‘Hard Knocks’ gets real as the Atlanta Falcons chop roster by 15


(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The fun and games largely came to an end on the fourth episode of “Hard Knocks” on Tuesday when the Atlanta Falcons cut their roster from 90 to 75. While the previous episodes saw the rookies swimming with whale sharks at the aquarium or the veterans bowling like weirdos, Tuesday’s extracurricular of choice was letting people down easy. Indeed, it was hard knocks…

Among the cuts included rookie running back Jerome Smith and fourth-string quarterback Jeff Mathews. A trail of others followed in their footsteps to the execution room where Coach Mike Smith and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff quietly waited to crush their dreams. Surprisingly, every player shown getting their pink slip took it with class.

And that’s saying something because, as the show demonstrated in the first few minutes when special teams coach Keith Armstrong unleashed an uncensored tongue-lashing on his players, these guys went through hell.

Of course, it was all very entertaining for the viewers. So when Armstrong’s rant was immediately followed up with a Bryan Cox castigation of rookie defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman for his lazy practices, the viewers loved it.

Well, maybe not all of it. Cox spit so much venom at Hageman the big kid tried to hide in his rather small shirt.

Despite the more serious tone of this fourth episode of the five-part series, the documentary’s editors still found chances to throw in some memorable, lighthearted moments, too.

For instance, how about that thunderstorm? The weather system wasn’t funny, but the players who ran onto the field comically trying to wrangle up mats and other equipment that was blowing around was.

And then there was outside linebacker Osi Umenyiora’s confession about his love/hate relationship with Oreo cookies. “Man, them cookies is dangerous, man!” he said, before scoffing off suggestions that he try eating Little Debbie Snacks.

We saw offensive lineman Joe Hawley getting Zen while making pottery. Too bad ex-Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley wasn’t around so the two could reenact the famous pottery scene from “Ghost.”

Or maybe not…

Then there was rookie running back Devonta Freeman getting his first pedicure. It most certainly won’t be his last either. “I’m coming back,” he said as he was readying to leave.

You mean were ugly.

And speaking of things that are the opposite of ugly, Roddy White’s hilariously high vocal eruption after Julio Jones scored an unbelievable touchdown. I could’ve sworn when that scene came on all the neighborhood dogs started howling…

But the best moment of the night came from a trio of extremely excited kids, who nearly soiled their pants when quarterback Matt Ryan came out to take a selfie with them. “OH MY GOD, HE’S TOUCHING MY PHONE!” one kid screamed almost as loudly as White screamed after the Jones TD. It’s moments like that, that remind you why we love sports.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
SECTION: {section=sports, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=sports, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Sports
Next Story
Des Bieler · August 27