The Detroit Lions conducted an inter-squad scrimmage Tuesday to take the place of the joint practices they've hosted the last couple weeks against New York and Jacksonville.
It was a padded, mostly full-contact scrimmage where they played four 15-minute quarters just like a real game, right down to going into the building and the locker room for halftime.
The defense won the day, 63-27, earning points for stops and turnovers. Quarterback Jared Goff and the first-team offense scored 17 points on their 10 possessions, which shows how dominant the defense was. It's a good sign of how far Detroit's defense has come over the last year.
The offense, however, was without their No. 1 weapon in third-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is rehabbing an ankle injury suffered last week early in the first joint practice with Jacksonville. One thing that was evident watching Tuesday's scrimmage is Detroit's offense misses St. Brown when he's not on the field. His craftiness and understanding of space is unmatched, and he has the unconditional trust of Goff.
St. Brown has reached that status and playmaking ability that's similar to watching the Bengals' offense without Ja'Marr Chase or the Vikings when they don't have Justin Jefferson. It's just different. Defenses play them different and those players just have a unique ability to make a big play when their offense needs it most.
The good news for Detroit is it doesn't appear the Lions will be without St. Brown for too much longer. He said he was 'OK' coming off the practice field Tuesday. That after running, cutting and working with trainers off to the side of practice, and after he caught his 202 passes from the jugs machine of course.
"Yeah, he's doing good," head coach Dan Campbell said of St. Brown before Tuesday's practice. "He's doing good. I mean we weren't going to play him in Carolina, but he's doing great."
The Lions expect St. Brown back at practice next week and to have him ready to roll against Kansas City Week 1. That's great news for this offense.
The Lions are treating Tuesday and Wednesday practice this week like a team scrimmage with Campbell saying they are going to be physical sessions with a lot of work between the first-team offense and first-team defense. Depending on the quality of work they get in the next two days, Campbell said he's leaning toward treating Friday night's preseason finale in Carolina like the first two preseason contests vs. New York and Jacksonville where most of the starters don't play.
"I'm still trying to think about that one a little bit, and really, I want to see how today and tomorrow goes," Campbell said. "But I think it's going to look very much like the first two games."
Most of the starters haven't played in the preseason, and a select group of rookies joined them sitting out last week against the Jaguars.
View photos from the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions preseason Week 2 game at Ford Field on Saturday, Aug. 19 in Detroit, MI.
Campbell said practice tomorrow will shift to some Chiefs prep.
"I would say we may do a little bit tomorrow, is where the beginning of that will be, but we're still going to focus on good-on-good and rounding out the roster," Campbell said.
"We've got some work done on those guys and we're still thinking about – just like they do on us. I mean they've been looking. It's been a long offseason so, but I think our focus is on us right now."