View the best photos from the Giants' joint practice with the Lions.
The third day of practice between the Giants and Lions on Thursday was at a walk-through pace with no real competition between the two teams, who meet tomorrow night at Ford Field. Here's what I saw today, along with some overall thoughts from the week.
• A light rain, almost a mist, came down throughout most of practice, but the teams practiced outside. With no one running at full speed, there were no safety concerns.
• Practice featured both teams working on special teams and situational work. Both teams worked on unique situations in the kicking game, like mortar kicks, free kicks, onside kicks, and punts backed up to the goal line. They also worked on a punter purposely running out of the back of the end zone, returning missed field goals, and situations where field goal units are required to run on the field to make a field goal with the clock ticking away.
• For the offense and defense, there was a lot of situational work. The offense worked on end of game clock management situations, like spiking the ball with the clock running down, getting out of bounds, Hail Mary passes, and getting a snap off with only one second left on the clock and the referee signaling to start the clock at the whistle.
• The Giants kickers performed well over the three days. The officials were not in place to signal whether the kicks were makes or misses, and the angle from the sideline makes it tough to tell what kicks were either just inside or outside the uprights. From my perspective, I believe Aldrick Rosas made all his kicks on Tuesday, though one from 43 yards was too close to call. Marshall Koehn missed two kicks on Thursday, but was put into a really tough position having to kick on narrow goal posts. Lions kicker Matt Praeter has custom goal posts that are half the width of typical regulation goal posts, which helps him be more precise in his accuracy. Koehn was forced to kick on those during the two-minute period on Wednesday.
• There were a few standouts during kick coverage drills this week. Jerrel Adams knocked down Lions tight end Hakeem Valles on one rep. Ray Ray Armstrong charged down and would have had the chance for a solo tackle on another. Mark Herzlich was always in the right spot on kick coverage, not to mention making a couple of nice plays against the run on defense.
• The Giants, for the most part, played clean football in Detroit. Quarterback Eli Manning threw only interception (which was also the only turnover) of the week for the Giants, when safety Glover Quin jumped in front of a pass to tight end Evan Engram during two-minute. Eli Apple had the only interception for the Giants (their only takeaway), picking off quarterback Jake Rudock on a pass intended for wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
• The Giants only committed about a half-dozen penalties during the week. NFL officials were in attendance, but the Giants didn't draw their attention very often, which was a good thing.
• The Lions certainly weren't game-planning for practice, but cornerback Janoris Jenkins simply wasn't targeted much over the course of the week. Between individual and team sessions, I only saw him allow one catch. Jenkins has played like a top cover cornerback this offseason.
• The Giants starters on both sides of the ball more than held their own against the Lions starters. The offensive line, for the most part, protected Eli Manning well and the Giants receivers got open consistently. Defensively, the run defense didn't leave much room for the Lions running backs, and it took some excellent, small-window Matt Stafford throws to complete passes against the Giants top defensive backs.
• Finally, it should be noted again how professionally both teams handled practices this week. The practices were structured well as both teams given ample opportunity to get plenty of work done while mimicking game situations and conditions. Both teams will be better for the work that got done here in Detroit this week. It will be fun to see them play against each other on Friday night at Ford Field.