SportsPulse: Trysta Krick overreacts to the top stories from this Week 2 of NFL preseason action. The high-profile rookie QB class is looking good.
Dez Bryant’s Hard Knocks introduction begins with a pop quiz.
Which wide receiver has the most touchdown receptions from 2012-17?
The answer is coming in for a visit.
And, he seems fresh to the idea of signing with the Browns.
Bryant hustles around the facility, seemingly introducing himself to everybody in the complex. He meets with head coach Hue Jackson.
“I’m just looking for realness, that’s all,” Bryant said. “Just being honest, the way you’re expressing yourself, the way you’re talking to me. We barely even know each other and I feel comfortable.”
Jackson does his best to sell Bryant on the Browns.
“This will be the greatest turnaround in sports history,” he says.
Of course, Bryant left Cleveland without a contract offer. Less than 48 hours after Bryant was in Cleveland, the team announced that Josh Gordon would return after taking time off for personal reasons. Gordon’s return most likely means Bryant is out of the picture and his next visit to Cleveland will be as an opponent.
The return of Gordon — the NFL’s leader in receiving yards in 2013 who has only played in 10 games since due to substance-abuse suspensions — and what that might mean for Bryant gets the “on the next Hard Knocks” tease.
Other notable moments from the third episode of Hard Knocks:
♦ The episode opens with a training camp fight. Receiver Jarvis Landry is involved.
Landry throws a football at defensive back Terrance Mitchell’s head. Teammates quickly intervene and there’s a pile of players. There are f-bombs. Most fans would suggest that training camp fights are fun. Hue Jackson seems to agree. After the fight, he’s shown with Landry. After a brief silent pause, Jackson smiles and pats his star receiver on the back.
Later, Alonzo Highsmith — the VP of player personnel with the Browns — is shown talking to general manager John Dorsey. He tells an anecdote about how Damarious Randall told him “I (expletive) love it here. We’re a bunch of (expletive) junkyard dogs.” Highsmith goes on to compare what he’s seeing with this year’s Browns team to Jimmy Johnson’s first year as coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 (Highsmith was a running back for Dallas in 1990). The Cowboys finished 1-15 that year; the Browns, as we are all well aware, went 0-16 last year.
“I see a lot of similarities. I see a lot of the same energy,” Highsmith said. “I see a lot of the same little issues, but you know what, these players are going to overcome.”
♦ One of the players the Browns’ turnaround hinges on can’t stop hitting quarterbacks in practice. Second-year defensive end Myles Garrett runs into quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has seen enough and yells, “Good teams don’t touch the (expletive) quarterback in practice. Good teams don’t do it.”
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams barks back, “then block him!”
Having those two Über-alpha males in the coaching meetings is going to be lot of fun for Jackson this season.
♦ Assistant coach Bob Wylie finally gets his moment in the sun. The offensive line coach of a — how do we say this nicely? — hefty carriage isn’t a fan of stretching (“way overrated” … well, other than the stretching sessions give him a moment to take a seat). A stretching session somehow turns into a discussion about soldiers in World War I and II.
“Did you know, World War I and World War II, all those guys that fought in that war … they did pushups, jumping jacks, situps, climb the rope and ran. None of this fancy (expletive). And they won two World Wars,” Wylie said. “Do you think they were worried when they were running across Normandy about (expletive) stretching?”
If you’ve seen any of the D-Day documentaries that air on the History Channel or American Heroes Channel, you’ll know the answer to that. Later Wylie gets into zoology. He shows his players pictures of animals that would be great offensive linemen. Hogs, rhinos and gorillas (which are compared to his ex-mother in law) have tremendous centers of gravity and balance, Wylie tells them. Another bonus for Wylie … you’ll also never see one of those animals stretch once!
Later, coach Wylie pulls up in a Mazerati. This ride seems severely off-brand for an offensive line coach.
“No Ferris Bueller (expletive) now with this thing, OK?” Wylie tells a valet.
♦ Country music artist Brad Paisley pays a visit to Browns camp. While talking to John Dorsey, Paisley drops a Brett Favre comparison for Baker Mayfield. Dorsey — whose time in the Green Bay Packers’ front office intersected with Favre’s career there — responds, “I can see why people say that, because some of the mannerisms. But you have to earn that respect.”
Paisley then delivers a speech to the team.
“No pressure. I’ve been a fan since third grade. I was a Brian Sipe fan. That’s how far back I go,” Paisley said. “Go win some this year. I’m really rooting for you, and I can’t wait to see what you do. So, win this for Cleveland. Go out there, and go get ’em.”
It’s not exactly Knute Rockne-esque.
♦ Tyrod Taylor is about to become the 29th different starting quarterback for the Browns since the franchise came off hiatus in 1999. Last season, Taylor delivered the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, but then was traded to Cleveland in the offseason. While his status as Week 1 starter seems secure, confusion reigns over how to pronounce his first name. Is it Tuh-rod, or Tyrod?
“It’s Tuh-rod, but I call him ‘Ty’ so I guess I’m doing it wrong,” Baker Mayfield said.
♦ We get to spend more time with undrafted rookie quarterback Brogan Roback, who met his girlfriend by sliding into her DMs on Instagram.
“The DMs are the power moves,” Roback said.
His Instagram girlfriend is one of the few brave Browns fans who endured the rain and grind that is watching an entire preseason game. Unfortunately for her (and probably her boyfriend, too), Roback doesn’t get into the Browns’ preseason game against the Bills.
♦ Last week, we were introduced to tight end Devon Cajuste and his father, who has battled numerous medical issues over the years — including three heart attacks, a stroke and a tracheotomy. It was as powerful a moment as Hard Knocks has produced in its 13 seasons. In the preseason game against the Bills, Cajuste’s 27-yard catch and run gets the full NFL Films treatment … slow-mo replay, exhilarating pulse-pounding score. Later, he appears to recover a fumble on punt coverage, but replay reversed the call. Cajuste is fighting for a roster spot, and his struggle to make the team will be followed closely by the cameras for the remainder of the series.
♦ Puppies! Since 2015, the Browns — with the Northeast Ohio SPCA — have been hosting puppy adoptions at training camp. This is an awesome tradition, and as a result hundreds of good dogs have found homes. Some dogs have been named after Browns past and present: Barker Mayfield, Tyruff Taylor (or, Tuh-ruff?), Jabrill Puppers, Myles Garuff, MarmaDuke Johnson, Carlos Rawhide, Antonio Callawag, Snarl Nassib, Emmanuel Dogbah, Pawstin Corbett, Joe “voted Best in Schobert”, Briean Doggy-Calhound, Larry Ogoodboyjobi, John Dogsey, Lou “The Paw” Growlza.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.
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