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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. Expect Quandre Diggs to remain the starter at strong safety moving forward. Austin thought Diggs handled the role well in his first start in Baltimore, and wants to continue with him there moving forward.

2. Cooter was very encouraged by what he saw in rookie running back Tion Green's performance last week, and said he'll keep that performance in mind as he figures out how carries will be distributed this week among his running backs.

3. Head coach Jim Caldwell took the blame this week for the Lions having nine defenders on the field during a critical third down in the fourth quarter last week that resulted in a big gain and a first down. But Austin said Thursday that it's his defense. Austin understands why Caldwell took the blame, but said it was a miscommunication issue, was his fault and he'd get it fixed. 

4. Graham Glasgow has played very well when asked to play center or guard this season, though he's probably been at his best when playing center. That being said, Cooter reiterated Thursday he has to play the best five linemen. In that case, Travis Swanson playing center and Glasgow playing left guard is the best scenario for the Lions.

5. Lions cornerbacks have to be very conscious about the skillsets of whichever Buccaneers receiver – DeSean Jackson or Mike Evans – they find themselves squared up against Sunday. Austin said Evans is going to try and be physical with them, and Jackson can take the top off the defense with his speed and route running. He said it's important to know the situation.

6. The offense wouldn't change a whole lot if Jake Rudock is pressed into action Sunday, according to Cooter. Detroit would highlight some of the things they think Rudock does best and play off his strengths, but Cooter said wholesale changes to the offense would not be needed.


7.** Austin continues to look for ways to get more pressure on opposing passers. The Lions didn't record a single sack last week in Baltimore, and have just 23 on the season. Austin says he has to be better putting players in position to pressure the quarterback, whether that's by blitzing or coming up with better games for the linemen to play upfront.

8. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was in Allen Park Wednesday for the Quick Lane Bowl press conference. Cutcliffe, who was Jim Bob Cooter's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee, had a lot of good things to say about Cooter, who showed the love right back to his former coach on Thursday, saying Cutcliffe taught him a lot, and had a huge impact on the coach he's become.

9. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston returned to action last week after sitting out a couple games with some shoulder soreness. Watching the tape, Austin said Winston had good zip on the ball, and came back making all the throws. Austin said it's imperative that they get Winston "out of rhythm."

10. Cooter couldn't put his finger on exactly what the deal has been the last month with all the slow starts. He said it's really been a number of different issues and not just one thing.

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