Hard Knocks Part 3: Ryan not playing

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:00
AM ET
The third episode of HBO's Hard Knocks with the Atlanta Falcons aired Tuesday evening, and one of the interesting aspects was the X-rated language used by quarterback Matt Ryan.

Obviously, Ryan was extremely bothered by the team's performance in last Saturday's 32-7 exhibition loss to the Houston Texans.

In the locker room afterward, Ryan asked in a not so subtle way for each player to get their "mind right so we can go out there and have a good week of work and go play the way we're capable of."

Ryan clearly takes his leadership role seriously. Here are some other highlights from the show:
  • Defensive line coach Bryan Cox was must-see TV again as he addressed his defensive linemen in the meeting room. He showed a picture of one of his daughters and told them to keep away from her. The message seemed intended for Theo Agnew, who befriended Cox's daughter on Instagram. Then after Cox showed a picture of his 30-year-old daughter, nose tackle Paul Soliai asked Cox his age. "Forty-six," Cox said. "I told you I started (having sex) when I was 10."
  • Julio Jones looked as confident as ever during practice with the the Houston Texans as he announced he couldn't be stopped. At the same time, Jones talked about still progressing mentally to where he's not thinking about his surgically-repaired foot while running routes.
  • Rookie Jake Matthews knew he was going to move from right tackle to left tackle moments after starting left tackle Sam Baker left last Saturday's game against the Texans with a torn patellar tendon. Offensive line coach Mike Tice made as much clear to Matthews on the sideline when he said, "When you wake up tomorrow morning, you'll be our left tackle. All right? So, get your mind right."
  • Matthews is learning how to play the piano, according to Baker.
  • Texans star J.J. Watt seemed to talk down to Matthews when he referred to him as "little rookie" while discussing Matthews with Falcons coach Mike Smith.
  • Rookie running back Devonta Freeman had to leave practice one hot day in Flowery Branch due to dehydration. It was revealed he felt that way because he didn't eat breakfast that morning. Fellow rookie Jacques Smith got a little beat by the heat the same day as we saw our first vomiting scene.
  • William Moore reignited his rap career with freestyle in the training room, but it didn't compare to the ones he performed on the now-defunct "D-Block" episodes.
  • Rookie wide receiver Bernard Reedy gave everyone a chuckle when he dissed the Houston Texans mascot, Toro, when walking on the field for joint practices with the Texans. Toro wanted a fist bump.
  • Speaking of those practices, Harry Douglas taking a swing at Texans safety D.J. Swearinger wasn't a shock, considering Swearinger's endless trash talk. But receivers coach Terry Robiskie wasn't pleased with Douglas' reaction.
  • Tight end Levine Toilolo surprising had a little soul in his voice with his version of Biz Markie's "Just a friend."
  • It was interesting to see "Hard Knocks" go behind the scenes into rookie linebacker Marquis Spruill's left ACL reconstructive surgery, performed by head team physician Spero Karas.
  • Special team coach Keith Armstrong tried to pull off a "wax on, wax off" Karate Kid reference in criticizing a player's special teams style, but it didn't work. Neither did Ryan's joke telling in the quarterback meeting room.
  • The oddest scene had to be quarterback T.J. Yates sitting in the classroom alone barking out signals to himself as he continued to digest the new offense.
  • Center Joe Hawley's work with pottery will be featured on the next episode.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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