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A recap of the Dallas Cowboys debut on Hard Knocks for the 2021 season (Ep. 1)

Highlights of episode one of Cowboys Hard Knocks in case you missed it, and reasons why you should find a way to watch it.

Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers
The HOF game was a big part of the proceedings.
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The new season of Hard Knocks, starring the Dallas Cowboys, premiered Tuesday night, and is available for streaming on the HBO Max app. It was, and should remain, must watch stuff for fans of the team.

It started with a gut shot for us. Right off the bat, it featured Dak Prescott, and forced us to watch a replay of the season ending injury from last season. Then it didn’t take long to go back to another dark place when Prescott was shut down with his shoulder issue. (It does kind of spoil the drama to know that he was starting to throw a bit on the very day this aired.) But the concern and frustration of the moment came through loud and clear.

It was just about impossible for things to go anywhere but up after that. And one of the things that would be featured in the first episode was the relationship and genuine friendship between Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. And it wasn’t just the lighthearted stuff, like the ineptitude of Zeke trying to wrap a present for Dak, or stealing his bicycle. It also showed the way they work together on the field and the intense drive both have. The coaching staff had their quarterback on a pitch count early, and he was not happy. Meanwhile, they featured the new, slimmed-down and highly-focused running back.

Another player that got a lot of screen time was rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, which was probably one of the most predictable things. His athleticism and talent certainly came through, as well as his high energy and willingness to jump right in with some trash talk.

As expected, Mike McCarthy got a lot of screen time, along with all three of his coordinators. Although the John Fassel sperm talk was a bit weird, if funny. Also entertaining was McCarthy’s Mojo motivation. And you have to watch to figure out what I mean, because it would take way to long to explain. Let’s just say that McCarthy is something of a Mike Myers fan. And he can get a bit fired up, too.

We all know that Jerry Jones is very hands on in his owner/GM dual role. That came through loud and clear as Jones stayed right in the loop on what was going with his quarterback.


As of the time of this publishing (11pm ET) we are LIVE on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel discussing the episode. Join us here or re-watch it if you got here a little bit later.

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The last part of the episode focused on the Hall of Fame game, with both some motivational talk and sentimentality from McCarthy. It doubled down on the Parsons story, and with good reason. He is clearly a big part of the plans for this year. And he was not happy when they pulled him after only a few plays, even though Dan Quinn talked to him to explain why they were sitting him down. But his mother was very happy with his play, as she should have been.

This was not something to watch to learn a lot about the details, but it did a good job of capturing some of the spirit and humanity behind the sport. In the end, it was reminiscent of the golden days of NFL Films, almost poetic in its tribute to the game and what it means to all of us as we hope for better this year after the COVID restrictions of last season. It ended as it began, with Dak talking about his scars and injuries.

It returns next week. Plan to be there.