We saw an entertaining drama filled Hard Knocks debut episode. The Rams are back in Los Angeles and it is clear as day that Hard Knocks wants to showcase every single aspect of their move and their progression.
Here are five things I took away from watching Hard Knocks.
1. Head coach Jeff Fisher, Defensive line coach Mike Waufle and Quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke mean business
If you didn’t see the episode you missed a chance to really get to know these coaches personalities. It was a very good thing to see how Chris Weinke really made sure no. 1 overall pick Jared Goff is going to have to earn the starting quarterback job. All three of these coaches were very loose lipped and were not hesitant to throw out expletives.
The former Marine Mike Waufle might be the most intense of them all. He believes his defensive line destroy the NFL and for good reason, they probably are already the best. Lastly Jeff Fisher showcased a “my way or the highway” approach when he let go of 25-year old WR Deon Long during the episode for breaking team rules. Fisher afterwards set the record straight that he didn’t want to go 7-9,8-8,9-7 or even 10-6 and that he knows his team is way more talented than that. This was honestly great to see as a die-hard Rams fan who has struggled to fully support Fisher as the team’s head coach over the years.
2. Jared Goff looks like a leader
If you didn’t already know I was not a fan of drafting Jared Goff no. 1 overall. I preferred North Dakota State dual-threat prospect Carson Wentz. I am alright with the pick now of course and I felt like I started to become even more of a fan of his through this episode.
Besides the fact Goff bought his whole offense and coaches fans for their dorm rooms that lacked air conditioning, Goff showed desire and passion to fix anything he was doing wrong. In one of the scenes when he stayed after practice late throwing fade passes in the corner of the end zone to Kenny Britt really made me confident in his abilities. Goff would keep critiquing his throws and as starting quarterback Case Keenum watched Goff would not settle and keep re-starting the fade drill.
The fact that Goff went up to Britt after practice was over and told him he wanted his help in working on the fade drill’s showed instant dedication and I’m sure Britt won’t forget something like that. One thing I didn’t realize is Goff unlike Wentz had no experience calling plays under a huddle. I thought this episode did a great job of showing off the little things Goff will need to work on including footwork. Overall Goff looks like a team player that is ready to win and gets along with his teammates.
3. Aaron Donald is on a path no Rams defensive player has been on in a long time
With 20 sacks in two seasons as a 4-3 defensive tackle Aaron Donald opened eyes. Here’s the thing though, Donald is only getting better. In this episode Donald is actually seen breaking through the offensive line at will while others may have had a harder time getting to the quarterback. Besides that Donald also is ripped and has the great work ethic and demeanor behind him to make you think he is only going to continue to improve.
4. Eric Kush is featured heavily in this episode
I don’t know if it means anything but I felt like Kush was in the episode more than Todd Gurley. Probably blowing it out of proportion but its a telling sign Kush is valued by his team as much as he values his tank tops. Goff was actually taking snaps from him the most and perhaps they are building a connection that could push veteran Tim Barnes out of the starting role sooner than later.
5. This season of Hard Knocks could end up being the biggest one yet
I’ve watched Hard Knocks in the past and my personal favorite was the one with the Miami Dolphins. However, while I enjoyed that the Rams have set theirs up to be much better than any of them. I was bummed when the episode ended that’s how you know you are about to dive into a TV show. The show definitely needs to focus on the roster bubble and position battles more but again, I was very entertained by this episode and can’t wait for the next one.