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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. Detroit's cornerbacks are both willing and capable tacklers, which plays a big factor into why Detroit currently owns the third best rushing defense in the league. Austin said playing cornerback isn't about just covering receivers. It's also about playing team defense, which means helping in the run game. If his cornerbacks couldn't tackle, Austin said there wouldn't be a spot in his defense for them.  

2. When asked about what's been ailing Detroit's 29th-ranked offense the first five weeks, Cooter said a lot of the problems come down to execution. He said there are too many lulls with inconsistent or poor execution, like we saw last week in the second and third quarters in that loss to Carolina. Ultimately, it's Cooter's job to figure out how to be more consistent in every phase on offense.

3. New Orleans is the only team in the NFL without a turnover this season. The Lions have created the third most (11). So, what gives Sunday? Austin says the preparation is no different coming into a game against an opponent that does a really good job taking care of the football. It's been the normal routine this week for Detroit's defense. Austin says turnovers are created by players doing their job and flying to the football. There's no extra preparation needed for that.

4. Tight end Eric Ebron, who's had some issues with drops this season, is working before and after practice catching more balls to try and fix the problem, per Cooter, who said sometimes these things can be a confidence issue.

5. Alvin Kamara adds a dangerous receiving element to the New Orleans backfield. Austin said watching Kamara on film reminded him a lot of Theo Riddick.

6. "When the ball gets to Theo Riddick, good things happen for our offense," Cooter said. Riddick is coming off his best game of the season, and could be another focal point for Cooter this week against the Saints' 28th-ranked pass defense (265.2). 

7. The Lions are going to miss Haloti Ngata's presence in the middle of their defense, especially against the run, Austin admitted. He said he'd like to see some more splash plays by A'Shawn Robinson moving forward to help stem the loss of the veteran Ngata.

8. Expect linebacker Nick Bellore to continue to be involved in the run game as a fullback. He ran three plays at fullback last week, and made a crucial block on Zach Zenner's touchdown run.

9. Nickel cornerback Quandre Diggs continues to play well early this season. His improved play is a result of better challenging receivers and being more decisive in his reads and reaction.

10. Cooter says the advantage of playing with pace on offense is to give Matthew Stafford more time at the line of scrimmage to read the defense and make the proper checks, if needed. Cooter doesn't believe it's beneficial to be a tempo team 100 percent of the time, but did say that Stafford has had more time at the line of scrimmage this year vs. year's past, which he thinks has been more valuable to Stafford.

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