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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 during the regular season.

Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:

1. Cooter continues to be optimistic that more consistent production is coming for his run game. He made the comment that they have to see better results if they're going to become the team they want to be. Detroit currently ranks 17th in rushing (97.0).

2. Two things Austin really likes about the way his defense is playing right now: 1. They fly around the football 2. They are taking advantage of opportunities. The Lions have eight takeaways already this season and are a plus-six in that department.

3. Left tackle Greg Robinson was called lazy by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen this week. Griffen said Robinson needed to show better effort on tape. Cooter was asked about Griffen's comments and said only that they were "interesting to see," and he wasn't going to comment on them further. When asked about Robinson's play early this season, Cooter said Robinson has done a lot of nice things, hasn't been perfect, but continues to get better.

4. Speaking of those turnovers on defense, Austin said it was a major emphasis of his in the offseason. He admitted that maybe in the past getting hands on footballs and generating those turnovers wasn't emphasized enough by him. They've incorporated more turnover drills into practice. The extra emphasis has certainly paid off early this season.

5. One area Cooter thinks his offense has to get better at is on first down. Detroit ranks 28th in the NFL in first-down efficiency, which is a measurement of the percentage of first-down plays that gain four-plus yards. They are only gaining four-plus yards 40 percent of the time.

6. Austin called this week's matchup with the Vikings "a good battle and test" for his defense. Rookie running back Dalvin Cook (288 rushing yards) is forcing teams to stack the box, and the Vikings have done a good job throwing the ball over the top of those looks and making plays down the field when given the opportunity.

7. Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a number of beautifully throw touch passes last week against Atlanta. In fact, we've seen an increased number of those touch passes through the first three games. Cooter said that's a part of Stafford's game the veteran quarterback wanted to get better at this offseason, and he has been better.

8. Detroit's secondary is deeper than it's been in previous years, and Austin thinks because of that depth, they're in a much better situation to handle a passing game like Minnesota's that features two players who rank in the top 10 in receiving yards.

9. The last three plays of the game last week were a learning experience for Cooter. He thought long and hard about the three chances to put the ball in the end zone from the 1-yard line after the game. He allowed himself Sunday night to think about it, then he said he moved on. After watching the film, he said he made some notes, and thinks he'll be better in that situation if it comes up again.

10. Austin described Detroit's run defense as "being out of whack" last week. He said there were some uncharacteristic mistakes that showed up on the film, and he expects Detroit to be much better in that regard this week against Minnesota.

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