Damn, what an archetypal HBO-type intro to a show about Los Angeles football. That rundown on the importance of physicality on the field by wide receivers’ coach Phil McGeoghan felt like a scripted scene out of Oz. Episode Three of Hard Knocks: Los Angeles provided the best look at the balance of anticipating football in the era of COVID. And while it’s easy to find another article that speculates on all the potential mishaps that go into this season, this episode made sure to also remind you how fun the return of football can be. Will be. (If you want to bet on this find my email, share the article, and send your wager.)
Hard Knocks Episode Three: Rams, Raps, And Recap
The episode starts with an antsy Rams team counting down the days before their first padded practice. Derwin James and countless other names on the roster voice their disdain for soft walkthrough practices, and best summed up by Samson Ebukam. “Nobody like that no pad sh*t. No pads suck bro.”
Anthony Lynn shares a Zoom call with his players, motivating them to play their hearts out or else, “If you’re ass a turd, imma tell them you a turd.” This may be HBO’s finest use of language in a series.
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Anyone with an interest in joining and winning a fantasy football league should have tuned in to Keenan Allen’s tape on Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Lynn reminds the offensive staff to “feed Keenan” and let this episode teach you that this receiver can eat. Aside from being faked out by Allen so strongly that he almost landed on his back, Chris Harris showed great coverage that could re-insert his candidacy for best corner in the league. Allen even made Derwin James (my DPOY pick for 2020) revisit his days of rookie play.
Chris Harris gave a playful jab to Philip Rivers and his departure, but the personnel could not help but call Rivers “the best.” Shows you how much this organization misses him.
The coaching staff and players could not resist the passionate commitment Ingram showed by arriving on time, every day to the same organization that undervalued his veteran impact on the team.
Tyrod Taylor continues to lead the team with stalwart demeanor, but you can’t help but think that the Chargers will get their money’s worth out of Taylor for five or six games before they elevate Herbert to the starting role — like a kid eager to play with their new toy. Tyrod still has a ring, though. Did anyone else get Blade II Wesley Snipes vibes when he talks?
Arguably the most intriguing part of this episode is the penultimate scene that shifts the focus over to Melvin Ingram as he patiently awaits a new contract — still showing up to practice but not dressing out. The coaching staff and players could not resist the passionate commitment Ingram showed by arriving on time, every day to the same organization that undervalued his veteran impact on the team. The leader chose to respond to the team and the team listened. After a restructured contract, Ingram (who may have looked closer to Eddie Lacy due to the lockdown) took to the field, fully dressed, and laid stones on any lineman who got in his way. The post-practice pep talk from quarterbacks coach and former DC Defenders great Pep Hamilton shows us that at every level of play, Melvin Ingram can elevate the team. The only caveat is that if Melvin Ingram doesn’t get another contract with the Chargers, a future in freestyle and heating up mics shouldn’t be out of the cards. The man can spit!
The grand finale of the episode switches to what can now be deemed the “AT&T Stadium killer”: SoFi Stadium. Quite frankly there’s enough room inside to fit max capacity from AT&T and still be able to implement social distancing. The sought-after scrimmage among Rams players became a showcasing of two rules of life: “all football is good football” and “Aaron Donald is a beast.” Rookie running back Cam Akers got a raw deal from the All-Pro DT when he gave up a fumble after a big hit from Donald.
These teams are ready for the season, so am I.