Five Things We Learned on Hard Knocks: Ep. 1

1. What I Did On My Summer Vacation...: Bear Pascoe doing some calf-roping. Steven Jackson unveiling his new photography collection. Tyler Starr returning to South Dakota to spend time with his fiance and son. Harry Douglas cleaning. Hard Knocks showed a wide range of different activities from the time the team wrapped up veteran minicamp in June until camp kicked off just a week-and-a-half ago. There are some great personalities being highlighted so far.

2. Light on Jerry's Retirement: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry's retirement was featured on the premiere episode as he spoke with Smith about his decision. Smith seemed taken aback by it and impressed upon Jerry that he had to be sure about the decision because there's no going back. Jerry told Smith that his body wasn't responding the way he'd like it to in camp, and that he'd have to "figure out" what his next step is.

3. Before and Afters: We learned that the Falcons coaching staff asked players to take full-body photos at the end of last season and then again at the start of training camp. During a team meeting in camp, Smith showed the team some impressive side-by-sides. The most stark differences were in the photos of Peter Konz, Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu and Ryan Schraeder, who all put on some major muscle in the offseason.

4. Line Coaches Take the Spotlight: If you saw Tuesday's episode, you fell in love with offensive line coach Mike Tice and defensive line coach Bryan Cox. The two had some moments dedicated to the toughness aspect with some sound bytes I can't repeat here. The toughness and physicality mantras are being preached over and over by these two and it's clear that it's being taken seriously by the players under them. "They're gonna be tough, I can tell you that much," Tice is shown saying to Falcons owner & chairman Arthur Blank.

5. Facts and Tidbits: Defensive tackle Donte Rumph has earned the nickname "Cupcake" from Cox for what Cox thought was overreacting to a banged up elbow in OTAs. ... Steven Jackson in talking to Devonta Freeman before Friday Night Lights revealed that his first ever high school carry was a fumble. ... Matt Ryan and Steven Jackson are dormmates in Flowery Branch for camp. Ryan used to shack up with Tony Gonzalez.

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