Red Zone Production A Focus For Lions' Staff

(ALLEN PARK) -- One of the areas coach Steve Mariucci and offensive coordinator Ted Tollner will be focused on as the Lions begin preparations for the 2005 NFL season is the team's red zone production.

(ALLEN PARK) -- One of the areas coach Steve Mariucci and offensive coordinator Ted Tollner will be focused on as the Lions begin preparations for the 2005 NFL season is the team's red zone production.

Only two teams -- Jacksonville and Chicago -- were less effective than he Lions in converting its red zone possessions into touchdowns during the 2004 season.

The Bears converted only 16 of 38 red zone opportunities (42.1 percent) and Jacksonville was only slightly better with 19 touchdowns in 45 opportunities (42.2 percent).

And, the Lions -- at No. 30 among the league's 32 teams in red zone conversions -- turned just 44.2 percent of their opportunities into touchdowns. They had 43 red zone possessions but managed to score only 19 touchdowns on their way to 186 red zone points (including 18 field goals).

The Lions figure to improve on last year's performance with a more experienced running game (Kevin Jones is in his second season) and fewer drops by their receivers than the 50 recorded by the Lions coaching staff in 2004.

The Lions obviously have a long way to go to join the teams at the top of red zone efficiency -- San Diego (69.8 percent conversion) and Kansas City (67.8 percent).

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