Dallas Cowboys’ Hard Knocks’ Episode 4: Dead ‘Boys Walking


Hard blows? The episode of the HBO documentary from Tuesday night might as well have been called Dead ‘boys go’.

Between players complaining about the heat, a brief COVID scare at The Star, and a winless preseason finale, the penultimate episode featured Dallas Cowboys who are now former Dallas Cowboys.

As every summer, the show captivated big players with interesting background stories. But as of Tuesday, the troubles of running back from JaQuan Hardy, offensive lineman Isaac Alarcón and quarterback Ben DiNucci have been blurry footnotes as they were released as part of the team’s downsizing to its final 53-man roster.

The show also put the spotlight on rookie Micah Parsons who we now know is a physical specimen consumed by mental board games. After losing to chess at the beginning of the series, the linebacker retaliated by embarrassing Leighton Vander Esch in the old school game Connect 4.

Quarterback Dak Prescott got his weekly cameo, of course. This time he tried – despite his new 160 million dollar contract – to invent a new tailgate game with an end zone pylon.

Prescott says, “It’s going to make the new cornhole … $ 15, sell it for $ 40 … we’ll all be millionaires.”

The episode was borderline pale. Players hate heat. Trainers hate virtual meetings. Cowboys aren’t comedians.

(To be honest, we’d all rather spend an hour watching the fascinating drone tour of The Star’s headquarters and, on the sidelines, listening to Ezekiel Elliott’s entertaining freestyle analysis.)

It wasn’t a complete exclusion from the feel-good narratives, however, as Ivory Coast linebacker Azur Kamara went shopping in plush frisco with his West African family and then played around and made the final list.

The remaining question from the episode: will Alarcón’s vocal, enthusiastic mother still be that rabid of a cowboy fan since her son is an ex-cowboy?

Oh yeah, and owner Jerry Jones really, really, REALLY loves a Whataburger.

“I like it untouched,” said Jones. “I don’t care if it sat outside for an hour and a half.”

READ MORE: Cowboys Complete 53-Man Squad

Good news: while the Cowboys made their third record appearance Hard blows, 19 teams – including their three NFC East brothers – have yet to be featured.

Bad news: The Cowboys have never made the playoffs in a year they starred, hitting a combined 14-18 in 2002 and 2008. In fact, there is no team involved Hard blows has ever played in the Super Bowl.

READ MORE: Like 30 other NFL teams, Cowboys are kicking Cam Newton tires

In 2002, the Cowboys streak was highlighted by Emmitt Smith’s impending pursuit of the NFL’s all-time rushing record, the struggles of troubled quarterback Quincy Carter, and head coach Dave Campo, who sang karaoke to his players at San Antonio’s Sea World and his entire team chimes a time clock.

In 2008, the show followed the storylines of a new stadium being built in Arlington, recipient Terrell Owens, newcomer Pacman Jones, a rookie named Martellus Bennett rolled her eyes at assistant John Garrett’s coaching and the demise of former first-round draft pick Bobby Carpenter, who is mockingly referred to as “Barbie Carpenter” and “punk ass bitch” by offensive players.

This summer’s five-part series continues every Tuesday, culminating two days before the season kicks off on September 9 against reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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