Background: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 27: Lecitus Smith #54 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on Aug. 27, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Cardinals 26-23.
In a Nutshell:
Hard Knocks Ep. 2 takes: (1) The stellar leadership of #3, #99, #25, #12, #68, #6. (2) "How's that for having balls?" K2; (3) Kugs' "popcorn-itis"! (4) Game wishes come true for Jeffersons; (5) Team focus and morale super high; (6) Game highlights not lowlights; (7) Sweet W— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) November 17, 2022
Most Compelling Story of the Game Prep:
Features the rookie pictured above, G Lecitius Smith #54.
Imagine getting your first start as on offensive guard win the NFL and having to square off versus Aaron Donald.
Lecitus Smith was extremely candid. He said that he didn’t expect to play at all this season.
Yes, because he was a college guard who was being converted and groomed to be a possible COF.
The unified coaching and game prep that Lecitus Smith received from Sean Kugler, Kelvin Beachum, Colt McCoy, Kyler Murray, JJ Watt, etc. was tremendous to watch. Getting Smith ready to compete in this game was a team effort.
Not sure if Lecitus was over-acting a little, but he certainly looked and acted unconfident.
Then to watch Lecitus Smith play his butt off and, often with Kelvin Beachum’s help, manage to compete very respectfully (even admirably) versus Aaron Donald was stunning.
HBO pointed out that #99 Aaron Donald did not record a sack in the game.
Then, to hear Colt McCoy remind Sean McVay after the game that the Cardinals were down 4 starters on the OLand, then to see McVay’s look of exasperation when he replied “I know”, was priceless.
Amazingly, it was Sean McVay who recommended Colt McCoy to his buddy Kliff Kingsbury two years ago.
I have a ton of respect for McVay, which was bolstered even more by the gracious way in which he congratulated Kliff, Colt and the Cardinals after the game.
A moment that I found particularly memorable was Kliff and Sean embracing and saying “Love you man” after the game.
Kliff and Colt in Command:
Kliff is much more assertive behind the scenes than what he looks on the sidelines. He is a fiery competitor. It looks to me like the players very much like and respect him.
Loved the way Colt took command of the QB room by saying that getting the details off the game plan correct and fully absorbed by every player could pave the path to victory.
How about the communication between Kliff and Colt on the sidelines before the 4th and 1 fade pass to Rondale. That clear communication epitomizes the way in which the HC and QB got themselves and the entire offense on the same page.
Loved the segment where Antonio Hamilton was explaining to Marco Wilson and the other defensive backs why Colt McCoy’s veteran understanding of the game works.
Loved Colt McCoy’s response to Steve Keim’s question, “So, are you nervous?” Colt said, “I can tell you this, I’m excited.”
Like my extraordinary coaching mentor, Miles Hubbard of Trinity-Pawling School (NY), loved to say about the joy and challenges of competition, “There’s nothing wrong with getting a little excited.”
Excited is exactly how feel after watching this episode.
How about you?
Actually, I am kind of glad that HBO didn't take the buzz out of the post victory celebration in favor of breaking the Eno situation. The coaches and players in the locker room deserved those moments of sheer jubilation. Most gratifying team-like performance of the season.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) November 17, 2022
HBO will include coverage of the Eno situation in episode 3. I think that is a great call on their parts.