The Detroit Lions are the main team on “Hard Knocks” this summer and are already making this year’s version of the show a summer blockbuster. Head Coach Dan Campbell is a ratings machine himself, already setting the tone for how many F-Bombs he can pull out in an episode.
The emotional Campbell rubs off on his coaches as the season premiere delves into Campbell’s diverse coaching staff full of former NFL starters and how they bring their own spin to an intriguing roster. Players also bought into Campbell’s antics as the Lions seek to reverse a franchise that has had four straight losses and just one playoff win since their last NFL championship in 1957.
With the first episode in the books, we take a look at the winners and losers of the amazing season premiere.
Dan Campbell’s speech before camp: Anyone who saw the first five minutes should want to run through a brick wall for Campbell. The players felt their head coach’s emotions, especially the way he motivated them through the speech.
There were plenty of f-bombs in the speech, but Campbell delivered the quote of the night that made his players tremble.
“It doesn’t matter if you have one butt cheek or three toes, I’ll smack your ass.” That’s the mentality of the Lions under Campbell.
Aidan Hutchinson’s vocals: While his rendition of “Billie Jean” ignited the lions in the boardroom, his dance moves left a lot to be desired. Hutchinson’s vocals weren’t great either, although he felt his teammates’ flow.
Hutchinson, the Michigan man who plays for the Lions, admitted he was at an emotional peak. He’s certainly no Michael Jackson.
The Lions defensive players on the ups and downs: Nothing can inspire a player more than watching the head coach of a football team play ups and downs with his team. Michael Brockers was visibly impressed and said if he were a trainer all he could do was push-ups.
Campbell said he “has to do them” but needed Tylenol and Advil afterward. Despite being a former NFL tight end, Campbell is still 46 and has made up-downs as well as any of his players.
The Guardian Cap: The Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said they look weird, but he understands why. Offensive line coach Hank Fraley took it a little nicer, admitting, “You don’t have to look pretty, you just have to play well.”
Quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell also thought they looked weird, a different aspect of the game than in his day. Michael Brockers said the new helmets were “heavy as F—” and looked like a “giant mushroom”.
Early ratings of the Guardian Cap in the league aren’t great, especially in the Lions camp.
Jamal Williams: “Think of that f—in record!” That’s not us! If you’re tired, think of that damn record! If you get p–s like a puppy, let the big dogs eat!”
An emotional speech from one of the Lions leaders after a subpar, padded workout (right after Campbell gave an emotional speech about how much he cares about his team) was just what a young Lions team needs—especially one who does not know how to win.
The Lions haven’t won a playoff game in 30 seasons, the longest active drought in the NFL. They need grinders like Williams on this team.
Who farts: Duce Staley says in the briefing room, “It’s a heavy fine if you work your ass off”. Staley’s rule is simple: “If you have to take a shit, get up and walk out the door. Take about eight seconds and stay out there. My count.”
Staley makes it clear that he doesn’t smell anything he wants to smell. Just don’t mess with his period.
Duce Staley: The Lions’ assistant head coach and running backs coach joins defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn as offense and defense go head-to-head at camp, similar to their playing days in the league. This is part of the competition that the Lions preach under Campbell.
There was trash talk between Duce and Aaron, but love reigns between the two up-and-coming coordinators. Glenn says both of them can’t help it, but it’s “something they’ve been doing since they got here”.
Staley’s mentality towards Glenn is simple: “I want to screw you between the lines, but I love you.”
After nearly two decades as a player and coach for the Eagles, Staley brings that Philadelphia mentality to Detroit.