clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Discussion: What are the best matchups during Lions, Giants joint practices?

As the New York Giants visit Allen Park for a week of joint practices with the Detroit Lions, what matchup has your attention?

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar may have just flipped to August, and you might have every reason to believe real football doesn’t start for another month, but there’s no denying things are getting realer with the arrival of the New York Giants to Allen Park for a week of joint practices with the Detroit Lions.

Joint practices offer a bevy of opportunities for an NFL team. For the Detroit Lions and head coach Dan Campbell, the value of these practices lie in the chance to see some different competition—and avoid falling into a routine.

“First of all, it’s what you think it’s going to be as far as the intensity goes up, you know, and the level of competition, it’s a different—it’s a fresh look at somebody else and I love that,” Campbell said on Saturday. “Camp, you gotta be careful, you get into the same routine, the rut, the mundane, and you don’t ever really go, you’re just spinning your wheels, so this will be good for us.”

With things getting underway today, that leads us to today’s Question of the Day...

What’s the most intriguing matchup during Lions, Giants joint practices?

It has to be seeing Detroit’s defense, which has impressed so far in training camp after revamping their secondary and heavily investing getting better up the middle with first-round pick Jack Campbell and third-round nose tackle Brodric Martin.

A year ago, the Lions defense was especially susceptible to mobile quarterbacks who could extend passing plays and move the football down the field with their legs. Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, and even Geno Smith—who rushed for 49 yards (13.4 percent of his rushing yards in 2022!) and a touchdown—ran all over the Lions defense. Another one of those quarterbacks is a player the team will see over the next week: Giants starter Daniel Jones.

Jones is one of the more prolific dual-threat passers in the NFL, finishing fifth amongst quarterbacks in rushing yards (703) and t-third in rushing touchdowns (7) in 2022. Beyond Jones on the depth chart is Tyrod Taylor, another player capable of giving Detroit more reps against a quality quarterback who still poses a threat with his legs.

Last season, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn led one of the more blitz-happy teams in the NFL (31.2 percent of dropbacks, 7th in NFL), and you have to imagine having more talent in Detroit’s secondary will result in them being less aggressive in that respect. According to Aaron Schatz’s FTN Football Almanac for 2023—which I highly recommend purchasing—the Lions rushed the passer with six or more defenders on 5.8 percent of pass plays—4th in the NFL—and that figure includes plays where the quarterback scrambled.

Seeing the likes of Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, and Josh Paschal hold down the defensive front would be encouraging, but Jack Campbell, a transformed Derrick Barnes, and a healthy Charles Harris playing the SAM linebacker role have a lot to prove. Them, along with Detroit’s overhauled secondary from a year ago, can be the key to their defense taking a big step forward in accomplishing one of his hallmarks of a football team: stopping the run.

What matchup are you looking forward to seeing/hearing about? Scroll down to the comment section and offer your thoughts.

NEW: Join Pride of Detroit Direct

Jeremy Reisman will drop into your inbox twice a week to provide exclusive, in-depth reporting and insights from Ford Field. Subscribe to go deeper into Lions fandom, and join us on our path to win the Super Bowl.