Malcolm Rodriguez takes middle stage

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Whereas Episode 2 of HBO’s Laborious Knocks could not have provided as many Dan Campbell-isms because the season debut, the Detroit Lions head coach was nonetheless on the middle of the motion. Let’s recap Tuesday night time’s episode, which highlighted rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez’s ascension, second-year wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown’s preparation, and tight finish T.J. Hockenson’s brief shorts.

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Laborious Knocks Episode 2 recap: Welcome to the NFL, Malcolm Rodriguez

Laborious Knocks traditionally options late-round picks, gamers battling for a back-end roster spot who in the end could find yourself getting reduce. That’s not going to be the case with Rodriguez, a sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State who’s nearer to the beginning lineup than he’s to being waived.

Rodriguez, whom everybody within the Lions group affectionately refers to as “Rodrigo,” is making waves at training camp. Competing in a linebacker room that features incumbent starters Alex Anzalone, Chris Board, and Derrick Barnes, Rodriguez has been turning coaches’ heads.

“There ain’t a lot you may’t do on the sector. You bought me?” Lions linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard requested Rodriguez. “I’m telling you proper now, this yr could be no matter you need it to be. Every thing’s open for you proper now. You bought me? You simply gotta go take it and do it.”

Sheppard took it a step additional in a linebacker assembly, singling out Rodriguez for reward and asking the veteran LBs in the event that they intend to lose their beginning jobs to a first-year participant.

“What do y’all need me to do, put him on the market first?” Sheppard requested incredulously. “As a result of that’s what’s about to occur. This ain’t nothing in opposition to you, Rodriguez. Matter of reality, you’re enjoying your f—— a– off. However it is a rookie, who I’m doing all the things I can to not put on the market first.

“I’m sick of f—— saying it. He’s in the identical f—— drills y’all are in…Maintain enjoying your ass off, dude. And he’s gonna preserve climbing the depth chart till someone decides, ‘I’m not gonna let this rookie take my job…’

“I had a coach that’s been on this constructing for 5 years inform me he hasn’t seen a linebacker make that kind of play since he’s been right here. You all have to know the sort of s—. This s— don’t should be a secret.”

Given the glowing studies, Rodriguez may properly make his manner into the beginning lineup earlier than Week 1. Though he’s solely 5-foot-11, his tenacity and aggressiveness are proper up Campbell’s alley.

Dan Campbell nonetheless within the highlight

Between Episode 1 and Episode 2, Laborious Knocks shifted its focus from Detroit’s teaching workers to its gamers. However Campbell was nonetheless ever-present, handing out nicknames, providing recommendation, and carrying his GRIT hat.

After huge receiver Josh Reynolds made a play in a Lions follow two-minute drill, Campbell stated he’d kiss him if he weren’t respiratory so exhausting. Reynolds acquired a nickname (“Large Clean: The Serpent of F—— Dying”) as did veteran go catcher Devin Funchess (“F—— Funchess Bunches of Oats”). And Campbell made certain to inform Hockenson that his shorts “actually accentuated his butt cheeks.”

Campbell additionally had some genuinely honest moments, equivalent to when he checked in on Aidan Hutchinson and talked about a particular play the place Hutchinson excelled throughout a scrimmage. He additionally advised a narrative about being rushed again right into a preseason sport with the Cowboys when he thought he was performed for the night time, imploring the Lions gamers to maintain their head within the sport even after they’ve been pulled.

“Right here’s the one factor I’m gonna lose my s— over. I’ll f—— go apes—, man. If it’s later within the sport, and also you guys are out, a few of you guys are out, and your teammates are on the market, and a few of these guys are scratching and clawing for spots, and I see you jacking round, trying up within the stands, you’re laughing, you’re not paying consideration, you’re being f—— disrespectful to your teammate, I’m gonna f—— lose it. Simply so we’re on the identical web page. All good, man.”

Amon-Ra St. Brown doesn’t overlook

St. Brown was the 112th total decide of the 2021 NFL Draft and the sixteenth huge receiver chosen — and he remembers each wideout chosen forward of him. He advised HBO’s crew he may title each WR who went off the board earlier than him — and proceeded to do it whereas giving an absolute loss of life stare to the digicam.

St. Brown, who posted 90 receptions for 912 yards final season (each Lions rookie information), works out together with his father, a former Mr. Universe, and his brother, Bears receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. He additionally revealed that he catches 202 balls from the JUGS machine every day as a result of a childhood acquaintance stated he caught 200 per day. St. Brown simply may have a chip on his shoulder.

Fast hits from Laborious Knocks Episode 2

  • Assistant head coach/operating backs coach Duce Staley, a key presence in Episode 1, was adamant that D’Andre Swift could be among the best operating backs within the league. He stored teaching Swift exhausting and telling him to stay disciplined even after he scored a landing within the Lions’ preseason sport in opposition to the Falcons.
  • Backup quarterback David Blough’s relationship was his spouse, Olympic hurdler Melissa Gonzalez, was fascinating to look at, particularly as they each indicated the consolation in having the ability to relate to a different human whose job entails athletic depth. That made it all of the tougher when Gonzalez was pressured to see Blough’s preseason fumble result in an eventual Lions loss.
  • St. Brown’s father, John Brown, on Hutchinson’s household’s seats for Detroit’s preseason contest: “They’ve a $20 million luxurious field — they ain’t sitting with us!”
  • Hutchinson’s sisters performed the a part of each informal fantasy soccer participant who is barely now realizing that Marcus Mariota is the Falcons’ beginning quarterback.
  • Staley being trustworthy with the Lions operating backs: “A few of y’all assume you look good. A few of y’all assume y’all fly. A few of y’all assume y’all get these dates since you look good. However no, that’s not it. You get these dates since you acquired these f—— jerseys on. You simply ‘occur’ to be within the f—— NFL. It ain’t since you look good. Don’t let anyone deceive you.”

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