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Hard Knocks Part 4: Armstrong's show

8/27/2014

The second-to-last episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons" featured a coach going on a classic, profanity-laced tirade in the meeting room.

And guess what? It wasn't defensive line coach Bryan Cox this time.

Special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong displayed his true character as the show began with him going off on his units. Remember, the Falcons had both a punt and kicked blocked in the second preseason game at Houston.

Armstrong directed his fury toward three players in particular: Malliciah Goodman, Jacques Smith, and Ra'Shede Hageman.

"Some of you guys think you're better than it; you think you're above it," Armstrong said to the group about special teams. "Who do you think you are? The game don't mean enough to you. And that's very f---ing apparent. You better wake up and get your pride in the game.

"Come in here and you're going to go out there and play like s---. Now, the s--- was coached the right way. I don't want to hear any excuses. Selfish ass."

ESPN.com sent a text to one of the players in the room who appeared to be shook up by Armstrong's words. The players responded, "I was."

Here's a few more highlights from the show:

  • Cox continues to ride Hageman hard and doesn't think the rookie is in good enough shape at this point. That's why Cox had Hageman out running sprints -- or at least trying to run -- after a practice. Hagemen didn't take too kindly to the criticism, but he responded with inspired play in the third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

  • After rookie outside linebacker Smith got ejected for throwing a shot at Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, Cox was the first to tell Smith what his fate could be. "You might have just cost yourself a spot on the roster," Cox said as Smith exited the field.

  • Center Joe Hawley is being called Joe "Brawley" after getting into a fight in three consecutive weeks, starting with the rookie Smith, then the rookie Hageman, and then during a joint practice with the Titans during which he was ejected. So, it's easy understand why Hawley uses pottery as a calming mechanism.

  • Receivers coach Terry Robiskie genuinely wasn't happy with the way star receiver Julio Jones and Roddy White played in the second exhibition against Houston. He thought they were trying to be too cute.

  • Speaking of receivers, Devin Hester's handed out one of his Chicago Bears jerseys to fellow receiver Harry Douglas. That might be worth quite a bit of money if Hester, arguably the greatest return man of all time, makes the Hall of Fame.

  • During one day of practice, coach Mike Smith moved the session indoors due to inclement weather. As the storm continued, the power went out inside the indoor practice field, forcing practice to end prematurely.

  • During the first roster cutdown, everyone seemed to take the news well except rookie quarterback Jeff Mathews from Cornell, who obviously struggled picking up the verbiage of the offense. On the flipside, veteran safety Tyrell Johnson handled his release with such class, complimenting the Falcons for being a family-type atmosphere where people actually care about the players. "It's not like that at other places. ... You're just a body somewhere else."

  • Rookie running back Devonta Freeman got a pedicure, and actually liked it.

  • The other coaches admire how defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is able to stay in shape at age 55 by sweating it out on an exercise bike. Nolan actually was spotted doing some serious stretching before Tuesday's practice.