3rd down day
FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick held his Thursday press conference (10:30 a.m. ET) and noted that the team is on its normal schedule. That means today will feature third-down work.
"Like I said yesterday, watching these guys on third down, there's no distance that bothers them. Third and 20, and they fire those 20-yard in-cuts and seam passes like it's third and 3. There is no down and distance that you can feel safe with [Jon] Kitna and these receivers and that offense on the field. We have to do a better job defensively, and we have to do a better job offensively of converting in those situations. Hopefully we can work on that today and get some improvement.
"And [Eddie] Drummond is really a problem on those returns. They're doing a good job leveraging him. We've obviously had some trouble with our coverage teams in previous weeks, going back to the Minnesota game against [Mewelde] Moore and guys like that. When you run into a good returner, everyone has to a good job. One breakdown and he's through there. That will be another big challenge for us that we need to spend some time on this week, starting today."
The third-down numbers look like this: The Lions rank 30th on offense (31 percent) and 24th on defense (opponents convert 42 percent). The Patriots rank 5th on offense (41.9 percent) and 14th on defense (opponents convert 37.2 percent).
Meanwhile, the Lions' kickoff return game ranks 11th with a 23.5 average and the Patriots' kickoff coverage ranks 29th, allowing opponents an averae of 24.7 yards per return.