The fifth and final episode of HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS aired Tuesday evening. The episode covered Detroit's final week of training camp, roster cuts and tough decisions that had to be made. It's also an exciting time for the players who made the roster and practice squad to begin another journey.
Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from the final episode:
1. There are always tough conversations to be had in the coaching rooms leading up to roster cuts. I liked how when head coach Dan Campbell was discussing a player, he wanted to know if they could handle pressure moments. The Lions lost a lot of close games last season, and Campbell has emphasized being better in pressure situations.
2. Campbell knows what this last week is like for players, both as a young draft pick with a safe spot himself, and a player later in his career fighting for a spot. The conversations with guys like quarterback Tim Boyle, tight end Devin Funchess, offensive lineman Dan Skipper (who Campbell said was an especially tough decision), defensive lineman Bruce Hector, linebacker Jarrad Davis and wide receiver Tom Kennedy looked tough for him. He told Kennedy he earned a spot on the roster, but sometimes there are other considerations like position versatility, body type and special teams.
3. As expected, it was a tough decision for the final running back spots. Godwin Igwebuike was a bit of a surprise cut. He can return kicks with running back upside potential. Craig Reynolds was the clear No. 3 through camp. Coaches love him. The Lions currently have three backs on the roster, with Jermar Jefferson and Justin Jackson on the practice squad.
4. Rookie cornerback Chase Lucas has been a young high riser through camp. When a coach says a kid is 'all about ball' and just 'loves playing football,' that's a big compliment. Lucas could see some playing time.
5. I want to see the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Detroit. That's it. That's the takeaway.
6. It's easy to see how rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez could be a huge fan favorite if he continues to excel at this rate and turns a good training camp in a strong regular season. Lions team president Rod Wood said Rodriguez has been the second most requested jersey so far. Now fans just need to get the cowboy hat and boots to go with.
7. Even NFL football players can get starstruck when Eminem stops by Lions practice in Allen Park.
8. I was happy to see wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton land a spot on the Giants' practice squad. He has talent and speed, but didn't make the most of his opportunities in the preseason. Hopefully he learns from it in New York. The same goes for quarterback David Blough. Great guy. He gets a fresh start in Minnesota.
9. "The 2022 Detroit Lions will compete every game," defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. "Because that's who we are. We're a gritty team. We're built that way."
If that holds true, this should be a fun team to cover this season.
10. Campbell was also asked to finish this sentence at the end of the episode: The 2022 Detroit Lions will ...
He took a long time to think about it, knowing he could go a lot of different ways with the answer, before deciding on: "The 2022 Detroit Lions will be the team that can, and will."