Best moment: Jameis Winston’s leadership
Last night’s episode was a little low on strong, positive moments, but the leadership of Jameis Winston was on full display. It stretched from general manager Jason Licht talking about it to Tampa Bay lighting assistant GM Julien BriseBois, calling Jameis the best leader he’s ever seen, to on the field in the preseason game when roster-bubble wideout Donteea Dye made a nice catch in the end zone but it was ruled incomplete and Winston encouraged him during review of the play.
Worst moment: Rookies struggle
The preseason game featured in the fourth episode did not turn out well for rookies Jeremy McNichols and Riley Bullough. Fifth-round pick McNichols missed a blocking assignment and was scolded for it on the sidelines, but at least fellow running back Peyton Barber gave him some comfort when he said he made the same exact mistake last year and talked him through it. On defense, it seems clear that linebacker Riley Bullough faces long roster odds because of physical limitations, and defensive coordinator Mike Smith all but said he’s not going to make the team after he failed to make plays on Cleveland’s game-winning drive.
Funniest moment: The rookie show
Though it wasn’t as funny as the rookies signing earlier in the season, the rookie show is always great every year on Hard Knocks. O.J. Howard got things started by impersonating Jameis Winston’s pre-game speech from last week’s episode, but the funniest part was when they ran down the top-five ugliest players on the team. I didn’t see it coming, but I should have known they’d make Chris Baker #1, and he responded by flipping the middle finger to a laughing crowd.
Underrated moment: Players watch the Games of Thrones season finale
This was probably the best moment for everyone who watches Game of Thrones, but it gets the underrated award because not everyone does and it was a credits scene. Gerald McCoy looked to have a viewing party, and HBO would show flashes of the screen (without spoiling things) and show the reaction of the players for big moments. Anyone who watched must have thought it was hilarious, especially when Robert Ayers (watching at his own house) reacted to what was happening in the final scene.
MVP: Chris Godwin
While fellow rookies Jeremy McNichols and Riley Bullough struggled in the preseason game, Chris Godwin did not, getting a start and leading the team in receiving yards. The third-round pick is just 21-years-old, but he has carried himself like a veteran since he was drafted, as Jason Licht said he got an apartment and did everything on his own before he even signed his contract, which seemed to blow him away. You can also tell that Godwin is a humble person from his girlfriend talking about when he used to go over her house and just sit quietly at the table with headphones on, and her mother thought he “sucks,” but her father—who was Godwin’s high school coach—said he’s funny once you know him.