I’ve seen a few perfect episodes of various television shows in my lifetime. The very first episode of The Walking Dead was gripping. “The Lion and the Rose” was a flawless episode of Game of Thrones, mainly because bye, Joffrey. And Episode 4 of this season of Hard Knocks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was perfect, too, for one reason.
It opened with Buccaneers players dancing to Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.”
Chris Baker is sitting on a bench with some little kid, and they’re both singing along. DeSean Jackson is dancing on the practice field. Everyone is having a great time, because as Gerald McCoy points out, it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when that song is on.
And Jameis Winston made up his own lyrics.
“‘If you know what I’m sayin’, Austin Johnson’s gonna be playin’.” Well done, Jameis.
It was a great intro to a great episode. The Bucs finally got to enjoy their new locker room, defensive coordinator Mike Smith said his guys couldn’t stop a marching band, and a bunch of players looked surprised when the cannons fired in Raymond James, even though they do it for every score.
Here are the rest of the best moments of Episode 4.
1. Gerald McCoy is the best thing about this show, period.
Early in the episode, head coach Dirk Koetter tells Gerald McCoy that there’s a little girl dancing in the crowd watching practice. He encourages McCoy to go see if she’ll come dance with him. McCoy, because he is nothing short of a delight in every possible way, does exactly that. And this little kid’s dad was AMPED about it.
I want to be best friends with Gerald McCoy.
He and Chris Baker also did some kung fu, complete with sound effects.
And the episode closes with McCoy watching the Game of Thrones finale. McCoy had the same reaction to the very end as the rest of us.
2. Jameis Winston has a very good dog
This is Tootsie Roll. She’s blurry because she’s having too much fun running around trying to catch a frisbee Winston is throwing for her.
She is a great dog.
3. Doug Martin’s mom is surprised Ryan Fitzpatrick has so many kids
When backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick enters the game, his family cheers loudly. And while they’re not quite the Philip Rivers family, Fitzpatrick and his wife do have five kids.
Doug Martin’s mom is a little taken aback by how many of them there are.
“Oh, that’s the Fitzpatrick family,” she says. “That’s a lot of Fitzpatricks.”
4. Rookie talent show time
Poor Mark Duffner. The rookies did a pretty good impression of the Bucs’ linebackers coach, including a big fake belly for believability.
Duffner wasn’t a fan at first.
“Get the flip out of here,” Duffner said. “I’m not buying that belly. That’s for damn sure.”
But when the rookies were done, he had to admit that “it was funnier than shit.”
5. Chris Godwin’s girlfriend roasted his ass
Rookie Chris Godwin, a third-round pick out of Penn State, has played well this preseason and performed in camp. Part of that is due to the fact that his girlfriend, Mariah, is kind of a badass and helps him train. But the best part of this look into the happy couple’s relationship was the moment she unintentionally roasted the hell out of her boyfriend.
The two started dating when they were in college, and her father had been Godwin’s high school coach, so Godwin knew the family. But he’s shy, apparently, and he didn’t make the best impression on Mariah’s mother.
“And he came over and he would just, like, sit at the kitchen table with his headphones on, and my mom was like, ‘This kid sucks. He doesn’t talk to anyone,’” Mariah said.
6. DeSean Jackson turned down more money elsewhere to come and play with Jameis
General manager Jason Licht says Winston is “the best leader I’ve ever been around,” and that Winston was instrumental in bringing DeSean Jackson to Tampa Bay.
Winston had some character concerns coming out of college, which I will not belabor. But Licht said that once the team completed its investigation and vetting process before the draft, and then they drafted, him, he literally cried.
“I closed the door, and I just lost it,” Licht says.
7. Cuts are coming
It’s the worst part of Hard Knocks every season. Fringe players fighting for roster spots will have their NFL dreams crushed to pieces, and it’s happening next week in the finale.
Riley Bullough, LB: Bullough is probably not going to make it, even though the coaching staff loves how competitive he is. Mike Smith pretty much said it out loud this week.
“We can see why Riley’s not gonna — you know,” Smith said.
Cameron Lynch, LB: Lynch might have the dubious distinction of getting cut on Hard Knocks two years in a row. He spent last preseason with the Los Angeles Rams and didn’t make it through their final cuts. He got yelled at this week by Duffner, who said he was on Lynch’s ass because he wanted him to actually make the team.
Jeremy McNichols, RB: The coaching staff likes him and he earned some praise from Koetter for his play on special teams, but he makes rookie mistakes and missed a key block in the game against the Browns. I wouldn’t put money on him making the squad.
Donteea Dye, WR: This guy has great hands and made some big plays even though he was coming off a bone bruise. He’s made an impression on Mike Evans and Winston with his work ethic. Fun fact: He also got confused in last week’s episode about the eclipse, asking if they happen every few years. He was actually thinking of cicadas.
The finale airs next week at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.