it's a hard knocks life

Hard Knocks Recap: The Men Play on Sunday

HBO shows rarely have obvious endings — isn’t that right, David Chase? — but the signing of Darrelle Revis in the closing moments of the Jets’ season of Hard Knocks was as close as they’ll ever get. Not that his return would have appeared certain to someone who hadn’t already heard the news earlier in the week: Rex Ryan storming away from a conference call (“Watch Monday night. Watch what the fuck happens!”) made the negotiations seem more frustrating than any of Mike Tannenbaum’s previous made-for-TV complaints had, and Woody Johnson, too, at least claimed to be ready to move on without Revis.

Unfortunately, viewers didn’t see much of the final negotiation. All we hear is Tannenbaum recount how he suggested on Sunday that he, Ryan, and Johnson “look at one other idea,” before listening in on the GM’s media conference call announcing the agreement. At least it provided a happy ending to a finale that otherwise would have concluded with a string of cuts, from Corey Reamer (who learned the difference between even big-time college football and the NFL) to David Clowney (who didn’t seem to have much of a chance, considering how Mike Westhoff wanted nothing to do with him on special teams) to Jason Davis (who vowed to make the Jets pay for releasing him when he inevitably faced them; Davis is a confident fellow).

Fans hoping to get a read on their team in advance of week one didn’t learn much this week: Virtually none of the starters played against the Eagles, so the team’s utter inability to hold on to the football shouldn’t, at this point, be cause for concern. But we did get to see Danny “White Chocolate” (or is it “Eagle Killer”?) Woodhead lock up a roster spot, we learned that Kellen Clemens left the game not with an injury but as a penalty for fumbling the ball, and we learned that Mark Sanchez is adept at calling plays. (Among his other skills: setting off stink bombs in the coaches’ office, leading them to respond by filling his truck with packing peanuts.)

Hard Knocks — which really is an impressive achievement, especially considering how quickly it gets turned around — gave us a glimpse at some characters who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten much press during training camp. (Our favorite was Westhoff, the hard-ass special-teams coordinator who battled cancer and last night delivered the rare sermon-with-a-message that concluded with puppies being drowned.) But the series also confirmed what we already knew about the Jets: Their coach is nothing short of a national treasure, and he fully expects to win the Super Bowl this year. Revis’s return meant Hard Knocks had a happy ending. The question, now, is whether his return will mean the season will have one, too.

Hard Knocks Recap: The Men Play on Sunday