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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. Aaron Rodgers is so difficult to defend, not just because of his pure arm talent, but because he's so good with his movement within the pocket, according to Austin. Then, when he gets out of the pocket, he is probably the best in the business at making big plays on the run with both his legs and arm.

2. The reason Cooter said he went away from running back Zach Zenner in the second half last week, despite Zenner rushing for 64 yards in the first half, was because he doesn't think playing a running back 70 snaps a game is a good idea. Zenner played a lot in the first half. The Lions were going to mix and match him and Washington in the second half. Cooter never got a chance to go back to Zenner in the second half, however, because by then the score got out of hand and they had to start throwing the ball.

3. Austin says he's encouraged by the fact that cornerback Darius Slay has returned to the practice field this week, even if it's been in limited fashion. "Always encouraged and happy when you have your good players out there," he said.

4. The Packers lead the NFL with 12 takeaways over their last three games. Cooter explained Green Bay's defense as having a trapping style. Their corners trap routes and they overload their blitz. A quarterback starts to feel pressure and gets the ball out of his hands too early and allows their corners to make plays on the ball. "I think they're really good, really talented," Cooter said. "The scheme is good."

5. Packers receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery gives defenses problems because he's faster than Eddie Lacy (IR) and shiftier, but is also solidly built and sturdy as a runner, according to Austin. His ability to also flex out as a receiver causes problems and mismatches.

6. The Lions' offense could use more big plays, but Cooter says there has to be a good balance between holding the ball a little longer and allowing receivers to get downfield, which also opens up Matthew Stafford to more hits, and getting players into space and getting them the ball quickly to let them make plays after the catch.

7. Linebacker DeAndre Levy is still working his way back to being full-speed and full-strength, but Austin is encouraged by the fact that he's been able to handle more and more each week he plays.

8. Cooter said center Travis Swanson was playing at a high level before suffering a concussion that kept him out of the last three games and getting him back this week would be beneficial.

9. Rookie defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson has really impressed Austin with his play and by the way he's continued to ascend as the year's gone on. Normally rookies will hit a wall late in the season, but not Robinson. He's been very good and appears to have a very bright future.

10. How would Cooter evaluate his first full season as offense coordinator up to this point? "A work in progress," he said. "There's more to come."

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