Saturday, August 27, 2011
Welcome to Ford Field in Detroit
By Mike Reiss
DETROIT -- Welcome to Ford Field, where the Patriots visit the Lions tonight in a nationally televised preseason game (CBS, 8 p.m. ET). The city is excited for this game, as it has sold out.
Haynesworth and Ellis not expected to play. One of the big pre-game questions was whether this would be the first time we see defensive linemen Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis in a Patriots uniform. They are not expected to play. Second-round picks Ras-I Dowling and Shane Vereen are also not expected to suit up. On the flip side, offensive tackle Matt Light has apparently made the trip, which would indicate that he will see his first action protecting Tom Brady's blindside. Three of the top Lions players not suiting up tonight are defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, running back Jahvid Best and defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
Indoor facility. Conditions won't be a factor tonight, as Ford Field is an indoor facility. It can get loud in here, so pass protection will be a challenge when Brady is working out of the shotgun with the silent snap count.
Could be a lot of points. Through two weeks of the preseason, the Patriots rank first in the NFL preseason with an average of 36 points per game, while the Lions rank second at 32 points per game.
Broadcast team. Tonight's game will be called by Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Dan Dierdorf (analysis) and Lesley Visser (sideline).
Cheffers gets the call. Tonight's referee is Carl Cheffers (No. 51 in your referee's program).
Two Miami scouts on hand. With preparations for the season-opener expected to intensify in the coming days, it's no surprise that the Dolphins have two seats reserved for scouts here in the press box. The Steelers, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers and Raiders are other teams expected to have scouts in attendance.
Lions with New England ties. Those on the Lions roster with a tie to New England include former Boston College OT Gosder Cherilus (No. 77), 2007 sixth-round pick OT Corey Hilliard (No. 79), 2010 seventh-round pick QB Zac Robinson (No. 10), running backs coach Sam Gash (Patriot from 1992-97), wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson (Patriot from 1996-99), linebackers coach Matt Burke (Hudson, Mass.)
Local media making the trip. The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Providence Journal, WBZ-TV, Comcast SportsNet and ESPNBoston.com are the New England-based outlets that sent reporters to cover the game.