The first episode of this year’s Hard Knocks series from HBO gave us what we should have expected out of a late summer in Florida. It was laid back. No real tension, no real drama. But as this series has always done, it allows us to get to know the players and coaches in a slightly deeper, more candid manner. Here are some of the highlights from Hard Knocks-Training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Episode 1…

We learned that growing up poor in Bessemer, Alabama, often meant having to share a bed, and a bathroom. You know you’re poor when you have no place to pee. But you still make the most of your childhood and have happy memories like any other kid that might have grown up in the white collar suburbs. Family is first, and family is forever. The show opens up with a very down-to-earth, humble look at the team’s superstar quaterback, Jameis Winston.

Then we get a glimpse inside the life of the Bucs All-Pro defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy, at home with his young twins. We discovered that his young son of the twin set likes to rock gold chains and is already as stout as a dump truck. Can we say future baller. And while this was not mentioned in the show, and I am certain it is not true, it looked as if Gerald was robbed of his luggage while at Benihana’s so the good folks there gave him a kimono to wear until he checked into his room. It was as strange as I’m describing it.

Now, as far as on-the-field stuff, we heard the Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter tell Jamies in so many words, we have a great defense this year and I want you to take less risks. It sounded as if Koetter was telling Jameis that he would like to have him in more of a game manager role than any other previous time in Jameis’ career. Koetter tells Jameis that he is the only one out there that can lose them a game, no one else has the ball enough to actually lose them a game. From a team perspective, this should be a good strategy, and part of the maturation process for Jameis. However, if I’m Jameis Winston fantasy owners, I’m not sure I like the idea of him not going 100%. We’ll see.

We learned it’s going to be damn near impossible to cover Mike Evans & DeSean Jackson. Jon Gruden was on campus and said that Mike Evans is one of the best wide receivers he has ever seen. And we all know what DeSean Jackson can STILL do. It didn’t take him long to prove it to the Tampa Bay fans, and his Bucs teammates.

And speaking of DeSean, if you were tuning in hoping to get outrageous moments and soundbites from DeSean, you probably won’t get it. DeSean seems to fit in nicely with the laid back flow of Florida. His off-the-field personality appears to be quite the opposite of what you may expect from the boisterous receiver. He is a family man. Fun, yes, but ultimately appears to be reserved.

Those outrageous moments may come from undrafted rookie linebacker Riley Bullough. He is a talker. And that is one thing that is most impressing his coaches. He is already being singled out in team meetings as a leader on the field. Riley may best illustrate how the beauty of uncensored HBO programming shines.

The first episode this year closes with some fabricated drama about Jameis’ struggles in camp. Nothing serious, and nothing lingering. Just a down moment to build into next week. Something to keep an eye however is the relationship between Jameis, and his quarterback coach Mike Bajakian. Bajakian came off as a little cold, and not very helpful. We’ll see how that develops over the next few weeks.

They close episode 1 by setting up a look into the personal lives of the players next week, and the cuts that are to come. The action and drama is sure to increase next week.


Check the site next week for the Episode 2 recap, and also check out the Thomas Take Sports Podcast as he will give his take on this year’s edition of Hard Knocks.



Brandon Reid covers the NFL for | Follow him on Twitter @New_Breid ReidAnalysisEntertainmentFootballNews and UpdatesNFC SouthNFLRecent PostsTampa Bay BuccaneersTV ShowsDeSean Jackson,Dirk Koetter,Gerald McCoy,Hard Knocks,HBO,Jameis Winston,Riley BulloughThe first episode of this year's Hard Knocks series from HBO gave us what we should have expected out of a late summer in Florida. It was laid back. No real tension, no real drama. But as this series has always done, it allows us to get to know...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?