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HBO Hard Knocks Featuring The Cleveland Browns: Three Takeaways From Episode Three

With Josh Gordon returning to camp, Dez Bryant in for a Free Agent visit and the drama surrounding the Cleveland Browns that never seems to go away, we all thought we were in for an action packed Episode Three tonight. What we got instead was a lot of “butterflies” and not too many answers on anything.

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Will Dez Bryant be a Cleveland Brown this season?

It sure looks good doesn’t it?  If you simply form your opinion from a less than 3-minute segment on Bryant visiting Berea, it almost appears to be a lock that he will be joining the team.  But that also leads us to the question of, “why hasn’t it happened it?”

Let’s think about this for a moment, Bryant visited the Browns last Thursday, it has been nearly a week and no deal has been inked.  We only saw 45 seconds or so of his meeting with Hue Jackson.  HBO has a way of only showing the viewer what makes for great television to fit their narrative. One can only begin to wonder what was said and went down when the cameras were off.

It appeared to be a lot of hype from Jackson, with no real substance of how they would use Dez.  The viewer got absolutely nothing out of that segment as it was more of a recruiting session for a college athlete, then a former All Pro.

Stretching out 30 minutes of content into 60.

We’ve seen in the first two episodes HBO take certain aspects of players personal life, and do their best to make it interesting television.  Tonight, however, was a bit of a stretch that almost became brutal to watch.

Why would football fans care about butterflies?  Let alone the guy playing with the butterflies who just happens to be the 4th string quarterback who will be gone in a few days?  This episode had far too much “fluff”

While the Brad Paisley segment was great, learning about how he is actually an old school Browns fan, the rest of it was a bit much to stomach.  Almost as bad as the butterflies were the segments of Nate Orchard talking about cookies, or the nauseating debate of how to pronounce “Tyrod Taylor”.

Speaking of Orchard, a sack in the fourth quarter against guys who won’t be playing in the NFL this season, means absolutely nothing.  Browns fans have seen everything they have needed out of him the past several seasons.  His whiffs in the first half are what we have become accustomed to with Orchard.

HBO desperately wants to tell a feel good story with this likes of Orchard and Devon Cajuste, but if the Browns truly are improved 53 men deep, these two should be long gone soon.  John Dorsey is not messing around and he will not keep Cajuste around simply because he makes, “good tv”.

Josh Gordon returning to the Cleveland Browns is not a feel good story.

Why was nothing at all said about this other than showing videos of him at the airport, and a few seconds of him working out?  The simple answer is ratings. HBO wants everyone to keep tuning in next week.  This is not a feel-good story about recovery, far from it.  This is the story of a guy who has held the Browns hostage for his entire career because he cannot be trusted or relied on.

If HBO truly wants to be hard hitting and honest, then they need to spend the first 20 minutes of next week’s episode talking about his issues.  They need to expose the child support problems, and exactly why he cannot be trusted.

This cannot, and should not be a “feel good story”.  If HBO wants fans around the NFL, not just Cleveland to keep watching their show, they need to be 100% accurate and tell the entire thing.  They cannot shape his return as this magical thing that will save the Cleveland Browns because no one will take it seriously.







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