Episode four of HBO’s Hard Knocks had Detroit Lions making tough decisions for 53-man roster

Lions cut 27 players to shape 53-man roster

Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions takes the field to play the Atlanta Falcons for a NFL preseason game at Ford Field on August 12, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus, 2022 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Tuesday was part four of HBO’s Hard Knocks featuring the Detroit Lions, and this week’s episode gave an inside look at what the organization does and how they prepare for roster cuts heading into week one of the regular season.

Every team across the National Football League had until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to decide which players would stay with the team moving forward as the Lions prepare for their week one matchup vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

Lucky for us football fans, the film crew at Hard Knocks was able to showcase how the process works as executive Brad Holmes took us into his thought process.

Brad Holmes

“These players worked so hard, and they’ve done so much to get ready for this moment,” said Holmes. “They’ve endured themselves through a training camp. You have to make some tough decisions and unfortunately let some players go, and it’s tough as there’s a human being element that’s involved, but you know you have to make the decision.”

The Lions facility has a phrase plastered on its wall that says, “To be a Lion, you have to train with Lions,” and Holmes decided that the players who were cut were unfit to roam the Lions den.

“We run a very collaborative process, and we’ll start off at positions so that position coach will go through his rankings for the position for that current time,” Holmes said. “You are digesting a lot of information from a lot of people. Then a member of the personnel department will go through that same position group. Then our coordinator will sum it up at the end. All of our evaluators are artists, and their artwork is on display. I always said, ‘the beauty of scouting is you have to encourage independent thought,’ and you have to encourage the artistry in evaluation. After all of that, then me and Dan (Campbell) sit down, and then we meet about it.”

Read: Detroit Lions announce final cuts to get to 53-man roster


  • QB Tim Boyle
  • LB Jarrad Davis
  • TE Devin Funchess
  • DL Bruce Hector
  • RB Justin Jackson
  • T Kendall Lamm
  • T Dan Skipper


  • WR Maurice Alexander
  • CB Cedric Boswell
  • TE Derrick Deese
  • T Obinna Eze
  • CB Mark Gilbert
  • LB James Houston
  • RB Godwin Igwebuike
  • WR Tom Kennedy
  • CB A.J. Parker
  • K Riley Patterson
  • T Darrin Paulo
  • WR Kalil Pimpleton
  • LB Anthony Pittman
  • CB Saivion Smith


  • DL Eric Banks
  • WR Trinity Benson
  • DL Jashon Cornell
  • G Kevin Jarvis
  • S C.J. Moore


  • CB Jerry Jacobs
In a photo provided by the Detroit Lions, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes speaks at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 in Allen Park, Mich. (Detroit Lions via AP) (Detroit Lions)

The players who did not make the team had last week’s practices, plus the third and final preseason game, to show the team they had what it took to make the 53-man roster.

One way to show the organization that you were ready to make the team was by being a leader and conducting your own practice.

The coaching staff scripted the plays, but the assignments, your motor, and your attitude to finish the reps and plays were on you ahead of the final preseason game.

If you could show that you were a leader of men or could remember the drills that ran throughout camp, you were almost a good shot at making the practice squad (at least by the coach’s standards).

Per Adam Schefter, the Lions have parted ways with second-string quarterback the morning after he appeared on Hard-Knocks.

Jared Goff

One guy who hid throughout almost all of Hard Knocks was starting quarterback Jared Goff, and it’s safe to say that he will remain under center for the near future.

“I excited about Jared,” said quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell. “I’m real excited about Jared. He’s been doing some good things and it’s so important to him. He likes what we’re doing and he likes who he’s doing it with which is great for a quarterback. He’s been making some incredible throws. I think we’re getting a glimpse of what he’s going to be for us this year.”

The former California Golden Bear was taken No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2016 NFL draft.

Goff later helped the now-known Los Angeles Rams to Super Bowl LIII in 2019, where he played the worst game of his life, losing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, which prompted his trade two seasons later, going from sunshine and blue skies to Honolulu blue.

Summer camp reports have indicated that Goff has taken his game to the next level as he’s been on fire, making throw after throw, impressing his teammates and MCDC.

“You’re on fire right now,” said Campbell. “I tell you what, man, you and (Josh) Reynolds, you and (Amon-Ra) St, I’m telling you, man, everything just works together, man. It just meshes.”

Goff has been completing 7/10 passes all camp which is a telltale sign that the defensive side of the ball could be climbing a tall his this season.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff looks to throw a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Who did you want the Lions to keep or at least be placed on the practice squad? How did you feel about Goff finally getting some air time?

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.