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Hard Knocks episode two recap: Cowboys face off against Rams, Cardinals

It was another very entertaining episode.

Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals
One of tonight’s stars.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Another week, and another episode of the Dallas Cowboys on HBO’s Hard Knocks!

Episode 2 started with Mike McCarthy not in a good mood, jumping on the team about how the practices went before the Arizona Cardinals game. As we know, it didn’t work as well as he hoped.

After a brief view of the team doing yoga, there was the brief clip of Zeke’s baby powder search previewed on social media earlier today.

Then things got serious, as they took a look at Ben DiNucci. Watching this brings out the pressure on a player who knows he is not having the success he wants to, or his team needs from him. And then he faced off against Micah Parsons in a chess match. As with the players he faces in preseason, he wasn’t going against first-stringer Amari Cooper, which probably accounts for his win.

We got to see some family life with DeMarcus Lawrence on the beach in California. The segment highlighted not only his playing ability, but the leadership he brings to the defense. It also was an illustration of the contrast in the lives of these players who participate in such a violent game but have family they love and care for. Some of that care also shows up in his interactions with his teammates. Plus we got to hear the delightful accent of defensive line coach Aden Durde again, who Jerry Jones described as looking like he was from Arkansas, but sounds like Winston Churchill.

We also got to see Tarell Basham and Neville Gallimore doing their impressions of Durde, which weren’t bad. And they got caught by Durde.

Then the fun stuff! Time for the scrimmage with the Los Angeles Rams.

These are always a good time for the team to test themselves against another team after so many practices just banging against their teammates. After a little Dr. Suess inspired rap from Basham, he gets down to work to justify the team signing him this year. It was not so good, as he hurt his leg working on special teams. It is one of the great fears of each camp, getting hurt before you even take the field in the regular season.

As always happen with the Rams, things get chippy before much time passes. It isn’t long until the real dustup involving Aaron Donald and Connor Williams shows up. But there was some good action, with Elliott, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parsons all getting highlighted. Lamb continues to look like he is set for a monster season.

Then it was time for a bunch of family shots, including Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.

One of the downroster players got his moment of fame. Azur Kamara came to America from Africa after being a refugee from civil war there. He was talked into trying out for football, and became a pass rusher. He faces a steep challenge to make the team with the current depth at pass rusher, especially since he is undersized for his position. He survived the first round of cuts, but if he keeps getting in trouble for coming too close to the quarterback, that could be coming.

Then the moment that cheered us all as Dak Prescott started throwing the ball again. He may be limited in what he does, but his mind is fully in the practice, doing mental reps as the other QBs take theirs. Lamb expressed his confidence that Prescott would be back.

As mentioned, Lamb has had an outstanding camp and preseason, and the show took a moment to eavesdrop on Jerry Jones and Michael Irving gushing over him. We also got to find out that Lamb is all about smelling good. Meanwhile, on the field, he just keeps making catches. That doesn’t satisfy him. He’s a player who always wants more, and that is very good for the man continuing the legacy of number 88 for the Cowboys.

That got us to the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, where Elliott’s only action was with his bag of sunflower seeds. But it was interesting to see Donovan Wilson showing some leadership by getting the players pumped up.

The defense got some love from the show, including Dorance Armstrong’s two sacks. And Parson’s mother was really into the action. Her son was still lobbying for more time on the field. That does not look like it will be any problem when the real games start, because he is just very good.

Kamara’s family was also in attendance, seeing him on the field for the first time ever. It was exciting to see their joy.

The second half focus was on DiNucci. He would lead the Cowboys to their first touchdown of the preseason, it was a high point for the second-year player. And the Cowboys would not hold onto the lead DiNucci staked them to thanks to the strip-sack by Kamara that was negated by a false start penalty. And a clearly missed hold against Kamara contributed to the field goal that cost Dallas the game.

Isaac Alarcon is also getting a lot of screen time in these. There is no way to know if he even has a chance to make the roster, but he clearly is thrilled to just be on the team.

It was another entertaining and very interesting episode to watch, doing what the series does best: Letting us see the human side of the players we watch in the fall.

At the time of publishing we are live on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel discussing everything that happened in episode two. You can watch our show below, even if you are a late arrival, or listen to it on the Blogging The Boys podcast network (Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here).

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