Young quarterbacks could take the reins in the AFC North, while this could be the season that things click for the Chargers in the AFC West.
HBO’s cameras caught Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry unleashing a 1,080-word expletive-laced speech in the receivers room in training camp — one of the most memorable speeches in the history of HBO’s Hard Knocks show that also provided a unique look at the culture change in progress inside the NFL’s last-place team.
The Browns have won just one game in the past two years, but Landry wasn’t in Cleveland for all that losing.
The receiver arrived in March in a trade from Miami, and in April signed five-year, $75 million contract. He’s not tied to the losing record, but he’s invested in the franchise’s future and he decided to call out his receiver teammates for their toughness and practice habits.
“I don’t know what the [expletive] has been going on here, and I don’t know why it’s been going on here, but this — if you’re not hurt, if your hamstring ain’t falling off the [expletive] bone, if your leg ain’t broke, I don’t know, you should be [expletive] practicing. Straight up. That [expletive] is weakness. That [expletive] is contagious as [expletive], and that [expletive] ain’t going to be in this room,” Landry said.
Landry implored his teammates to play through the fatigue of camp, when everyone is feeling sore and tired, and challenged his fellow receivers to be tougher.
“I ain’t taking no [expletive] days off because I can’t be [expletive] great that way. That has to be the attitude and mentality all the [expletive] time. All that weak [expletive] don’t [expletive] live here no more. That [expletive] don’t exist,” Landry said.
Landry’s impassioned speech came immediately after a montage of poor offensive play in practice. The Hard Knocks cameras caught multiple drops, including a pair from now-former-Browns receiver Corey Coleman. “Come on Corey, that’s a big play. Get in there and have some desire,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said.
Moments later, head coach Hue Jackson was caught wiping his brow.
“Way too soft. Way too [expletive] soft,” Jackson muttered. “Sucks man. Sucks.”
Poignant moment: The episode was dedicated to Betty Lee Jackson, head coach Hue Jackson’s mother, who passed away last week. The coach was mostly stoic after receiving the news, until general manager John Dorsey, vice president of communications Peter-John Baptiste and director of football operations Simon Gelan entered his office. Dorsey asked Jackson to stand, and the four men joined in a group hug. Jackson then broke down, and put his head in his hands and sobbed.
Breakout star: DE Carl Nassib. The third-year player delivered the episode’s second-most memorable speech when he tried to educate his defensive linemates about fiscal responsibility. “Who knows what compound interest is? This is real [expletive]. Financial advisors are everywhere. They’ll [expletive] take your money and they’ll take 1 percent of everything you got, and you’ll be like ‘Oh it’s one percent it doesn’t [expletive] matter. It matters. It matters a [expletive] lot. Because if you learn this [expletive] yourself, you can make a billion [expletive] dollars.” Nassib was also called out in a team meeting by Jackson for meeting Taylor Swift before the singer’s concert in Cleveland.
Quarterback watch: Hard Knocks knows No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield is the Browns’ star attraction, but the show is not trying to manufacture a quarterback competition storyline. It’s clear Mayfield is the backup to veteran Tyrod Taylor, who turned 29 on Friday, in case anyone missed the multiple references to his age or birthday. Mayfield was shown arriving at the airport, with an escort of team employees, signing his contract while accompanied by his agents, and learning how to operate the new quarterback RV, that he had to purchase. “Most teams do dinners and make the rookies pay for it. Not here. Not the Cleveland Browns,” Mayfield said. “They made me get an RV. Good thing I signed last night.”
Not pictured: The Browns traded receiver Corey Coleman to Buffalo on Sunday, but that transaction did not make the cut for the premiere episode. Neither did the news on Tuesday that rookie receiver Antonio Callaway was cited over the weekend for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Look for both issues to be addressed next week.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.
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