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Hard Knocks: Atlanta Falcons Episode 5 Recap

As the preseason draws to a close, so does the show.

Sam Greenwood

The last episode opens with Jacques Smith walking to the locker room after getting ejected from the third preseason game. We see Smitty talking to him later in his office, with Jacques apologizing for his actions, and wanting a chance to apologize to his teammates. Coach tells him he has to keep his temper under control, and that he knows he can do it.

In the "hey guys, that Matt Ryan guy may be good at this leadership thing" moment of the night, we see Ryan with all of the receivers reviewing plays with them and quizzing them on hot reads. He even tests Roddy, who Ryan appears to catch off-guard. It was a nice moment that showed that Ryan's leadership was never really in question.

For those interested, we get to hear Arthur Blank speak about - and show off a model - of the new Falcons stadium.

As we get back to the players, we find out that Jacques Smith and Tyler Starr have become friends, in spite of competing for the same roster spot. They're helping each other out, and the competition between them seems to help both of them get better.

In the receivers meeting, we hear Robiskie tell Amsterdam he wants him to play bigger. He tells him to stop trying to play with finesse. The other players then tell the coach that Boldewijn benched 275 3x earlier that day, showing that he is a strong kid, but has to put it together on the field. After all that, and seeing plays of Geraldo in camp, we see him go down with the hamstring injury. Even Renfree and Yates - while watching it on tape - feel bad for the kid.

In another thrilling moment, we see Ricardo Allen and his girlfriend hitting golf balls and talking about how stressful it is to hear about cuts. She compares it to draft day, noting that you're waiting for a call during the draft, but hope you don't get one during this process.

We see that Eguae has bonded some to Osi, since both are Nigerian born. We even see that Osi has the young player at his house, telling him when he's on the field he needs to "flash." He tells the kid he's auditioning for 31 other teams as well.

Onto the Jacksonville game, the focus is on TJ Yates and his performance in the game. It was made clear that this game was critical for him, and that he delivered. It's noted that he basically secured his spot on the roster with his performance in this game. And in a funny sideline moment - that may provide some clarity on this roster move - we see Mike Tice laughing with James Stone and congratulating him on blocking somebody.

More shots are shown of guys on special teams. Tyler Starr making a play. Jacques Smith missing on one. Ricardo Allen gets washed out on return coverage and needs oxygen on the sidelines. But he follows that up with a nice tackle on a kick-off return. It's clear that these guys are all fighting for spots based on their play on special teams.

As the game draws to a close, we see guys like Donte Rumph get little to no playing time, while Eguae is not having the type of game that will secure him a spot on the roster. A grim reminder that this may be the last chance for many of these guys.

Reality strikes as Smitty tells the guys that the next 72 hours will happen very fast. Everyone needs to be accessible, and if you get a phone call - you better answer it, even if it's a number you don't recognize.

Final cuts - day 1. We see Dimitroff and Smith talking in the office about their plan. They start with the obvious guys, with the goal of cutting 12 per day over the next 2 days. We then see the calls begin, with scouting assistant Scott Sika serving as the grim reaper.

The cuts start with veteran LB Pat Angerer, who was appreciative that the Falcons gave him another chance to play football. Freddie Martino is next, followed by Eguae and Rumph. We see the guys clearing their lockers into garbage bags, while Martino is found keeping his TD ball from the Jacksonville game.

Meanwhile, we see "secure" rookies making the most of their time, with Devonta Freeman trying out an automated recliner at a furniture store, Hageman getting a massage and Prince Shembo buying jewelry for his mother.

With more cuts to go, we see Smitty and Dimitroff meet with Boldewijn, who has been given an injury settlement. They make it clear that they're going to monitor how he heals and when he's healthy, have a discussion with him about how they move forward. It's pretty clear that they're very interested in keeping him around, likely on the practice squad.

In one of the more surprising cuts, we see Ricardo Allen brought in next. They tell him they're releasing him, but that they want to bring him back on the practice squad. They think he's got the talent to play in the NFL.

Finally, we see Jacques Smith brought in. Smitty tells him they want him on the practice squad as well, and that they love his strength, but they need him to refine his pass rush and to learn to keep his cool. Based on that cut, Tyler Starr is given a call by Coach Smith and is told that he will be on the 53-man roster.

As the episode closes, we see Bryan Cox at home with his family at dinner. When his wife asks him if Hageman will be ready, he says he thinks he'll be fine. Cox lights up a stogie outside, in fitting fashion.

In the final moments of the show, we see our receiving corps - Roddy, HD, Julio and Devin - playing cards. Julio clearly is winning, repeatedly telling the guys "That's how you play cards." The competition and camaraderie is evident, as the shows draws to a close.