HBO Hard knocks has turned into a show that can be entertaining for the non-sporting fan who just likes to see the personalities of football players, boring for hardcore football fans (and maybe even for some cowboy beat writers who need to an espresso to straighten out) and just average for the casual soccer fan who doesn’t care about baseball stuff inside and just wants the basics.
It’s hard to please everyone and that’s where the fourth episode of the Cowboys series left us.
The fourth episode told us running back Rico Dowdle suffered a broken hip at the end of the season, which the team did not speak to local media about. We saw Coach Mike McCarthy moonwalk ahead of a team reunion and learned that quarterback Dak Prescott can get Amari Cooper fired. There is also running backs coach Skip Peete who comments directly on his players.
These are some of the highlights as we enter the home stretch of the five-episode series.
Here are others:
1. The heat is too strong
The Cowboys trained for several days in Frisco in intense heat in the late morning.
“All my God,” second-year defensive end Azur Kamara said as he began to stretch with the sun beating down on him. It was tough training for Kamara, who at the time was fighting for a spot on the team, as the heat and offensive line of the Cowboys knocked him down. There was a streak where wide receiver Aaron Parker easily blocked him. Maybe it was the heat. In fact, in the last preseason game of the year against the Jaguars, footage showed Kamara continued to be consistently blocked. Veteran defensive end Brent Urban didn’t have much of a problem with the heat, saying “another day at the beach.” McCarthy wanted his team to work in conditions to prepare for the season opener in Tampa Bay, where it could be hot and humid at kickoff.
2. Skip Peete stays true to reality
The players respect the coaches who tell the truth and that’s where Peete takes over. He was brutally honest with running back JaQuan Hardy, who, like Kamara, needed to prove himself to secure a place on the roster. Eventually, Hardy was cut, which happened on Tuesday. But last week Hardy was in the game and Peete challenged him. “Take over,” Peete tells Hardy during practice. “You must choose your [expletive] up. “Hardy, a Hard knocks favorite between his contact lenses or his goggles, Peete asked him, “Can you see me 1, 2, 3, what?” After the Cowboys found out that Dowdle would be missed for the season, Peete spoke to the other running backs in a reunion and made some pointed remarks to Hardy. “Homeboy, do you really understand the circumstances right now?” Said Peete. In the last preseason game, Peete continued to encourage Hardy to do whatever he can. One thing about Peete, he’s serious about the coronavirus. During a COVID-19 outbreak last week, Peete was seen in the running back room spraying Lysol on a table.
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3. Dak Prescott, the promoter
Amari Cooper can best be described as a calm soul with an endearing personality when he opens up. Cooper is also gentle on the football field. But that day Dak Prescott got him fired. Second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs told Cooper he wouldn’t pass him. Prescott, sensing a chance to sting a sleeping giant, or perhaps the bear, began chirping to Diggs and offered a bet. Cooper caught three assists on Diggs including a pair in the end zone. Prescott was smiling all the time as he watched Cooper beat Diggs with sharp footwork to get into his routes. Cooper, normally silent, also spoke of trash. When the practice was over, Cooper, still the gentleman, noted in Hard knocks cameras, “Dak pissed me off.” The promoters do that.
4. Connect 4
How difficult can Connect 4 be? It’s child’s play, isn’t it? At a barbecue at the home of rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, he played three games against veteran linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. It’s one of those scenes that makes Hard knocks Pretty good because it shows you the endearing personality of Parsons and another side of Vander Esch, a serious man. Parsons took Vander Esch to school, beating him in three Connect 4 games as Vander Esch’s grin took in losses in stride.
5. Standing comedy
The Cowboys hosted a private event at Richardson’s Backdoor Comedy Club and defensive end Tarell Basham took over. Bashman took to the stage to tell jokes, even trying to capture the British accent of defensive line coach Aden Durde and a cool impression of his defensive line colleague DeMarcus Lawrence. Basham’s joke was trying to get into Del Frisco’s Grille in Plano until Lawrence showed up to help. Basham repeated the joke, let’s assume the next day, before a position meeting. Instead of nailing the joke, he sloppy it when Lawrence entered.
Read about SportsDay’s Michael Gehlken’s current season by clicking / tapping here.
Read Kevin Sherrington’s thoughts on the current Hard knocks season by clicking / typing here.
Read Calvin Watkins’ takeaways from Hard knocks first by clicking / tapping here.
Read Michael Gehlken’s takeout from Episode 2 by clicking / tapping here.
Read David Moore’s takeout from Episode 3 by clicking / tapping here.
Find more Cowboys covers from The Dallas Morning News here.