Hard Knocks Recap: Episode 2
Cippy: Going into week two, we knew the Falcons had played their first preseason game against OKTC Bachelor nominee Jason Fox and his Miami Dolphins and won late in the fourth.
We also knew thanks to all of your lovely emails that earlier in the week Falcons center Joe Hawley, my ex-boyfriend, was ejected from their friendly practice with the Tennessee Titans. We're doing a new recap for Hard Knocks and offering both male and female commentary. Craig Hayes will be contributing also, so let's get loose and conversational and break down the most boring team to ever be featured on Hard Knocks.
Craig: The show opened last week with the Atlanta Falcons trying to shed the dreaded label of being "soft" with training camp fights and a vicious Oklahoma Drill. This week, the tenuous nature of just keeping a job was the theme, with Roosevelt Nix-Jones going from sled-breaker to being the first cut; and Marquis Spruill enjoying the whale sharks one day then tearing his ACL shortly thereafter. The NFL is a cruel place.
Cippy: What's that? An injured LB for Atlanta? Weird. That never happens.
HBO's music selection suggests that Roosevelt Nix-Jones is heading to his execution by the King instead of getting released from a football team. Reason #32 I can't take Nerd-Dad Mike Smith seriously is his use of the word tail. He's a coach of a professional football team who speaks to players like five year olds. The communication between players is also hilarious. Their "boy" gets cut yet nobody wonders where he is or why he's not on the field.
Next we cut to Cali-bro and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff biking through the rough woods of Flowery Branch. As he names his credentials, he cites his dad coaching at hard-ass Miami of Ohio. This explains so much. Back in his office he name drops that he got the opportunity to bike around Colorado with Lance Armstrong. Impressive, brah. He dresses like a 14 year old.
Craig: Last week we had a TO sighting at Steven Jackson's art gallery show and this week we get Lance Armstrong mountain biking with Dimitroff. In keeping with the trend of washed up superstars who peaked around 2003 in cameos for this show, I fully expect to see Barry Bonds relaxing next to William Moore's indoor pool next week.
Cippy: Mike Tice is one of the people making this season of Hard Knocks bearable. He's also hilarious. I can't begin to thank him enough for making the rookie James Stone sing "I Believe I Can Fly" during the O-Line meeting.
Craig: In any other season, Mike Tice would stand out with his endless profanity and David Putty-like Meatheadness -yes I made up a word and used a Seinfeld reference, so what? But next to Bryan Cox's charisma he just reminds me of every line coach I ever had: a big, gruff guy who thrives in finding a mistake you made on film just so he can humiliate you by forcing you to sing R. Kelly tunes. God I miss high school.
Cippy: Bryan Cox is the only other person making this season of Hard Knocks bearable.
Craig: The dynamic between Cox and first round pick Ra'shede Hageman is immensely entertaining. Hageman looks to be a force when he is motivated and doesn't sulk and get down on himself. Getting coached by Cox -who as a player thrived at turning his emotions outward at his opponents- is a great storyline for the show.
Speaking of Cox, last week he artfully used the analogy of caressing a woman's breast to teach his lineman proper hand placement -a decision that may result in some unfortunate accidents in Falcon players' bedrooms this year. This week, he again makes the quote of the show: "[A] man without some kind of habit got a lot of skeletons." If HBO decides to end every Hard Knocks with Cox puffing on a cigar while sharing gems like this I will be a happy man.
Cippy: The amount of fights that break out at their practices has to be high compared to other teams. I know it happens frequently but this is just overkill.
Nerd-Dad Mike Smith is now going to lecture this room full of grown adults that there will be no more fighting and if you fight when the Tennessee Titans come into town you will be ejected from practice and fined. His speech has the threatening tone of my 16 year old sister telling me she's never talking to me again for wearing something from her closet.
HBO chose to show Joe Hawley's face during this whole conversation. I can't imagine how hard it was for him to not roll his eyes. Naturally, he's getting ejected. It's foreshadowing! Thank you Outkick readers for your emails telling me 1. that my ex is a piece of shit for messing with another player and 2. that you hope he didn't beat me like that. There are no words for how entertained y'all keep me. For the record, off the field Joey couldn't hurt a fly and wouldn't. On the field, he protects his teammates.
Kroy Biermann whines about EVERYTHING. It's clear the other players don't take him and his reality show seriously.
Craig: The lovely ex-Miss Georgia Kierra Douglas demonstrates why it is never a good idea to reunite with your husband near a hot mic. Now all of America knows that Mrs. Douglas is "ready" to add a little Douglas to the family. If there is a kangaroo court in Falcon Land, Roddy White owes Harry Douglas a hefty fine.
Cippy: Kierra is very pretty. She's also very overdressed for training camp, but in her defense at least she went out there in the 100 degree temps and humidity. I never did. Whoops!
Roddy White cracks me up, he can get away with screwing around because he's that good. "If y'all keep hitting him he's going to be sore, I don't want him to be sore." Only Roddy White can get away with telling the defense to stop hitting people.
Side note: How boring is this season of Hard Knocks? HBO spends two minutes on artsy shots of the equipment. This is the third montage this episode and we're only half way through.
Craig: Cupcake Rumph was Episode 1's best nickname. This week? Well it's "Big Balls" of course. Ricardo Allen made every male viewer squirm as he described his unfortunate "groin" injury from OTA'a last spring and the resulting moniker. My only question for Allen would be that when you sustain an injury that results in the swelling of your testicle by a factor of four; do you really think it is a good idea to strap on a canvas strap and zip line through the Georgia woods on your day off? Give your boys a break, Jeez.
Cippy: Serious Question: Would you rather be called Cupcake or Big Balls? It's funny because he's okay, but Ricardo getting hit in the balls and having to go to the hospital is hilarious. He will never live that down.
Craig: Tyler Starr's adorable son makes me root for his dad to make this roster in a big way. His nice outside rush that led to a fumble recovery in the Miami game was a good start in his quest. Between Hageman, Starr, and the explosive Prince Shembo, the Falcons could have some nice new blood on defense this year.
Another note on Starr, between his endless selection of bad hats, Coach Smith's mandals, Tice's barbeque garb last week, and Allen's Superman socks this has got to be one the most fashion-challenged NFL teams in history. I wonder what my writing partner thinks of these wardrobe choices. Cippy?
Cippy: Yes, Tyler Starr and his damn hat/hair combo. He's worried about making the team since he's a 7th round draft pick. Pro tip: take off your safari hat in meetings with your coaches. He also sounds like he's stoned to the bone in every interview.
The Falcons manage to pull out a late win in their pre-season game against Miami, which is a step in the right direction after losing every single pre-season game last year.
Craig: With Steven Jackson's hamstring injury and his performance against the Dolphins, Devonta Freeman is making Falcon fans and Fantasy nerds equally excited as we head into Week 3 of the show.
Cippy: What to expect next week? More players cut, family stress, rookies breaking down as they get further and further into training camp. And hopefully Jake Matthews because he's extremely attractive. Also, a serious debate about LuLuLemon, which does not make big enough sizes for linemen.