The Pride of Detroit was on full display
The second episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks opened with a beautiful montage depicting the proud past of Detroit professional sports. Throughout the episode there were speeches by various coaches and players about what it means to be a proud football player and how a line in the sand needs to be drawn in order to take that next step into being a competitive franchise. A hard-working city deserves a hard-working football team.
Fans of the Lions have to be ready to run through their television sets because this episode focused on two of their young stars embodying that pride.
D’Andre Swift, the second coming of Barry Sanders?
Running backs coach Duce Staley put the preseason hype bluntly when he leaned over a table and told the third-year running back that he could be the best in the league. ‘Promise’ has been Swift’s middle name ever since he was drafted early in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Injuries and inept offenses have hindered his arrival to the top of the heap, but experts are predicting a breakout season for a back that can seemingly do it all. Few have the athleticism of Swift and even fewer have an offensive line built to bulldoze opponents and create easy running lanes. It wasn’t an accident that HBO chose this episode to feature former Lions’ great Barry Sanders. Swift could be the second coming.
During the preseason game against the Falcons, Swift missed an assignment on an early second down run and gains only a small handful of yards. Coach Staley scolded him with a stern ‘stay disciplined’ and head coach Dan Campbell said Swift was ‘tiptoeing’ out there. The chance to coach and build a star is not lost on these former greats and fans of this franchise have to be thrilled that Swift’s future is being molded by those who have been there before.
Amon-Ra St. Brown never forgets
The second-year wideout naming all 16 receivers taken ahead of him in the 2021 NFL draft was a sight to behold. The chip that it has left on St. Brown’s shoulders knows no bounds. He was a lone standout on an otherwise disappointing roster last season and seems to be ready to take an otherworldly leap in year two.
Seeing his father, former two-time Mr. Universe John Brown, train St. Brown got the juices flowing. From a young age he molded his sons to be the best athlete they could be, and that tenacity stuck. St. Brown hitting the jugs machine for 202 reps every day showed a drive that hinges on madness. Yet it is the hard work that will pay off in the end. To see a young star that is not content with simply setting franchise records as a rookie but is seeking more in his second year with the team shows exactly the kind of pride that Campbell, this team and this city desires.