FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A trip to Motown?
That’s music to the Patriots’ ears.
“It’ll be good for us to be on the road and see how that is for the new guys and just to compete with other players is going to make it a little more fun, it’s going to make it more competitive,” safety Patrick Chung said Friday, looking ahead to the 2019 team’s first road trip of the year. “I know Matty P (Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia). They’re ready to go, so it’ll be a good time.”
Center David Andrews, for one, is ready to hit someone other than his own teammates.
“It’s always great to get to beat up on someone else, get to see some competition,” said Andrews. “Our defense does what our defense does. Their defense will do what their defense does and vice versa.
“It’s always good to see some different looks. Some things maybe our defense doesn’t do, compete against some different guys. I enjoy (joint practices). I think they’re really good, especially when you’ve got a good group to work with that’ll really go out there and compete, work together, try to improve in those two or three days, whatever it is.”
The Patriots have left their Gillette Stadium training camp for Detroit for joint practices Monday through Wednesday followed by the teams’ preseason opener at Ford Field on Thursday night (a 7:30 start).
With eight days of practices in Foxborough (Friday was No. 8) and two days off (including Saturday) behind them, the Patriots were scheduled to fly out of Providence’s T.F. Green Airport Sunday for a week that will also serve as a reunion of sorts.
The Lions aren’t lacking for coaches and players with New England ties, what with Patricia, the former Patriots defensive coordinator who is in his second year as Detroit’s head coach, his staff members including former Pats assistants Jeff Davidson (the Lions’ offensive line coach) and Harold Nash (their football performance coordinator). Players on the Lions’ 90-man roster include former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, wide receiver Danny Amendola, strong safety Tavon Wilson and cornerback Justin Coleman.
More than a reunion with a select few Lions, though, players are concerned with unifying as a team and getting a barometer of where they are as a team.
“It’s tough, man, but I think for us as a team, it gives us the first chance to be together,” safety Devin McCourty said. “We come out here (in Foxborough) every day: It’s offense versus defense. We’re going at each other and I think once you go to a joint practice, it’s the first time you get to kind of unify as a team. You go down there and you’re trying to win every period. Whether it be special teams, offense, defense, we’re cheering each other on. To me, it’s all of the work we do here. We take that on the road now and see how it all measures up.”
“We’ll get to see where we are as a team,” said Chung. “We’ve just got to go out there and take is as we’re going there for business. 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.”
After spending the bulk of this week in Detroit, the Patriots will return home prior to heading off to spend a good portion of next week in Nashville for joint practices with the Tennessee Titans that will lead in to their Aug. 17 (7 p.m.) game with Mike Vrabel’s team at Nissan Stadium.
After that, the Patriots won’t be going anywhere for nearly a month.
They’ll close out the preseason with 7:30 kickoffs against the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants Aug. 22 and Aug. 29.