Dan Campbell got a late jump on scheduling last summer as a first-year head coach, so the Detroit Lions missed out on having joint practices in the preseason. This year, Campbell made sure to set his team up with a work week against a good opponent.
The Lions will visit the Indianapolis Colts for joint practices this summer, Campbell said Saturday, confirming a move months in the making.
The Lions and Colts will practice twice before their exhibition game, in Week 2 of the preseason.
“It’s a change in intensity because you’re going against another opponent, and sometimes even as intense as you try to make your own practices, just to be able to go against a different opponent, just levels the stakes,” Campbell said on Day 2 of rookie minicamp. “It levels the intensity, which you need that. Their bodies need that. The competition. Just to raise the stakes a little bit goes a long way for your guys.”
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The Lions and Colts last held joint practices in 2017, during coach Jim Caldwell’s final season with the Lions.
The Lions were regular participants in joint practices under coach Matt Patricia, competing against the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants in 2018 and the New England Patriots and Houston Texans in 2019.
The NFL did not play preseason games or allow joint practices in 2020 because of COVID-19, and Campbell said last spring he wanted to resume joint practices after striking out in his late attempts to schedule them in his first training camp.
The Colts, coming off a 9-8 season under coach Frank Reich, will be one of the favorites in the AFC South this fall. They return NFL rushing leader Jonathan Taylor (1,811 yards), added quarterback Matt Ryan this offseason and tied for ninth in the league in scoring defense last season.
“To get two really good days against (the Colts) and then certainly the preseason game, I think it changes up training camp but it also there again, it raises the intensity and competition, especially different competition’s always good,” Campbell said. “That’s what it does for us.”