Sunday, June 4, 2023
HomeSportAfter best 'hard knock' season in years, Lions are Team USA

After best 'hard knock' season in years, Lions are Team USA

The 2022 season of the Hard Knocks ended Wednesday night after we spent the last five weeks getting to know the Detroit Lions. Undoubtedly one of the best seasons in the show’s 21-year history, even the most die-hard NFC North fans tend to hate all the things Detroit has to admit about this franchise being so endearing.

This team was sympathetic as it entered the year, and even more so now. Part of that is simply being one of the NFL’s perennial resident Lions teams, infused with national awareness through the Thanksgiving game. This season Hard Knocks have done a great job of using the team as an allegory for the city itself – failed, but not out. Always hopeful and eager to make a comeback. To that end, Dan Campbell is the ideal man to lead this team back.

Campbell is the nexus of everything this season. The second-year former player-manager is the poster child for the typical football coach one might imagine. From the opening of the first episode, with the capital letters “GRIT” on the wall of the conference room, to speaking with football clichés with absolutely zero meaning.

“It doesn’t matter if you have one butt cheek and three toes, I’m going to spank you.”

I still don’t know what that means, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

What bleeds on the screen is how Campbell wants his players to keep their personalities. He’s definitely a player-coach who doesn’t believe in suppressing personalities for team ideals, but instead uses those personalities and adapts them to his vision of footballers on the field. Part of it is a strong belief in respect, not to him, but to each other — as Campbell told his team before their first preseason game, “the only thing that’s going to make me lose my mind” is if he Seeing starters and backups not paying attention to players fighting for the roster in the third and fourth quarters.

Everything in Campbell’s world is earned, not given – and it’s all through his positional coaching . Running back D’Andre Swift runs to the sideline after a touchdown, and instead of congratulations, coach Duce Staley reminds him to have easier yardage between tackles instead of bouncing the ball outside like Swift does on the run .

It’s also a big factor that makes this team likable — the coaching staff. Campbell has assembled a veritable Who’s Who of former players, with the aforementioned Staley leading the running back, Aaron Glenn as the defensive coordinator, Mark Brunell as the quarterbacks coach, Antwaan Randle El as the wide receiver and more. The interplay of these bigwigs is well worth watching in Hard Knocks , especially the back-and-forth between Staley and Glenn in the exercise about whose unit is doing better.

Despite the fun this season was, the last episode was heartbreaking. It’s time to reduce the number of players to 53, which means the NFL dreams of many we know are about to be dashed. It was especially brutal in the montage clip of the exit interview, where Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes told players one by one that they didn’t make the cut. Some take it well and wonder if they can do better – others can barely maintain eye contact, not out of disrespect, but endless disappointment.

One of the things that Hard Knocks did very well was the depth Players It’s really not about individual players, but how those players fit in with the starters and what they can bring as a compliment. There were a few bright spots amid the grief, with running back Craig Grenoz winning the final spot in the crowded sprinter room and fighting on behalf of his family. The other was a seventh-round pick, Chase Lucas, who soaked in every moment of his experience, half-hope to be eliminated, only to find himself in the team.

    It’s been a phenomenal season, and it’s worth checking out if you don’t have the chance. I promise you, whoever sees the Lions at Hard Knocks this season will have Detroit as their second team.

      This year’s 6 best moments from Hard Knocks

    • Duce Staley threatens to fine and kick any player who farts in the RB room

    Aidan Hutchinson awkwardly sings “Billy Joan” makes his teammates happy

  • Campbell’s recommendation for his linebacker to wear depends on the first practice after the game

  • Chase Lucas laughs like a child after first interception, asks officer if he can Possess game ball
  • Malcolm Rodriguez buys cowboy boots and hats in downtown Detroit
  • A player asks his team guys why they don’t wear cups anymore



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