Episode manages to slip in Kugler situation hours before airDarren Urban
Episode 3 of "Hard Knocks In Season" featuring the Cardinals debuted on Wednesday night, and -- as we will do after every episode this season -- here are the top five takeaways from the show for your reading pleasure. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
"Hard Knocks In Season" can be seen every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Arizona time until the season ends, and is streaming on HBO Max.
(To purchase merchandise seen during Hard Knocks, go to azcardinals.com/shophardknocks.)
COLT MCCOY ALMOST RETIRED AFTER 2018
The veteran quarterback nearly retired after the 2018 season after breaking his leg playing for Washington during a "Monday Night Football" game. He needed three surgeries to get healthy, and thought he was probably done. But Jason Garrett, who was then the offensive coordinator for the Giants, convinced McCoy to come play in New York. The Cardinals have undoubtedly benefited from McCoy's decision, with him serving as one of the better backups in the league and a mentor to Kyler Murray.
MCCOY TOOK A BEATING IN THE MEXICO GAME
You could see all the hits McCoy was absorbing in real time, but the QB was mic'd up and the episode showed much of the punishment and the sounds that come with it. McCoy was listed on the injury report with a right elbow issue on Wednesday, but during the game he also was shown getting his hand stepped on by Nick Bosa -- that couldn't be fun -- and countless body blows even as he got rid of the ball.
THE SEAN KUGLER SITUATION WAS ADDRESSED
Amazingly, the episode did include a short ending that was recorded on Wednesday morning -- just hours before the episode had to be ready to air -- that showed Kliff Kingsbury addressing the players about the dismissal of offensive line coach Sean Kugler. Early in the episode, there was a line inserted prior to the game's recap that noted that Kugler had been sent home. In the final scene, Kingsbury apologized to the players on behalf of the coaching staff, and then asked everyone in the room to make sure no one else would have to answer any more media questions about "dumb s**t off the field or effort on the field." The latter was reference to Budda Baker noting that not everyone played hard the entire game Monday.
ANTONIO HAMILTON HELD HIMSELF ACCOUNTABLE IN REAL TIME
The episode featured the story of veteran cornerback Antonio Hamilton, which I loved that the rest of the country had a chance to see. But when they feature a player, they also follow him during the game, and Hamilton's game in Mexico wasn't his best. He is seen telling cornerbacks coach Greg Williams it was his fault on a particular early play that turned into a 49ers touchdown. But the big one came later, when Hamilton appeared to turn down a chance to shove George Kittle out of bounds on Kittle's last score -- a play on which ESPN game analyst Troy Aikman called out Hamilton to the TV audience. "I thought he had stepped out of bounds," Hamilton says, pained, on the sideline right after the play. "This ain't the one, 33," Hamilton says to himself, referencing his uniform number. "This ain't the one. Too many mistakes."
GREG DORTCH IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
Kliff Kingsbury said in press conferences that young wide receiver Greg Dortch is a playmaker but one that is still learning the position. That was highlighted in a scene from the Mexico game -- in which Dortch was tremendous -- on a fourth-down misfire between McCoy and Dortch. The pass goes incomplete and you can hear McCoy say that Dortch was supposed to "sit there" -- meaning stop -- in the middle of the defense. The miscommunication meant a turnover on downs.