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HBO Hard Knocks

What We Learned From Hard Knocks Ep. 3


FRISCO, Texas – We know the routine by now. Tuesday night means another episode of "Hard Knocks," as the Cowboys continue to work their way through their 2021 training camp on national television.

With this being the third episode, there's no big need for introductions. Here are some highlights from the most recent offering.

Star Attraction

There's no argument that the opening of this episode was the best part of the show – maybe even the coolest part of the series so far.

As the Cowboys returned from their stay in California, the crew of "Hard Knocks" welcomed them back by showing the audience exactly where they'd be spending the remainder of training camp. For almost four minutes, a drone camera showed off the Cowboys facilities at The Star with a literal fly through – from the entertainment district outside the facility, to the indoor and outdoor practice fields, to the team's own meeting room and locker room.

Words don't really do it justice, so just make sure you check out the video.

Family Time

Part of what makes this show compelling is the humanity of the players that make up a 90-man roster. From the biggest names to the anonymous rookies, each member of an NFL team is a human being trying to actualize a dream.

"Hard Knocks" has always excelled at telling those stories, and this year is no different. This most recent episode leaned heavily on two family storylines – that of offensive lineman Isaac Alarcón and cornerback Trevon Diggs.

Alarcón's story had been touched on in the previous episode, but it was examined more closely here. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, he was brought on to the roster as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program, which is designed to increase the number of non-American and non-Canadian players in the league, as well as grow the sport globally.

This week's episode featured a lengthy interview with Alarcón, his parents and one of his brothers as they talked through his experience. His mother was also one of the stars of the end of the episode, during the Cowboys' Aug. 21 preseason game against the Houston Texans, as she got quite invested in the outcome of the game.

Speaking of stars of the show, Trevon Diggs' son Aaiden might have stolen the entire episode with his personality. Aaiden got his first screen time during a segment at Diggs' home, as he was FaceTiming with his brother Stefon, but he really delivered the goods during the Texans game, as he gave his dad encouragement from the stands.

All In The Details

It's funny to see what becomes public knowledge thanks to having a reality TV show in the house. Last week, during the team's first practice back at The Star, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were spotted having a conversation about route running. Asked about it afterward, Lamb said he was asking Cooper for tips on different types of releases off the line of scrimmage.

It's one thing for Lamb to talk about it, but "Hard Knocks" actually delivered the full conversation thanks to the magic of television.

Again, this is probably something that's better viewed than explained.

Loud Lamb

Speaking of Lamb, this episode provided a better look at his personality.

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lamb hasn't been showcased quite as much as you might expect from a Top 20 draft pick and a budding young star. But this episode provided a fun look at Lamb's competitive fire, as he got into a trash talk session with Micah Parsons about pass coverage during practice.

"Why you look nervous in that slot? I need you to put a visor on or something. I don't need to see your eyes next time," Lamb told Parsons.

Behind The Scenes

It's fun any time someone deserving gets their moment in the sun, which is what happened in the case of Jonathon Jackson on Tuesday.

Jackson is the Cowboys' mail room supervisor, and he also works closely with football operations. He's a fourth generation Cowboys employee, as his great grandfather, grandfather and father have all worked for the team, as well. His job brings him in contact with basically every member of the organization, and few employees work harder.

So it was fun not only to see him get some appreciation, but also to see him take on some of the Cowboys' biggest stars in cards – and win. In one memorable sequence, Jackson played spades with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Micah Parsons. Not only did he win, but he trash talked Dak on his way out of the room.