“Hard Knocks” Episode 4 Recap: Time to Introduce
It seems Hard knocks: Training camp with the Detroit Lions begins a tradition that will haunt every penultimate episode to come.
Since 2021, teams must make their final selection of 53 players on the Tuesday following the last pre-season game. Since the preseason has been reduced to three games, the news cycle throughout Deadline is filled with spoilers just hours before the episode is released.
The Lions’ final pre-season game was the final test for players on the bubble and hard knocks chose to devote equal screen time to notable players and roster bubble hopefuls.
Tackle Obinna Eze tells a joke that gets his fellow offensive linemen laughing, and wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton is excited to take a private lesson with a juggling coach. Both segments are dedicated to showing the friendly side of Eze and Pimpleton that makes us want to cheer them on more. But after getting lost in all the fun, realization surely sets in for some watching that Eze and Pimpleton were cut on Tuesday – although we won’t know that as viewers until the season finale, very most likely.
Not all players will suffer the terrible fate of being cut. Malcolm Rodriguez gets the start in the Lions’ final preseason game in Pittsburgh, a good sign he’s earned a spot on the initial 53-man roster. For now, Rodriguez will remain low on the depth chart, but he rose to the challenge and shone throughout this hard knocks drama.
Running back Craig Reynolds is looking to make the Detroit roster for a second straight year after spending his first two years in Washington and Jacksonville. Reynolds receives a lot of praise from everyone in this episode, including coaches when Dan Campbell asks them what they think of the undrafted former free agent. None of them are slow to react.
“I wouldn’t cut it,” offensive assistant John Morton said. “He’s everything we stand for.”
“They love Reynolds,” continued offensive line coach Hank Fraley. “Like protection. All that. They love them.”
Assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley makes the final enduring remark: “You get rid of Craig if you want to, now. You might have linemen knocking on the door just to talk. “
The coaches to believe in him and his teammates want to him. It would have been heartbreaking (and definitely embarrassing) to hear bad news after all this reassurance coming from the team. However, that was never the case as we learned earlier today that Reynolds had earned a spot on the roster.