By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Little by little, the Patriots are getting closer to the 2019 regular season. But first they have to get through four preseason games, with a pair of joint practices mixed in. First up are Matt Patricia's Detroit Lions.
The two teams will get together for three joint practices in a row from Monday-Wednesday this week, culminating with their preseason clash on Thursday at Ford Field in Detroit. New England has conducted four padded practices thus far in training camp, but the intensity level and physical workload has been relatively low.
Those things should ramp up when it becomes a competition between opposing squads.
Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise spoke about his joint practice experience on Friday in Foxboro, reflecting on his rookie year in 2017 when he participated in one with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Those sessions helped him know what he's getting in Detroit.
“[Jacksonville] was exactly what I expected: very high competition, two teams getting after it,” Wise said. “It’s going to be like a mini-game [in Detroit]. It’s going to feel good going against other people and not our own people for once. It’s going to be great, looking forward to it.”
Joint practice will definitely help both the Patriots and Lions experience closer to the level of ferocity they'd get in a real game. The kind that can be hard to replicate with your own teammates, especially in non-padded practices.
It will also help both teams get a better idea of their progress on both sides of the ball, which can be hard to gauge without going against a less familiar opponent.
"We'll get to see where we are as a team, so we've just got to go out there and take it as if we're going there for business," said safety Patrick Chung, who has been practicing in a red non-contact jersey. "Try to get better, and you know they're going to be doing the same thing, so we'll go from there and we'll see where we are."
We are not in Detroit this week for the joint practice, but we'll relay notable updates as they roll in.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].