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10 takeaways from Austin & Cooter

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke to the media this week as they do every week during the regular season.

Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:

1. The biggest concern Austin has facing Packers quarterback Brett Hundley is his athleticism and ability to run with the ball. While Aaron Rodgers is always looking downfield to pass, even when he scrambles out of the pocket, Austin said Hundley is quicker to just take off on you and make plays with his legs.

2. The Lions were 0-for-5 in the red zone last week vs. Pittsburgh, and Cooter admitted he and his offense have to be better than that moving forward. Cooter said they are close to breaking out in a couple of areas, but also cautioned that the challenge moving forward is that their problems in the red zone weren't related to just one area, which makes them more challenging to fix, but they're working on them. 

3. What has been the biggest stride Darius Slay's made in his game this season? Austin thinks it's the way Slay is attacking the ball with no fear. He's looking to make more plays on the ball. The Lions have trusted Slay to travel against teams' top receivers in most games, and Slay has been more than up to the challenge. Austin said it certainly helps a game plan knowing that their No. 1 receiver doesn't outmatch his No. 1 cornerback.

4. Ameer Abdullah doesn't have a carry on third down this season, and Cooter said that's really a case of situational football more than anything else. Third downs are typically passing downs, and Cooter likes Theo Riddick in a pass protection, route running and receiving role a little better that Abdullah.

5. Austin took some of the blame for Detroit's struggles getting to opposing passers this year. The Lions rank 26th in the NFL with just 13 sacks. Austin said he has to look into getting different and better matchups for his guys upfront or call more blitzes. He said it's his job to figure it out, and find a way to get more pressure on opposing passers moving forward.

6. Why is Dwayne Washington Cooter's choice for goal line back? Size and power.


7.** Rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been playing more reps recently. He brings some versatility to the defense, per Austin, who called him a linebacker with a strong safety skillset.

8. One area where Cooter has seen improvement offensively has been the pass protection from his backs. He said they were terrific in that regard last week against a physical Steelers' defense, and that's a good sign for the offense moving forward.

9. When asked about Packers rookie running back Aaron Jones, Austin said his biggest takeaway from watching him on film is that he's a decisive, one-cut runner. Jones has gone for more than 100 yards rushing in two of his last three games.

10. The Packers have the third-fewest sacks in the NFL (12), but Cooter says on film they've been real close on a number of other potential sacks and still can generate pressure of the edge with good veteran players. Cooter respects that area of Green Bay's defense, even if the stats say something different.

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