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10 takeaways from Austin & Cooter

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke to the media Thursday as they do every week.

Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:

1. Cooter hasn't been an offensive coordinator for a full calendar year yet, and admittedly is growing into the job. He's been very good since taking over, but said Thursday he's been sticking with some plays/formations/concepts a little too long, and has to do a better job adjusting quicker when the defense makes adjustments.

2. Not having Ziggy Ansah the last couple weeks has altered Austin's game plan a bit. He talked Thursday about not having Ansah's consistent speed on the outside and how it has altered some of the rush games they've been able to deploy. Ansah returned to practice this week and we'll see if he plays on Sunday vs. Los Angeles.

3. Cooter said Matthew Stafford is a better quarterback this year than he's been even the last couple years. He's now throwing to the open man, and going through his progressions. Cooter admitted that sometimes they probably tried to force the ball to Calvin Johnson too much in the past. Now, Stafford hits the open man, which makes him a better overall quarterback in Cooter's opinion.

4. Even if Ansah does return Sunday, Austin said Kerry Hyder is still going to play a lot because he's earned that opportunity. How exactly Austin will use Hyder when Ansah gets back is unclear. Hyder leads the Lions with five sacks through five games.

5. The Lions are throwing a lot at new running back Justin Forsett and seeing what sticks. He's done a good job so far of picking things up, and it will be up to him and how much of the playbook he picks up this weekend that will determine his role on Sunday.

6. Austin talked about the maturation of cornerback Darius Slay over the year, and how it's been fun to watch him develop into a really good football player. Slay was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after forcing a fumble and icing the win last week over Philadelphia with an interception.

7. The Rams could be down three of their starters along the defensive line. Cooter says he's certainly keeping an eye on Los Angeles' injury report. He said it might alter the game plan a little bit if the Rams don't have those guys, but not to expect any full-scale changes.

8. Austin said last week that it was only a matter of time before his defense would come up with some big turnovers. He's hoping last week was the start of a nice little spurt of them over the next few weeks: "If you continue to work at things hard enough and do the things the right way, tables will turn for you. It's just a matter of time and last week it happened to be ours."

9. Cooter made it very clear he'd know exactly where Rams DT Aaron Donald is lined up on every play. He's hoping that playing against the Rams and Donald last season will help his interior blockers get a better understanding of what they're facing and how he likes to get to the quarterback.

10. Austin is confident rookie defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson can continue to play well if Haloti Ngata misses any game time with that shoulder injury he suffered last week.

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