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4 Things to Watch during Lions-Colts Joint Practices

Read more on the four things to watch during the Detroit Lions' joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts this week.
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The Lions are set to take part in joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday and Thursday this week, heading into their exhibition contest with the Colts on Saturday (1 p.m. EST).

It presents Dan Campbell's squad with a myriad of challenging matchups, as it further prepares itself for the start of the 2022 regular season. 

Campbell is excited for the test that lies ahead against the Colts.  

"Man, we'll get all the looks we need to get, all the situations, it'll just be good," Campbell expressed to reporters this week. "They're a good team over there, they know how to win, it's a winning program. (Colts general manager) Chris Ballard and (head coach) Frank (Reich) do it right, and that team, man, they're tough. So, this will be great. It's going to be great for us. I can't wait."

Let's take a look now at the four things to watch during Detroit's joint practices with Indianapolis.

Aidan Hutchinson vs. the Colts' offensive line 

Hutchinson has looked good so far in camp going up against the Lions' offensive line. And, he was a menace for the Falcons to deal with in Detroit's preseason opener Friday night. So, now let's see how all of that translates to his reps in joint practices this week with the Colts. 

The Michigan product is likely to square off with Indianapolis offensive lineman Braden Smith, a fifth-year pro. It's yet another nice test for Hutchinson, as he gets ready for the start of his rookie campaign.

DeForest Buckner vs. Detroit's offensive line

It'll be very interesting to watch how the left side of Detroit's offensive line, spearheaded by left tackle Taylor Decker and left guard Jonah Jackson, holds up against Buckner.

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Buckner is a consistent pass-rushing threat who has recorded 36 sacks the last four seasons, good for an average of nine a year during that span. He also earned a Pro Bowl appearance in 2021 by totaling seven sacks, 18 QB hits, 68 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.

He should be a handful for Detroit all week long.

DJ Chark vs. Stephon Gilmore

Chark should have his hands full going up against Gilmore in one-on-one drills this week.

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Gilmore, a savvy vet, has been one of the best cover corners in the league for a while now, and has earned four straight Pro Bowl trips. 

However, he is set to turn 32 next month. So, we'll see if Chark, a speed demon, is able to accelerate and blow past the older Gilmore a few times in practice this week. It'll be a nice test for Detroit's new No. 1 wideout.

Colts' run game vs. Detroit's rush defense

The Colts excelled on the ground a year ago. Jonathan Taylor and the team's backs averaged 149.4 yards per game on the ground in 2021. Additionally, Taylor recorded a league-high 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns, to go along with a league-best 106.5 yards per contest.

It presents a huge test for Detroit's defense, which struggled all throughout '21 in stopping the run. In fact, Aaron Glenn's unit permitted 135.1 rushing yards per game a year ago, the fifth-worst mark in the NFL. Additionally, Glenn & Co. allowed 168 yards on the ground in the team's preseason-opening loss to Atlanta a week ago. It could spell a long two days of practice for the Lions' rush defense against the Colts.