Five Things We Learned on Hard Knocks: Ep. 3

1. A Hard Knocks First: The first four minutes of Episode 3 were touted to be some of the most intense in Hard Knocks history and they didn't disappoint. For the first time in the show's history, cameras were allowed in the operating room as Marquis Spruill had his torn ACL repaired by head team physician, Dr. Spero Karas.

2. S-Jax on the Way Back?: Running back Steven Jackson continues to make his way back from a hamstring injury and while we haven't heard much on the practice field about his return, Hard Knocks showed us a bit of where he is in his progression. Head coach Mike Smith is shown saying that Jackson's feeling better and he's doing strengthening exercises in the weight room. Could a return be coming in the near future?

3. Biermann's Energy: Another player returning from injury, Kroy Biermann, had a one-on-one conversation with outside linebackers coach Mark Collins, who was concerned with where Biermann's energy level was in the first preseason game. Biermann said he's been concerned about his Achilles, which kept him from much of the 2013 season, and his nervousness about it has kept him from unleashing. Collins says he wants to see more of the old Kroy Biermann.

4. More Matthews vs. Watt: Much of the episode centered around the Falcons' week in Texas as the team practiced twice against the Texans before facing them last Saturday night in the second preseason game. The marquee matchup during practice was Jake Matthews vs. JJ Watt. The long arms of Watt were a problem for Matthews initially but he caught on and was able to neutralize Watt on several occasions. "He's a freak," Sam Baker said on the show. "He's a freak athletically." Baker went on to say that the offensive linemen have asked Matthews what he can't do and his reply: "I can't play the piano."

5. Odds 'n Ends: Undrafted rookie wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn was heavily featured. He was born in the Netherlands and speaks five languages. … Devonta Freeman left practice early last week due to hydration. We learned his skipping breakfast that morning was the likely culprit. … Tight end Levine Toilolo serenaded some of his teammates during the trip to Houston, with a ukulele version of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend."

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