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Five Things We Learned on Hard Knocks: Ep. 5

1. Jacques Smith Shows Humility: The season finale of Hard Knocks began with an image of Jacques Smith walking into the locker room before any of his teammates during the Tennessee Titans game in Week 3 of the preseason, just after being ejected for fighting. Smith requested a meeting with head coach Mike Smith the next day to offer his apologies for his actions and then asked to speak to the team after practice. His speech to his teammates was short and humble, to the point and sincere as he promises to get his temper under control. Later in the episode, Mike Smith tells Jacques Smith that his on-field issues played a role in him not making the 53-man roster.

2. Matt Ryan Continues to Show Leadership: If there's one thing you take from Hard Knocks featuring the Falcons, it should be the depth of Matt Ryan's leadership among his teammates. Tuesday's episode featured a players-only meeting with Ryan, the quarterbacks and the wide receivers where he broke down plays from practice and tested out the knowledge of his teammates. Hard Knocks featured Ryan's leadership style throughout the five-episode series and Falcons fans who tuned in should feel even better about the guy running the offense, and pretty much the locker room.

3. Geraldo Boldewijn's Absence Explained: The rookie known as "Amsterdam" was conspicuously absent from the final preseason game at Jacksonville and despite reports from media sources that he had been injured during practice, there were a lot of questions surrounding him being sidelined. We found out Tuesday that he suffered a hamstring injury during the week of practice leading up to the game and the front office made the tough decision to cut him. Because of his injury settlement status, the Falcons can re-assess his health in six weeks and could be free to bring him back into the fold.

4. Osi Umenyiora As a Mentor: Hard Knocks revealed Tuesday that defensive end Osi Umenyiora started a firm that represents athletes of African descent, and we get a chance to see Umenyiora's mentor status come into play as he takes undrafted rookie Nosa Eguae under his wing. Eguae, born in Nigeria, was in a close defensive tackle fight with veterans and rookies alike and ultimately was waived as part of final cuts, but Umenyiora seemed to truly take the time to help Eguae develop, which lends some insight into how he's perhaps been a resource to other young defensive linemen.

5. The Worst Part of the Business: Anyone who works for an NFL team will tell you that final cuts weekend is the worst part of the job. Tuesday's episode featured all the uncomfortable and saddening moments of Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff making very difficult decisions about the players' futures and informing them of those decisions. Hard Knocks shows the very real emotional toll this time period takes on both players waiting for word, those who are informed they'll be cut and the people who make the decisions. "The least favorite part of this job," Smith says between players entering his office. "Friggin' stinks."

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