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‘Hard Knocks’ winners and losers: Dan Campbell steals the show again during Episode 3 with Lions



Dan Campbell’s Detroit Lions were back in the spotlight Tuesday night for the third edition of 2022 “Hard Knocks,” HBO’s annual training camp series. After a colorful debut starring Campbell’s pep talks, and a tamer Episode 2 featuring big names like D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown, how did Episode 3 stack up? Here’s a look at the most notable winners and losers:

Winner: Dan Campbell

As per usual. The man just keeps oozing optimism and testosterone. Yes, he’s basically a walking Football Guy stereotype, complete with confusing and/or hyperbolic metaphors (this time his big speech involved shaking a pair of dusty pants to represent … cleaning up little mistakes). But it’s not hard to see why the Lions like playing for him. He cares.

His best line of the episode might’ve come while pleading for a forced fumble to seal the team’s second preseason game: “If anyone gets a punch-out here, they can fly the plane home themselves. They can literally pilot the f—ing plane.”

The Colts‘ starting outside linebacker kept getting picked on during joint practices, sometimes in coverage and more often in trash-talking, even punting the ball away in frustration. Jamaal Williams was particularly feisty with the defender — so much so that Franklin has even tweeted about his reps against the running back since the two went at it on the field, calling Williams a “bum” and predicting another losing season for the Lions.

Winner: Stand-up comedy

Local comedian Josh Adams essentially performed an intermission for Episode 3, breaking up camp with a meeting-room roast of the team. He deserves props for seamlessly dubbing Aidan Hutchinson a “big, strong Backstreet Boy” (quite accurate, to be honest), but his lines about Dan Campbell might’ve been the highlight of the show: “I ain’t know Coach was that big, damn. We need you on special teams. F— all the coaching, cuz, we need you out here breaking up the wedge, fam.”

Loser: Duce Staley’s voice

Literally, because it was lost. And it made for one of the funnier segments of this season, in which the always-edgy Staley berated his running back room after a poor showing at joint practice with the Colts, only for his F-bomb tirade and serious scolding to come out in the form of squeaky whispers. If his running backs don’t prove they belong in the NFL, they at least proved they can adequately hold back laughter.

Winner: The Colts’ practice field

There was some serious cinematic potential with the forest walkway onto the Colts’ camp grounds at Grand Park. Campbell twice called it the “Field of Dreams,” and Colts coach Frank Reich concurred. It’s just not often you see players having to strut through the woods, on a makeshift carpet, to get to practice. They could’ve been “Lord of the Rings” doubles, if not for the pads.





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