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5 Takeaways From Hard Knocks: Episode Two


There’s only one thing more exciting than the first episode of Hard Knocks each preseason, and that’s an episode following the first preseason game. Even with Houston’s 23-10 victory over San Francisco, the chewing out from head coach Bill O’Brien was still at a premium as the series introduced us to more whimsical players and coaches. Check out 5 takeaways from this week’s episode:

5. Arian Foster will be missed

It only took one preseason game for the Texans to realise how big a hole Arian Foster’s injury would leave the offense in this season. While a suitable third-down back in specific situations, Alfred Blue has yet to display the kind of vision and consistency needed for a starting back, evidenced in several uninspired attempts to slam the ball into the end zone; a sequence O’Brien accurately called the “longest goal-line series of all time.”

4. Vince Wilfork can even make foot scraping entertaining

When you’re watching a 300+ pound man giving his teammates a lecture on foot scraping and it actually makes for compelling television, that’s probably a sign than you’re ready for the season to start. The gentle giant looks set to be a key component of each episode, and his wit and charm make it easy to see why he was such a fan favourite in New England.

3. Charles James has impeccable taste in socks

A typical example of an on-the-bubble talent HBO loves to profile, cornerback Charles James couldn’t wait to show off his “happy socks” to the cameras. Clad in zany designs and wacky monsters, James feels the right pair of socks can help him run right into a starting role with Houston’s secondary. But don’t let the colorful attire fool you; his desperate attempts to get on the same page with rookie safety Corey Moore show he’s committed to making this roster.

2. Brian Cushing is a…complex person

Self-diagnosed “psychopath” Brian Cushing seems like a man set to divide audiences this season. He acts like a prototypical high school jock; the kind of guy who’ll knock all your books out of your arms in the hallway and laugh about it, but will be the first man at your side when real trouble starts. Out of the pads, he reverts from Batman back to Bruce Wayne, waving at neighbours and spending quality time with his young family.

1. Mike Vrabel might be the most intimidating coach on staff

Bill O’Brien’s expletive-riddled tirades have nothing on the ruthlessness of former linebacker Mike Vrabel’s coaching style. Vrabel verbally destroyed young linebacker Lynden Trail during a pass rush drill, and it took one of his teammates assuring him that he’d get better to boost the rookie’s spirits. Vrabel knows he has some brilliant pieces to work with in that front seven, and he’s not the guy to coddle anyone who’s falling behind.

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