As shown above, it appears Mayfield is becoming a bit more comfortable on the field. The off-field moments, however, are quite comical in this episode. Upon arriving in the Cleveland area with his people, he settles into his hotel room and starts discussing places to eat. Bob Evans is brought up at one point, much to the surprise of the rookie QB.
“I didn’t know Bob Evans was a chain.”— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) August 8, 2018
my favorite gem among the many in the hard knocks premiere is baker mayfield not knowing bob evans is a chain— Haley O'Shaughnessy (@HaleyOSomething) August 8, 2018
The most real moment of the Hard Knocks debut was Baker Mayfield trying to find restaurants near the hotel in Berea on Yelp and only finding Taco Bell and Bob Evans.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) August 8, 2018
It’s certainly understandable for a Texan to not know much about Bob Evans, but if you’ve seen one before (and it seems as though he has), it should be readily apparent that it’s a chain. However, there’s a chance that he’s familiar with their frozen food products but wasn’t aware of the fact that it’s an actual chain of restaurants. Let’s just go with that.
Viewers then get to see an inside look at Mayfield signing his contract. It’s great to see Mayfield get his $21 million-plus signing bonus after grinding for so long.
The highlight for Mayfield in this episode is the moment in which he shows off his vocal skills. He’s forced to pick one song to sing, and what does he pick? “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, of course!
HBO's Hard Knocks: Rookie Baker Mayfield was told to sing at Browns camp. You'll never guess what song he picked ... pic.twitter.com/lbrNW6zA2T— Jed Drenning (@TheSignalCaller) August 8, 2018
As you might have expected, West Virginia fans were thrilled about this. Seriously, many of them did seem to enjoy it, but not all...
Was Baker Mayfield just mocking us?— Zak Hawke (@ZHawke) August 8, 2018
Baker Mayfield switching “Take me Home, Country Roads” with “Country Roads, take me home,” at the end of the chorus is really getting under my skin.— Sean Manning (@SeanManning_DP) August 8, 2018
As the first week of training camp progresses, Mayfield is shown with various players and coaches. He seems to have a good relationship so far with head coach Hue Jackson and GM John Dorsey. That’s a great sign at this point, especially since Jackson has made it clear that Tyrod Taylor will be the week 1 starter. If Mayfield continues to look as sharp as he did in the limited practice footage we saw in the first episode, it will become harder and harder to keep him off the field. Although Mayfield and Taylor are competing for the starting job, they seem to be getting along. Again, that’s simply based on their interactions on the show.
The one major interaction that was mostly left out of the show was Mayfield and roommate/fellow rookie Nick Chubb — but I’m guessing we’ll see more of that later on. Chubb getting a goal-line handoff from Mayfield and bringing it home was the extent of their on-camera interaction during the first episode, unfortunately. Maybe Baker will let Chubb take a peak at his mysterious “QB only” RV. I highly doubt it, but maybe they’ll be seen discussing the Rose Bowl. I may have to mute that part, honestly.
In addition to the Baker Mayfield narrative covered in the first episode, the show also covers star WR Jarvis Landry and head coach Hue Jackson extensively. Landry, also known as “Juice”, gets to showcase his talents throughout the show with his crisp routes, intense workouts, and amazing catches. In terms of hands, Landry is right up there with the best in the game. There is a reason he led the NFL in receptions last year. With Todd Haley at the helm as offensive coordinator (previously the Pittsburgh Steelers OC), Landry could flourish in Cleveland. He will benefit from more vertical routes and hopefully a QB who excels at throwing the deep ball.
Landry also takes on a leadership role during camp, as he is shown chewing out the wide receivers after a lackadaisical day of practice. The video is shown below, and it’s pretty intense (NSFW language warning):
Jarvis Landry had an epic speech on the first Hard Knocks episode pic.twitter.com/UmenaLxueP— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 8, 2018
On top of the leadership that Landry provides, HC Hue Jackson has shown his willingness early on to continue leading the turnaround in Cleveland (and doing so in his own way). During a coaches meeting, his is given some pushback from new OC Todd Haley and doesn’t give an inch. The show also shows the turmoil he experiences following the passing of his mother and brother, which occurred in the span of less than two weeks.
One other interesting presence on the show is Browns DE Carl Nassib, who was a standout defensive end at Penn State and is going into his third NFL season. He is shown in a couple different scenes giving the other defensive lineman financial advice. Hopefully Baker takes some investment advice from Nassib and stashes some of that signing bonus away for a rainy day.
Stay tuned for next week’s recap of Episode 2!