I have not watched a lot of Hard Knocks in the past. I did catch some of the Dolphins season, so I am curious about how our version stacks up against other HK seasons past..
Is it better, worse, or about the same ( assuming you can put your bias aside
when I heard about us getting the series this spring, I recall reading somewhere that the league, and the players union struck a deal with HBO that a representative from both would be given a chance to view the episode and 'suggest' removing any content that would be deemed 'damaging'. It makes sense. If HBO refuses, and airs something they don't like, the deal is 'off'.
so armed with that knowledge, I knew going in that we wouldn't be really getting a true 'behind the scenes' type show. We are getting to see what they 'want' us to see.
so, I am seeing a lot of posturing for the cameras. some of it is probablt sincere, but a LOT of it is not.
I mean, I know Matt Ryan is a nice guy, but do we really need to see him cozying up to kids every episode? I mean, really.
And then there is Smitty. using Tony G as a motivator, even after the fact he sat out camp last season, and basically told the franchise to 'go f*ck yourself'.
Now I know Pudge is of the opinion that HK really does not amount to much once the bullets start flying. But I have to ask, don't the players get to see each episode? I mean if your Rasheed, does seeing your lazy a$$ get chewed out on the teevee help motivate him, or discourage him? The jury is out for me...
*Hard Knocks: Atlanta Falcons Episode 4 Recap
By The DW @TheWalkerman on Aug 26 2014, 11:28p 305
Kevin C. Cox
The show starts with Smitty, Cox and Armstrong talking about special teams, and how #93 (Malliciah Goodman) has failed to impress there. It's clear they're frustrated in his play on the unit. We then see Armstrong dressing down the entire team. He tells them they think they're above it and that they've been coached the right way, but are selfish and doing what they want to do. He also tells Jacques Smith that "you ain't good enough to be an asshole." About Goodman, Armstrong says he told Coach Smith "he don't want it."
We see Coach Tim Lewis telling Ricardo Allen that he shouldn't act like he's out there for autographs. His job is to go out there and make Matt Ryan look bad. Meanwhile, the aged veteran Roddy is talking to Steven Jackson about his laziness his first 2 to 3 years and how now - as a veteran - he wants the young guys to step up and do it now, just like they wanted from him then.
In what will probably be a controversial segment, we see Coach Cox having to constantly hammer on Ra'Shede Hageman. He calls him out in the film room. He calls him out on the field as he lazily runs. He's constantly referring to him as "pathetic" and his effort as "dog s***." It's clear Hageman has some growing up to do.
Smitty is then seen in the bigger conference room talking to the team about Tony Gonzalez's message to the team last year about his routine. Smitty tells these guys they're about to get into the routine of what it takes to prepare for Sunday. He implores the veterans to help the young guys get prepared.
Jeff Mathews fans were treated to a short feature on the 4th QB. Numerous players - including Matt Ryan - talk about how hard Jeff can throw, but how bad his cadence is. We even see Dirk Koetter in some one-on-one time telling Jeff that he has the talent and is smart enough, but he's not putting it all together. With his limited reps, he needs to be taking better advantage of them.
In a nice light-hearted moment, we see various veterans returning home. William Moore as home with his kid on the trampoline. Matt Bryant hanging out with his older kids. And Kroy "Lovemuffin" Biermann going home to his gaggle of kiddies.
Yeah - "lovemuffin."
Flowery Branch is quickly hit by a storm and as the players move to the indoor facility, we see the lights go out - which must be a pretty rare occurrence. We also see the grounds crews scrambling in the rain to take care of the equipment.
In a short sequence, Harry Douglas is showing off his Devin Hester Bears jersey in the locker room. It's clear the guys have a ton of respect for Hester. We then see Roddy being Roddy, as he's shown beating guys in camp and doing his normal round of trash talking.
Matt Ryan fans were treated to some awkward moments, as the star QB was shown getting makeup done for an SI cover shoot. If you're wondering what awkward QBs look like, this scene captured it in glorious detail. But you do get to see the best side of Ryan as he comes across some kids waiting for him. He proceeds to take a selfie with them and signs all of their stuff. His relaxation and great attitude with the kids is an amazing moment and makes you appreciate him even more.
In the most anticipated scene (not really), we finally get some glorious Hawley coverage. We see him getting into fights. Tice telling other guys to play like him. And we see him spinning clay into beautiful - but deeply violent - pottery. I really don't want to say more, because the awkward of this scene was just a bit too much. Also, it was followed by Devonta Freeman getting a pedicure - so there's that.
Finally, we get to preseason game 3. In a revealing moment, we see Dimitroff and Blank talking, and the former clarifying that while cuts have to happen by Tuesday, they'd be doing them tomorrow (the day after the game).
Overall, we get some great behind the scenes footage of the game: Hester's great TD catch and run. We also see Armstrong happy, as footage is shown of Hester's great kickoff return, a fantastic tackle in punt coverage and in a moment of redemption, Malliciah Goodman nearly decapitating a Titans player on a kickoff return. We also see the OL coming to defend Ryan when he was shoved in the face and Biermann taunting Michael Oher by saying "C'mon Blindside!"
As the second half gets going, the focus shifts to the rookies. While guys like Hageman and Boldewijn look good, guys like Starr and Jacques Smith struggled. Even worse, Smith's ejection from the game drew negative attention from almost all of the coaches.
As the game wraps, we get to the worst part of the business as the young guys become aware that cuts are looming. We see Smith and Dimitroff discuss the transactions and we watch them tell player after player about their fate. Some guys - like veteran Tyrell Johnson - handle it well, and are highly complimentary of the club. Others, like Jeff Mathews, take it really hard. It's tough to watch and is a stern reminder that these are real people behind the uniforms.
In a funny exchange to close the episode, we see Osi and Coach Cox talking about movies. While Osi appreciates "Vanilla Sky", Cox goes on about his love for three star movies like Shallow Hal, Ride Along, 21 Jump Street, most Adam Sandler movies and he even says Identity Theft is hilarious. It all makes sense now.
In all, it was a very revealing episode and one that showed some of the more personal aspects of the game.*