Aug. 18, 2016
HBO's Hard Knocks Returns Tuesday Night After Rams' L.A. Comeback
After a successful first week that covered the basics of relocation, positional battles, and how to get cut from a team for not following rules, HBO's Hard Knocks is back on Tuesday night with some more California Love. While Tupac isn't likely to make an appearance on the hit program, the aftermath of the Los Angeles' Rams first home game in the Golden State in over twenty years should make for good enough television on its own.
In a press release sent to the media on Monday morning, HBO said the following about this week's episode of Hard Knocks:
"The Los Angeles Rams mark their first home game at the venerable Memorial Coliseum in more than 35 years with the preseason opener versus the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams rallied for a 28-24 win before an NFL preseason all-time United States attendance figure of 89,140. A 30-person NFL Films crew is at the Rams’ training camp at team headquarters in Southern California, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series."
Other storylines for this week's episode of Hard Knocks are expected to be (but are not limited to) the following:
* The development of tight end Tyler Higbee, who caught 5 balls for 49 yards on six attempts in the comeback over the Cowboys.
* Jared Goff's first professional game, in which he completed just four of nine passes and also threw an interception.
"I was happy with the second drive we had and getting it down there. I would have loved to finish the drive and score, obviously, and finish the half with a score. But I think I can build off a lot of stuff I did in that drive," Goff said after his less-than-stellar outing on national television. "I did some things there that I was pleased with, I threw some good balls and had some guys up there running some good routes. The o-line did a great job, we checked some stuff. It was good. It was a lot of good stuff and I hope to continue to improve on that and just continue to get better this preseason."
* The fight for backup quarterback between Sean Mannion and Case Keenum, which is a lot closer than people likely expected coming into training camps. Though it was just one game, Mannion may have a slight edge thanks to a three touchdown performance against the Cowboys in which the former Oregon State signal caller went 18 of 25 and didn't take a sack.
* Jeff Fisher and Les Snead, both of whom haven't had the best tenures with the Rams, potentially getting long-term contract extensions as the team tries to make a successful transition to Hollwyood. Fisher, to his credit, is managing to enjoy the relocation process and the challenge that comes with it.
"It was great. Any time you get close to the Coliseum it’s hard to get in because there’s so many people. It’s fun. It was great," Fisher, who has yet to post a winning season with the team in four years, said in his post-game press conference. "From the time we got in here, until just moments ago it was just really, really impressive, so we’re just glad to be back."
But, not everything about the game pleased Fisher, as his presser was mixed with both happiness and pride at the team's effort as well as some frustration at the Rams' first-half performance.
"I just left the locker room five minutes ago, finishing up with the team, and I had to remind them that it was a preseason game. It was as if we just clenched the playoffs as far as they were concerned, and that’s always fun. It was a great evening. To come here and see the fans’ support not only from our fans, but the Cowboys’ fans it made for great competition. ... as far as the game is concerned, there’s always good things that happen in your first preseason game and there’s always so many things that you have to learn from. We’ve got our work cut out. We’re not close to being regular season-ready. Our defense against the run, we’ve got to get that fixed, granted we didn’t do it an awful lot, but still we can’t allow that to happen."
* The Rams' struggles in stopping rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who tore the defense up for 152 total yards on Saturday night.
* The usual mix of position battles, injuries, and cursing.
Maybe, just maybe, Florida Atlantic will get put on the map after former Owl Lucky Whitehead ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown on Saturday night. Give the Owls some love, HBO!
Other HBO playdates will include Aug. 17 (6:50 p.m., midnight), 18 (2:00 p.m., 1:50 a.m.), 19 (11:00 a.m., 3:30 a.m.), 20 (4:10 a.m.), 21 (8:30 a.m.) and 22 (11:00 p.m. and HBO2 playdates are scheduled for Aug. 16 (3:50 a.m.) 19 (12:45 p.m.), 20 (7:25 a.m.), 23 (5:15 p.m.) and 24 (3:45 a.m.) HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE LOS ANGELES RAMS is narrated by Liev Schreiber.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HardKnocks and follow @HBO, @NFLFilms and @LosAngelesRams for updates and to join the Mix, you can follow me on Twitter at @JakeElman
[Photo via USA Today]