The Detroit Lions are hosting the New England Patriots this week for joint practices, but can this experience show up in the win column?
The Detroit Lions invited a familiar friend to Allen Park for the week as the team is hosting joint practices with the New England Patriots. It’s fairly common for teams to hold joint practices this time of year, but the Lions have the benefit of facing the Super Bowl Champions.
Also, it’s not much of a surprise that Lions head coach Matt Patricia could organize this event with his former team. He and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick have a relationship that goes back a number of years. And with a preseason game against each other on Thursday, things quickly fell into place.
This is a chance for steel to sharpen steel, as the saying goes. If the Lions come away from this week looking dull, it could be a long season. Or, it could just be that they are competing against the very highest level of competition. Remember, it was only last September when the Lions handed the Patriots a loss during the regular season.
It’s not exactly as dramatic as pitting Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. But some will surely be looking at how one performs compared to the other. For reference, Stafford had a pretty solid day on Monday.
Here’s what Tim Twentyman reported on the team’s official website
"“Stafford started out practice with a bang, hitting wide receiver Kenny Golladay deep along the right sideline in one-on-one receiver vs. cornerback drills with Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore in coverage. The very next rep, Stafford threw a beautiful deep ball down the numbers to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. with Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty in coverage.”"
Now, we know Stafford isn’t going to win any medals during training camp, but he can show what he’s capable of against a different teams’ defenders. Knowing Stafford was able to connect with his top two wideouts against a couple of the Patriots starting defensive backs should be uplifting.
These practices, however, are more about other positions on the roster. How do the Lions receivers fair against Patriots cornerbacks? Will the offensive line be able to hold up against the Patriots pass rush? And many other positional battles, not to mention the number of fringe players fighting for their professional football careers.
While it’s nice to see that Stafford performed well, the bigger question is if the team and players learn from their battles this week and translate what they learn into success in the regular season. Time will tell, but going up against a championship team in practice for a few days and then during a preseason game should only help this Detroit Lions team.