In what’s already been a thrilling summer, HBO’s Hard Knocks returns Tuesday night with two challenges for the Los Angeles Rams. The team faces the first week of cuts and visiting a state where it’s legal to buy weed.
In a memo released to media on Monday afternoon, HBO announced the following for this week’s episode of the hit football show.
“Scuffles break out during practice sessions at camp; the Rams head to Colorado for an encounter with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos; 15 players are cut from the roster. A 30-person NFL Films crew is at the Rams’ training camp at team headquarters in Southern California, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series.”
Well, nothing makes for better television on HBO than fights, especially when the two guys are on the same team.
With the talent they currently have on the roster, the Rams really need to sign Avon Barksdale before the regular season starts. While the Rams are 2-1 to start the preseason, those wins aren’t going to translate into the regular season and in a division that features Super Bowl contenders Arizona and Seattle, that could be a problem.
One of the few confirmed cuts was quarterback Dylan Thompson, who announced his release on his official Twitter account.
I was released today by the Rams. Another part of the journey and looking forward to the next stop God has for us!— Dylan Thompson (@DylanPThompson) August 29, 2016
Another confirmed cut, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, was former New York Jets first-round pick Quinton Coples, who signed earlier this year after spending 2015 with both Gang Green and the Miami Dolphins. A defensive end/linebacker hybrid from North Carolina, Coples had 6.5 sacks in 2014 for the Jets and could be a nice, low-key pickup for a team in need of defensive line depth.
For those interested in the quarterback battle that rages between veteran Case Keenum and number one overall pick Jared Goff, don’t go in expecting too much by way of a decision. J.B. Long, the radio voice of the Los Angeles Rams for ESPN, tweeted the following on Saturday night.
As the Turf Show Times reported Monday morning, Fisher said the following about Goff in his most recent press conference.
“I had an opportunity to look at the tape, all three phases as I said, last night. I thought there would be some things to learn from; and they were. Also, some things to build on; and they were. I was pleased with a number of things. I thought the quarterbacks took a step forward. I thought (QB) Jared (Goff), even though the number weren’t great, I thought he did a really good job on the line of scrimmage. His poise, his confidence, took a big hit, came back, I thought he’s progressed since week 1 and week 2. So, that’s a good thing to see.”
If Fisher were to keep Goff on the bench, it’d be the first time since 2007, when the Oakland Raiders, another California team, sat LSU alum JaMarcus Russell, that a quarterback selected first overall in that year’s draft was not starting opening day. Since 2009, all rookie quarterbacks selected first overall, including Detroit’s Matthew Stafford in 2009, the then-St. Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford for the 2010 opener, future NFC champion Cam Newton in 2011 for the Carolina Panthers, Andrew Luck and his legendary beard for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston last year, started the opening game of their rookie season.
Considering the luck that Russell had in the pros, it may be in Fisher’s best interest to just start Goff week one.
The fourth episode of the long-running series will debut Tuesday, August 30 and will run from 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET. Other HBO showings are currently scheduled for Aug. 31 (6:40 p.m., midnight), Sept. 1 (1:30 p.m., 2:45 a.m.), 2 (11:40 a.m.,3:30 a.m.), 3 (4:35 a.m.), 4 (10:15 a.m.), and 5 (10:15 p.m.). HBO2 dates include Aug. 30 (4:00 a.m.), Sept. 2 (1:35 p.m.), 3 (7:30 a.m.), and 6 (4:15 p.m., 2:00 a.m.)
[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]