Perhaps it was because I had already been “spoiled” about who the Falcons cuts were, but I didn’t find much of the drama about who would stay or go poignant. And it took up most of the second half of last night’s episode.
While this season of Hard Knocks showed us plenty of the Falcons young players, most of them were draft picks that weren’t in any danger of being cut. To the point that at the end of last night’s episode, we got to see what some of these “safe” rookies like Ra’Shede Hageman, Prince Shembo and Devonta Freeman did on their off day while 22 other players were seeing their NFL dreams come crashing down.
Jacques Smith was one of the few players we might have connected with that got cut, but in reality other than showing him getting into fights, we really didn’t learn much of anything about him this season. Although the small part of me that is a human being did sympathize with many of the players’ plights, I feel like in many past seasons of Hard Knocks, the final cuts felt much more dramatic, tense and emotional.
Overall, I would say it was a good season but this last episode might have been the weakest of the bunch. It began with Smith talking to head coach Mike Smith following his ejection from the Tennessee Titans game.
One of the more interesting moments was the next part where quarterback Matt Ryan got all his receivers in a small, dark room and went over the offense and hot reads. He quizzed several of the new receivers and tried to get Roddy White in on the action, but the veteran receiver used fatigue as an excuse not to answer. Honestly, I don’t think Roddy knew the right answer but because he’s who he is, he can get away with it.
Arthur Blank got an opportunity to pimp how wonderful the new Falcons stadium, currently under construction, is going to be. I know there has been a lot of criticism this summer on how “team friendly” the show has been. This short segment felt like the most blatant example of how the show is less a documentary and more an extension of the team’s public relations department.
We got to see Osi Umenyiora mentoring Nosa Eguae, thanks to their shared Nigerian heritage. This would have been something I would have loved to see in the previous four episodes, but seemed shoe-horned in last night’s episode to manufacture tension about Eguae getting cut at the end.
As usual, we got to see highlights from the Falcons win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason finale, with a lot of focus on quarterback T.J. Yates’ improved play. The most interesting part of that was how “pervy” some of the Falcons assistant coaches seemed checking out the bikini-clad young women in the pool in EverBank Field with binoculars while up in the coaches’ box.
Afterwards when the show started to deal with the cuts, we got to discover that scouting assistant Scott Sika has earned the role as “the Turk” for the team. He called the players getting cut and invited them to meet with the coach. Featured players that were cut were Smith, Eguae, Pat Angerer, Freddie Martino, Donte Rumph, Ricardo Allen and Geraldo Boldewijn. Tyler Starr was essentially presented as the 53rd player to make the final roster, with friendship and competition between him and Smith being played up this week.
And as usual, we got our required weekly dose of Bryan Cox. Smoking a fat cigar of course, but also eating crab legs and discussing his showering habits. Cox of course was the highlight of this season of Hard Knocks. If anything is likely to stick with you beyond this summer, it’s how deserving Cox is being the star of a sitcom.
Other highlights from this week’s episode:
- I’m not sure Ricardo Allen has a keen grasp on how good at golf you must be in order to get invited to join the PGA tour.
- Devonta Freeman truly enjoys the simple things in life, from tiny bathtubs to reclining chairs.
- Non-Bryan Cox quote of the week: “You gotta do your job.” — Matt Ryan to his young receivers, Freddie Martino in particular.