Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Tuesday following last week’s bye and ahead of this week’s matchup in Green Bay on Monday Night Football with the Packers.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. There’s always some self-evaluation that takes place over the bye week. When Pasqualoni took a look at his defense’s performance over the first month of the season, the one thing that stood out to him is that they have to do better stopping the run. Detroit ranks 20th in rush defense, allowing 124.8 yards per game. They're allowing a 4.8-yard average per rush attempt.
2. Bevell refers to new Packers edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith as the “Smith Brothers,” and sees them show up on tape over and over again. He described them as active and long. They add a different dimension to the Packers' defense. The two have combined for 33 tackles and 10.5 sacks in five games.
3. The Packers are running a new offense under head coach Matt LaFleur, and that can be tough to prepare for early in the season. Pasqualoni has spent most of his time over the bye looking at Green Bay’s first four games.
4. Bevell and the Lions’ offense get no breaks when it comes to the defenses in the NFC North. He said he doesn’t remember a time in the division when every defense was this strong. He said it really starts on the edges as the Packers, Vikings and Bears are all very good on the edge. Detroit plays division opponents Green Bay and Minnesota the next two weeks.
5. Green Bay rushed for 120 yards in a win over Dallas this past weekend, and Packers running back Aaron Jones has eight rushing touchdowns in just five games. It’s making the Packers’ play-action game really tough to defend, according to Pasqualoni, who said the Lions will really have to bring their “A” game defensively Monday night.
6. Lions running back Kerryon Johnson has run the ball very effectively the last two games. Bevell said he can really see Johnson starting to trust the scheme and be more decisive in his running. He’s making one cut and getting to the hole. And when he’s there, he’s breaking tackles and running through arm tackles, something he was maybe a little hesitant in doing early in the year. Bevell really seems to like the way Johnson is playing right now.
7. Look out for a lot of multiple personnel groupings by the Packers on offense. They’re a lot like the Lions in that regard.
8. When asked about the job the Lions interior offense line is doing through the first month of the season, Bevell used the word consistency to describe the group – Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins.
9. Along with the use of multiple personnel groupings, one of the big differences in Green Bay’s offense is the pre-snap movement. That can put some stress on the defense. Communication is key in that regard.
10. The Packers are plus-seven in the turnover differential. Bevell knows they’ll have to put an emphasis on protecting the ball this week against an opponent that doesn’t turn it over often, and has been good at creating chances for their offense.