By Michael Stets
ALLEN PARK — Toward the end of the joint practice session between the Lions and New York Giants on Tuesday, the two teams competed in 11-on-11 drills near the goal line. Matthew Stafford fired a bullet to the back of the end zone, which Marvin Jones Jr. snared up high, while in between Giants safety Curtis Riley and cornerback Eli Apple, before landing in bounds for the touchdown.
Catches like that one, he said, are plays he expects to make every time.
“Most definitely,” Jones said after practice. “It was a good throw. Matt threw it high for me to go up and get it. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Jones, now in his third year in Detroit, hauled in 61 receptions and nine touchdowns in 2017. He and Stafford have shown continual growth as far as on-field chemistry goes, as evidenced by today’s connection for a touchdown.
“We’ve been [playing] together for a while,” he said. “So we expect to be sharp in every moment. Between quarterbacks and receivers, running back, whoever it is, we are just out here working hard and that’s all we can do. Every time we step on the field we want to make those dominant plays.”
The Lions will hold two more joint sessions with the Giants before Friday’s home preseason opener at Ford Field. The joint sessions, Jones says, are a good way to break away from the normalcy of practicing against his own teammates.
“They do break it up because you see new faces and you go against other talented people in the NFL,” he said. “It’s good that they are here. We can go up against players like Janoris [Jenkins] and [Landon] Collins, and all the great players that they have. It’s good to do that.”
Like last week with the Oakland Raiders, the joint sessions will lead up to the game on Friday. Jones explained how the practices carry over into the game.
“It carries over just because you get familiarity with that team and you are kind of in game mode. When we are doing live drills, two-minute, it’s jut the same as playing in a game because they are giving their best and we are giving our best. So you kind of see how you scale against a different team and it just makes all that the more better.”
With back-to-back weeks of joint practices, “It’s like every day is a game,” Jones said. “It’s been great.”