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‘Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Episode 1 Superlatives


Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers premiered last night, and it was a great start to the show. Each week, I will pick some superlatives based on the previous night’s episode. Here they are.

 

Best moment: Jon Gruden returns

Iconic head coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden returned for a Ring of Honor press conference in the first episode, and it was simply classic Chuckie. When asked about getting back into coaching, Gruden said he has his own playbook, but just “doesn’t have anybody to give it to.” After a fired-up talk in the quarterback room with Dirk Keotter there, the current Bucs head coach sarcastically asked when Gruden left, “He doesn’t miss ball, does he?”

 

Worst moment: Koetter cuts three players

The NFL is a business, and unfortunately, guys basically get fired on a daily basis, especially during training camp. Tampa Bay was forced to cut rookie defensive lineman Evan Panfil, rookie safety Alex Gray, and rookie wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck, and coaches and executives sometimes need to get rid of guys who barely even had a chance. Dirk Koetter even told Gray and Sperbeck that they “did nothing wrong.” There will inevitably be more cuts shown over the preseason.

 

Funniest moment: Rookies sing songs

This episode was perhaps the funniest in Hard Knocks history, as there were plenty of hilarious moments, but the rookies being forced to sing was gets the nod here because it was a full scene. Chris Godwin got the guys started by singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and then Riley Bullough shocked everyone with a surprisingly good performance of his own that got his quarterback excited. Then, after a rendition of the Canadian anthem, rookie quarterback Sefo Liufau picked a song that Jameis Winston and others sang along to. It wasn’t all good, though, and Doug Martin was forced to moonwalk and force a couple rookies off the stage after poor efforts, including Justin Evans reading “Eye of the Tiger” from his phone.

 

Underrated moment: Game of Thrones talk

The credits scene of the Hard Knocks premiere showed that EVERYONE loves Game of Thrones. Of course, NFL players have busy schedules and they all want to avoid spoilers, which Ryan Fitzpatrick did by making a noise as Winston started talking about the second and third episodes. And as Robert Ayers Jr. and Gerald McCoy discuss, you need to play attention to every second, because if you don’t, “13 people could’ve got killed.” It’s funny, too, that you can tell who is a more serious watcher and who isn’t. For example, you can tell general manager Jason Licht and the guy he was talking to are huge fans of the series based on a brief glimpse into their conversation.

 

MVP: Jameis Winston

Almost everything Jameis did in the first episode was funny… until the ending. After a bad practice the day before, we see Winston waking up at 5AM to get to work. You can see that he beats everyone to the building and truly wants to be the best, listening to a motivational speaker every morning to get ready for the day. After opening with the scene at Winston’s old home with cockroaches and a “pee area,” the viewer can realize how far he’s come and how much further he is willing to go in order to be great.

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