Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Tuesday following last week’s tie in Arizona and ahead of Sunday’s matchup at Ford Field with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. Asked about the timeout called late in the game Sunday in Arizona on a 3rd and 5 play that negated what would have been a first down, Bevell said head coach Matt Patricia calls all timeouts on the sideline. Patricia called it with the play clock running down because they wanted to stay in 3rd & 5, and not get a delay penalty that would have pushed them back to 3rd & 10.
2. The play coming out of the timeout ended up being an incomplete pass to wide receiver Kenny Golladay on a deep ball. Bevell declined to get into the specifics of the play or what they were trying to do, but admitted they could have put themselves in a better situation to execute in that moment. It was a got-to-have-it situation for the Lions. Bevell said he got what he expected from Arizona’s defense in terms of them bring pressure and playing man coverage in the secondary.
3. The challenges when facing veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers this week vs. Kyler Murray last week for Detroit’s defense are night and day. The Lions don’t have to worry so much about Rivers getting out of the pocket and making plays with his feet, but as a 16-year vet, they do have to worry about facing a player who understands coverages, protections and how to shift protections. It’s a different challenge, but still a difficult one, when it comes to pressuring the quarterback this week.
4. Rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai played more than 60 snaps in his NFL debut and didn’t look out of place. Pasqualoni said Tavai had a very good showing, and proved the moment wasn’t too big for him. That’s obviously good news for Detroit’s defense moving forward.
5. The Lions ran for 116 yards in Arizona, but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. After watching the film, Bevell said he thought they left some big runs on the field. There were a couple times if a blocker had gotten just a little more of a defender or held their block a touch longer, or the backs had to pick their feet up going through the hole, they could have busted a couple big ones. In the end, it’s a game of inches, and the Lions certainly would like more consistency from the run game this week.
6. Asked about the success Arizona had in the fourth quarter offensively, Pasqualoni thought it really came down to Arizona hitting a couple key third downs and making some deep contested catches.
View photos of Detroit Lions players building rockets with students from Detroit Lions Academy as part of Season Launch Week presented by Rocket Mortgage Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Allen Park, Mich.
7. The Lions faced two pretty good edge rushers last week in Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs. There’s no reprieve this week with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram coming to town for the Chargers. Los Angeles moves those two around quite a bit, and Bevell said that challenges an offense.
8. Expect a much different rush plan from the Lions facing Rivers this week. He’s more of a stationary target, and that changes things a bit.
9. How concerned is Bevell about the play of left tackle Taylor Decker last week? He said he was no more concerned than Decker was. Bevell called Decker a prideful player and team leader. He expects Decker to come back this week against the Chargers and be at his best.
10. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson had a great debut with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Bevell said it was a nice debut, but now opposing defenses have seen Detroit’s personnel and how they play in the offense. They will try to build a plan to slow Hockenson down. While Bevell is excited about Hockenson's performance, there’s still a lot for the rookie to learn and get ready for.