first NFL game. Then he scored a touchdown in his hometown, on his first reception as a Raider.
“You literally can’t make that stuff up,” Hunter Renfrow told Doss after the touchdown. “You grew up an Oakland fan, you’re from here and then you score your first touchdown on your first catch? A freaking touchdown. That’s awesome. … God just winks at you sometimes.”
Incognito, the peacemaker?
“Hard Knocks” loves a good fight. The Raiders and Rams mixed it up on the second day of joint practices, with a sideline-clearing incident that lasted about 10 seconds in real-time.
It went far longer on the show –- fights always look better in slo-mo -- as the episode milk drama from the moment. They were smart to put a microphone near left guard Richie Incognito, a notorious hot head who has found some inner peace through therapy.
“There was a lot of pushing and shoving, and I’m clearing out the back,” the Raiders left guard said. “It’s not worth it. Let me speak some life knowledge to you. It’s not worth it. Count to 10 and go to the next play. Let me tell you what I learned in counseling. Just count to 10…and love yourself first.”
Sean McVay and Jon Gruden share a moment
NFL Films busted out old film of Rams head coach Sean McVay working his first NFL gig, which came under Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay, before showing Raiders-Rams joint practice footage. McVay was just 22 then, as a quality control coach who assisted the Buccaneers receivers.
NFL Films found a good exchange between the two back in Tampa Bay.
Gruden: Do you like football?
McVay: Yes, sir. I love it.
Gruden: Are you going to work at it, or are you just going to watch it, scratching yourself watching TV and all the commentary out there. There’s a lot of that.