When the NFL announced its 2019 preseason schedule in early April, two games jumped off the page as potential opportunities for joint training camp practices with other teams: the preseason opener at the Detroit Lions on August 8, and the second exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans on August 17. Both clubs, of course, are led by former members of the Patriots organization and have multiple ties to New England.
The Patriots and Titans, led by former New England linebacker Mike Vrabel, announced joint sessions shortly after the NFL’s preseason schedule became public. Two months later, when the Lions announced own their training camp schedule, it also included three joint sessions with the Patriots. The world champions’ schedule for this week therefore looks as follows:
Monday, August 5 (9:30 a.m. ET)*
Tuesday, August 6 (9:30 a.m. ET)
Wednesday, August 7 (9:30 a.m. ET)
* exclusive to season ticket holders
The three workouts will take place each day at 9:30 am, and certainly be among the most physical to date for both teams. Expect players to wear full pads on Monday and Tuesday, before a lighter session on Wednesday that might be more of a walkthrough than an actual full-speed practice. Until that point, however, the sessions project to be intense — just like previous ones held by the Patriots annually from 2012 to 2017.
Thursday, August 8 (7:30 p.m. ET): Ford Field, Detroit
Following the three practices from Monday through Wednesday, the Patriots and Lions will suit up for the first time this year to meet in both teams’ preseason opener. Even though the game itself will offer a first glimpse of New England heading into the 2019 campaign, it is expected to give only little actual information about the state of the team: most starters will see limited if any action, with depth players taking center stage.
The two teams joining forces this week does not come out of nowhere. After all, the Lions are led by head coach Matt Patricia, who previously worked as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, and general manager and former New England director of pro scouting Bob Quinn. Furthermore, numerous ex-Patriots players reside in Detroit these days — from defensive edge Trey Flowers to wide receiver Danny Amendola.
This week will be a get together of sorts, but it will also provide New England a valuable opportunity to finally work in a competitive environment against another team.