Buccaneers: Hard Knocks episode four recap

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Jameis Winston
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Jameis Winston /

Four episodes down, one to go. We’re back for the fourth time with another recap of HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Buccaneers. If you missed last weeks’ recap, check it out right here.

We’re nearing the finish line of training camp as we wrap up the fourth episode of this season’s Hard Knocks. With just twelve days until the Buccaneers begin the regular season, the cameras captured a sense of urgency among the players in practice that reflects how close they are to the real thing. It wasn’t all fiery competition, though, as this also turned out to be one of the funnier episodes of the season.

As usual we’ll recap the highlights of the episode and award some superlatives for the stars of the episode.

  • The episode opens to the Buccaneers jamming out to Montell Jordan. Gerald McCoy appropriately sums up the teams’ mood before the credits role: “You can’t be in a bad mood with this song on”. If only that song could have played for the entire week.
  • Gerald McCoy brings a young fan out of the stands to dance with him on the field.

    Third round pick Chris Godwin gets some spotlight for his impressive training camp. Jason Licht is impressed with Godwin’s maturity, but Dirk Koetter is worried about Godwin’s stamina in the wicked Tampa heat.

  • The annual rookie show! O.J. Howard mimics quarterback Jameis Winston‘s famous pre-game speech; Riley Bullough imitates coach Mark Duffner; Chris Baker wins ugliest Buccaneer. We did not see the top-10 list that was teased last week as well as on DeSean Jackson’s Instagram.
  • Training camp standout Riley Bullough earned a lot of impressive praise from the coaches, but Mark Duffner draws a bottom line: Bullough might never be able to overcome his movement limitations.

    Dirk Koetter chastises Jameis Winston for being a smart ass; Winston immediately follows up with a dominant stretch of practice that includes a beautiful deep bomb to

    DeSean Jackson

    , a candidate for play of the week. Winston takes over the spotlight for a good chunk of the episode from here. Jason Licht praises his quarterbacks leadership, and then we go to Winston’s house where we meet his puppy, Tootsie, and long time girlfriend, Breion.

    More from The Pewter Plank

    Buccaneer fans are well aware of the struggles of rookie running back Jeremy McNichols, and the coaches grade his performance against the Bengals. Poor grades on both special teams and defense are followed up by a frustrating practice in which McNichols scuffles with a teammate. Later on during the game McNichols misses a key block and is pulled out of the game.

    The Buccaneers struggle in the final practice before the teams’ preseason game against Cleveland. Drops, missed assignments, and general mistakes draw the ire of nearly every Buccaneer coach, but in particular the one in charge, Dirk Koetter. There was quite a bit of this type of heated frustration in the episode.

  • Game time! The Bucs arrive in their shiny, brand new locker room before the game. Evan Smith and Donovan Smith are overjoyed with the quality of the showers. The moment that they leave the locker room, the jovial feelings end. A rainy affair combined with several missing starters made for an ugly game, and even HBO’s cameras struggled to pretty it up with just a few exceptions. One of these exceptions was Chris Godwin, who had the best game of his young career.
  • Featured earlier in the episode for his toughness and competitiveness, receiver Dontee Dye gets some spotlight in the game; Dye very nearly scored a touchdown, but it was deemed incomplete after a challenge by coach Koetter.

  • As the game comes to a close we get a close look at the competition between linebackers Riley Bullough and Cameron Lynch. Bullough narrowly misses out on a pass break-up, and then is beat deep down the seam. Mike Smith nearly lets it slip that Bullough’s roster chances aren’t terrific. It’s a frustrating end to the game altogether, and the Buccaneers lose.
  • The final credits role, and we get our weekly check in with the Buccaneers as they watch Game of Thrones. We’re given a chilling reminder that just as “winter is coming” to Westeros, so too are cuts to Tampa Bay.

    Quote of the week

    "He’s the best leader I’ve ever been around – in anything."

    General manager Jason Licht, talking about his prized quarterback, Jameis Winston.

    Play of the week

    There weren’t too many positive plays to pull from the Buccaneers’ disappointing exhibition game this week, but Vernon Hargreaves‘ second interception of this preseason is worth highlighting. Though Hargreaves will get the interception on his stat sheet, it was made possible by a tip from linebacker Lavonte David.

    Battle of the week

    Receiver Bobo Wilson versus offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken. Wilson didn’t respond well to Monken’s blunt honesty, and laments the “babying” done by the Buccaneer coach. Later on in a meeting, Wilson and Monken are a bit confrontational as well.

    Cut of the week

    In this penultimate episode we were spared the cruelty of any player cuts, but don’t get too comfortable. Next week will be packed with long walks to Dirk Koetter’s office.

    Next: Remaining offensive concerns

    Only one episode left! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty bummed we’re already at the end. In the finale we’ll be sure to get plenty of dramatic cuts, and an up-close look at several fringe players in their final shot for a roster spot against the Washington Redskins. Be sure to come back next week for our final recap!