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The Cleveland Browns make their debut on Hard Knocks on Tuesday night. What can we expect from the this season of the HBO miniseries?

By Conor Orr
August 06, 2018

It’s the incredible moments, like Rex Ryan’s search for Darrelle Revis or the Dolphins trading Vontae Davis, that keep HBO’s training camp documentary Hard Knocks alive and humming.

At its core, though, the expertly produced miniseries provides the perfect mousetrap for bumbling franchises to try and market their rebirth before ultimately saying or doing something wildly stupid. Back in 2015, I jotted down a quick list, like the time the Jets general manager bragged about signing Santonio Holmes, or when Herm Edwards declared Brodie Croyle the future of the Chiefs, or when then-Dolphins guard Richie Incognito bragged about the locker room camaraderie. In hindsight, all of those look very bad.

In that spirit, and with Tuesday’s debut of the Cleveland Browns series on tap, it’s time to do a little prognosticating on the next great additions to that list. For the more adventurous souls, consider these predictions for episode one the guidelines for a drinking game that will almost certainly leave you completely schnockered. And if you’re a Browns fan, isn’t that the whole point anyway?

• The episode will cold-open on Hue Jackson waddling into Lake Erie while narrator Liev Schreiber rhapsodizes about a football baptism.

• The necessary montage of sad but plucky-and-determined Browns fans, Cleveland’s history as a working class town and the interwoven narrative of their proud history. Jim Brown, Bernie Kosar, Dennis Northcutt, yadda yadda.

• Jackson making some sort of fiery mea culpa in front of the entire team, while also finding some time in the episode to subtly blame Sashi Brown for his 1-31 start in a smaller setting.

• The painting of John Dorsey as a football savior as they show him jogging slowly or talking suspiciously on the sideline, while also subtly blaming Sashi Brown for the team’s 1-31 record over the past two seasons.

• A staged-but-casual moment where owner Jimmy Haslam comes out on the field and makes a brief, mildly humorous observation about the team to Jackson, while also subtly blaming Sashi Brown for the team’s 1-31 record over the past two seasons.

• The establishment of an easy-to-root for undrafted free agent with a slightly unusual backstory. Our guess: London-born defensive back Tigie Sankoh.

• The cementing of Baker Mayfield as the eager understudy to the sage Tyrod Taylor.

Good luck, and enjoy.

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NOW ON THE MMQB: Dak Prescott goes full franchise quarterback and takes responsiblity for all Dallas' woes in 2018 ... The Browns now have zero of the first-round picks they made between 2010 and '16. Is that bad? The Bengals' young receiving core is finally ready to rumble.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Andy Benoit travels to Kenya ... Johnny Manziel, or as the locals in Montreal call him, Jean Piedballon, had a rough start in the CFL. But how terrible was it really? What were we ever going to get out of Manziel? ... The team investigating Urban Meyer at Ohio State.


1. Aaron Donald is probably not making his way to a Rams practice any time soon.

2. Remembering long-time NFL personnel executive Tom Heckert, who passed away at 51

3. The Falcons love the idea that they won't have a ton of cap space. Ricardo Allen is up next at the signing table, with a three-year extension.

4. The Dolphins running game got a boost from an old friend of Adam Gase's.

5. Browns running back Duke Johnson will remain a running back, despite a glut at the position

6. Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib did not fight at joint practices between the Ravens and Rams Monday. At press time, Crabtree was still in possession of his necklace. 

7. Time to lock in the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Nick Bosa, come on down! 

8. The 2008 Detroit Lions: A team that was totally butt

9. Displaying an incredible inability to just have nice things, the Hall of Fame is tinkering with a stupid Terrell Owens rule so that players will have to show up in Canton. 

10. Todd Bowles is going to go full Jet and wait until the last preseason game to name a starter. GOTTA MAINTAIN THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE.  


This is not a political newsletter, but it is a newsletter powered by hardworking journalists working overtime to provide readers with the truth on their favorite teams and players. None, that I know of, are enemies of the state.

For the foreseeable future, instead of a pithy joke or Grateful Dead song, I’m going to use this ending space to thank a few random journalists for all that they have been doing on a daily basis. If you’re a consumer of news at the local or national level, I encourage you to reach out to a reporter who helped inform you today and send them a note. It will mean more to them than you’ll ever know.

So for Tuesday, thank you, Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune and his reporting partner Ken Armstrong of ProPublica for illuminating an issue facing the people of Elkhart County, Indiana, where public records seem to dissapear. 

Question or comment? Email us at

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