HBO’s “Hard Knocks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers” is coming to a close soon. The fourth of five episodes aired Tuesday night.
The focus was squarely on the players fighting for roster spots as cut day approaches after the final preseason game on Thursday night.
Here are some highlights:
Chris Godwin received praise for his camp. The biggest issue for the rookie wide receiver from Penn State is dealing with the heat.
Florida’s humid weather is something new for Godwin, who we learned played high school football for girlfriend Mariah DelPericio’s father.
They’ve dated for five years and she helps him in the weight room. Bucs general manager Jason Licht compared Godwin to a 30-year-old with the maturity level he’s displayed.
Cameron Lynch, out of Syracuse, was the next player “Hard Knocks” focused on. The Los Angeles Rams cut Lynch at the end of last year’s camp, and that gave him the time away from football to develop a relationship with girlfriend Erinique Owens.
Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston’s former Florida State teammate, wide receiver Bobo Wilson, was depicted as a player with a chip on his shoulder and a long shot to make the team.
Fellow wide receiver Donteea Dye is in the same boat, and both would get a chance against the Cleveland Browns in the third preseason game, which was played Saturday night during the deluge that engulfed the Tampa Bay area, as veteran wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson nursed injuries.
That game also featured former Lakewood Ranch High and University of South Florida standout Austin Reiter’s return to the area as a center for the Browns.
Rookie Show highlight
The annual rookie summer show saw some impersonations of players and coaches with the rookies unveiling a “Top Five Ugly List” on a projector.
The biggest laughs came when defensive end Chris Baker was listed No. 1 with the phrase “Not so sweaty” next to his face.
Bullough’s odds take a hit
Undrafted rookie linebacker Riley Bullough keeps receiving praise, but his mobility was noted as a potential liability to making the team.
Some foreshadowing there, because Bullough missed a pass breakup and then got beaten on a deep pass over the middle in coverage against the Browns later in the episode.
Rookie running back Jeremy McNichols landed in the doghouse for a missed block against Cleveland that led to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick taking a sack.
Some notable quotes from the episode came from star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Winston, Winston’s girlfriend Breion Allen and defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
- “We couldn’t stop a marching band,” Smith said after the loss to the Browns.
- “Tootsie Winston, she’s a chocolate drop,” Winston said about the dog he has with Allen.
- “I’m sorry, I just had to do it because that shot was weak,” Allen, a former basketball player, said when swatting Winston’s shot on a mini-basketball area in their house.
- “Eight years of that high school locker room.” McCoy said about the new locker room. “I like it.”
And, of course, one final HBO plug for the hit series “Game of Thrones” closed out this week’s episode.
Emanating from a couple locations, cameras caught players watching the “Game of Thrones” season finale. McCoy’s facial expression and reaction said it all: A solid Thrones season is over, and the cliffhanger leaves fans wanting even more.
Who: Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
TV: NBC, Ch. 8
Radio: 620 AM, 95.3 FM, 103.5 FM