Hard Knocks is more than halfway over. The fourth episode in the five-part series is set to air next Tuesday, August 29th, at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. Here are a few things to keep an eye on in the second half of the season:
1. One round of cuts.
In years past, teams have had two rounds of cuts – one that brings the 90-man roster down to 75 and another that trims the 75-man roster down to the 53 that will play in the regular season opener. Because of that, Hard Knocks will only have the opportunity to chronicle one round of cuts instead of two. It will be interesting to see what Hard Knocks chooses to portray in Episode 4. Usually, that would be an episode where the first round of cuts would be taking place. Inversely, the final episode should be action-packed.
- The underdogs.**
Hard Knocks has done an excellent job of featuring a few players fighting for a roster spot, with rookie undrafted linebacker Riley Bullough appearing most often. Veteran Robert McClain has been featured as well. It's unlikely either player will part ways with the team before the final round of cuts, so keep an eye on which under-the-radar players are standing out to the team's coaching staff. Hard Knocks usually gets a good feel for who is and isn't performing well.
3. Mike Evans' relationship with DeSean Jackson.
Through the first three episodes, Evans and Jackson have been featured prominently, particularly as it relates to their relationship with each other. Both players have had excellent training camps, but have been on the same game field just twice thus far. It'll be excited to see Evans and Jackson in action in the Buccaneers' third and fourth preseason games, and Hard Knocks will surely capture anything noteworthy.