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. The offense's problems in the red zone last week in New Orleans (1 for 5) were part execution, communication and play calling. Cooter said there were certainly some play calls he'd like to have back. We'll see how the Lions bounce back in the red zone this week. Cooter is typically good at learning from his mistakes.

2. One of Austin's big tasks this week is trying to replace starting nickel cornerback Quandre Diggs, who was lost for the season with a pectoral injury suffered last week. Austin seemed optimistic that rookie Adairius Barnes has the skillset to compete for the job, but this early in the week, he hasn't made up his mind on how exactly he'll replace Diggs.

3. During a lighter moment in Cooter's 10-minute session, he joked that his offense has to stop making kicker Matt Prater the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Prater's won it three of the last four weeks. "I'd like to watch him kick a few more extra points than field goals, that'd be my goal," Cooter said.

4. What is the biggest difference between playing inside corner vs. outside? Austin considers inside cornerbacks smaller linebackers. Those slot corners have to be very active in the run game, because if they're not, teams will find ways to run the ball on the perimeter. They have to be able to tackle, recognize and react, according to Austin.

5. The more Cooter works with veteran receiver Anquan Boldin, the more impressed he appears to be by him, especially on third down. Boldin is tied with Golden Tate for the team lead with 19 receptions on third down this season.

6. The one thing that jumps out on tape when watching Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard is his ability to break tackles. Austin said his defense will have to be very sound tackling Howard, who's recorded the third-most yards after contact in the NFL. No arm tackles on Sunday, his players have to gang tackle.

7. There seems to be little reservation from Cooter if rookie Graham Glasgow has to step in and replace the injured Travis Swanson (concussion) at center this week. Glasgow's played a lot of football this year at guard, which Cooter said will serve him well if he's needed to play center this week.

8. The Lions have played a lot of young players on their roster throughout this season, especially on defense. Austin said that's important in building roster depth. He's built packages for some young players to get reps since early in the season, and he's seeing the fruits of that labor now when guys are banged up and young players need to step in and play more reps.

9. Tate has shown to be so dynamic with the football, that if he isn't getting it in his hands early in games, Cooter said it's a flaw on his part. Tate has 51 receptions for 666 yards over Detroit's last eight games.

10. One important aspect of scheming defense for Austin is building a plan or a package around a player's strength, not the other way around. When players are comfortable with their role in the scheme, they play fast and make plays. "When we start talking about things, we go, OK hey, can this guy do that? Can this guy do that? And if he can, then we move forward with it," he said.

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