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Training Camp

Everything we learned from the season premiere of 'Hard Knocks' at Browns camp

Compound interest, drum solos, RVs and lozenges. That's just the start of what we'll remember most from the season premiere of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns."

The following is a rundown of everything that stood out to us from the hour-long episode. Is this where we say spoilers ahead?



-- "Hard Knocks" takes viewers behind the scenes of the moment Baker Mayfield officially signed his contract with the Browns. The signing came just one day before the Browns were set to report to training camp. Before Mayfield arrives, cameras catch general manager John Dorsey saying a potential holdout "wouldn't be good for the organization." As Mayfield looks over the paperwork, Dorsey jokes, "Will you sign? Do you want a pen? Please?" Mayfield does, of course, netting the biggest signing bonus of any player in the 2018 draft class. "Think that will pay for tuition?" Mayfield asks.

-- One of the biggest storylines of training camp unfolds in the opening minutes of the show, as Hue Jackson passes along the news of wide receiver Josh Gordon's absence to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese and wide receivers coach Adam Henry in an offensive meeting. He vows to the coaches Gordon "will be back" at some point. Later in the episode, Jackson receives a text message from Gordon, who passed along condolences upon learning of the death of Jackson's mother, Betty Lee Jackson.

-- Cameras capture the moment Jackson learns of his mother's death, which comes just two weeks after the unexpected death of his brother, John Jackson Jr. During an emotional moment in Jackson's office, Dorsey, Jackson, senior VP of Communications Peter John-Baptiste and Director of Football Operations Simon Gelan come together for a hug as Dorsey urges Jackson to let his emotions flow. One hour later, Jackson is seen back on the practice field. Near the end of the episode, Jackson lets the team know what he's going through, calling the day he learned of his mother's death one of the toughest of his life. Player after player hugs Jackson as they finish the meeting.

-- At the team's first meeting of camp, Jackson lays out his expectations for the upcoming season. There was no mention of 0-16. "Training Camp 2018. Ain't no stopping us now ... I need guys that are all in. Think championship. Why not? I want guys that want to be a part of what we're about to do, because it's going to be special ... You guys want to change the narrative of the Cleveland Browns? You've got the chance to do so. Starting right now."

-- Cameras follow Mayfield as he purchases the now-famous QBRV. The salesman goes through a detailed explanation of the vehicle's plumbing capabilities, but Mayfield insists that won't be necessary. Later in the episode, undrafted rookie Brogan Roback gives a tour while jokingly dismissing the online queries about his permission to enter the RV. Roback is in charge of keeping the RV stocked with drinks and snacks and is even tasked with fluffing veteran Drew Stanton's pillow. Stanton ribs Roback before a practice, saying "that is the saddest looking fridge. This is a group with high expectations."

-- Perhaps the most inspirational moment occurs in the wide receivers room, where Jarvis Landry, unprompted, unleashes on the players around him about pushing through the grind of training camp and not taking any days off. Almost none of what Landry said can be transcribed in this space. Later, camera crews visit Landry and his family at their new Cleveland-area house. "We're going to be here for a while," he said, "so we want to do it right."

-- Defensive end Carl Nassib's wry sense of humor comes out in a big way at multiple points in the episode. Before a meeting with his fellow defensive linemen, Nassib puts on his financial planning hat and espouses the benefits of compound interest. "This is the easiest equation to make you rich." At a team meeting, Jackson posts a picture of Nassib alongside pop star Taylor Swift, who recently performed at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium. Nassib said he proposed. When asked how it went, Nassib said "not right now." As credits roll at the end, Nassib is seen talking to his teammates about the detriment of social media and how two hours per day on Instagram equals one month of an entire year.

-- Mayfield is forced to take the stage at a team meeting, where he formally introduces himself, begrudgingly reveals his signing bonus and is tasked with leading the group in a sing-a-long. His song of choice? John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

-- Christian Kirksey tasks the players around him to figure out "What's your why?" Players are later seen writing their answers on pieces of paper and sticking them to the ceilings above their bed and mirrors in their hotel rooms.

-- Coverage of Friday's intrasquad scrimmage reveals Browns players were just as wowed by Landry's one-handed touchdown catch as fans and media were. "We've got a playmaker," one defensive player says.

-- The episode ends with a hoarse defensive coordinator Gregg Williams lamenting how he loses his voice every year on Day 3. A player asks if he needs a lozenge. It … does not end well for the player.

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