The Detroit Lions welcome the New York Giants to Allen Park Tuesday and Wednesday this week for joint practices ahead of Friday's preseason opener between the two teams Friday night at Ford Field.
"(Giants Defensive Coordinator Don) Martindale's going to give us everything we can handle," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said last week looking forward to the next couple days of practice with the Giants. "We're going to get every look you could possibly imagine. It's going to be chaotic. Guys are going to be – their head's going to be spinning, which it's our job to calm them down.
"But it's just going to be unbelievable – and it's different talent, it's a different look, a different talent that they haven't seen. They've been going against their own guys, so it's going to be unbelievable."
Joint practices mean the intensity and competition ramps up and it will be a great opportunity for Campbell and Giants head coach Brian Daboll to get some terrific evaluation on film of their rosters.
Here are five things to watch out for over the next couple days:
1. ONE-ON-ONE DRILLS
These are always the highlight of joint practices for me. The next two days will be a great opportunity for the offensive and defensive linemen plus the skill position players on offense and the back seven on defense to get a lot of one-on-one periods to sharpen their game.
After 10 practices in Allen Park against their own teammates, players like defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson and tackle Penei Sewell and defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown are ready to face some new competition. At this point players have a good idea of their own teammates' tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. These practices are great to sharpen those one-on-one skills against new competition.
These periods are also where the trash talking and competitiveness is typically at its peak, which is fun to watch.
2. CAMPBELL VS. DABOLL
The two head coaches are close friends dating back to their time together on the Miami Dolphins staff early in their coaching careers. They had some fun with each other through the media the last couple years, and Campbell speaks highly of Daboll.
Sometimes close friends are the fiercest competitors and no doubt they'll each want to leave the joint practices and Friday's preseason opener feeling their team got the better of the other.
Both coaches will script out a competitive practice schedule with an opportunity to get some great work in and hopefully end the week feeling their teams got better.
3. TEST FOR OFFENSE
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will get a lot of great looks from Martindale's defense. Quarterback Jared Goff looks very comfortable to begin camp in the second year in Johnson's scheme so this will be a great couple days to test themselves against a creative Giants' defense.
Goff and the Lions' offense finished last season fourth in total offense and fifth in scoring, but there are some new pieces trying to fit in this year. This will be our first look at how players like running back David Montgomery, running back Jahmyr Gibbs, tight end Sam LaPorta, wide receiver Marvin Jones. Jr. and others all mesh together against new competition.
It will also be a great test for Detroit's offensive line against Giants Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and an active Giants front. The Giants blitzed more than any other team in the NFL last season (39.7 percent), so this will be great work for them.
4. JAMO WATCH
The dynamic second-year wide receiver gets his first crack at joint practices after missing all of training camp last year rehabbing a torn ACL. Jameson Williams has shown off his speed, quickness and big-play ability through 10 practices in Allen Park. The practice and preseason reps he gets are imperative to make sure the comfort level between him and Goff is at its best before Williams has to serve a six-game suspension to begin the regular season.
"I'm telling you, as with anybody, the more reps he gets, the more time on tests, the more consecutive practices and reps he can put together, he'll just grow," Campbell said.
"I really believe that. And I do think he – I do believe he wants it. I do believe he wants to get better, I do believe – so he'll grind through this and let's see where we can go with it."
How will the Giants handle all that speed from Jamo?
View photos from Day 10 of Detroit Lions training camp on Thursday August 3, 2023.
5. LIONS RE-VAMPED SECONDARY
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley present a unique challenge to Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn with their ability to make plays both in the run game and the pass game. Tight end Darren Waller and rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt present some unique challenges with their size and speed too.
Glenn is trying to get a secondary with a lot of new pieces up to speed and comfortable playing with one another over the next few weeks before the regular-season opener against Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and the league's most dynamic passing attack when they travel to Kansas City for the opening game of the 2023 NFL season.
It will be a good sign they're trending that way if we see a lot of hands on footballs and balls on the ground over the next two days.