At last! I finally got to watch the first episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks 2018 featuring the Cleveland Browns.

All week I’ve been seeing people comment on and putting clips up on social media of the show and so by the time I got to watch it, I felt like I’d already seen the best bits. A bit annoying but always going to happen when it’s released in the U.S. before it is over here in the UK.

The fact that NFL Gamepass Europe has started off the 2018 NFL season in the same way as it spent all 2017 season — being absolute dog shite — didn’t help!

Gamepass Europe seems to have gone quiet again on social media and it would now appear that NFLUK has stepped in on there (well, on Twitter at least) as their mouthpiece. On Thursday I was looking forward to settling down to watch the first Hard Knocks episode only to see that NFLUK (who I’m not a fan of anyway) had tweeted out about how the show would be on later and they apologised for the delay.

The season hasn’t even started and they are pissing me off!!! After watching a few of the week one preseason games I’m finding that the shitty app still has a life of its own when I play it on my TV through a Google Chromecast device. Anyway, that’s all for another post, but things better improve from Gamepass Europe (I’m 99.99999% sure they won’t) or they can whistle for my money next season. I might even go back to watching the NFL via Sky Sports (YUCK!).

So, where was I? Oh yeah, Hard Knocks and the Cleveland Browns.

My Favourite Hard Knocks Bits

Tyrod Taylor looks like a great guy and one that I think the younger players will look up to and respect. He does look like a model professional who’ll come in and do his job without all the extra “look at me” off the field stuff. I think he’s going to leave the franchise in a much-improved state ready for Baker next season.

Baker Mayfield looks like a confident cheeky chappy who I immediately liked. I can now see why people with some form of access to the franchise have been saying the other players are drawn to him. The more I see of Baker the more confident I am about his future in the league and that of the Cleveland Browns.

The Carl Nassib financial advice bit to his fellow defensive linemen was ok but I don’t think it was as good as many have been mentioning on social media. Each to their own, though, right? I like the way he’s thinking, though, and passing it on to his fellow young players as it showed a sign of maturity. I know many don’t rate Nassib as a player but I’ve always liked his ability to get into the backfield as well as disrupt passes at the line.

I thought LB Christian Kirksey was brilliant. To me, he is a good leader on the defense and should be a captain for them. I liked how he stepped up in front of the team in the big meeting and did the whole “Why” thing but I also loved the way it appeared to be him who was the first to go up to Hue Jackson to show his support after Hue had told them all about what was going on with his family and the deaths within it. The other players followed his lead…brilliant.

Talking about Hue Jackson and what he’s going through whilst being filmed for Hard Knocks; wow, that shit’s real! I absolutely feel for the guy and had a lump in my throat whilst watching. The bit when John Dorsey and the other two guys came into Hue’s office to offer their support just about had a tear rolling down my cheek. The genuine feeling and support those guys showed to Hue was touching. It was four blokes who spend their time in a macho environment genuinely trying to show their feelings and it was, as is to be expected in that environment, awkward, genuine, touching and brilliant.

Hue definitely needed the group hug as that’s when he finally let it out before sitting back at his desk and the other guys quietly left.

After seeing that and seeing how nice of a guy Hue actually is, I’m rooting for him to do well this year with the Browns.

Jarvis Landry is the definite star of the team right now. His speech in the wide receivers meeting room was brilliant and his skills on the training camp field are brilliant. I like how the other players and coaches watch him and acknowledge how good he is. I loved the part of that segment when it cut to John Dorsey on the training camp field just watching his guys when Eliot Wolf walked up beside him and tapped him on the arm. The two kinda nodded at each other as if to say “Oh yeah, we got a good one here! Well done!”.

All in all, I enjoyed the first episode and look forward to the rest of the series. I just don’t like having to rely on shitty NFL Gamepass Europe!!!

If you’re looking to watch the episode it’s available on YouTube quite early (before shitty Gamepass) before we get it over here in the UK and is also available now on NFL.com.