The second episode of the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which is chronicling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ training camp this season, aired Tuesday night. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:
The fall of Roberto Aguayo: The episode centers around the kicker’s struggles as he tries to fend off veteran Nick Folk. When Aguayo goes 5-for-5, we hear defensive line coach Jay Hayes singing his praises. “Berto, you’re hot today!” Another day, general manager Jason Licht grumbles to director of football administration Mike Greenberg, “Today, Roberto was 3-of-7. And Nick was 4-of-7.”
After Aguayo misses a field goal and an extra point in the preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, they agree to cut him. What people may not realize is that a week before, Aguayo nailed 10 of 10 kicks and coach Dirk Koetter said he was “lights-out.” Reporters asked if his struggles were finally behind him. Aguayo was smiling, talking about how he spent the offseason relaxing — played golf, had a wedding and honeymooned in Maui.
The conversation between Licht and Koetter leading up to the cut reveals how much faith the team had lost in him. “It’s funny, but Folk is the one, if he has a couple misses out here in practice, when you get to a game, I have confidence he’s gonna make it, just because of the way he’s wired,” Licht says. “Whereas it’s the opposite with Roberto. He can make 20 of his last 20 kicks and then go to a game and nobody’s confident he’s going to make it — not even an extra point. … It’s just such a bigger mistake to keep holding on to him.”
Fighting back tears, Aguayo tells both Licht and Koetter, “I let you guys down. I let myself down. But it’s a matter of keeping your head up. Keep pushing.”
In a touching moment, Koetter tells Aguayo, “Roberto, this isn’t about you the man, all right? This is about a guy who’s just not consistent as a kicker right now. … I’ve been fired, Jason’s been fired; it’s not the end. You know it’s in you. You have the talent. It’s just a consistency issue. Even though it hurts today, you’ve got to keep your head up. You’ve just gotta go back to the basics and what got you here in the first place — the most consistent kicker in college football history.”
Cuts are never easy, but it was handled with great care, and both Koetter and Licht deserve a lot of credit for that. Koetter’s speech to him was especially touching.
Meeting Miko: Aside from Aguayo, we’re introduced to Miko Grimes, wife of veteran cornerback Brent Grimes. NFL fans know her from her unfiltered, outlandish posts on social media, and X-rated birthday cakes she has baked for her husband. She loves to stir the pot and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, let alone unleash some hell on those who try to provoke her.
But fans who watched the show didn’t see that. They see a Miko who is laughing with Licht over the scare they both had when her husband suffered a lacerated shin. They also see a woman fiercely loyal to her husband, traveling to every away game to see him and capturing his plays in practice on her phone.
She lends some insight into their relationship.
“Brent is just like me,” Miko says. “Brent talks s—. But if he doesn’t get to know you, he really doesn’t feel like you deserve to get to know who he really is. And I kind of like that about him.”
A visit to the “Bat Cave” with Gerald McCoy: The Pro Bowl defensive tackle gives us an up-close look at his “Bat Cave,” which fully supports his Batman fandom and looks just as amazing as it sounds.
“One dream I had my whole life was to meet Batman or be Batman or something. So I said, ‘What’s the next best thing?’ And that’s to have a life-sized Batman,” says McCoy, adding, “The ultimate, ultimate goal is to get punched by a superhero. I want to get punched by a superhero. Hard. Extremely hard.”
The cool part is why he chose Batman as his favorite — because Batman wasn’t blessed with superhuman powers. “My entire life I’ve had to figure out how to compete with all these superathletes, and I always find a way to. I feel like that’s what Batman does,” he says.
Best quote of the episode:
“I’ve never seen a hot dog here,” Winston says.
Fitz insists they’re in the back room. They’re always in the back room.
“Just don’t do a ‘Sanchez’ and eat one on the sideline,” Fitzpatrick says, referring to Mark Sanchez.
Winston, completely dumbfounded, responds: “He had one on the sideline?”
Fitzpatrick answers: “Respect the game.”