HBO's Hard Knocks made Jonnu Smith want to play for the Miami Dolphins

New Miami Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith credits the HBO Max show Hard Knocks for attracting him to the team. Smith wanted to be a part of what Mike McDaniel is building in Miami.
New Miami Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith credits the HBO Max show Hard Knocks for attracting him to the team. Smith wanted to be a part of what Mike McDaniel is building in Miami. / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

New Miami Dolphins TE, Jonnu Smith, told the media that HBO's Hard Knock: In Season made him want to play for the Dolphins.

During a Wednesday afternoon Zoom conference with the Miami media throng, Miami Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith said that he doesn't watch much television. However, he takes his hat off to the crew that filmed Hard Knocks last season. He credits the HBO Max show for attracting him to the Dolphins and introducing him to head coach Mike McDaniel. His attraction to the team stemmed from what he caught on screen. He wanted to be part of something special, something that he learned about from binge watching the show.

"“I guess I’ve got to give it to Hard Knocks, man. Hard Knocks told me a lot. Hard Knocks was a big help in helping me make my decision. I just actually watched it this offseason. I actually was late watching it, but it was the offseason, so I was like, You know what, I'm gonna kick back and see what these guys are about. Cut it on and kind of just caught myself binge watching. I'm like man, so, that'd be a special group to be a part of.""

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

Smith caught himself binge-watching the HBO Max show and couldn't get enough information about the Dolphins. For a guy who grew up in Miami and played collegiately at Florida International University in Miami, it was a learning experience that he got by merely streaming the program at his leisure once he was cut from Atlanta.

""In all seriousness, man, I actually watched it this offseason. I was late watching it. But it was the offseason, so I was like, you know what, I’m going to kick back and see what these guys are about. So I cut it on and kind of just caught myself binge-watching. I’m like, man, that would be a special group to be a part of. All of these guys from Mike McDaniel, Chris Grier, everybody in this building and the front office collectively made it happen. Obviously, everything happened on our end as well. This is home for me. At the end of the day, that also was a huge factor in me being here. And I’m just excited to be able to play for a city in which I live, which my family lives and be able to represent the city of Miami once again.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

Smith might have been attracted to the team because of Hard Knocks, but he also wanted to play for a winner and have a chance to win a Super Bowl in the near future. He chose the Dolphins because he believes that McDaniel and the Dolphins have an opportunity to go far in the playoffs and chase the elusive Super Bowl Championship. He had many reasons to come to Miami, but make no mistake about it, he wanted to win a championship for Miami in the worst way.

"“That list is endless. I guess I’ll start with the opportunity to go and win a world championship. I think that adding me to this offense and to this system and to this team ultimately, I can be a solution to helping us now get to where we want to go. There’s obviously still a lot of work that needs to be put in. There’s obviously still a lot in front of us, but I just saw that vision and I thought it was a great opportunity.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith
Super Bowl Winning Team Head Coach and MVP Press Conference
Jonnu Smith wants to get his hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy and bring a Super Bowl title to the Miami Dolphins. As a Floridian, Smith is well aware that it has been too long since the locals have appeared in the big game. He wants to end that streak this season. / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

Smith is newly minted to the team as he just signed last week, and has yet to meet his new quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but cannot wait to get started working with the former Alabama signal-caller and participate in Miami's high-octane offense. He credits Tagovailoa's accuracy as an advantage that can make him a better pass catcher and help his overall game.

" “I haven’t had the opportunity to meet him face to face yet. But I’m sure, trust me, we’ve got a lot of time that we’re going to be spending together. But just looking at Tua on paper, he’s got it. In my eyes, I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in this league. I think he’s one of, if not the most, accurate quarterback in this league. And that’s just from me watching from the outside in. Now that I’m actually here, I’m sure I’ll get to see that firsthand. He’s a great player, a great leader. I’ve had a lot of respect for his game since he played at Alabama. Just seeing him play, he was always a fun guy to watch play and I’m excited to catch some passes from him now.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

The new tight end knows how fast Miami is on offense with speedsters like wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the outside. He knows what he brings to the table and believes that he can use those guys to his advantage and draw single coverage that will allow him to use his pass-catching ability and his breakaway speed to give McDaniel and the Dolphins an element to the offense that they have not had before.

"“Yeah, you smile from ear to ear. That’s going to create a lot space. Those two speed guys, some of the fastest guys in the NFL, if not the fastest. That’s just going to cause so much havoc to the defense. To be able to use those guys to my advantage, those guys are going to be able to open up space. And likewise, me as well, just adding another pass-catching element to this offense and being able to get those guys open more. We’re all going to make each other better, all going to play off each other. And ultimately, I’m sure those guys are team guys. I’m a team guy. I think it’ll just be a great fit. I’m excited and looking forward to it.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

Smith believes that his size and speed will create mismatches for opposing defenses. He is hoping that when he is on the field with Hill and Waddle, teams will not know who to double and that he will draw a lot of single coverage.

" “Obviously, you’ve got versatility, like you explained just now. Ultimately, you’ve got different guys with the ability to make plays with the ball in their hands and to make plays when the ball comes their way. Obviously what that does is put stress on the defense. So any time you have an opportunity to add guys who are dynamic in the passing game and to be able to create a group, you can do a lot of damage in this league, man. That’s part of the reason why I’m here.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

He credits his physicality for his offensive success as a pass catcher and as a blocker. Smith believes that he might not be as flashy as a wide receiver, but he brings his lunch pail and works hard every day so he can prepare for game situations where he is likely to explode in the pass-happy Miami offense. Smith also credits his stamina to be able to wear out opponents in the fourth quarter.

" “Yeah, just adding a physical element to that passing attack. Everybody when you look at the game, you kind of see pass catchers as flashy and highlights, but you have to be able to bring a physical presence as well to inflict your will on opponents and be able to, when it’s the fourth quarter and guys are tired and it’s late in the year, Week 13, 14, teams don’t want to tackle. That’s where we feast. I’m excited about my fit in this offense, my role in this offense, and the sky is the limit on what we’re going to be able to do. And obviously off the field as well, going into year eight now, obviously I’ve been around a long time. I’ve seen a lot of football, learned a lot, know a lot. Obviously there’s still a lot to learn. I’m never oblivious to the fact that we always have to continue to learn and get better ourselves no matter how much wisdom we’ve acquired over the years. But to be able to bring the leadership aspect to this team as well, it’s something that I’m holding myself accountable to as well.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith

Smith believes that he is one of the most versatile tight ends in the league and that he is capable of scoring from any position on the field. He can line up on the line, as a traditional tight end, or he can line up in the slot or even line up as an H-back behind the quarterback and score from any spot on the field. He also prides himself on being an every-down player. He doesn't ever want to come out of the game.

"“During my career – I’ve been playing this game a long time. You can pull up film of me making plays from anywhere on the field. I think that as a pass catcher in this league, in order for you to be one of the top guys in whatever your respective position is, you’ve got to be able to make plays from anywhere on the field. That’s just something that I pride myself on and making sure that I’m an every-down player. You can use me in any situation.”"

Dolphins tight end Jonnu Smith