Mock game gives Lions' newcomers chance to enjoy Ford Field
By NOAH TRISTER
Aug. 05, 2017
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Jarrad Davis is impressed with his new home field.
The Detroit Lions moved training camp away from their practice facility Saturday, holding a mock game at Ford Field with fans scattered throughout the lower bowl. It was an opportunity for the team to do something a bit different before preseason games start, and a chance for rookies like Davis to become acquainted with the stadium.
"I had a good time out here with my teammates — coming out here and being able to just really feel what this atmosphere is like," said Davis, a linebacker the Lions drafted in the first round this year. "Looking around, this is an awesome stadium. I'm glad to be here."
Davis has played indoors before — his Gators made it to the Southeastern Conference title game in Atlanta last season. Still, it was easy to come away impressed with Ford Field, the downtown stadium that can become quite loud when the Lions are playing well.
"The building itself is an awesome place. That was one thing that kind of got me, when I first walked in, it's really nice," he said. "But everything else, man, it's football. It's football. You can't make the moment bigger than what it is."
The event allowed fans to watch the team from the lower level, and the players seemed to have fun with it. There will, of course, be exhibition games in the weeks to come, so this was kind of a dress rehearsal for the dress rehearsals.
"It's an important segment for the young guys that particularly haven't been in the stadium, don't quite know the feel of it yet, running routes here or defending here or kicking inside is a bit different," coach Jim Caldwell said beforehand. "This gives us an opportunity to get a flow of a game, so we'll come out and do things exactly like we would in pregame but only a lot faster so they all get accustomed to it."
There wasn't any tackling in the game, but there were a few plays that got fans excited. It didn't take long for some of Detroit's standouts to become part of the action. Matt Prater kicked a field goal from about 55 yards, and Matthew Stafford's deep pass was intercepted by Darius Slay, who bobbled the ball a bit before securing it.
Stafford bounced back with a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones.
"It's a lot of fun to be out here — see some of these young guys play, really for the first time in this atmosphere," Stafford said. "Everybody's juices get going a little bit. Some guys a little too much, and start hitting each other a little too hard. But it's good."
Prater later connected from 56 yards, looking as sharp as he did last season, when his clutch kicking helped the Lions to several close wins and a playoff berth.
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