Buckle up metro Detroit. Your Detroit Lions are about to become household names, at least in NFL circles. ‘Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions’ will become a hit.
Head coach Dan Campbell is entering the second year of arguably the hardest rebuild in sports. The Lions haven’t won a playoff game since 1992. After a 3-13-1 rookie campaign in Detroit, Campbell is hoping that his in your face, rah-rah style will continue getting through to his locker room. He’s undoubtedly hoping for a few more wins as well.
This is going to be must-watch TV, especially for fans of the ‘Hard Knocks’ series.
These three personalities, in particular, will steal the show.
Dan Campbell, Head Coach, Detroit Lions
Let’s just go ahead and get the obvious one out of the way. Dan Campell was made for the media spotlight.
If he fails as a head coach, which is something that’s easy to do in an organization that seemingly hires a new coach every three years, he should quickly jump in the booth with Tony Romo and become America’s second-favorite broadcaster.
Campbell obviously knows the game, but he’s witty, charming, and gosh darn it, people like him.
This is the very same NFL coach who cried at the postgame podium after a Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He just felt that bad for his players.
Other highlights from his rookie campaign as head coach in Detroit include showing up to a press conference wearing a racing helmet, saying that he’d like to get a pet lion, and detailing one of the most intense coffee regimens of all time.
This guy is the stuff of legends, and while it can seem campy at times (especially if the wins don’t come), he’ll be absolute gold for the ‘Hard Knocks’ cameras.
Jamaal Williams, Running Back, Detroit Lions
Jamaal Williams was the backup running back in Green Bay to Aaron Jones, who’s one of the most dynamic players in the league. He played on the same offense as Aaron Rodgers, one of the most famous people not just in the league but worldwide.
Even so, Williams was arguably the biggest fan favorite in Green Bay and that title transfered over to Detroit when he signed with the Lions last offseason.
Williams is joy personified on the football field. He’s gained fans all across the league for his ability to dance his socks off in pre-game warmups, but he’s also one of the best interviews a sports reporter could ask for.
For instance, there was the time he compared the Packers to an ex-girlfriend.
“It ain’t hard for them to say ‘bye,” Williams said via Dave Birkett. “They let me (go). Y’all act like I left on my own, golly. I didn’t do it. Shoot, if I could have stayed, I could have stayed. If I can’t, they didn’t want me.
“Like that ex-girlfriend, shoot, I got to go,” he continued. “But I got a rebound, it was the Lions, they picked me up. Now they feeding me good, taking me to dinners. Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Those quotes alone on a former team are legendary. Speaking of his former team, while on the Packers, Williams said that playing in the rain makes him feel like the incomparable SpongeBob SquarePants.
I love it, I love it all … because I think the rain slows everybody else down,” Williams said, per WFRV-TV’s Ryan Rodig (h/t nesn.com). “… I feel like a mermaid. I feel like I’m a mermaid, and then everyone else is just like dogs swimming. You know what I mean? I was fluent out there. So I feel like it’s the rain. I feel like SpongeBob.”
HBO would be wise to give Williams the camera for an hour and just let him talk.
No. 2 Overall Pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions
Whoever the Lions end up picking at No. 2 overall is going to get a ton of air-time on ‘Hard Knocks.’
It makes sense too. We’ll be watching a young player with the weight of the world on their shoulders in terms of the expectations that will be put on them in Detroit.
This pick and pick No. 32, which the Lions also own thanks to trading Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, will be pivitol for the trajectory of Detroit’s rebuild.
If the Lions hit and find a superstar, that could accelerate the process for Campbell’s team. If they miss, which has unfortunately happened in the past for Detroit, it could be crippling.
Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was a Heisman Trophy finalist for the Michigan Wolverines and many mock him to the Lions with the 2nd overall pick.
He’d likely be the most exciting draft pick as far as ‘Hard Knocks’ is concerned because it would be fascinating to see how he handles the pressure of being a homegrown star. Hutchinson grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Imagine if the Lions shocked the world and went with a quarterback in what is considered an “average at best” quarterback draft, though?
Kenny Pickett from Pitt could be in play there, but Malik Willis from Liberty would be the biggest boom-or-bust prospect Detroit could choose, and he’d be fascinating to see on ‘Hard Knocks.’
No matter how the draft shakes out, in general, the Lions are a great choice for ‘Hard Knocks.’