"Hard Knocks" Episode 3: Swennis, anyone?

"Hard Knocks" director and NFL Films producer Matt Dissinger said last night's episode was one of his favorites.

Not just this season, but ever.

I now see why. We go from "Bang, bang, chicken, and shrimp" to seeing the O'Brien family celebrate Jack's 13th birthday, one that is a huge milestone in their son's life. But, I'll get to that later.

First things first though...

Is it Swinnis? Swennis? It's the made-up locker room sport that the former Texan A&M wide receivers Travis Labhart and EZ Nwachukwu play in their spare time with teammates. It's a combination of soccer and tennis, i.e. volleyball with your feet. And a masking tape net, of course. How do they keep score? Is it like tennis or volleyball? Those Aggies are so darn crafty.


Khari "O'Brien" Lee**
Practice. Competition. Winning. Working hard. Expletives. Working hard in practice. Winning practice competitions. More expletives. Combinations of all of the above.

Who knew that a 6-4, 235 pound, rookie out of Bowie State with a towel around his neck could do such an outstanding Bill O'Brien?

Did anyone else notice that O'Brien mumbled an expletive under his breath when he realized what Lee was up to? You know when something is so funny you can't breathe? That was O'Brien watching himself through the deadpan, steely glare of Lee.

He didn't let Jaelen Strong off the hook either. The rookie wide receiver gets yelled at by the fake O'Brien when the real one is in the back wiping tears from his eyes.

Also a popular joke in the rookie skits, was the team watching J.J. Watt's perfection on film as re-enacted by Lynden Trail and the defense.

On a scale of one to five, defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni gave the performance five 'excellents.'

30 letters and 1,001 questions in EZ
Cecil's right, cuz.

There's no E in Uzoma "EZ" Nwachukwu's name as pointed out by newly added Cecil Shorts III, who went on a mission to find out why he was called EZ.

"He's got 30 letters in his name and no 'E,'" Shorts III said in utter confusion.

We never really found out but hey look, NASA!

We learned that EZ in NASA is like a kid in a candy store. Wide-eyed and filled with questions about Pluto, astronauts, and their food, the Allen, Texas native was over the moon (how did the "Hard Knocks" narrator miss this layup of a pun?) in getting to ask the astronauts in space his rapid-fire questions.

Bill O'Brien at home
On a more serious note, I wonder how many people nationally have known about Bill O'Brien's son, Jack. We learned of his struggles with lissencephaly shortly before O'Brien arrived in Houston last year. O'Brien also addressed it in his very first press conference and has been open ever since.

"There are millions of people around the world that have special needs children," O'Brien said in January 2014. "That's number one. I understand that. My wife and I are well aware of that but because of the position that I'm in, sometimes I get the chance to talk about it. My wife and I talk about that a lot, whether we should talk about it or not. And I think it's important to talk about because in our personal situation, it has given us great perspective on life."

It also gives perspective on O'Brien, a softer side to him. Hearing Colleen talk about him as a father and making his son chuckle while pretending to drop the birthday cake was utterly heartwarming.


Bang, Bang, Chicken and Shrimp**

Bang, bang, chicken and shrimp on the starting quarterback conversation for now.

Did I use it correctly? As in, it's done?

At least, that's what I think running back Chris Polk's catch phrase "Bang, bang, chicken, and shrimp" means.

Other guesses would be:
"Good job."
"Practice is over."
"I'm ready to eat some chicken and shrimp."

Nothing new to see here, folks.
Enter O'Brien, offensive coordinator George Godsey, and all three quarterbacks.
Brian Hoyer is the quarterback. Ryan Mallett is the backup. It could change.
Exit O'Brien and a lot of breathing.

(I'm not the only one who noticed that, right?)

Ok, that's all for now. We're headed to New Orleans for next week's episode. Bang, bang, chicken and shrimp.

See photos from the upcoming third episode of HBO's Hard Knocks.

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