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    September 24, 2018 6:19 PM PDT

    Because he isn't likely to play more than a series or two in Friday's preseason opener Chester Rogers Jersey , Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford has a few modest goals for the Lions offense.

    "Just execute and communicate at a high level," Stafford said Wednesday. "Get out there and communicate and make sure everybody's on the same page. At the end of the day, on offense if everybody's communicating on the same page you're going to have a chance to be successful. That's the biggest thing, go out there and make sure that we're just playing good, sound football."

    The Lions spent the past two days conducting joint workouts with Oakland at the Raiders' training camp facilities in the heart of Napa Valley wine country.

    Following Tuesday's 2 1/2-hour practice, which was highlighted by a multi-player brawl that ended a team scrimmage session, the Lions packed up to travel to a hotel 75 miles south of Napa where they'll stay until Friday's game.

    Detroit first-year coach Matt Patricia declined to say how much Stafford and the rest of the Lions starters will play.

    "I'm just trying to get through today's practice and make sure I get everybody going in the right direction," Patricia said prior to Tuesday's practice. "We'll find out on Friday."

    The Lions' first offense had an uneven day against the Raiders during the team scrimmage. They were flagged for three penalties and sputtered on their initial drive before Stafford found wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. for deep completions.

    "I feel physically good," Stafford said. "Obviously another year in the system is going to hopefully help me expand my ability within the system to get us into the best plays possible. I feel very comfortable at the line of scrimmage doing our thing, but I can always be better. I'm always trying to find ways to improve and to get the ball to those playmakers at a higher clip."

    Stafford passed for 4 Eddie Yarbrough Jersey ,446 yards with 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2017, his seventh consecutive season with 4,200 yards or more. The 30-year-old quarterback also had a career-best 99.3 passer rating.

    Detroit, which hasn't made it past the wild card round of the playoffs since 1991, won three of its final four games down the stretch but failed to advance to the postseason.

    Although he won't be on the field very long Friday, Stafford is relishing playing in a game after mostly practicing against Detroit's defense before the two workouts with Oakland.

    "It's a good change-up," Stafford said. "We have to go out and prepare for another defense a night before. You don't have a ton of time to look at them. You just go out there and try to execute your stuff as well as you can. I've got players on this team that I've never played an NFL game with before so it's going to be to see how they go about their business and how they react."

    Tuesday's practice got chippy when Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel hit Raiders backup guard Jon Feliciano from the side, sparking a fracas involving multiple players before they were eventually pulled apart.

    Rodney McGruder went home for Memorial Day weekend, for reasons that didn’t include barbecues and beach time.

    He paid tribute to people he never met.

    The Miami Heat guard was part of an NBA contingent that volunteered to spend time in the Washington area with about 500 children who are part of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – TAPS, for short – over the solemn holiday weekend Josh Sitton Jersey , trying to help continue the support for families who lost loved ones serving in the military.

    The itinerary included tours of the Pentagon, a Jr. NBA clinic, roundtable discussions, mentoring sessions, grief counseling and a trip to Arlington National Cemetery to meet some of the service members who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier around the clock. Those guards walk 21 steps in one direction, turn and face the tomb for 21 seconds, and then walk 21 steps in the other direction and repeat the process.

    ”We learned so much about the 21 steps, protecting the Unknown Soldier tomb, so just being there and seeing the detail that they have at their job, much respect to them http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/patrick-dimarco-jersey ,” said McGruder, whose Maryland home is only about 20 minutes from Arlington. ”It was breathtaking just seeing all the different stones. It was tough. It was tough.”

    New York Knicks guard Jarrett Jack – a military kid growing up – also helped represent the NBA during the weekend events, along with Dallas assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, Sacramento assistant Bryan Gates, Portland assistant David Vanterpool and retired WNBA player Iciss Tillis. Leading the group was Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who now works as an adviser to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

    ”I’m very proud of the way the NBA has reached out to military servicemen and women and how that has expanded to what we’re doing here this weekend, which is outreach to the survivors of the fallen,” Dempsey said. ”It’s fantastic. What happens is we can’t take away the grief and the memory of the loss, but what we can do is layer positive memories on top of it. And so these athletes and coaches being involved, it’s amazing.”

    The kids who were part of the weekend played in a basketball clinic Danny Trevathan Jersey , but most of the questions to the NBA players and coaches had nothing to do with the game.

    McGruder said many wanted to know how he’s dealt with loss – not on the basketball court – and how he copes.

    ”You realize right away that these kids are going through some pretty tough things,” McGruder said. ”One of the toughest questions came from a tough female who wanted to know if I’ve gone through something like that. I explained to her that my mother lost her mother very young, so it’s not really the same but you share how you’ve been through similar disadvantages.”

    McGruder said he came away with a deeper appreciation of what Memorial Day means, and Dempsey – a lifelong fan of the game and someone who Mike Krzyzewski used during his tenure as coach of the U.S. national team to teach the game’s biggest stars about what it means to represent the country – thinks the NBA players have an important message for kids on weekends like this.

    ”I think with the country kind of more connected technologically than ever before, but maybe pulling itself apart more than ever before, I think sports have a huge role to play to bring a bit of leadership and maybe conscience,” Dempsey said. ”I’m proud to be part of that.”

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