There's a standout scene from this year's season of Hard Knocks, the behind-the-scenes series that lifts the lid on what really goes down at NFL training camp.

In an attempt to fire up his players, Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden delivers an expletive-filled monologue that sits comfortably alongside Al Pacino's Game Of Inches speech from Any Given Sunday.

"Everybody right now has dreams, don't they guys? Everybody in the NFL has a dream of making it in the NFL. 'I got a dream of winning a Super Bowl.' 'I got a dream of being in the Pro Bowl'," Gruden says.

"I'm really not into dreams anymore, OK? I'm into [expletive] nightmares. You guys with me on that? You've got to end somebody's dream. You got to take their job. You got to take their heart ... We're trying to go to the Super Bowl, and to do that, you got to really try to end somebody's dreams."

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Nathan Lyon wasn't quite as colourful when he addressed the media ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia but his declaration the hosts were hoping to "end the careers" of some England players in the same way Mitchell Johnson tormented the 2013-14 Poms was about as aggressive as our baggy green wearers get.

"Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the third Test in Perth and he was one of their senior players," Lyon said. "He was scared."

Batting trio Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan (remember the hype after they all made fifties in the first innings at the Gabba?) and quick Jake Ball certainly didn't go on to bigger and better things after that Australian summer but expectations probably weren't that high in the first place.

It's only now that the first major scalp has been claimed — and if it was death by a thousand cuts it's Lyon himself who delivered the majority of them.

Since Lyon's press conference prophecy Moeen Ali has batted 11 times against Australia and Lyon has taken his wicket nine times.

His complete dominance of the English all-rounder was rammed home in the First Test at Edgbaston when Ali shouldered arms to the fifth ball he faced and trudged off with a duck after it crashed into his stumps.

His inability to figure out his rival spinner with the bat appeared to ruin his bowling, as he was badly shown up by Lyon in the second innings, taking 2/130 as Australia piled on 7/487 declared compared to the GOAT's figures of 6/49 as England crumbled to be all out for 146 in a 251-run defeat.

There were a couple of comical beamers too and despite being the world's leading Test wicket taker in the 12 months prior, Ali suffered a shock axeing after just one match.

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The signs didn't look good. After he was overlooked for slow left-armer Jack Leach at Lord's his county side, Worcestershire, announced Ali would take a "short break from action".

"He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes," first-team coach Alex Gidman said.

"Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We look forward to when he returns soon."

That return came this week as Ali ventured to Northampton for a four-day match.

He started well enough, batting at first drop and making 42 as the rest of the top order crumbled around him (Worcs were 7/58 when Ali was caught).

But it was a similar story to his rough day in Birmingham with the ball as Ali battled to 0/108 from 32 overs at one point and provided a clip that was widely circulated online.

Yes, Ali is bowling mediums.

Despite the sympathy and criticism it evoked, the vision likely didn't tell the whole story. Worcestershire was down a paceman after opening bowler Josh Tongue didn't take the field on day three so Ali — who took three late wickets bowling spin as he finished with figures of 3/126 — may have just been doing his captain a solid.

But bowling off the long run in a domestic match while a thrilling Ashes series is being contested is certainly, as Gruden says, the stuff of nightmares.