HARD KNOCKS, BABY: Episode 3 Recap

It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to say this, but I’m really excited to be writing something after a preseason win. Lions fans have always had an unthawed optimism regarding their team, but it’s nice to have some results to go with it. We’ve got a preseason win, we’ve got the 2024 draft, and right now, we’ve got episode three of Hard Knocks. So let’s get into it, ladies and gents.

UDFA Spotlight:
I’m going to preface this section with the disclaimer that I’m not going to go deep with Aidan Hutchinson or Malcolm Rodriguez this week. I’ve discussed them heavily in the last two recaps, so we’re examining some less well-known rookies – the UDFAs. We saw a little of him jabbering with Aidan Hutchinson in episode one, but we got to go pretty deep with offensive lineman Obinna Eze this week. Nigerian born, the player nicknamed “Easy” came to the states for basketball, and was convinced to play football by his foster parents. Now he finds himself here, in the middle of a competition for a backup spot. He found himself with massive playing time in the second preseason game against the Colts, and though he was shown struggling in camp, his gameplay was overall pretty positive. Another UDFA got his time to shine – and it felt like the opposite of Eze’s story this week. WR Kalil Pimpleton was introduced during his rookie showcase – and I’ve never seen so many grown men get so excited about juggling. It turned out to be an appropriate use of foreshadowing – the camp footage of Pimpleton demonstrated his excellent ball-tracking skills and his ball security. The problem is, those skills didn’t show up during the game. Pimpleton comes from a university right near my hometown (FIRE UP, CHIPS), and I’d love to see him make the roster. But for him to do that, he’s gonna have to show up in a big way versus Pittsburgh this Sunday.

“Netflix” No More:
RB3 has been an underrated competition in camp this season, and last year’s preseason hero legend Craig “Netflix” Reynolds has definitely pulled into the lead. Asst. HC Duce Staley has even joked that he’s now leveled up from “Netflix” to “Hulu”. His most screen time came this week, though when he facetimed his brother, as he does before every game. Hard Knocks has been big on showcasing player’s families and loved ones, and this is already a moving showcase, before the other shoe drops – Reynolds’s brother is prison, and has been since Netflix was in sixth grade. What was a nice story about a familial tradition becomes emotional as the elder Reynolds, Eric, tells his brother, “I’ve made enough mistakes for you, for me, and for 1,001 other people. So at this point and time, Craig, you need to continue moving forward.” Whether that’s in life or between two offensive linemen, Reynolds is not going anywhere but forward.

Preseason Game Two:
What is winning? In a montage at the end of the episode, lots of players gave their interpretation of winning. But only one is undeniable: winning is what the Lions did versus Indianapolis. The 27-26 win, completed by a two-point conversion stop, snapped an eight-game preseason losing streak for Detroit. Now, obviously, the preseason has little to no effect on actual standings, and there are no moral victories in the NFL. However, this was a step in the right direction for Dan Campbell and Co.

Punchline of Scrimmage:
I understand that the title of this section is a very cheesy pun, but it felt appropriate for a section about a comedic performance. Josh Adams, Motown born and raised, was brought in to do a performance for the team during their stay in Indianapolis. Adams killed his set, going after both the coaches and the team. Personally, I would not feel comfortable insulting an entire room of people much bigger than myself, but Adams did really well. If you can’t watch the whole episode, you can probably find the set on Youtube, and I highly recommend you check it out.

Assorted Quotes of Awesomeness:
● “Alex, you got your Depends on this morning? It’s vital. Coming off of diarrhea, you’ve always got to wear the Depends.” – HC Dan Campbell

● “This s**t’s fun, man.” – LB Malcolm Rodriguez

● “Getting up like, ‘I messed my wrist up.’ Nah, you was bullshitting. You old as hell, that’s what it is.” – Josh Adams

● “You a little boy, 12. You a toddler playing a grown man’s game.” – CB Chase Lucas

● “So they might change up some shit. Who gives a fuck? We the Lions and we hunt.” – Asst. HC Duce Staley

● “If anybody gets a punch out here, they can fly the plane home themselves.” – HC Dan Campbell

Episode four is coming next week, so I’ll be back with another recap. In the meantime, feel free to drop a comment with what you’re looking forward to in the last two episodes, and your thoughts on the series so far. We’ve got less than half the show to go!
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