If you happened to miss the first episode of the HBO documentary series Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons last night, don’t worry. I’m here to help you out and fill you in on what you missed.
I’m not going to give you a shot-for-shot breakdown of the entire hour-long episode, just a brief summary of what you missed and my favorite (and not so favorite) moments.
The first episode basically showed the Falcons in the lead-up to training camp and their first week of action through last week’s Friday Night Lights event. We got to see the off-field lives of several players in what they were doing in the days/weeks leading up to camp, including Bear Pascoe (farming), Steven Jackson (exhibiting art), Tyler Starr (working out and being a father), Harry Douglas (packing) and Kroy Biermann (being a reality TV star).
We saw the coaches meet before camp and emphasize their plan to increase effort and toughness with head coach Mike Smith demanding that they instill “tough, smart football.”
Of course, the first episode made note of the numerous fights that dotted the first week of work. Jacques Smith can certainly attest to how hard Ryan Schraeder hits.
We got a glimpse of what I assume was the rookie talent show, which featured all the rookies getting up in front of the team and performing a skill. Roddy White showed his displeasure with the singing talents of Jeff Mathews and Jacob Pedersen by pelting them with empty water bottles as they exited stage left. Ra’Shede Hageman won’t have a second career in music, but his teammates seemed to enjoy his rendition of R. Kelly’s “Feelin’ On Yo Booty.” Dezmen Southward however stole the show with his impression of special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. Even though I don’t have a clue how Armstrong talks or acts, it was still hilarious.
The show did a nice job contrasting the living situations of William Moore, a veteran who bought a brand new house with his $30 million contract last year, and that of rookie Devonta Freeman. Freeman seemed to find the world’s smallest bathtub to be luxurious somehow.
Other highlights include:
- I went “icky balooky” for Terrell Owens’ cameo.
- Peria Jerry telling Mike Smith that he is retiring
- Roddy was just as much the character you think he is
- Nothing puts a period on a point better than slurping a Capri Sun.
- Steven Jackson got to show his leadership. Didn’t realize until now how much older he is than everybody else in the running back room. Must be tough when nearly everybody is between six and nine years younger than you.
- Donte Rumph’s nickname of “Cupcake” and how he worked to shed it.
- The show did no favors for Harry Douglas, who revealed that he uses women’s deodorant. Based off perhaps five minutes of screen-time in this episode alone, I’ll have a large repertoire of Douglas jokes for the next several months.
If you get the opportunity, tune in next week since a preview of the second episode promised a Sean Weatherspoon appearance.