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'Hard Knocks' Episode 3 recap: New stage for familiar faces

Tuesday's episode of Hard Knocks serves as something of a public re-introduction of two of the most famous -- and, at times, infamous -- coaches in recent NFL history.

The first is Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose career was leveled after being fingered as a central figure in the Saints' Bountygate scandal in 2012. Williams' subsequent suspension lasted longer (from March 2012 to Aug. 2013) than anyone else attached to the scandal.

That Williams survived Bountygate at all is a credit to his ability to coach up a defense. You don't bring a guy with that type of baggage into your building unless he's worth it, and first the Titans, then the Rams, decided he was.

This curious tale of resilience doesn't come with a warm and fuzzy character in the lead. In scene after scene, Williams comes off as the real-life version of every mean SOB coach you ever saw in a football movie. Jon Voight should cough up some *Varsity Blues* back-end points out of respect.

So yes, Williams is about as far from a player's coach as one can get. This is on shining display during a verbal tongue-lashing of his defense that could also be seen as Williams' takedown of an entire generation of young Americans. Cover your eyes, millennials!

"All the colleges in the country and all your moms and dads, nobody's supposed to holler at you guys anymore," Williams says. "People that have enabled you your whole life, they're disabling you for your future."

Later in the episode, Williams lights up rookie linebacker Brandon Chubb for not making eye contact while Williams calls a play into his helmet transmitter.

"When I call your f------ name, you better acknowledge that I'm f------- talking to you!"

Williams' tough-love coaching style must sit just fine with Mike Singletary. The Hall of Fame linebacker is as old school as they come, even if his head-coaching tenure in San Francisco is remembered more for a blustery podium rant and a pants-dropping incident than anything that happened on the field.

Singletary fell off the league radar for the past two years but has now found a home on Jeff Fisher's staff as a defensive assistant. Hard Knocks cameras capture Singletary as a still-imposing figure who commands respect and loudly announces "Don't f--- with me" without having to say a word.

When wide receiver and team chatterbox Tavon Austin attempts to do just that during a practice, Austin is swiftly warned by another coach, "Don't f--- with Coach Singletary."

Last week I pondered if Fisher's laid-back coaching style could be problematic for the Rams. After seeing his key lieutenants in their element, it's obvious Fisher simply opts to be on the friendly side of the good cop/bad cop spectrum.

Odds & Ends

» With just two episodes to go, I think it's fair to say the 11th season of Hard Knocks has character development issues. We are lacking the type of compelling personalities -- both at the top and bottom of the roster -- that make a season memorable. Not much you can do about that short of airlifting Vince Wilfork and Bryan Cox in for the final weeks of camp.

» The episode starts on a heavy note, as rookie wide receiver Paul McRoberts meets with Fisher the day after the murder of McRoberts' stepbrother. "My teammates and my coaches let me know it's OK to cry," McRoberts says.

» Think the Rams plan to lean hard on Todd Gurley this season? Here's Fisher to his staff: "Just so everybody understands, defensively, that 30 doesn't need to f------ be hit in a 9-on-7 (drill). OK? I don't want 30 tackled. We need 30. ... We need to treat him like a frickin' quarterback."

» Where the hell is Les Snead? We've had virtually no access to the Rams' camera-ready general manager. Very odd.

» Big night for Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia, who makes a cameo on Hard Knocks on the same night he pitches a gem in Seattle. Other sideline guest stars include Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and NFL Media's own Maurice Jones-Drew.

» In the season finale of All or Nothing, we watched Cardinals running backs coach Stump Mitchell tell David Johnson that he had the potential to be one of the best ever. Singletary has a similar message for Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree -- with a caveat. Ogletree needs to work harder. "You can be one of the best to ever play the game," Singletary says in a private moment. "You have in you in this body and the ability to be an off-the-charts player. But you're not using it, and it pisses me off."

» Rams coaches are not happy when defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks is cut down on an illegal chop block by Chiefs tackle Jah Reid. But nobody is more angry than -- you guessed it -- lovably insane defensive line coach Mike Waufle. "You suck 75," Waufle bellows. "What the f--- is that 75, you ... f----- asshole. Shouldn't even be in the league!"

» Overheard in the WAG section at L.A. Coliseum: "Does two series mean two plays?"

» Only on football teams can colleagues openly talk about who's the ugliest person in the group. Imagine if this stuff went on at your office? The line of the night goes to William "Dino-Truther" Hayes on poor, undeserving Temarrick Hemingway.

"Hemingway looks like he was birthed out of a--holes."

Dan Hanzus was not birthed out of a--holes, as far as he knows. Follow him on Twitter at @danhanzus.

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