ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday the New England Patriots were lobbying for preseason matchups with Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions and the Mike Vrabel-led Tennesse Titans this summer.
They got their wish.
The Patriots’ 2019 preseason schedule, which was released Tuesday afternoon, opens with road games against the Lions and Titans before finishing with matchups against the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Dates and times for all games will be announced at a later date.
Given Bill Belichick’s relationship with Patricia (former Patriots defensive coordinator) and Vrabel (ex-Patriots linebacker), it would not be surprising to see the Patriots schedule joint practices with the Lions and/or Titans as they prepare to defend their Super Bowl LIII title.
Since both games are on the road, these practices would be held at the Lions’/Titans’ training camp facilities, not in Foxboro, Mass.
The rosters of Detroit and Tennessee also feature several former Patriots players, with Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola both joining the Lions earlier this offseason and Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Dion Lewis all currently suiting up for the Titans.
Last summer marked the first time since 2011 that New England did not practice with any of its preseason opponents. They had two such partners in 2017, holding joint practices with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
In other news, this will be the 15th consecutive year the Patriots and Giants square off in the final week of the preseason. New England also developed an unlikely preseason connection with Carolina; this year’s exhibition matchup will be the teams’ fifth in six years.