Tuesday night was a long time coming. For months, Bucs fans have been eagerly waiting and waiting to see their team in the brightest of spotlights under the most high quality cameras that come with HBO’s Hard Knocks. The first episode didn’t disappoint.
As you can imagine, quarterback Jameis Winston was the feature player for most of the hour-long episode. However, there were plenty of other features in episode one including DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy and even linebacker Riley Bullough.
As do most of the opening episodes for in-depth shows, Hard Knocks began by taking a look at Winston’s upbringing in Bessemer, Alabama. The camera showed what life was like for Winston growing up – a simple life, to say the least. It also featured some of the home life of Gerald McCoy and how important family is to him.
In the middle of the show, Hard Knocks featured DeSean Jackson quite a bit, mainly his transition to a new team at an older age, acclimating to Tampa, FL and the Buccaneers offense. They highlighted some of his biggest plays so far in training camp, plays that surely got those outside of the local spotlight fired up.
The rest of the episode featured the good, the bad, the excitement and the struggles, all through beautiful cinematography. Here were some of our top moments from episode one.
Most Supring Moment
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The most surprising moment of the show had to be when we learned that rookie running back, Jeremy McNichols, not only knows, but is like family with rapper Snoop Dogg. In fact, the show featured a moment where the two FaceTimed and Snoop gave McNichols some advice.
We’ve been at camp since it began, and none of us knew that was coming.
The funniest moment had to be when the coaches made the rookies sing in front of the whole team. Rookie wide receiver, Chris Godwin, may suck at signing, but he got up there and sang “Ain’t No Mountain High” with confidence. Linebacker, Riley Bullough did the same with his.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau actually has some pipes on him, and didn’t do half bad with his. However, when safety Justin Evans had to read lyrics off his phone just to quietly try to mumble the words to “Eye of the Tiger,” running back, Doug Martin, promptly took to the stage to sweep him off with a Michael Jackson moon walk.
There were a few quotes that were memorable, some motivating and some humorous, but the one that stood out the most was one that was spoken in the first five minutes of the show from head coach, Dirk Koetter.
“Teams are like rockets, most of the work is done beforehand.”
This was Koetter’s way of reeling in the hype of his team before they even played a game. It was his way of saying that they may be great on paper, but unless they put in the work, they won’t be able to get the job done when they need to.
What makes a rocket go is done before its launch date. What will make the Buccaneers a playoff team will be done before the regular season.
There was a lot of very good cinematography in episode one. We were big fans of the drone footage they got from all angles of One Buc Place, and thought it really showed the place well.
However, the best shot, in our opinion, was when they simultaneous cut back and forth between Winston’s incredible scramble and bomb to Mike Evans against Chicago last year and Winston scrambling around in practice in the same manor this training camp. The shot perfectly encapsulated who Winston is as a quarterback. He’s a guy who is unconventional by nature, and plays like the one that happened in the Chicago game don’t happen by luck alone.
The best moment had to be the final scene. In it, it showed a dejected Winston after a terrible practice going home to his hotel room. But, whether the day before was good or bad, Winston wakes up every morning at the same time with the same motivation and the same focus. It showed him getting to the facility before the sun came up, praying and meditating at his locker in an empty locker room, and getting his workout in before anyone else was in the building. The final shot was of him lifting weights in a focused moment – what a cliff hanger that was.
Those were our favorite moments, now it’s time to hear yours.
What did you think of episode one? What was your favorite moment, and what do you hope gets more air time next week?
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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