Hard Knocks Has Failed To Deliver On Detroit Lions’ Biggest Storylines
The 17th season of Hard Knocks comes to a close tonight, and, unless the show delivers a content-packed episode over the course of its final 60 minutes, it will have utterly failed to adequately tell the story of the Detroit Lions as they head into the 2022 NFL season.
That's not to say the show hasn't done some things right.
Conveying the Lions' convivial players-oriented atmosphere? Checkmark.
Bringing to light Detroit's coaching staff full of former players, and their animated natures? You bet.
Dan Campbell's unconventional approach to coaching in the NFL, complete with bizarre stunts (doing up-downs with his players, dusty pants, etc.) and even more bizarre idioms ("It doesn't matter if you have one asscheek and three toes, I will beat your ass!" and "Attababy!" for example)? A job well done there.
But the Lions are more than Aaron Glenn and Duce Staley jawing each other in practice, and their 2022 campaign hinges on things much more critical than Aidan Hutchinson's picture-perfect nuclear family.
Unfortunately, much of what will determine whether the Lions make a giant leap of progress in Campbell's second year comes down to things Hard Knocks has neglected to cover over the course of the five-episode season's first four installments.
For example, Detroit's defense absolutely must improve in order for the Lions to compete, and a player who could help them in that regard is Jeff Okudah. The former No. 3 overall pick has had his first two seasons derailed by injury. Going into 2022, Okudah is trying to win a starting role and prove he is still every bit the dominant cover corner he was at Ohio State. His football history and injury misfortune give his story the precise human-interest angle that Hard Knocks usually so excels at telling. Not so this season, for some reason.
There are plenty of other examples, too.