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Thursday, August 7, 2008
It's a 'Hard Knocks' life for Jerry

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

While Americans tried to follow the latest Brett Favre news, HBO rolled out its first installment of "Hard Knocks" on Wednesday. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had hoped for more buzz leading up to the debut, but the Favre story has pretty much trumped anything happening in training camp.

Through the magic of YouTube, I've been able to piece together at least 22 minutes and I'll watch the rest of it later today.

As I'd feared, Jerry is once again the lead actor -- and I mean that literally. The conversation in which he called to let Terry Glenn's agent know the receiver had been cut seemed a bit forced. I kept expecting someone from NFL Films to run out and yell cut at any minute.

What NFL Films does best is take amazing pictures. I was sitting in the media tent last week banging out some blog entries when I heard the awful collision between running back Marion Barber and rookie linebacker Tyson Smith during a blitz pickup drill. When I arrived on the scene, the former Iowa State player was searching for his teeth. NFL Films captured the violence of the hit perfectly.

Head coach Wade Phillips appears to be having the time of his life as he walks around camp telling everyone about Adam "Pacman" Jones fielding a sixth punt while he already had five footballs in his arms.

I love the fact that the poor man's Bud Greenspan doing the voiceover work treats this thing like a war documentary. He finds the most ominous tone in his arsenal to introduce us to young Adam Jones, who greets viewers with a scowl.

The one clip from "Hard Knocks" that's all over the Internet this morning is linebacker DeMarcus Ware setting up rookie running back Felix Jones for a prank. The two are engaged in some mindless chatter when a stealthy Pacman appears on the balcony and pours a bucket of water on Jones.

I'm pretty sure I heard Ware compare Pacman's dumping motion to "Free Willy," which is such an odd but wonderful description. After a few seconds, Pacman deadpans, "Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys."

The most awkward moment of the show (other than secondary coach Dave Campo getting pantsed) came when Jerry Jones put his hands on third-year receiver Sam Hurd's shoulders and told him that Glenn was being released. Hurd thought about the news for a moment and then skipped away saying, "Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones, I'm here."

In a classic moment, Jones pointed at the player several times and then said dismissively, "OK, Sam."

All in all, the part I saw was pretty entertaining. But I'm anxious to hear what you thought.

Still trying to figure out why PR chief Rich Dalrymple was introducing the head coach to the team in one scene. Hasn't Wade been around for a little while?

What were your thoughts?