HBO: Hard Knocks – Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys (Episode 3)

HBO Sports: Hard Knocks 2008


We begin Episode three of Hard Knocks 2008 with the coaches evaluating the performance of the players during the San Diego preseason game.  The first team was solid and efficient so coaches are giving them a lot of praise.  However, the second team and beyond had very little praise as they were far less productive compared to the second and third string of the Chargers.  Danny Amendola’s fumble on his first punt return was mentioned.  That’s not good for the fan favorite underdog.

It’s time for more of the T.O. show!  We have shots that go back and forth between coach talking about the Cowboys have one goal of getting to and winning the Super Bowl and T.O. running shirtless (of course) up the side of a mountain all the while the voice of the coach is heard about trying to inspire the players to from being good football players to great football players.  He challenges his team to write down on paper what they need to do to go from “good to great” and then go and do those things.

Let me try: “Good to Great

  1. Drink more water and slow down on the Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper
  2. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier
  3. Run a mile a day
  4. Help an old lady cross the street
  5. Watch less television and read more
  6. Listen to wife

Okay, this is just ridiculous.  There’s nothing wrong with just being good.  Leave the greatness to someone else.

Now it’s time to focus on Tony Romo’s friendship with TE Jason Witten.  Although, Witten states that he is not a part of Tony’s entourage.  Everyone agrees, including Romo, that Romo can’t sing.  You could also search for a video of him singing at a Chicago Cubs game to verify this fact.  Still, Tony maintains that his new found fame of being the Quarterback of “America’s Team” has not changed him.  Well, except for dating blondes in the music industry with hot bodies and tons of money.  Yeah, nothing’s changed.  Anyway, there is a pretty funny moment where Troy Aikman sends a text message asking Jerry Jones where his retirement installment is after finding out the Green Bay Packers offered Brett Favre $25 Mil to stay retired.

Get your popcorn ready.  We find out that Jerry Jones likes popcorn himself and offers sports writer Peter King a bucket full of popcorn.  Peter then proceeds to start stuffing his mouth.  I wish that would stop him from writing sometimes.  We are reminded a game last year when Owens grabbed popcorn from someone in the stands (probably staged prior to game) after he scored a touchdown.  But this year is a new T.O.  The younger receivers are calling Terrell Owens the Godfather of the receivers.  He is seen given some solid instruction and advice to the younger receivers just simply trying to make the team.  How would you like Mr. Owens to be teaching your child?  If it’s teaching my son how to play football, then I’m all in.

NFL reinstatement hopeful Adam Jones is a great man on man cover guy, but struggles mightily with zone coverages.  After the first preseason game against the Chargers, he said that he couldn’t call his momma because she would have griped him out for the way he played.  You can always count on momma to tell it lke it is.  He was also trying to show Dave Campo how to dance and that is worse than watching me dance… well, maybe not.  White boyz 4 life foo’.  Represent!

As the Cowboys are getting ready to scrimmage against the Denver Broncos in preparation for their second preseason game, a funny moment involving head coach Wade Phillips and T.O. occurred.  Wade Phillips was telling his players not to wear shorts like T.O. was wearing.  He then asked him where he got those shorts so that he would make sure never to shop there.  At the same time, you see that T.O. is also wearing a shirt that says “I heart Haters” and Wade says, “yeah, see, you love me.”  Get your own “I heart Haters” shirt here.

We find out Demarcus Ware and his wife have lost 3 babies so they decided to adopt.  The child is still a baby and Ware signs on to iChat for a little video conference with his wife and baby.  I’m not sure there is nothing better than seeing a giant football player singing “Knees and toes” to a little baby in a lap top screen.  As a father, you just understand no matter how ridiculous it looks.  Sing it with me now:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears, and mouth,
And nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

It’s scrimmage time against Denver.   Apparently, excuses still come up with great players.  Romo overthrew T.O. a bit and asked him what was going on.  Romo said that he used to be able to get those and that he would take a little off if T.O. couldn’t catch up anymore.  T.O. started giving the excuse of the thin Denver air, so Romo was able to throw it farther than normal.  T.O. still claims that Romo can’t overthrow him at normal altitudes.  Gotta love the back and forth bantering.

Uh oh.  The players are getting better, but dropped balls seem to occurring more frequently this episode.  Players have to do 50 push ups for dropped passes and 25 for mental mistakes.  There are a lot of drops during this episode.  Ouch.  Two-a-days are wearing the players down.  The players legs are getting tired and some don’t feel the need to follow all the treatments to keep the muscles from getting sore.  It’s hard to unteach stubborn I guess.

Amendola gets praise for his natural punt returning ability, but talks always go back to his fumble on his first return in the preseason game.  Todd Lowber is starting to get better and learning his role as a receiver and the coaches are noticing.  Martellus Bennett is finally getting praise for working harder and taking his game to the “next level”.  Keon Lattimore is still not getting many reps and struggling with the assignments when time is given to him.  He’s got talent.  We’ll just have to see if it’s NFL talent.

Tempers flare up during the practice with Denver Broncos.  Oooo, fight, fight, fight!  Ah, sissies.  No drama, just a bunch of pushing going on.  Apparently, it was supposed to be light workout with touching instead of tackling.  Cowboys safety Roy Williams was upset about that, but the Broncos seem to be taking it a little more seriously so Cowboys decide to try to “touch” back.  The scuffle is short lived and quickly broken up by teammates.

Adam Jones prepares his formal written request for reinstatement into the NFL and sends it to commissioner Roger Goodell prior to game against Denver.  We are still waiting for his decision which is supposed to come before August 30th.  The Cowboys are sluggish in their second preseason game.  They don’t appear to be in it mentally.  The Cowboys aren’t tackling; they are committing too many penalties.  Greg Ellis holds an impromptu players meeting with his fellow defensive players.  They respond.  The players get fired up and play better and stop the Broncos from driving down the field.  The second team moves the ball down the field and scores thanks mainly to Miles Austin.  Unfortunately Austin gets hurt on the ensuing kick off.

Adam Jones hasn’t played since the NFL added the rule that players can’t spike the football after a play except for touchdowns so he gets penalized for doing just that.  I hate that rule among a few others.  It’s stupid just like the excessive celebration rule.  It is what it is though and all the players are fully aware of them.  It’s considered a “Delay of Game” penalty, so I kind of understand, but it’s still stupid.  Martellus Bennett has a strong game.  He had some good blocks and great catches with several broken tackles.  Aggies might actually be good for something after all.  LOL!  Anyway, Denver wins 23-13.

The game is over and the team is headed back to Dallas.  Training camp in Oxnard, CA is over and it’s time to make final preparations for the season.  We’re getting close to the time where Dallas has to make some cuts so we’ll see how many of these players that the show is focusing on actually make the team.  it’s starting to get good, not that it wasn’t already.

Author’s note:  My quick apologies for the delay of this post in regards to when the show actually aired.  I had a weekend full of fantasy football drafts and time went by faster than I anticipated.  With that being said, if any of you enjoy fantasy games then allow me to offer you some of my challenges that are free to participate in.  Just visit my latest post – Thinkbox issues Fantasy Challenges for 2008.

  • A big thanks to Awful Announcing for putting together the highlights of this season of Hard Knocks.