The theme of this episode of “Hard Knocks” was “yawn.” That’s not a dig on NFL Films’ editing or cinematography, both of which were fantastic as usual. Nor is it a knock on the Atlanta Falcons organization. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The fact that Tuesday night’s fifth and final episode of the yearly HBO documentary was so level-headed and even-keeled speaks highly of the Falcons. Really, in an episode which centered around the final cuts to trim the team down to 53 men, the fact that the players on the bubble reacted pretty much the same way whether they were kept or cut shows how emotionally mature everyone on that team is. Matt Ryan’s “cool dad” mannerisms must be rubbing off on everyone.
With that in mind, let’s review the cuts as the team would — calmly and quickly. Viewers saw veteran linebacker Pat Angerer leave like it was no big deal after Coach Mike Smith let him go. Rookies Freddie Martino, Nosa Eguae and Donte “Cupcake” Rumph did the same, profusely thanking Smith for the opportunity and noting they’ll continue to work hard.
To shake things up a bit, we see rookies Ricardo Allen and Jacques Smith, who earlier apologized for last week’s meltdown that got him kicked out of a preseason game against the Houston Texans, leave with slightly more angst — although both were content enough with their experience to accept a spot on the practice squad. Then there was Geraldo “Amsterdam” Boldewijn, who did not make the roster due to a hamstring injury, but he did work out an agreement with the team to be re-evaluated again in six weeks. Amsterdam left Smith’s office just as all the others — more or less seemingly totally fine with whatever.
And now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the more bizarre moments viewers enjoyed in this episode.
We were reminded that the proposed new Atlanta Falcons stadium looks like it belongs in the the futuristic city of Caprica from “Battlestar Gallactica.” Besides the retractable roof, it also looks to have a 360-degree jumbotron. Think of all the “Kiss Cam” action!
— Businessweek (@BW) September 2, 2014
Linebacker Osi Umenyiora lives in what looks to be Barbie’s dream house. It’s big, pink and looks like a castle.
— Jonathan Karron (@JKarronATL) September 3, 2014
Don’t we all.
Oh yeah, the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium has a pool in it and it’s weird. So, you know, in case you get sick of the football, as Defensive Line Coach Bryan Cox did during the teams’ preseason face-off, you can watch the exhibitionists above.
I will say the pool at Jacksonville does look pretty cool on hard knocks. Even if I think it is silly.
— Jonathan Shank (@jonathanshank) September 3, 2014
Rookie running back Devonta Freeman experienced a recliner as if it was the first time he ever sat down. And it made everyone like the fourth-round draft pick even more.
“Chair goes up, chair goes down. Chair goes up, chair goes down.” – Davonta Freeman #HardKnocks
— Dan Weiner (@DanWeiner) September 3, 2014
Julio Jones finally gets some decent screen time! Sure it comes in the last 45 seconds, and sure the show’s credits were running, but, regardless, it’s about time the Falcons remind their opponents that this fearsome beast is on the team. It turns out, he’s not just a force on the field, but also at the card table. While playing Spades, Jones threw his cards down with gusto whilst shouting, “THAT’S HOW YOU PLAY CARDS!” at the other wide receivers at the table.
— Michael Ryan (@MichaelRyan929) September 3, 2014
And yes, it was the best moment of the whole episode.