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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. What does Austin like most about his defense at the midway point of the season? He didn't throw any stats at us. Austin said some of his favorite things about this group are things we can't see. He talked about how professional they are, and how they work and prepare in the classroom behind the scenes so well. He also likes their mental makeup. This group is always grinding and never gets down on itself, per Austin.

2. Cooter addressed the red-zone running issues that have surfaced this year, and believes it's an execution issue involving some of the smaller details. He made the point that one man not taking care of his blocking assignment down in the red zone, where things are way more congested, can be the difference between touchdown and a field goal try. He made it seem like their issues are more on the blocking front than anything else. 

3. The sacks aren't showing up on the stat sheet for Ziggy Ansah, but that doesn't mean Austin isn't happy with the way Ansah's played. Austin admitted that Ansah's been working through some issues medically and he can't do anything about that. But he still thinks Ansah's doing a good job setting the edge in the run game and being a factor there, and doing some of the other things that don't particularly show up on the stat sheet that helps a defense be successful.

4. Jamal Agnew saw an increased role on offense in Green Bay. Don't be surprised if that continues moving forward. Cooter likes what his speed brings to the table, and getting him the ball in space, with his open-field running ability, isn't a bad idea.

5. Browns head coach Hue Jackson has had a bye week to come up with some creative wrinkles and trick plays that he could implement Sunday vs. Detroit. Austin said there's always that expectation with teams coming off the bye, and his message to his defense was to just stick to their rules and make sure any trick play doesn't end up killing them.  

6. The Browns play their safeties deeper than most teams the Lions will face this year. It's obviously tougher to hit the plays way down the field when safeties are playing that deep, but it also creates spaces in the intermediate part of the field in front of them and behind the linebackers. Cooter says they have to find the open areas Sunday.  

7. Cleveland's leading pass catcher on the year is running back Duke Johnson Jr., who the Browns use a lot like how the Lions use Theo Riddick. Austin said Johnson can cause problems for a defense, and they have to be disciplined in playing their rules against him in order to keep him bottled up.


8.** The Lions have been blitzed more aggressively the last two weeks vs. Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and Cooter thinks their ability to pick up those blitzers and keep a good pocket for Matthew Stafford has played a role in the bigger chunk plays the Lions have been getting on offense the last couple weeks.

9. When asked about the play of second-year defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson since Haloti Ngata's injury, Austin said he's been pleased with Robinson's play all season, not just since Ngata went down with a bicep injury. Austin thinks Robinson has been particularly stout against the run.

10. The Browns get No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett back from injury this week. The talented defensive end has four sacks in three games played this year. Cooter said there's a bit of a mystery surrounding Garrett this week because there's not a lot of film on him to try and gauge tendencies or go-to moves. Whoever faces him this week at left tackle will simply have to be technically sound.

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