HARD KNOCKS, BABY: Episode One Recap

HARD KNOCKS BABY! It’s finally here, and I’m about ready to run through a wall. Make that several walls. With the dropping of the first episode last night, HBO has given us a very intriguing glimpse into Dan Campbell and Co.’s process for training camp. I’m not going to waste a lot of time preempting the real meat of this article, so let’s dive in – into the deep dark abyss in which Dan Campbell’s Lions are going to drown their opponents. 

Rookie Rituals:
It’s been maybe 24 hours, and we’ve all seen the Aidan Hutchinson/Billie Jean clip circulate on Twitter or Instagram or wherever. It does not do the actual thing justice. Hutch is up there, dancing around to his heart’s content, laying down the best version of Billie Jean this side of Michael himself. And the squad was hardcore loving it. Jarrad Davis ended up shirtless, somehow? Less publicized, but nonetheless entertaining, was Malcolm Rodriguez’s salsa boogie. I love that some teams would treat this as hazing, but here, the rookies are into it. Let’s hope next year we get to see some more rookies bringing their best moves. Josh Paschal, please and thank you. 

The first quarter of the episode heavily featured several talking head interviews with the coaching staff, talking about their hiring and Campbell’s coaching process. The one thing that they all mentioned Campbell and GM Brad Holmes emphasizing was the desire to coach the team as themselves, not as some fake role they had to fill. The theme ranged down from Campbell’s first interview to when he stopped LB coach Kelvin Sheppard from cutting his signature dreadlocks. 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t get enough of the montage of DC Aaron Glenn and Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley sniping at each other. After the entire segment starts with a clip of Staley saying “ A.G., I love you man. I want to @$#% you up between the lines, but I love you,” which pretty much sets the tone for about three straight minutes of aggressive bickering between the coaches. In their interviews, Glenn and Staley both said they view each other as brothers. If so, they’ve got the sibling bickering down. 

Jamaal Williams:
A Dan Campbell motivational speech is all well and good, but a Jamaal Williams huddle speech just hits different. Williams, well known for his vibrant personality and openness with reporters and fans, complimented Campbell’s macho motivational methods with an emotional appeal for hard work, saying, “Think of that record…that’s not us, man!” I’m not even a football player, and that made me want to go and tackle someone. 

Assorted Quotes of Awesomeness:
  • “Training camp is awesome, because you get to hit people” – LB Malcolm Rodriguez
    “You look like a big a** mushroom” – DL Coach Todd Wash 
  • “We running through your body like diarrhea” – RB Jamaal Williams
  • I’ve got these certain articles of clothing that I really like, but they just don’t fit good, and I’m saving them until I can fit in them. I can’t wait for that” – LT Taylor Decker
    “You ain’t writing s*** down?” – Asst. HC Duce Staley 
  • “If you piss like a puppy, stay on the porch!” – RB Jamall Williams 

NFC North Report now has a wonderful comments section, so drop a comment below of what you’re hoping to see on next week’s episode. For me, as mentioned above, I’d love to get a little Josh Paschal airtime. My goal is to do another one of these next week in addition to my regularly scheduled articles, so check back in. Hopefully, it’ll be another solid hour of television, but, as with the Lions themselves, it’ll definitely be entertaining.

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Marian Brikerson
Marian Brikerson
1 year ago

Awesome article Sam. I really enjoyed Hard Knocks, and loved the quotes you added. Hard Knocks has me jazzed up for the future of this team

1 year ago

Great article well done!

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