The first episode of HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE DETROIT LIONS premiered Tuesday evening. The episode gave a great inside look at the grit and determination general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are trying to build this team's foundation on.
Here are my five biggest takeaways from the first episode:
1. As expected, Campbell is heavily featured in the episode from his opening speech at the first team meeting to kick off camp, to the background of his playing days.
There's great footage of his early days coaching in Miami with the Dolphins. Campbell gives great insight into how his love and passion for the game as a player evolved into a love of coaching.
2. Aidan Hutchinson's performance of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean,' which has been the talk of camp, was really good. There was a little hiccup at first, which the team got a kick out of, but Hutchinson got it together and nailed the performance. He had the whole room singing with him. It was a great team moment. They also go through his draft process and his family's excitement for his NFL journey beginning in Detroit with the Lions.
But I do have to say rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and his dance routine gave Hutchinson a run for his money.
3. There are plenty of good practice highlights to see when the pads come on including 1-on-1 pass-rush reps between Hutchinson and last year's first-round pick Penei Sewell.
Both young players are highly competitive, and going against each other in practice every day will help them improve.
4. Episode 1 also featured a speech from veteran running back Jamaal Williams after the team's first padded practice that shows why Williams is considered a team leader. He's one of Campbell's favorite players, and it's easy to see why after the heartfelt and emotional speech he gave to his teammates on the field.
5. The show does a great job showing Campbell's coaching staff and how the 80 combined seasons between them helped mold them into the coaches they are today. They especially highlight assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Their friendship and rivalry once the two get between the lines is a real highlight. We can always hear those two chirping at practice, so it was nice to hear what was actually being said.