Second episode of Hard Knocks invites you inside

by Gary Shelton on August 16, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Koetter comes across well in Hard Knocks./CARMEN MANDATO

Koetter comes across well in Hard Knocks./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.

Imagine you could be in the room.

Imagine you could pull up a chair between general manager Jason Licht, coach Dirk Koetter and ex-kicker Roberto Aguayo.

Imgine you could listen to Jameis Winston's chatter, or Gerald McCoy's goofing around, or play toy guns with Brent Grimes.

Yeah, that's what Hard Knocks is like.

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McCoy wants to be punched by a superhero./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

McCoy wants to be punched by a superhero./JEFFREY S. KING

Look, if you pay attention to the Tampa Bay Bucs, and you probably do, then the second episode of Hard Knocks didn't take you by surprise. You knew Aguayo had been cut (and deserved to be). You knew Ryan Griffin had been hurt. You knew James Winston was the team leader.

But this is a show that is all about access, a show that invites you into the huddle. And, once again, it was pretty good.

If I was still a newspaperman, of course, this show would drive me crazy, because it opens doors that aren't allowed to most of us. But that's the appeal. You can hear a teammate ask aging backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick how it was to play with Bart Starr. You can see Lee Ann Bullough assure her son Riley that, no, he doesn't look like Joe Dirt. Fabio, maybe, and you can debate which is worse. You can see McCoy's lifesize figurine of Batman.

And because of it, you probably feel a little closer to the Bucs today.

Isn't that the point?

I have to tell you. Two episodes in, and I'm hooked. I want to watch episode three right now. I want to see Winston go player to player to help get them ready to play. I want to see the pain on Aguayo's face as he gets the grim news from Koetter and Licht. Heck, I even want to see Fitzpatrick and Nick Folk on their paddle boat.

That's what it's like, of course. Hard Knocks pulls up a chair for you. You can eavesdrop as Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson debate LeBron James. You can laugh as Chris Baker taunts the kickers (hey, they get taunted on Sundays). You can hear teammates talk admiringly about Brent Grimes. (Miko talks about him, too).

You can see the kid in Winston. You can see the artist in Robert McClain. You can see the Chippendale in McCoy. You can feel Mike Smith's frustration during the game against the Bengals.

This is what Hard Knocks does best. It pulls back the curtain. It invites you to judge Winston as he admonishes linemen for joking after Griffin was hurt.

It gets the silly moments, the light banter, the easy conversations.  It allows you to know your team.

That's not a bad thing, either.


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