Buccaneers: Hard Knocks episode five recap

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers have officially completed their run on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and the finale was just as entertaining as the four preceding episodes.

Urgency has been the theme of the last two episodes of Hard Knocks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A sense of urgency with players on the roster bubble, and a sense of urgency with the established members of the team as they approach the beginning of the regular season.

The final episode wrapped up some story lines established from the first couple episodes, and set the stage for what’s to come in the regular season. Because of all the roster spots at stake, this weeks episode focused a lot on the game against Washington, and all of the players that needed to have show out for a place on the final 53. There were plenty of highlights that we’ll go over in the recap, and plenty of worthy contenders for the final dish of superlatives. Enjoy!

  • The finale episode begins with Gerald McCoy arriving to the gym to the tune of the Oklahoma Sooners fight song. “Football is back!” exclaims McCoy as the title credits roll.
  • The battle for the fifth receiver spot is given an early spotlight. The stage is set for a battle between Dye, Wilson and the other fringe receivers.

    After asking Siri to recite “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, Jason Licht has one final request for the artificial intelligence: “who are the best 53 players on the roster?”. Siri admits that she can’t solve that problem.

  • Jameis Winston discusses the differences between north and south in college football, and how schools playing in the south just have a different mentality. When asked if southern schools have a competitive advantage Winston answered with an affirmative yes, as well as this weeks winning quote.
  • Back-up quarterback Sefo Liufau gets some guidance from Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick before his critical game against the Redskins. Sefo took every snap in the second half, and those that watched the game know that things didn’t go great. The cameras were sure to show that the offensive line played a role in the struggle
  • Riley Bullough gives an impassioned pregame speech to the team before the biggest game of his life. It’s loaded with cuss words and doesn’t make a ton of sense, but hey that’s par for the course for pregame speeches, right?

    More from The Pewter Plank

    The fate of Jeremy McNichols plays out, and it’s not pretty. He misses another block and just can’t seem to figure out that part of playing running back quite yet. He’s not the first rookie running back to struggle with this, and will hopefully turn things around with the 49ers, whom he joined after being waived by the Bucs.

  • As Riley Bullough struggles through the game, his competition Cameron Lynch shines, and narrator Liev Schrieber says it best: sometimes you just know  when a guy has done enough to get a roster spot and that was Lynch against the Redskins.
  • Michigan State alums Kirk Cousins and Riley Bullough share a moment after the preseason game wraps up.
  • In the locker room following the game, Dirk Koetter sets a grim tone: the preseason is over, and more than 30 players will be cut over the next two days.

    The most agonizing part of every season of Hard Knocks kicks off: the final cuts. Sefo Liufao gets the call to coach Koetter’s office first and is met with the proverbial axe.

  • A brief respite from the cuts, six of the Buccaneers’ biggest stars are gathered around a table at Charley’s Stakehouse, in Tampa’s own version of the Avengers. Doug Martin, Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Brent Grimes make up the squad.
  • Jeremy McNichols gets the call next and shares a good conversation with Koetter, who hopes that the young running back can return on waivers; McNichols instead chooses to sign with the 49ers, much to the dismay of Jason Licht.

  • Donteea Dye is the next big name to get the maligned call from Shelton Quarles that he’s been summoned to coach Koetter’s office. Coach tells Dye that he can play in the NFL, but that they’re going to give the younger Bobo Wilson a shot on the practice squad.
  • Promptly after getting praised by Dirk Koetter, Bobo Wilson goes AWOL to Miami and draws the ire of the entire Buccaneer front office. Koetter is straight up: if Wilson doesn’t fix his attitude he won’t make it anywhere in the NFL, let alone Tampa.

    The call that we all knew was coming: Shelton Quarles to Riley Bullough. It’s a bittersweet moment in the coaches office. Koetter praises Bullough’s leadership and ability versus the run, but says that he needs to improve his pass coverage.

    The season of Hard Knocks closes with a send-off into the regular season: the real thing is here. As the credits roll we get a series of bloopers.


    Quote of the week

    "“I want it more than them. To them this is just a sport”"

    Quarterback Jameis Winston when asked whether he has a competitive advantage against other teams. Alright, admittedly I may have given this award to Winston too many times over the last five weeks, but c’mon! Who didn’t predict that Winston would be the most quotable dude on the show?

    Play of the week

    Though it wasn’t enough to make the final roster, Bobo Wilson’s big catch that nearly scored was clearly the best of the week. Sefo Liufau underthrew a pass that Wilson corralled and ran into the end-zone. If not for a quick tap of his foot from the defender, Wilson would have scored a touchdown.

    Battle of the week

    Bernard Reedy versus Dontee Dye versus Bobo Wilson versus Josh Huff versus Freddie Martino. The Buccaneers have as good a group of four receivers as any, but their fifth spot was very much up for grabs during camp and preseason. To be honest, Reedy was the last guy I expected to win, but he exited the melee as the last man standing.

    Cut of the week

    There was a lot of competition for this superlative, but I cut down the candidates to one: Riley Bullough. The young linebacker always faced an uphill battle for a roster spot because of some athletic limitations, and his story is one of the many that Hard Knocks covers every training camp. Fortunately for Bullough, the Buccaneers decided to stash him on their practice squad, so if anyone goes down with injury, he’ll probably be getting a call.

    Next: T.J. Ward is smart, genuine, and speaks his mind

    Well, that’s a wrap on Hard Knocks with the Buccaneers. I had a ton of fun watching and covering the show these last five weeks, and it was just as entertaining as I thought it’d be. We learned a ton about every part of the Buccaneer organization, and the team came out of the show with a ton of new fans across the country. Though it’s a bummer that it had to come to an end, the bright side is that the season starts soon enough!