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10 takeaways from Austin & Cooter

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

Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:

1. When asked about Detroit's struggles in the third quarter, Cooter admitted third quarters haven't been kind to his offense. He's even gone back and looked at the tape and wondered if it was a situation where he's simply being out-adjusted. He doesn't believe that to be the case, though. They aren't creating enough first downs and holding onto the football for whatever reaso, mostly execution. Cooter knows the third quarter has been a real problem area for this team, and says things have to turn around if Detroit's going to make a run in the playoffs.

2. "If we don't stop the run, we have no shot." That was the very honest assessment by Austin heading into Saturday's Wild Card game in Seattle.

3. Cooter used the words reliable and consistent when asked about running back Zach Zenner's recent play. Zenner is coming off a performance in Green Bay where he totaled 110 yards.

4. The Lions allowed Aaron Rodgers to make too many plays outside the pocket last week. Austin said he didn't do a good enough job putting a game plan together, and expects to put a better rush plan in place this week. That plan will be tailored to keep Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in the pocket.

5. Cooter made a mistake last week when he said it wasn't sustainable for a back to play 70 snaps, then gave Zenner 64 snaps three days later. As the game wore on, Cooter realized Zenner could handle the reps, and stayed with him. Cooter joked that his lack of playing competitive NFL running back hurt him in that situation from a knowledge base. "I will keep it open-ended (moving forward)," he said.

6. One matchup Austin seems a little concerned about is how to stop Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham. The Lions don't have any 6-foot-7 cornerbacks. Austin marveled at Graham's athleticism, body control and catch radius. He'll be a tough matchup.

7. The Seahawks miss All-Pro safety Earl Thomas (broken leg). When watching tape of Seattle this year with Thomas, Cooter wondered how Thomas saw, let alone got to, some of the plays he ended up making. It's difficult to replace that, though Cooter said the young player (Steven Terrell) is doing a good job.

8. Seattle's rushing numbers might be down this year, but Austin said one of the things you have to like about the Seahawks is that they believe in their scheme and they stick to it, even if the results haven't been what they've been in the past.

9. What advice has Jim Caldwell given Cooter about play calling? "Be yourself," Cooter said. "I've got to call my game. I've got to kind of stay true to myself."

10. Wilson isn't running as much down the field, or for long runs, but Austin said he's still very good at buying time and getting out of the pocket. That's certainly been the case more in the second half of the season after getting over a high ankle sprain and a sprained knee.

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