The Best and Worst of Amazon’s “All or Nothing” Carolina Panthers (Episode #2/8)
Well, now it’s Amazon’s turn to show us what they got. The past week or so, we looked at the BEST and WORST of HBOs’ Hard Knocks (2018 Cleveland). We have the 2018 (season) Carolina ‘All or Nothing’ (2019 release) to review – eight episodes. I’ll watch and review each episode over the next week or so.
Typically, I like the Amazon production better than the HBO…but I like them both. A look behind the scenes that I still cannot believe the NFL allows to happen because it exposes how silly these people (coaches and GMs) look in real life/real time. And I’ve watched/reviewed them all…and they’re all the same nonsense management – except Sean McVay…you could tell right away he was different.
Let’s see what we have with the BEST and WORST of Amazon’s Carolina Panthers’ 2018 season!
In the first episode of this series we learned that Greg Olsen is the most important player in football. We learned Cam Newton is a huge fan of Cam Newton. And we’re unsure if Luke Kuechly is on the team. We find out Christian McCaffrey might have a key role this year because the Olsen injury opened up the opportunity. Hopefully, McCaffrey gets a real chance to touch the ball this year.
And now onto the Best and Worst of episode two of Amazon’s ‘The Greg Olsen story’, starring Greg Olsen and co-starring everyone else who works for the Panthers…
WORST: We start with 5+ minutes on things that don’t matter…
The music and mood changes to serious…there’s a hurricane coming through the South and we’re put on the edge of our seats to worry if Carolina will have to go to Atlanta a day early or not. A real nail biter.
While we wait to find out that the hurricane was not as expected and everything was fine, we got down to business…Greg Olsen business. He’s broken his foot. He’ll miss a few games. The world could end as we know it. We need to spend time mourning that reality.
The hurricane ends up no big deal and Olsen missing a few games doesn’t matter much either, but we start out the show like it’s the main plot of the episode.
WORST: Ian Thomas is not Greg Olsen…
We then shift from Greg Olsen foot concerns to his backup Ian Thomas…and how he only matters because of Greg Olsen being out, and that this is really terrible that Greg Olsen is out. And how there is no way Thomas can fill the shoes Olsen leaves behind.
Thomas is edited to fit the Olsen-centric narrative…all we see is him and his struggles (like 2-3 things presented to lead us to the conclusion that this is a problem). Thomas drops a TD pass in their Week 2 game, and we spend 1-2 minutes on watching all the coaches curse him under the breaths and pan over to see what the star of the show (Greg Olsen) looks like for a reaction. Curse you Ian Thomas…you stupid non-Greg Olsen person.
About 10 weeks from now, Olsen will get re-injured and lost for the season and Ian Thomas steps and is better in last five games, as a receiver, than Olsen has been most of his recent Panthers existence. However, at this stage, this week/episode…Thomas has to be a dunce to fit the Greg Olsen story, starring Greg Olsen.
BEST: Ron Rivera…normal human being/not insane.
The real best thing of the first two episodes of this series is how solid of a coach/leader Ron Rivera is. Sure, he has clichés, but we never see him being goofy nor do we see him losing his mind for no reason. He’s even keeled and serious about his work.
I don’t know if Rivera knows offensive talent (Curtis Samuel not starting for far too long into the season makes me think he isn’t an offensive mastermind) or if he has any draft scouting bones in his body, but he looks and acts like a good/respected boss-leader of a football team.
A best and a worst moment from Rivera this episode…
Best = There’s a scene near the end where Cam and Ron are meeting to discuss the signing of Eric Reid. You can tell that Rivera has Cam’s total trust/confidence. Rivera doesn’t speak down to Cam or shine him on like a politician. It was two guys on an even level of respect exchanging normal words…a great look for Rivera and Cam. It’s not easy to manage Cam Newton.
Worst = The Panthers lost in Week 2, so you know what that means? All the players are lazy and must be told that in the meeting room (which was Hue Jackson’s message for like 35 straight games when we watched the Browns’ documentary series). Every one of these shows that I’ve seen/reviewed for years, after every loss the coach is barking about lazy actions and play. Has a team ever played hard and were just beaten or outcoached? Nope, the players just collectively decided to be lazy at the same time and same day in front of 50K+ people in the stands and millions watching at home. Darn the luck. Come on Ron, you’re better than that.
Do coaches have anything to say besides crying about players being lazy. Is that what the teach, exclusively, at head coach school? Or are football players the laziest group of humans in the world…they just somehow finely crafted their bodies like gods and are the best of the best in the world at something…but then the thing they are trained for since middle school, the thing that makes them wealthy…they just all collectively mail it in 4-8-10+ Sundays a year?
BEST: Luke Kuechly is on the Panthers after all!
We get a nice exchange between McCaffrey and Kuechly in this episode – just two nice young men talking like normal humans.
WORST: Christian McCaffrey, still a bit player role in the Greg Olsen Chronicles…
For the second episode in a row, we get this Jon Hamm voice over – now that Greg Olsen is out, Christian McCaffrey is going to have to step up.
For the second episode in a row, I say – how out of touch are the producers of this documentary? McCaffrey was planned to be the main thing in the offense all calendar 2018 – it was no secret. The whole focus of the show should be on McCaffrey’s transformation to star RB at his size and his record-breaking pass catching season.
Not yet. The show producers still feel McCaffrey is just a cheap substitute for the real thing, Greg Olsen. It’s inexplicably bad production of the Carolina season.
BEST: Efe Obada…from the streets of London to the NFL.
The great backstory of Efe Obada was chronicled for a chunk of this show. His journey from being an abandoned kid on the streets of London, to numerous foster homes, to finding American football and making the London football team and using that to launch to the Panthers international-program-protected roster spot hold to an activated for Week 3 player…and a sack and INT later in Week 3 and he was the player of the game. A feel-good story.
It would only be better if Greg Olsen had been the one who found him on the streets of London and had raised him as his son to play football.
WORST: Not a fan of this year’s show producer/director…
Three issues, so far:
1) Overall, it’s been a boring look at things. I find myself drifting while watching the first two episodes. Maybe there was no story to work with, but I don’t think so. It’s been a pretty dull/safe look at Carolina so far.
2) A lot of filler/long video of nothing. I feel like this is a 4-5 episode event that they stretched into an eight episode fulfillment. Scenes of people walking or doing whatever/nothing go on way too long.
3) They’ve missed the best stories…or misrepresented them.
Christian McCaffrey should have the main focus…but he’s been a bit player.
Luke Kuechly is maybe the best ILB in all the NFL the past decade+, and we’ve barely touched on him.
The new Norv Turner offense…hasn’t really been explored.
Rookie CB Donte Jackson was a surprise good player…not even mentioned yet.
The new owner, I’d love to know more about him. I’d like to see more of him in football mode. All I’ve seen is him smiling and cheering and being nice and cheering for the team.
Rookie WR D.J. Moore…not even mentioned yet.
Episode #3 review tomorrow.
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