OPINION: Gordon back, Kendricks out, QBs down: Hard Knocks episode 4 recap

Jake Adams headshot

Jake Adams

While the fourth episode of “Hard Knocks” was not the most exciting, it created a lot of build up for the finale.

First, we saw wide receiver Josh Gordon return to the Cleveland Browns’ facility and stadium — a great sight.

He mentioned how he missed the stadium, and even gave out his gloves to two children in the crowd, who welcomed him back with enthusiasm.

Gordon reviewed the Browns’ new offensive scheme, mentioning it was not all that different from years prior. Whether this is good or bad will be determined during the regular season.

On a negative note, linebacker Mychal Kendricks committed two acts of insider trading, a federal crime that eventually led to his release. While this wasn’t explictly mentioned on this weeks episode gave the Browns an insider scouting report of Eagles players Nick Foles and Zach Ertz. Irony in it’s purest form.

Somewhere out there, defensive end Carl Nassib is shaking his head knowing his finance lectures did not reach everyone on the roster.

Along with the controversy surrounding Kendricks, drama is beginning to take focus around the final roster cuts for the regular season.

Fringe guys like Nate Orchard, Brogan Roback and Devon Cajuste will be playing for a job. Per usual, the producers of the show gave the viewers more emotional attachment to these guys.

Nate Orchard, a defensive end, was shown spending quality time with his wife and three children at practice. He had his daughters help him with getting his wrist guards off, and got to hold his youngest infant son.

As Cajuste, a tight end aptly nicknamed “Juice,” has seen his story become national news, many have reached out to him.

One of those people was Erin Andrews, who left a heartfelt message for Juice. She wished his family good health and said she hoped he makes the team.

Roback also got to meet Andrews, who is one of his sideline reporter crushes, and was excited to recall the experience. He was even more excited to learn she knew his name.

The rest of the episode centered around their preseason game against the Eagles.

Viewers got an inside glimpse of quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s dislocated pinky finger, as well.

Under the tent, as the team doctor touched Taylor’s hand and he let out a yelp of pain, every Browns fan tuning in let out a familiar groan of anxiety.

Luckily, his X-rays came back negative, and the doctors cleared him to return to the game with a taped-up wrist.

Backup quarterback Baker Mayfield also had an injury scare when he was knocked down and hit his head on the back of one of his linemen.

He laid on the ground in pain and looked to be evaluated for a concussion. Coach Hue Jackson quickly pulled the plug on him and played Drew Stanton the rest of the game.

After the game ended, 5-0, the show alluded to next week’s roster cuts.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with the possibility of being cut. Cajuste has a belief in crystals giving him mindfulness and ease around all the stress. He notes that just holding one of them gave him a “head buzz.”

This odd statement was one of the highlights of a predominantly dull episode, which is what can happen when you have a hour time slot to fill but only about 15 minutes of real interesting moments.

The episode featured a nearly five minute section of only slow motion shots of Baker Mayfield passing. While it was high-quality footage and put together well, it did not give the viewers much entertainment.

The episode was a good watch for anyone that follows the Browns closely, but from a national standpoint, it was easy to forget.

However, this should all change next week as cuts happen, starting jobs are filled and players are potentially signed or traded.

The final episode airs on Sept. 4.

Jake Adams is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]