Buccaneers: Hard Knocks episode one recap

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Football fans cheer from the stands as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter of an NFL game on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Football fans cheer from the stands as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter of an NFL game on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not disappoint in their debut on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Let’s discuss what went down!

If episode one was any indication, we’re in for quite an entertaining season of Hard Knocks. The hour long premiere episode went as most premieres do, filled with lots of introductions to players, coaches, staff, and all the family in between. Narrated along the way by actor Liev Schreiber, HBO showed us an up-close look at the Buccaneers facility, a tour of Jameis Winston‘s hometown, and an inside look at DeSean Jackson‘s new home in Tampa. We’ll break down that and the many other noteworthy things that in our episode recap, and after that we’ll dish out some superlatives for the week.

  • The episode begins with head coach Dirk Koetter addressing the team, with two giant words sprawled on a screen behind him: Earn It.
  • Following the credits we ride along with Jameis Winston through his home town of Bessemer, Alabama, home of two Heisman trophy winners according to Winston. It’s clear early on that Winston will be the defacto star of this show. Later on in the episode we see Winston leading his football camp for kids, and Winston is the focus for several practice montages, showing both the ups and downs; snap and clear is the emphasis from quarterback coach Mike Bajakian.
  • After Winston, we’re brought to the Buccaneers’ second largest star, Gerald McCoy, and his two children. Family is a central theme of this episode, and likely the season as well given how much members of the team emphasize the word.  As most fans are already aware, Gerald McCoy showed up to training camp in full Japanese attire, and the HBO cameras were sure to capture it.
  • Jameis has a similar reaction to most of us when he sees Kwon Alexanders hair: “what the hell is going on here?”
  • Jason Licht and Mike Smith watch the Buccaneers practice facility get built; Licht hopes that the construction workers dangling from high atop the facility are paid well.
  • Gerald McCoy accidentally bumps into Jameis Winston during a drill, and pleads afterward to not be traded and asks forgiveness from the quarterback. Winston forgives him.
  • Winston and Koetter talking shop in the coaches office is brilliant television. Winston wants to know how much is doing too much, and is told that patience is key, and that Winston has to not lose them games. Koetter tells Winston that he’s closer to Rodgers than Brady as far as style goes.
  • The formal announcement of Jon Gruden as a ring of honor member is shown, and Gruden is followed around afterward as he addresses different parts of the team. More Gruden as he introduces himself to Kwon Alexander and talks to DeSean Jackson about catching passes from Winston and how he feels in Tampa. Later, Gruden calls Mike Evans one of the greatest receivers he’s ever seen.
  • The dynamic duo of DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans are given the spotlight. Evans says that he texted DeSean to come to Tampa, and Jackson responded with “how’d you know”? Koetter discusses the advantages of Jackson, while Ryan Fitzpatrick ogles at Jackson’s speed crossing the field. We’re shown the now-famous bobbling rain catch by Jackson in practice.
  • Jason Licht and the Buccaneers front office enjoy a lunch at their favorite spot, where allegedly all their good ideas come from.
  • We’re shown an up-close look at the construction of the Bucs indoor practice facility, and I can confirm personally that it’s even more impressive in person than on television.
  • Running back Jeremy McNichols, AKA “McWeapon”, is shown learning the nuances of where to go on the field from multiple coaches. Later that night, McNichols receives a call from his high school coach, Snoop Dogg. Snoop offers some sage wisdom.
  • Undrafted rookie linebacker Riley Bullough doesn’t like to be called Joe Dirt, but his leadership is lauded by Dirk Koetter. Leadership however couldn’t save him from later having to carry the pads for the vets as the first rookie hazed on screen.
  • More rookie hazing! Chris Godwin belts “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Riley Bullough earns thunderous applause for his tune. Canadian tight end Anthony Auclair sings his countries national anthem.
  • The final scene of the episode follows Jameis Winston as he arrives early to One Buc Place and works out. As the credits role, several players as well as Jason Licht discuss Game of Thrones.

Quote of the week

"“This is mother nature at its best. I feel like the Crocodile Hunter with roaches”."

This weeks’ top quote came from quarterback Jameis Winston, as he watched two cockroaches having a baby (or mating, Jameis wasn’t really sure). As expected Winston was a star for the show, and something tells me that this won’t be the last time he wins this superlative.


Play of the week

DeSean Jackson’s bobbling touchdown in the rain has been seen by every Buccaneer fan under the sun by now, but it’s still the play of the week. Evans had a close contender on a deep ball over Brent Grimes.

Battle of the week

Jameis Winston versus Dirk Koetter. The Buccaneers coach tore into Winston with expletives during passing drills after Winston screwed up on a play. Their sometimes fiery relationship was put on full display in this episode.

Winners of the week

Buccaneer fans everywhere. Forgive the cop-out answer, but with this week focusing mostly on introductions and less so on individual practice battles, we’re gonna name Bucs fans as the winner, because isn’t that the truth?

Cuts of the week

Evan Panfil, Thomas Sperkbeck and Jhujuan Seales are this weeks only three cuts. Expect many more in the coming epsiodes.

Next: Elliot picking up nickel corner

So, what did you think about the premiere episode, Buccaneer fans? Did the HBO cameras properly represent  your favorite team? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check in after every Hard Knocks episode for the Pewter Plank recap.