Hard Knocks recap: Colt McCoy takes the lead, Lecitus Smith takes a step
Episode 2 of HBO’s Hard Knocks In Season: Arizona Cardinals went live Wednesday night, and much like the first, it did not disappoint.
It was a jam-packed episode, covering a lot of topics over the course of Week 11.
A quick breakdown of the biggest moments from the second episode:
Colt kicks things into gear
It was evident from the jump that Colt McCoy was going to be the guy early in the week of preparation for the Los Angeles Rams, especially with the show opening up with starter Kyler Murray getting work on his tweaked hamstring.
And with that, McCoy went to work.
“I don’t want to go into this game if anybody has confusion on what they’re supposed to do,” McCoy said during a QBs meeting. “If we don’t know what to do and it’s not detailed and dialed in, then we’re not going to beat this team.
“If we know what to do and if the spacing is right and you do your job, we’ll beat this team. We will beat anybody. That’s the bottom line. So when we talk about like, ‘What can we do?’ It’s these little details that are just adding up.”
Whether it was getting the line queued up to how he operates or working with one of the newer Cardinals in Robbie Anderson, McCoy’s veteran leadership was on full display.
That mentality McCoy brought to the practice field poured over into the Week 11 win over the Rams, with cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton and Marco Wilson and linebacker Myjai Sanders taking notice of how the backup was spinning it.
“He’s looking for the shot,” Hamilton said on the sideline. “He can take it, he can dunk it down field. That’s why he’s been in the league as long as he has.
“He knows where to put (the football). He’s the getting (the football) out like right now.”
Next man up, rookie
Among those players McCoy wanted to make sure was on the same page was rookie Lecitus Smith.
Smith went from hardly touching the field to starter status in a matter of weeks.
The episode touched on some of his growing pains, while also shining some light on the rookie and how he handles himself on the field.
McCoy made sure to get his lineman comfortable in the offense, while Murray lent is voice during the offense’s dinner night after Smith would let an error on a screen play go.
The extra work throughout the week paid off for Smith. Alongside Kelvin Beachum, the rook held his own against Aaron Donald and a tough Rams pass rush.
And no, Smith, just because it’s Donald doesn’t mean you get a pass from the coaching staff if he goes off. Nice try, though.
You good, Beach?
The Cardinals offensive line featured one original starter in Kelvin Beachum on Sunday.
But what the majority of us didn’t know was that Beachum dealt with a health scare during the week of preparation.
In one of the OL meetings last week, Beachum came in saying something was up with his appendix and that he even passed out.
After a trip to the ER it was discovered he was dealing with some type of “itis” as he put it, and that he would be fine.
That was the good news.
The bad news? It gave offensive line coach Sean Kugler some ammunition about eating too much white cheddar popcorn, a known favorite of the lineman, to lighten the mood after it was known Beach was OK.
You know the bag.
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) November 17, 2022
Beachum not only played on Sunday, he brought the nasty to the trenches, as he was seen chirping at linebacker Leonard Floyd time and time again over the course of the matchup.
Tell ’em, Beach.
Meet the Watts
For the first time since Koa Watt entered the world, everyone got an inside look at the Watt family of five, including the pups.
— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2022
We also were taken back through Watt’s medical scare and his emotional press conference following the win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.
“It was a crazy 24 hours, man,” Watt told head coach Kliff Kingsbury during practice. “I had (the training staff) check me out first, then I went to the doctor’s office, he saw it was wrong and he sent me to the cardiologist.
“Cardiologist thought it was (messed) up, so he sent me to the electrophysiologist, went in there real quick. They had me on this medicine to try to reset my heart, medicine didn’t work, so they were like, ‘Alright, we got to go to the hospital.”
Fast forward to the Rams game, and Watt’s impressive showing was on display.
— NFL (@NFL) November 16, 2022
So was his near touchdown off a fumble recovery and his delay of game penalty after spiking the ball in frustration of another play blown dead too early.
At least he could poke some fun at linebacker Zaven Collins in the process.
— NFL (@NFL) November 16, 2022
A father’s love for his son
We’ve known for some time that wide receivers coach and associate head coach Shawn Jefferson is the father of Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson.
Twice a season — three if you’re talking 2021 — the two face off against one another in a divisional tilt that neither wants to lose.
“I’m an emotional roller coaster during that game,” Jefferson said of his son. “I love him death, but I hate playing against him. … If he does something good, I can’t cheer for him. If he does something bad, I can’t be like, ‘Hey, you need to tighten up here.’ It is absolutely crazy. During this week, we probably won’t talk.
“The perfect situation for me would be he has a great game but at the end of the game, we have one more point on the scoreboard than them. That would be the perfect situation for me.”
This time, however, we got an inside look into the father-son dynamic with an NFL twist, most notably during the Rams’ Super Bowl victory.
While Jefferson would have loved to be coaching the Cardinals in the matchup, he relished in the moment when he realized his son had won a ring.
— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2022
But that wasn’t all for the Jeffersons that night, as Van’s wife Samaria gave birth to their son Champ. Cameras caught her leaving for the hospital midgame.
Local high school shoutout
It was cool to see Chandler and Hamilton get some airtime this episode.
General manager Steve Keim’s son, Carson, plays for Hamilton.
There’s no way to leave this space without addressing the elephant in the room: not one mention of running back Eno Benjamin.
The 2020 seventh-round draft pick may have been a blip on the roster his rookie season but had progressed to the point of the No. 2 running back behind James Conner in 2022, even earning a trio of starts in place of the injured starter.
That makes his release even that more surprising.
And while reports have surfaced claiming Benjamin was upset over playing time, there was a perfect opportunity to further explain the move and nip it in the bud.
Maybe next week?