It's finally time for the Detroit Lions to kick off their 2019 season.
The team headed down to Arizona Friday afternoon ahead of their Week 1 matchup with the Cardinals.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions' offense will be debuting a new scheme Sunday under coordinator Darrell Bevell.
“He’s trying to get to know our players and myself as much as he can,” Stafford said of Bevell. “I’m trying to get to know him and his system as best I can and try to make that thing gel as soon as possible.
“I’m excited for us to go out there and play some games and obviously learn from mistakes that are going to happen in the game and also build on some positives.”
One area of the offense that has already shown improvement throughout training camp and the preseason is the production from the tight end position.
“We’re very pleased with who we have in the room,” tight ends coach Chris White said Monday. “With all three of them (T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James, Logan Thomas), we have versatility. We can have all three of them in the game if we wanted to.
“We could be in spread formations if we want to be. We could be in condensed formations and try to run smash-mouth football plays.
“It’s versatility in the passing game, play-action passes, naked (roll outs) ... stuff like that.”
Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson is looking forward to playing in his first NFL game.
“I think we’re excited for the opportunity,” Hockenson said. “(Arizona) has a great defense. I think we’re excited to see how we can stack up against them.”
CATCHING UP WITH THE CARDINALS
The Lions are dealing with a lot of unknowns this week as they prepare for their Week 1 opponent.
Arizona has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and a rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray, and neither have any NFL Film to go off of.
“One of the things about Kliff and his offense in particular is just you’re trying to get a gauge based on what he did in college, what Kyler Murray did in college and then on top of that the third element is what they have skillset-wise at Arizona,” head coach Matt Patricia said of the matchup.
Kingsbury expects the Lions' defense to be ready, despite the lack of NFL film to study.
“I think Matt (Patricia) does a tremendous job, so does coach (Paul) Pasqualoni, of really adjusting to your offense and taking away what you do best and taking away your best players,” Kingsbury said. “It’ll be a huge challenge for us.”
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Arizona Cardinals, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Cardinals injury report with game designations for Sunday's contest.
- Watch as tight end T.J. Hockenson kicks off ... another season of Talkin' With T.J.?
- Who fills in if Jarrad Davis can't go? Tim Twentyman covers that and more in his latest 10 Questions column.
- The Lions announced Monday that they put rookie defensive end Austin Bryant on Reserve/Injured.
- Catch up on all the news from Darrell Bevell and Paul Pasqualoni's Monday media sessions.