Dolphins' Jerry not fazed by TV depiction
DAVIE, Fla. — Entering Tuesday, John Jerry was a pretty obscure guy. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame was for three straight Ole Miss training camps having shared a dorm room with Michael Oher, the Baltimore Ravens tackle whose life story was made into the movie The Blind Side.
Now, Jerry is getting some national media attention himself. And it hasn’t been pretty.
With Part Three of HBO’s Hard Knocks show on the Miami Dolphins having aired Tuesday night, Jerry is now known as that fat Dolphins offensive lineman who was throwing up.
Jerry, while said to be 30 pounds overweight at 360, is trashed in the show by Dolphins coaches. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman calls him a “player descending fast.’’ Offensive line coach Jim Turner calls him “unreliable’’ and shows a tape of Jerry that he calls a “catastrophe.’’
It must be said the show does depict Jerry playing much better in a preseason game last Friday at Carolina. Still, there’s far more time spent on the bad about Jerry than the good.
Jerry was among those who watched his struggles when the show first aired. But he wasn’t too bent out of shape about what coaches said about him.
“That’s a TV show,’’ the right guard said in an interview Wednesday with FOX Sports Florida. “I understand that. I don’t get caught up in that. I’m not going to get mad at my coaches for anything, for something they’re saying about me.’’
Jerry insists it wasn’t difficult for him watch as his coaches criticized him, he was beaten badly in drills and he was shown throwing up twice. He got sick after Turner said he wanted to give Jerry extended reps in training camp to “hammer him’’ because he was “going to go after that guy.’’
“It wasn’t tough to watch all that,’’ Jerry said. “That was something that happened two or three weeks ago, and I’m a totally different guy now.’’
The show did mention Jerry’s progress during the Panthers game. Turner said on the sideline that “John Jerry is playing his (guts) off.’’
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin did acknowledge Wednesday that Jerry is making progress. Philbin said Jerry’s in “better condition’’ and is “moving better’’ and “finishing blocks better.’’
Still, Philbin said the Dolphins don’t know yet where they are on a weekly basis with Jerry. More will be known Friday, when Jerry is expected to start against Atlanta in Miami’s pivotal third preseason game. Jerry will oppose his brother, Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry.
As for Hard Knocks, little was held back about Jerry. He was mostly portrayed as a fat slob who might be eating his way out of the NFL.
“In John Jerry, I see a player descending fast,’’ Sherman is quoted as saying. “I was a John Jerry fan in minicamp …. But he’s going on the other way.’’
While watching film with other coaches, Turner lambasts Jerry.
“Pressure by the right guard, (No.) 74,’’ Turner said. “Bad feet by the right guard, 74. Bad set by the right guard. Terrible job by the right guard. Bad everything by the right guard.’’
That is some serious stinking it up that even Right Guard deodorant couldn’t help.
As bad as he was described to be, you’d think Jerry might already have found himself on the waiver wire. But the Dolphins are sticking with him because they see his potential.
“Some guys just don’t get it, and you got to show them and you got to lead them to it,’’ Turner is quoted as saying on the show. “And I’m trying to do that right now. If he buys in, he’ll be an All-Pro. If he buys in, he will be one of the best players that we have on that offensive line without question. And they all know that. I’m going to help him see that. If he doesn’t see it, that’s on him.’’
Maybe Jerry, a third-year man taken in the 2010 draft, is starting to see it. The Dolphins obviously are using the show to try to get a message to him. And it might be working.
“I totally understand that,’’ Jerry said of the talk he could be an All-Pro if he gets in shape. “It’s kind of like motivation for me.’’
Philbin says on the show that Jerry, listed at 345 pounds, was down 356 after Turner had said he was at 360. Jerry declined Wednesday to reveal his current weight.
Jerry isn’t interviewed on the third segment of Hard Knocks. But there is one scene that shows he might have thick skin when it comes to fat references.
During the Rookie Talent Show, pictures are projected on a screen alongside players to elicit laughs. Jerry is shown laughing hysterically when a photo is shown next to him of an obese man wearing bikini briefs sitting on the lap of a woman.
“That’s a talent show,’’ Jerry said Wednesday of his ability to laugh at himself. “I was a rookie once.’’
Jerry, though, isn’t a rookie anymore. Even though he has made recent strides, there’s still been plenty of disgust from the Dolphins about his being the only player on the team notably overweight.
“I said to the players before the first show aired, and I haven’t said anything since,’’ Philbin said Wednesday when asked his thoughts about coaches blasting Jerry on Hard Knocks. “I’ve said it one time …. Our motivations aren’t to make ourselves look like tough guys on TV or anything of the sort. Our motivations are to find the right 53 guys, build a successful team here and help these guys reach there potential. Sometimes, that’s part of it. But it’s never a personal thing, and I think they understand that.’’
At least Jerry is now much less obscure. Just Google “John Jerry throwing up.’’
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson