NFL players are already under the proverbial microscope. Everything they do on the field, and off the field, is evaluated. How they practice, how they address the media, how they interact with teammates and fans—it’s all accounted for. And it doesn’t stop just because a player is drafted. You will hear coaches and executives say it all of the time—the evaluation process is constant.
Still, much of that is kept internal. Those intimate moments when a player is being corrected, praised, or even cut, are largely moments we do not get to see. But with HBO’s Hard Knocks set to arrive in Allen Park later this summer, many of these aforementioned moments will no longer be private for the Detroit Lions.
At the end of the day, the goal of Hard Knocks is to make the Lions look good. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be moments that players or coaches want back. Just ask Lions’ quarterback Jared Goff, who has already been through this process three times—Hard Knocks in 2016 and 2020, and in 2018 for Amazon’s series ‘All or Nothing.’ Goff infamously did not know where the sun rose and set, making for a funny moment in the series.
“I was a victim of it myself is, you have to be careful what you say and when you say it and what cameras are around,” Goff reflected earlier this offseason.
Other players, like veteran running back Jamaal Williams, have also expressed their feelings on the HBO crews being present. “I don’t give a (bleep),” he muttered in a hushed tone last week. “I just want to play football. But it’s just, all that to me now is more cameras walking around staring at me. I don’t care. I just want to play football and I want to win a Super Bowl this year. Forget ‘Hard Knocks,’ all that stuff. It’s just going to happen. Like, people think I’m funny but I don’t do it on purpose, it’s just me. I just walk around and be me all the time, that’s it. I can’t fake nothing.”
With players like Williams in the fold, as well as coach Dan Campbell and the rest of his eclectic staff, we should have plenty of entertaining content when those episodes begin airing in August.
You can read the entirety of Birkett’s article here.
And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:
- Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at how rookie linebackers Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston can help the Lions.
- Ian Wharton of the Bleacher Report gives a prediction for his breakout player for each of the 32 teams. Hint: a Lions cornerback makes the list.
One player on each team who is set to break out this year- https://t.co/9C5xlWtCrX— Ian (@NFLFilmStudy) May 16, 2022
- An interesting graphic from Marcus Mosher on how often a running back created a big play in 2021.
How often did a running back create a big play (10+ rush or 20+ yard reception) in 2021? pic.twitter.com/HEXSjaZqre— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) May 18, 2022
- PFF released a top 25 players under the age of 25, and inexplicably, offensive tackle Penei Sewell was left off the list.