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Hard Knocks: What we learned from episode two

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Hard Knocks has completed its second week at Los Angeles Rams training camp. Like the first episode, the second episode was chock-full of great moments. While the first episode was full of funny moments, this week’s episode put a little more focus on some of the smaller players.

We got a look at several young wide receivers. We also met some rookie defenders who may have a shot at making a difference this season. The quarterbacks got their fair share of the spotlight as well. And on top of all of that, we got more entertaining moments that provided the laughter.

Tavon Austin showcased some interesting socks. Jared Goff lost a $100 bet to Sean Mannion, the team’s third-string quarterback. William Hayes believes in mermaids, but not dinosaurs, and also sported a speedo this week. We had a dune buggy flip over, and some crash dummies that could move with remote controls. And that is just a small taste of what we got this week from the Los Angeles Rams.

But now let’s get down to the good stuff. Below are five of the main takeaways from week two of ‘Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams’!

Someone needs to step up at wide receiver

The teams greatest weakness comes in the form of the wide receivers. The team does not a true standout number one receiver. They have some talent, but no one who is the whole package. This week’s episode gave us a look at some of the team’s receivers.

Tavon Austin is fast. And he has a non-stop personality. He was on the field sporting socks with Roger Goodell’s face on them. But as explosive as he can be, he has never put it all together as a wide receiver. He will have his big games, but he is too inconsistent to be the teams one.

Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are some of the teams better-known names, but they are not the brightest bulbs in the box. Coach Jeff Fisher made it clear on the first day, do not be stupid when traveling around the campus. Specifically, be safe with your mode of transportation. So what did “Dumb and Dumber” do? They sped around in a dune buggy and crashed it. So while they have talent, they do not have the maturity to be a number one.

Austin Hill is a rookie who was brought in and signed a contract during the episode. Nelson Spruce is another young guy who got some action in this week’s show. He was the star of the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. From the small glimpses we saw of him, he is the type of guy who may be able to emerge on this team. Pharoh Cooper is another rookie wide receiver on the team. The opportunity is there, and if anyone is going to emerge, it will likely be a small name like Spruce.

Kenny Britt will find himself in trouble again

I have to touch back upon Kenny Britt and the dune buggy incident. Kenny Britt was the man behind the wheel driving the dune buggy around like a total idiot, even after his coach told the entire team not to do anything stupid. When he flipped it over, Britt was on the bottom of the vehicle. Lucky for him the bar that landed on top of him was elevated a bit and he emerged uninjured.

But it was his response to when Fisher called him out that really annoyed this writer. When Fisher called the two receivers out, they stood there and laughed. Britt thought the whole thing was one large joke. And given the fact that Fisher cut a guy for bringing a lady friend to his dorm last week, I was a bit surprised he did not call the two out. The lack of receiving depth is likely the reason for it.

But Britt has been severely lacking in maturity his entire career. He has found himself in trouble several times in the past, and given his behavior in this episode, it will not take long for that to happen again. If the Rams were in a better position with their wide outs, Britt would be gone. And given his outlook shown this week, it is only a matter of time before he finds more trouble.

The team will be better off starting with Case Keenum 

Case Keenum is a veteran. He may not be super talented, but he knows the game and how to play it. During the course of this episode he showcased his teaching skills with the young Jared Goff as well as looking good in practice. He even put together a nice drive in their preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

On the other hand, Goff struggled in his first preseason game. He has shown his skills in practice at times, but it is evident he is not ready to start. With Keenum running a safe, non-flashy offense, the team should be able to stay in games given their defense. He is smart and a clear mentor that his teammates respect.

While Goff is gaining his confidence, as seen when he enters the huddle, he still needs to learn the finer points of the game. It are the small things he can pick up while watching Keenum prepare for a start and then playing that will benefit the team in the long run. Keenum may not be a great quarterback, but he is clearly the right guy for the team when the season begins.

The team partakes in a lot of non-football type workouts

Last week it was yoga. And this week it was the pool. While the players likely enjoy these activities, I need to ask, are they helping the team get ready for the season? These are organized team events in place of practice, but it just seems like a very different approach.

The players seemed to be more concerned with throwing their coaches into the pool than exercising. I just have to question how effective this type of strategy is in getting the team ready for an NFL game. The team struggled in the early going against the Cowboys, needing some late magic to win the game. So I just need to ask, are these non-football “practices” a potential source of blame for the team’s starters struggling?

Brian Randolph had some serious potential 

Poor Brian Randolph. The rookie defensive back tore his ACL in the game against the Cowboys. Before the injury, the rookie was showing some serious flashes. Every year on ‘Hard Knocks’, a young guy shows some serious flashes of talent, only to go down with an injury.

And just like that, we will not be seeing any more of Randolph this year. And very possibly, we may never hear of Randolph again. Given the talent he possesses, I hope he makes a full recovery and pops up somewhere next season. He is the type of name to throw in the back of your head. It is going to be away for a while, but if he ever shows back up, remember the name.

Another young guy who showed some potential is Ian Seau, nephew of the former NFL star Junior Seau. Seau is the type of talent who could emerge this season for the Rams. The potential is certainly there from what we saw on this week’s episode, and moving forward he is a name worth watching, especially with since we will not get the chance to watch Randolph anymore.

What was your favorite part of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com