Lions’ Jamaal Williams’ impassioned huddle breakdown illustrates why Detroit preseason hype is justified

The Detroit Lions are getting a lot of preseason hype this year. Dan Campbell collects Coach of the Year bets and her 6.5 over/under gets hammered for the over.

On paper, the squad isn’t even that much better. What is the best way to describe it? There is a mood. And running back Jamaal Williams encapsulated that vibe perfectly in a preview posted by the Lions ahead of their appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

“Today is the bare minimum of effort,” Willams said, clearly emotional after Campbell handed him the huddle. “Do not give up. Don’t feel like you’re tired. When you’re tired, think about last year and think about this f —— record. Every time I get tired or think I can’t walk anymore I think of this f—— record! It wasn’t last year. That’s not us. We can do it. Have some heart. I get emotional about it. I’m about to cry because I care about you all! Give your best. Let’s go! lions on three.”

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“Hard Knocks” will premiere Tuesday at 10 p.m. on HBO, but don’t expect Williams to be tuning in. He had some strong words about the program a few months ago.

“I don’t give a shit,” he said in May when asked via Pro Football Talk if the Lions were in it. “All that’s for me now is more cameras walking around and staring at me,” Williams said. “I don’t care. I just want to play football. I want to win a Super Bowl – this year.”

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The Lions, of course, remain a long-range shot to win the Super Bowl. They finished second overall this season after posting a 3-13-1 record last year and according to Sports Interaction they are rated at +8400. Those are better odds than the Jaguars, Bears, Jets, Hawks, and Texans, but they’re still at the bottom of the totem pole.

Still, the Lions are a fascinating team with many assets. They’re coming off a year in which they lost six straight games, despite holding a double-digit margin in those games. Detroit played eight possession-decided games in 2022. With the talent of RB rookies DL Aiden Hutchinson and WR Jameson Williams, second-year OT Penei Sewell Lions head coach Dan Campbell is getting a buzz for preseason Coach of the Year.

Williams is entering his second season with the Lions after spending four seasons with the Packers, so he knows what a winning locker room looks like. He had 601 yards on 153 carries last year and entered training camp second on the running back depth chart behind D’Andre Swift. However, he clearly brings a veteran presence to the Lions dressing room.

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