Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was New England head coach Bill Belichick. I also scanned the Boston area media websites and the Patriots website to see what else the Patriots players and coaches are saying about this week's matchup with the Lions.
Here's what they had to say:
1. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles lit the Patriots' defense up to the tune of 377 yards and four touchdowns. The Jags were 10-of-14 converting on third down in their 31-20 win last week. That obviously has Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores a little worried about this week's matchup with Matthew Stafford and Co.
"Stafford ... this is one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Flores told the Boston Herald. "He's got a strong arm. He's mobile in the pocket. He's got, obviously, a great group of core receivers and backs to throw to, whether we're talking about (Kenny) Golladay or Marvin Jones Jr., (Golden) Tate or (Theo) Riddick. This will be a big challenge for us, and I think, obviously, (we have to) correct some of the things we did last week."
2. Speaking of those Lions receivers, Belichick called Jones, Tate and Golladay part of one of the best receiving corps in the league.
3. Belichick said his team isn't at the point he'd like them to be coming off that big loss last week. A couple things the Pats do have going for them this week is that quarterback Tom Brady is 5-0 lifetime vs. Detroit and Belichick is 14-8 all-time against his former assistants.
4. When asked about Lions running back LeGarrette Blount, who won a couple Super Bowls in New England, Belichick said the thing people don't realize about Blount is that he's faster than you may think for a man his size. He sees to be the same running back he remembers in New England, a big back who is durable and hard to bring down.
5. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Lions head coach Matt Patricia are very familiar with one another. McDaniels told masslive.com it will be a fun challenge battling wits with the former Patriots defensive coordinator again. McDaniels said the toughest thing about playing a Patricia-coached defense is all the things he throws at an offense schematically to keep them off balance.
6. Belichick had a lot of respect for Detroit's pass defense. The Lions are fourth in the NFL in net passing yards allowed (168). The league average is 249.7. The Lions are also tied for third with eight sacks. Detroit's biggest issue on defense has obviously been their run defense, where they rank 32nd, but Belichick seemed to have a lot of respect for Detroit's ability so far to cover and rush early on this season.
Meet this weeks opponents, the New England Patriots.