The latest Hard Knocks: Training Camp follows The Detroit Lions as they enter their second year under Head Coach Dan Campbell.
In the first episode of the award-winning show, viewers get an in-depth perspective of what people have come to love about Campbell and his staff, as well as his players trying to get on board with that winning mentality.
“Grit, dreams and love.”
This is a coaching staff with over 80 years of playing experience at the NFL level alone, something highlighted that sets them apart.
Hard Knocks shows these familiar faces as they try to transfer the success they’ve had on the field to the office and sideline.
From the beginning of the show Campbell makes it clear what he expects from his team:
“Don’t be late. Don’t be overweight. Don’t disrespect your teammates or this game.”
A very simple set of team rules backed by an enthusiastic but stern leader. Last year it was running through walls and biting kneecaps and now there’s an emphasis on “treading water as long as it takes to bury you.”
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2022
Iron Sharpening Iron and ‘The Detroit Lions Family’
Campbell touches on the difference between being at the bottom and the top of the NFL, likening it to being comfortable in shallow water as opposed to dragging opponents into deep waters.
These principles are shown by the rest of the coaching staff as we get to see a friendly but fierce competition between Duce Staley (assistant head coach, running backs) and Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn.
The camaraderie between the two former standouts on the field is something that shows they are committed to the game, and more importantly the development of the team.
It’s clear from the first installment that the hands-on approach is having an effect on Detroit. Coaches doing down-ups, a motivational speech from Jamaal Williams, and rookies proving their worth are among the bright spots.
In the team briefing room Aidan Hutchinson gets to show off his Michael Jackson impression and fellow rookie Malcolm Rodriguez cuts a rug to Latin music, both to the amusement of the team.
Hutchinson may need some work on his performance but luckily he’s focused on improving his game.
The Lions get right to full contact drills in training and the competition between “Hutch” and second year tackle Penei Sewell emulates the energy brought by the staff.
These two big men are shown having fun making each other better and both comment on ‘iron sharpening iron.’
Overall the first episode shows what is to come with this second year coaching staff’s journey and what they expect from their players.
Expect a feeling of intensity and raw emotion that will hopefully, for Lions fans, bring the team closer to glory; and for the team, bring them closer to becoming a family.