HBO’s Hard Knocks on Tuesday night delivered riveting behind-the-scenes insight into the Vontae Davis trade and Daniel Thomas’ recent problems with tardiness. Among the highlights from the fourth of five episodes:• After Jeff Ireland got a text message from Colts general manager Ryan Grigson about Davis, Ireland told HBO he had to consider this: “Is this guy in the long-term plans? If he’s not, we should consider that. I know what he does for us this year. He’s a contributing player, will play quite a bit. There’s a sense of maturity to the kid now.”
Viewers saw Ireland tell coach Joe Philbin: “The Colts have interest in Vontae. Started with a 5th and 6th [rounder]. Went to a third. I said unless they’re serious I wouldn’t return the text.”
Philbin, asked his opinion by Ireland, pointed to “awareness” issues with Davis, adding “He’s up and down. He’s a good guy. I like the kid. I wonder if we’re ever going to get him to where we would like him to be.”
Defensive backs coach Lou Anuramo sharply criticized Davis, in a coach’s meeting, about his pass interference penalty in the Falcons game.
Viewers saw Philbin telling Grigson: “I’m thinking the two is not enough. What it’s worth value wise to walk away from a first round pick…. I’ve been honest with you. You called me. It has to be something that blows me a way.” Ireland later told Philbin: “I’m thinking about pulling the trigger.”
Ireland then told him, “Vontae, you’re kind of up and down. We need to get it to where the consistency level is more consistent. Before you become great, these waves have got to be a lot smaller. That’s probably why you’re being traded.”
Davis asked, “Who did you trade me for?” Ireland said, “A couple picks… This can be a very good positive for you — make it a positive.”• Ireland said: “The receiver position is going to look a little different than it does now when we get down to the [final 53-man roster].”
• Philbin summoned Thomas to his office last week after he was 15 minutes late to a weightlifting session. “Last week, you were late for the plane, you weren’t in the proper dress code,” Philbin told him. “From where I sit, I get concerned about that stuff. Obviously you’re going to get fined. But that’s not the point. Two times in four days, that’s not a good thing.
“I’m telling you this kind of stuff can’t happen. I’m getting queasy about you. You have to take responsibility for your own career. I don’t want to have to talk to you again.”• Philbin was upset because Dolphins players did nothing when Reggie Bush was being pummeled by several defenders on a run that lost yardage early in the Carolina game. “Third play of the game, Reggie Bush was getting his ass kicked. And there were guys [expletive] watching.”
Then Philbin scolded his players in a film session, including Jorvorskie Lane: “You’re standing there looking at it — there are guys throwing elbows in him! Go up there, protect your teammates! Jesus!”
• Ryan Tannehill revealed to Matt Moore that he didn’t know the teams in many of the divisions, beyond Miami’s. Moore asked him to name the NFC North teams. Tannehill correctly identified Green Bay and Minnesota but was wrong on the Giants. He thought Kansas City was in the NFC East. “How do you not know this?” Moore asking, laughing. “Shocks me.”
Tannehill explained to HBO: “I wasn’t a huge pro fan growing up. Don’t really know the divisions or conferences. Some of them, I have no clue. They make no sense. The directions don’t make any sense for where the teams actually are.”• Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers said defensive end Jarrell Root “is sinking fast. I don’t know if we can save him.” Rodgers asked him: “You going to play one day and disappear the next?” Root protested that he did nothing wrong, and Philbin called him aside and said, “You’ve got to watch your reply” when Rodgers corrects him. “You’ve got to be careful. Trying to help you.”
“It’s time for guys to step up and act like pros. We need a focus from this group that quite frankly, we haven’t seen yet. We haven’t done [bleep] as a group. It really [bleeps] me off.”• HBO showed several players being cut. Jerome Messam told Ireland: “I feel like you guys didn’t give me a shot to show what I can do in the game. [Bleep!] Give me a try.” Ireland: “That’s why we practice, too.”…
Ireland told tight end Les Brown: “When pads come on, that’s what [your] weakness is. You’ve got to be able to hold your blocks and sustain it.” Said Brown: “I believe in myself. I think I belong in this league. We’ll [waive you] today. Maybe our paths will cross soon.”
Tight ends coach Dan Campbell told Brown, who was teary-eyed: “You’ve got nothing to feel bad about. You’re a stud, Les.”• Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman yelled at his offense to establish an identity: “ Jake Long, finish in a dominant position!” he shouted to Long in a team meeting.
• Eric Steinbach, explaining his retirement: “When you wake up every morning and feel like [bleep] the first half of practice… it’s tough.” Ireland told him he’s “one of the most professional men that ever sat in my [office] chair.”
The Dolphins said Long was the only player who did not attend Tuesday’s Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at Jungle Island because he was getting treatment on his injured right knee. Long will miss Wednesday’s preseason finale and could miss one or more additional games, depending on how quickly he recovers from a sprained medial collateral ligament.