We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in training camp. There's a lot to see and a lot to miss in each one-hour episode, but here are this week's offerings:
1. About that huge flag
The second episode opens with a shot of the huge Bucs flag that flies next to One Buc Place, with defensive line coach Jay Hayes warning rookie Stevie Tu'ikolovatu that when you see the flag down and not waving in the wind, you're in for a hot day. "You want that baby going like this, Stevie," Hayes says, holding his arm straight out.
People always ask how big the flag is — the Bucs say it's 80 feet wide and 50 feet tall, which they say makes it the "largest flying non-U.S. flag in the nation." For a little perspective, that big Confederate flag you'll see flying on the side of I-75 in Brandon is 50x30, so the Bucs flag is more than double the size of that one.
2. Jameis' leap of joy
Early in the show, there's a nod to the "Stick Carrier" takeover day, which brought the biggest crowds of training camp. I got lucky and got this video of Jameis Winston coming out of the facility — as the crowd recognized him and got loud, he jumped up and down in celebration. My video got 450-plus retweets, which is a ton for me. It was fun to see a tighter view from in front of Winston on "Hard Knocks," complete with audio: "Hell, yeah. Hell, yeah. Here we go!" ... One of the better lines of the episode, seconds later, after fans have chanted the names of Winston and backup Ryan Griffin. "They can't say Fitz's last name," Winston says of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who stole some scenes. Fitz is 34, so he gets his share of old jokes — "Hey Fitz, how was it playing with Bart Starr?" you might have heard — that gem was from lineman Evan Smith.
3. I know that mustache
One early scene shows Dirk Koetter interviewed in his office by SiriusXM NFL Radio hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller. A couple of small-world nuggets on Kirwan — first, before I worked at the Times, I was the NFL producer at what used to be CNNSI.com, and during the 1998 season, I ghost-wrote a weekly NFL column with Kirwan, a former NFL scout. Kirwan was with the Bucs from 1983-86, and two years ago, when we wrote on how the Bucs botched the No. 1 overall pick by taking Bo Jackson in 1986, one of the archive photos showed Kirwan, part of the team's contingent at the actual draft, holding up the card turned in to draft Jackson.
4. Winston in rap lyrics
Around the 8:00 mark in the show, there's a practice montage set to a rap song that actually included "Jameis Winston" in the lyrics. "I have the vision/stay consistent/Do it my way like Jameis Winston." If you haven't heard it before, it's because it was recorded specifically for "Hard Knocks." The artist's name is Supreem Da Rezarekta', and the track is called "Don't Accept," with the line, "If it ain't about winning, then we don't accept." He actually tweeted a thanks to the show Wednesday morning: "All good when you see ya name in the credits of HBO's original series Hard Knocks! Shout to Dave Robidoux, my writing partner @eddiedrawn, @nflfilms, and @nflnetwork for giving me the opportunity to do what I do, thanks!"
5. Gerald McCoy's wrestling socks
We've already written about Gerald McCoy's custom Hulk cleats (as well as other superheroes) but McCoy also got to show off his assortment of professional wrestler socks, including Steve "Stone Cold" Austin. We tracked them down, at wrestlingshop.com, with a pair of Austin socks costing you $24.63. McCoy's the highest-paid player on the Bucs this season, so he can afford them.
6. There, hiding in the foreground
There's a cool scene where Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson run back and forth, each catching passes over the other, and there's a shot of them in the distance where, if you don't blink, you can pick out several familiar faces. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith and cornerback Brent Grimes are in the middle of the screen, and on the right, general manager Jason Licht is chatting with former Bucs great Ronde Barber, whose voice can be heard during the Bucs-Bengals preseason game as part of WFLA's TV broadcast.
7. The legend of Li-Ti-Rilla
In the scene where the quarterbacks are discussing the reality of potentially being cut at any time in the NFL calendar, Jameis Winston is wearing a shirt that says "Li-Ti-Rilla." The shirt -- and the term -- is the creation of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander, who even sells Li-Ti-Rilla gear on his personal site. Alexander was miked up for the Bucs-Rams game last year, and if you listen around the 0:40 mark, he explains that he's the Li-Ti- Rilla -- "I'm a mixed breed. I'm a lion. I'm a tiger. I'm a gorilla ... you can only find me in the jungle."
8. On camera, but not on video
I've talked here about trying to get the best video clips from practice, and when Brent Grimes went down with that "nasty-looking" shin gash, I caught the play on video, but had the bad luck that Grimes was perfectly screened by the padded goalpost between my camera and him. As "Hard Knocks" shows him sitting on the field immediately after getting a cleat to his shin, sure enough I'm right there in the background on the right, next to the goalpost that spoiled my shot.
9. Robert McClain's custom Vans artwork
The goal going into each episode is to have already written the best stories that show up on HBO. So I was pleased that we'd already written on the Bucs' cryo chambers last year, and we had rookie linebacker Riley Bullough's dad Shane in the paper last week. When Ed Hochuli was asked by Mike Evans' reverse layup over the crossbar and whether it was a penalty, that was one video I'd been able to catch that day.
Along the same lines, we were able to write about McClain's love of artwork and sketching and painting last week -- our photo actually shows him working on the same sketch he was working on in "Hard Knocks." It didn't make it in my story, but NFL Films caught him working on a pair of white Vans with the "Wonder Woman" logo, and those were a supercool gift for the Bucs' in-house reporter and on-air host, Casey Phillips.
10. The big winner of last 10 minutes
I'm amused by the random product placement from players and what they're wearing in interviews and other times on camera. Just before the scene where Roberto Aguayo is cut, there's a scene with the family of kicker Nick Folk. We wrote two weeks ago about his kids' tradition of shaving his head before training camp, so I knew that his wife's name was Julianne, and like her, was surprised to see her identified as "Jen" on last night's episode. She even tweeted about it: "Many of you know me best by Julianne or Jay, but to HBO just call me Jen... Jen Folk! #hardknocks #8monthspreggo". (HBO acknowledged the mistake and has fixed it for all future and online broadcasts.)
The fun coincidence in those final minutes — as Folk is paddleboarding with his kids and Fitzpatrick — again a scene-stealer, and always wearing that Yeti cap — you can see Fitzpatrick is wearing a T-shirt that says "CAA Sports." That's the mega-agent firm that has a ton of Bucs among their NFL clients. A minute later, Aguayo is walking into One Buc Place to learn he's been cut, and again, he's promoting those who promote him, wearing a black CAA Sports hoodie in that much-awaited scene.
We'll be back next week with more things you might have missed. If you caught something fun that I missed, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]