Darius Slay wonders, just like you, why the Detroit Lions practiced in the snow Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

LeGarrette Blount was fine with it. Darius Slay not so much. And Matthew Stafford joked that there was a hidden reason why the Detroit Lions practiced outside in 33-degree temperatures and a light snow Thursday even though they play their next four games in climate-controlled environments beginning this Sunday at Ford Field.

“I figured Coach wanted to do it to make you guys stand outside and watch us,” Stafford said. “But also at some point we’re going to have to play in that kind of weather and it’ll be important to have reps at it, so it was good to get out there and get some work in today.”

The Lions play two outdoor games in cold-weather climates next month, against the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, but they have four indoor games up first beginning with Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

On Thursday, several Lions staffers spent the open portion of practice shoveling or blowing snow off the field, and at least one player slipped because of what appeared to be poor footing during position drills.

“I’m just going out there trying to stay warm really, because like you said, we got indoor games (coming up) but obviously it doesn’t even matter,” Slay said. 

Asked how tough it was to get done what they needed to at practice, Slay said, “I mean, gots to. It’s your job. You got to figure out (a way) to get something done, so I try my best to do what I can do to get it done. It’s rough, though.”

“I ain’t the coach,” Slay added. “If I was the coach, yeah, you know what we’d be doing.”

The Lions host the Panthers on Sunday then play two more home games Thanksgiving against the Chicago Bears and Dec. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams before visiting the Arizona Cardinals, who have a retractable roof on their stadium, Dec. 9.

The next time the Lions will play in the elements is Dec. 16 at Buffalo.

“Towards the end of the season we’re going to be in Green Bay, we’re going to be in Buffalo, so you don’t want to try to get prepared for those the week of,” Blount said. “It’s a preparation thing, so you want to be ready for those whenever the time comes. You don’t want to have to wait and practice outside for two days or three days and then have to go there and it’s way colder than what you expect it to be. Like I said, we strap it up and we go out there and grind in it, whatever it is, it is. We just got to go handle it.”

Lions coach Matt Patricia, who wore his usual practice attire of black shorts and a Lions baseball cap during the workout, does not speak with reporters on Thursdays but said last month that practice decisions are sometimes based on what he wants to get done during a given workout.

The Lions have used their indoor facility for one full practice this season, on the Friday before a Week 7 road game against the Miami Dolphins.

The Panthers, who do not have an indoor practice facility, cancelled their practice Thursday because of heavy rain in the Charlotte area.

“I’ve never really had a problem with practicing outside whether it’s for a team that’s three weeks, four weeks away, however long it is away,” Blount said. “Eventually we’re going to have to play in it, so it’s better for us to get our bodies used to it now rather than trying to get used to it later. So I don’t have a problem with it, the guys don’t have a problem with it. Obviously, the coach don’t have a problem with it, I think we just go strap them up and just go out there and play football.”

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