Hard Knocks
It’s time for football! I decided to binge the LA Hard Knocks season. Here are my takeaways for season 15 of Hard Knocks. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

It’s finally football season! Today is the day the 2020 NFL season begins. For whatever reason, I woke up and realized I didn’t watch a single second of Hard Knocks. Leading up to the Thursday Night game, I decided to binge-watch all the episodes and jot down some takeaways.

Season 15 of Hard Knocks took place in LA. Each episode featured both the Chargers and Rams. Here are the takeaways for each episode.

Episode one: It’s a lot of corona testing. That part is boring. I’m so over it, but I get why they added it in. It didn’t take long to see why Sean McVay is considered brilliant. In the first few days of camp, teams weren’t allowed to hit. McVay said, screw it, let’s mess with snap counts. That’s a smart coach working with his circumstances.

On the Chargers side of thing, one part stood out to be. Anthony Lynn had to tell Justin Herbert to go through his progressions. Do you want to talk about a red flag? YIKES. You never want to panic about the first few practices but come on now.

Episode two: This one starts with the story of Austin Ekeler. It’s hard not to root for that guy who made it as an undrafted player from Western Colorado University. With the virus this year, it’s going to be challenging for the undrafted players to make rosters—an obvious storyline for hard knocks every year.

They also spent some time with Jalen Ramsey as he tries to look for a house in LA. They did a lot of foreshadowing with his contract. Eventually, Ramsey did sign an extension, so no need to talk about that further.

The difference between McVay and Lynn is night and day; McVay gets on Jared Goff for any little mistake. There’s always a method to his madness. Episode two saw the Rams running two-point plays. I have not once seen Lynn do anything coaching related. Just management. It’s a joke. I’m not wrong about this guy.

They had to promote Justin Herbert today on the show, after embarrassing him in the previous episode. It was the most obvious stuff—big arm and quiet. Then Herbert had to do Herbert things and was messing up the snaps. Mostly by giving away when it was a run and pass.

Episode Three: This one kicks off with padded practices. Things start to get real now. It took a while before there were any jarring moments. Keenan Allen and Chris Harris got some air time. Brett Favre even made a surprise appearance as a family friend of Clay Johnston.

Tyrod Taylor was impressive and started running his own coaches’ meeting, most likely because his head coach is more like a running back coach. Melvin Ingram had his contract situation eventually taken care of, but they showed that part leading up to it. There’s also a weird toothpick guy on the Rams. I can guarantee he wouldn’t make my roster.

Episode Four: This episode started with Sean McVay reacting to the Jacob Blake video. The protests shadowed over any football activities. Wide receiver Mike Williams got some publicity, and then it showed the video of him injuring his shoulder. Williams will miss a couple of games.

Rookies were featured next. It’s hard to be encouraged with Herbert, as his struggles were noticeable again. Hard Knocks keeps it consistent, though, shows Herbert’s downs and then ups. Van Jefferson flashed in some practices, but they needed to bring him back down to earth. Jalen Ramsey eventually had to cover him.

Episode Five: This is the final episode of Hard Knocks, which shows the bubble guys that either do or don’t make the roster. In most instances, they all get cut. In this case, they get cut, but a lot gets put on the practice squad with the new rules. Even the toothpick guy makes the practice squad.

From the Chargers side, we saw the injury Derwin James suffered. Non-contact and out for the season. What a total bummer.

Hard Knocks eventually came full circle. We finally saw Anthony Lynn doing some type of coaching. It was him trying to mentor undrafted running back Darius Bradwell. We finally got there. The confirmation that Lynn is just a running back coach in disguise.

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