Oakland Raiders

Did the Raiders ruin Hard Knocks? Yes, yes they did

Reviewing the first episode of Hard Knocks with the Raiders, Jalen Ramsey is an absolute savage off the field and ESPN The Ocho embraces the weird and wacky.

Is Hard Knocks still good?

Hard Knocks with the Raiders premiered on Tuesday night on HBO. It was worse than any of the episodes from the final season of Game of Thrones. Normally, I’m stoked for the show because it means football is right around the corner. That part is still true but I think I’m over the show. The Raiders are a fine pick worthy of being chronicled for the five-episode series, but does anyone else care outside of Raider Nation?

The debut episode saw Antonio Brown arrive at training camp in a hot air balloon, Derek Carr’s response to getting to play with Brown, one of three first round picks, Johnathan Abram not knowing how to pronounce salmon. That was it. That was the episode.

It left a lot to be desired, much like the majority of Raiders seasons over the last two decades. Despite my criticism, the premiere drew 705,000 viewers, which was the best for a debut since the Texans season premiere drew 826,000 in 2015.

I’ll continue to record the series, and give the series the benefit of the doubt. Plus, I am football-starved so I will consume football shows, even if they are less than satisfying. But after Last Chance U (Netflix) and All or Nothing (Amazon) earlier this summer, I think I might have hit my limit on football docu-series and I just need to go straight to the real thing and binge-watch the games instead.

Jalen Ramsey is a savage on and off-the-field

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is one of the best at his position, and he’s one of the best trash talkers in the business. To that end, we learned just how much of a savage he is in comments he made on a podcast about how he’d get in the head of opposing receivers when he was at Florida State.

“Say I was playing a big receiver at whatever school, I would look up his Instagram and slide in his girlfriend’s DMs before the game,” Ramsey said on the Bussin’ with the Boys podcast with Titans lineman Taylor Lewan and NFL free agent Will Compton.

That’s surely one way to get under the opponent’s skin before a big game. It didn’t hamper his game at Florida State, but he admits it worked.

“People get hot about that.”

Ramsey, to his credit, discontinued the practice once he got to the NFL because “people got wives and stuff” so at least he’s not trying to break up any marriages, which is nice.

ESPN The Ocho is weird and wonderful

ESPN2 morphed into The Ocho again on Wednesday for an entire day’s worth of the weird, wacky and otherwise absurd sports and sport-like events got their day in the sun. It got off to a bit of a rocky start with pizza acrobatics. Literally just dudes spinning dough in a continuous movement while they danced like your older uncle at a wedding. It was weird. And then the cherry pit championship got underway. But then it got a little better with lawnmower racing which featured some really awesome mustaches and athleticism in wranglers that Brett Favre and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be proud of.

Then it got weird again with “stupid robot fighting” and I have to give them credit for acknowledging how stupid it was. It made me long for the days of Battlebots. The electricians national championship and sign spinning championship wasn’t entertaining but to see the competitors in their Super Bowl and chasing glory, that really made it all worthwhile.

But it was a fun, albeit different diversion from the normal non-stop sports content ESPN beats us over our head. How many training camp updates do we really need, ya know?

Next: 10 college teams that should be on Hard Knocks

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