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Three Major Takeaways From Cardinals’ Hard Knocks Episode Five – Sports Illustrated

The Arizona Cardinals saw plenty of action and points of discussion in HBO’s fifth installment of the in-season Hard Knocks series.

The Arizona Cardinals’ season is all but over, but HBO’s Hard Knocks in-season series continues to follow the team and documents the journey of both collective units and individuals as the 2022 regular season concludes. 

The series was once able to sell hope of making the postseason. Now, with just four weeks left, the narrative shifts. 

Here’s three major takeaways from the fifth episode of Hard Knocks:

Kliff Kingsbury


The episode begins with Kingsbury heading to the facility at 3:12 AM to get a early workout in and be the first person in the building. Kingsbury’s desire to be the first one in and last one out of the facility stems from regrets on his playing career. Although his product of work is questionable at best, Hard Knocks has done a good job showcasing his work ethic and ability to lead. 

Speaking of which, Kingsbury had some choice words towards the end of the episode after losing to New England in terms of treating everybody like men moving forward. Very interesting to hear the change of tone from a usually up-beat coach. 

DeAndre Hopkins and His Mother


Last episode, we heard about the relationship between Hopkins and his mother. This week, we got a full-on dive into the backstory on how she became blind and the journey both fought through together to get to where they’re currently at. 

She does a great job telling her story in what was an extremely vulnerable state. 

J.J. Watt’s Leadership

Photo: Alex Weiner, Sports Illustrated

It’s no surprise to hear Watt’s mentorship and ability to lead shines on and off the camera. Yet we got an inside look into his hilarious relationship with Zach Allen and even saw the mentor side of Watt shine with rookie Cameron Thomas being under his wing in a one-on-one session together. 

Other Takeaways

Bill Belichick

-The respect that the entire league gives to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots is on another level. That was very much on display between Kingsbury sitting one-on-one with HBO cameras, inside Cardinals’ meeting rooms and interactions between players and coaches. 

-There’s a scene when Kingsbury is in his office where he’s talking about a painting that rests on the counter, one of his late mother who battled cancer. Kingsbury talks about how much of an inspiration she was despite going through a tough time in her life. Grabbing some tissues is advised even though Kingsbury didn’t cry himself.

-We saw teammates come to the defense of Kyler Murray and his work ethic after Patrick Peterson attacked him on a podcast. Murray’s injury towards the end of the episode wasn’t shown in great detail but left an overall sense of doom heading into the next installment of the series. 

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