Tuesday has passed which means another episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks has been released. Every episode has been extremely engaging and entertaining and this week’s episode did not disappoint. Here are a few of my takeaways:
1. Winning Mentality
The theme of this episode was clear: Winning is everything. Every week it seems this team grows more mentally tough and it’s extremely apparent. From seeing their signs in the conference rooms to hearing the way the players and coaches talk it’s obvious that this is a team that wants to win, and they want it bad. Dan Campbell is the front runner on this mentality. He’s constantly leading the team with his metaphoric speeches, and he’s not alone. All of the coaches lead with intention. Duce Staley, when referring to De’Andre Swift in a press conference yesterday, even stated that the goal. “Is to get him (Swift) to run through a brick wall with me, not for me.” The fight in this team is refreshing after years of disappointment.
2. Team Dynamics
We have now seen three rookies “perform” in front of the entire team and not a single one has disappointed. In episode 1 we saw Aidan Hutchinson singing “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson and Malcolm Rodriguez put his bare feet to the test with a bit of salsa dancing. In episode 3, Kalil Pimpleton showed off his juggling skills. While all three performances were entertaining, what stood out to me was the absolute hype of the entire team every time. The team dynamic and the way these guys treat and support each other is electric.
3. You’re Cheating Yourself
If there’s anything I have learned from watching this team it’s that they hold each other accountable for everything, even at practice. Offensive Line coach Hank Fraley laid into rookie Obinna Eze during this episode for not giving everything he had during practice. Fraley said “Eze don’t just get through the drill. You’re so (expletive) tired … I don’t care how hard it was getting, I know what I’m putting you through.” Fraley then yelled at Eze telling him he cheating himself and the team. This brought me back to episode one when Jamaal Williams broke down the huddle with an emotional speech screaming “When you tired, think of last year and think of that f—— record. Every time I get tired or I say, ‘I can’t go no more,’ I think of that f—— record. That ain’t us. We can make it. We gotta believe.” This team and coaching staff is not going to settle for anything less than 101%.
4. Jamaal Williams is a dog
Early on in the episode we saw a funny, goofy, happy Jamaal Williams. Although, that quickly turned intense when practices with the Colts began. Zaire Franklin brought the dog out of Williams in joint practice. He was verbally and physically aggressive to the point coach Campbell even had to tell him to chill out. Williams is one of those guys who knows how to turn it on and off. He has looked extremely strong and powerful in practice and preseason, and he is definitely a leader for this team on and off the field.
5. Are we sleeping on Chase Lucas?
Chase Lucas missed a pick in Game 1 of the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons. That interception could’ve won the Lions the game. That specific moment is reportedly haunting him. However, you would never even guess that about him. Lucas is one of the most vocal and confident players on the field. He was a seventh round pick and knows he has the world to prove to get on this 53-man roster, but he still walks the field like he owns it, even yelling at a player during the preseason game against the Colts saying “You’re a little boy 12. You’re a toddler playing a grown man’s game.” Confidence isn’t everything but he is definitely someone I will be keeping a closer eye on.
Those dirty pants that Dan Campbell used in the opening scene of Hard Knocks were sent to him. The pants were covered in flour from Fredi the Pizzaman!
When the Lions ordered pizzas this week, I sent coach Dan Campbell by work pants full of flour that he used in the opening scene of #HardKnocks 😉