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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 is the hallmark of Austin's defense this season? The fourth-year coordinator was asked that question Thursday, and said the two things this year's unit can hang their hat on is that they're a resilient bunch that can turn the ball over. 

2. When asked about what could be the 10th different starting offensive line combination of the season for the Lions Sunday in Cincinnati, Cooter made the point that every team deals with injuries, and it's just a part of the game. He even said there can be advantages down the line of so many players getting in the mix and getting experience. Sure, the Lions would love to start the same five players upfront every week, but in this league, it's just not realistic.

3. The Lions continue to get rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis pass-coverage reps in practice, though Davis doesn't play those reps in the game much anymore. Austin said Davis will continue to improve as a cover man, but he's very happy with the way he plays the run.

4. Cooter perked up a bit when asked about rookie cornerback and return man Jamal Agnew, who's been playing a limited role on offense. Cooter is exploring more ways they can use Agnew on offense, especially now that defenses are paying more attention to him when he's in the game.

5. Veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney has yet to show up on the stat sheet since joining the Lions, but Austin said Freeney has had some productive rushes, and thinks the stats will come, suggesting that could be Sunday in Cincinnati.

6. Matthew Stafford has been sacked the second most times in the NFL this season, but he's also avoided 20 sacks, which is the most in the league. Cooter said he has to do a better job protecting Stafford, whether that's scheme or playing calling. Stafford is getting hit too much for Cooter's liking. 

7. The Bengals may not be heading to the playoffs, and their offense has struggled mightily the last few weeks, but Austin still expects Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green to give his defense all it can handle Sunday. The Green vs. Darius Slay matchup should be a fun one to watch all afternoon.

8. Graham Glasgow has played both guard and center this year, and his transition from guard to center was seemless. It's because Glasgow is an extremely intelligent football player, according to Cooter.

9. When asked about second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel and the player he's become with 6.5 sacks this season, Austin described Zettel as a "grind it out kind of player." Austin thinks he's tough, hard-nosed and versatile.

10. Running back Theo Riddick has taken on a bigger role in the offense the last couple weeks, and it sounds like Cooter expects that to continue. He thinks Riddick's done well with the increased duties, and hopes that continues Sunday vs. the Bengals.

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