With HBO’s Hard Knocks filming the Detroit Lions training camp, many fans (and some media members) have questioned the environment in Allen Park.
What’s the vibe like? How are the players reacting? What are the coaches doing? These are all questions floating around on social media. These are good questions to ask. After all, it’s the first time the Lions will be featured on this show. And on top of that, at any given moment, the Hard Knocks film crew can be as few as five people or as many as ten-plus.
It looks like an intense crew seeing them at practice. However, it’s not phasing the Lions players at all. They’re focused. They’re focused on erasing the memory of last year. And the mentality starts at the top.
“I’m not worried about winning Hard Knocks. I’m just worried about trying to get this team better,” said Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes echoed Campbell’s sentiments, stating nothing has changed around the practice facility.
“It’s business as usual,” Barnes told Woodward Sports. “We know what we have to do this year. We know what it’s going to take to get to where we wanna be. And cameras or not, we’re going to continue to work.”
“Everybody’s acting like they’re supposed to even if the cameras weren’t here. We’re trying to grind and get that work in.”
Campbell isn’t focused on winning the HBO series. He’s not. Despite that, one of his players already did. That’s Jamaal Williams. On Monday, a clip of Williams passionate post-practice speech set social media on fire.
“Do not give up. Do not feel like you’re tired.” Williams said in the video. “When you tired, think of last year and think of that f–king record. Every time I get tired or I think I can’t go no more, I think about that f–king record.”
Williams then became visibly emotional.
“Last year wasn’t it, that ain’t us,” Williams continued. “We can make it. Have some heart. I get emotional about this. I’m about to cry because I care about ya’ll.”
After Monday’s practice, Williams explained his emotions in the clip.
“I was just doing what I can for my team, just to let them know it’s alright to be vulnerable and let your teammates know that you really care,” Williams told Woodward Sports. “I feel like the more you show yourself to your team, the more they can respect you as the person you are, and not what they think you are.”
“It’s just more about us coming together, getting that chemistry together, and just open up to one another to let each other know ‘you know it’s a job, but it’s still football. You still gotta care for the brother next to you because you guys are going to be playing together.”
The first episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks at the Detroit Lions training camp airs Tuesday night at 10pm. There are five episodes in total, which will run once a week through September 6th.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.