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5 Takeaways from Hard Knocks: Episode 2

Where else can you find an hour of football programming that also covers mermaids, government conspiracies and the importance of showing your love for America with a singlet? Only on HBO’s Hard Knocks, of course. But this week’s episode mixed its usual levity and banter with some heartbreak. Check out our 5 main takeaways from episode 2.

The national anthem is serious business

Never before has head coach Jeff Fisher tapped into his natural, “high school principal” demeanour than when telling his players how to line up for the national anthem. Fisher had guidelines about where to stand, where to look and what to do with your hands depending on whether you are or aren’t holding a helmet. The game faces may come on before kickoff, but they fall into ranks when it comes time to honor America.

Every day should be Fat Arm Friday

The man of 1,000 tank tops, center Eric Kush, busted out a patriotic number for “Fat Arm Friday.” Clearly an event the jacked up lineman looks forward to all week, Kush collected linemate Rodger Saffold and athletic training intern Brad Reaux – both in matching stars-and-stripes singlets – for a lifting session to pump away the woes of the working week. You think Washington and Lincoln used to do the same?

The games don’t count, but they do matter

It’s a head coach’s favorite saying during NFL preseason, but it isn’t until you see the mantra in action that you realise it isn’t just lip service. Trailing the Cowboys by three scores in their first game back in Los Angeles, the Rams got chewed out severely by just about every coach during halftime. Enter third-string QB Sean Mannion, who led an improbable comeback and made sure the football-starved fans of LA went home happy.

Mermaids are real, dinosaurs aren’t

You don’t get to play eight years in the NFL without being incredibly competitive, and defensive end William Hayes is willing to take on anyone who dares challenge his wild beliefs. Fully aware that “new animals are discovered in the sea every day,” part of Hayes’ excitement for moving to LA was a higher chance of meeting a real-life mermaid. As for dinosaurs? They’re “the only animal man has never seen before;” proof enough that the government planted fossils in the ground for us to find. You figure it out.

Hard Knocks giveth, Hard Knocks taketh away

No sooner had we met charismatic rookie safety Brian Randolph than we’d learned his season was over. Randolph – almost certainly hoping to land a spot in the final roster with splash plays on special teams – was injured on kick coverage in his first NFL game. An ACL tear has ruled him out for the year. Mere days ago, “The Rhino’s” biggest concern was dropping ten grand for the right to wear his beloved number 37. Now, he has to wonder if he will get another shot at the NFL in 2017.

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