ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The final day of training camp has a much different feel than it used to in the NFL.
Gone are the days of "returning home," but the focus is still what it's always been: success in the regular season.
"I think we're packing up and heading back to Detroit today. Checking out of the dorms. Putting our fans in our cars and our pillows and stuff like that. Yeah it's changed quite a bit," Jim Schwartz joked.
Tuesday the Lions wrapped up their final day of camp ahead of their third preseason game against the New England Patriots, who will provide a checkup of progress thus far.
"You definitely want to bring your A-game when you play a team like New England," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said.
"They're gonna bring their A-game. Number one offense in the league, coming off that AFC Championship game. It's gonna be a good test."
In 2011, the Lions used their preseason game against the Patriots as a test to see if they could hang with one of the NFL's best. New England is still in the league's upper echelon, and will provide the Lions a much-needed challenge following an underachieving performance in Cleveland.
"I'm not gonna say it's gonna be just like it was two years ago, but it's gonna be a good test," wide receiver Calvin Johnson said.
Schwartz wouldn't say how long the Lions starters would play, only pointing out they'd play as long as the coaching staff deemed necessary.
That could mean a full half, or even longer, depending on snap count.
"We know it's gonna be starters against starters for at least half the game. You're gonna see good football out there," Johnson added.
The Lions All-Pro wide receiver missed his second straight day of practice Tuesday with a sore knee, joining Louis Delmas on the sideline. Delmas wants to play in the game Thursday, and the possibility of playing against New England has Johnson planning to be on the field, too.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli