Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Tuesday following last week's win over the Philadelphia Eagles and ahead of Sunday's matchup at Ford Field vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. The Lions have seen a lot of eight-man defensive fronts early this season, partly because of some of the personnel groupings Detroit features, like 12 personnel. While it's obviously tougher to run against an eight-man front, putting the extra man in the box is a double-edged sword for the defense in the passing game. Bevell said they've been able to take advantage with defenses being a man down in the back end. Pick your poison, I guess?
2. Second-year safety Tracy Walker did a nice job on Eagles tight end Zach Ertz when the two were matched up against each other last week. Walker didn't give up a single catch to Ertz while covering him. Could we see Walker get some opportunities to cover Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce this week? Pasqualoni wasn't about to disclose the game plan on defense, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Walker and Kelce one-on-one a few times come Sunday.
3. Detroit's offense hasn't gotten much going on the ground the first two weeks. We talked about the eight-man fronts they're seeing, but Bevell likes the direction it's heading. The issue he's seeing is 10 players doing things right, and one that's not. It's not just an offensive line issue, either. The tight ends, receivers and backs have to be better in the run game. Last week there were breakdowns in the run game from every level, and most of the time it was one man not doing his part.
4. Pasqualoni said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes "ranks up there" among some of the best talents he's seen at the quarterback position. That's quite the compliment from someone who's coached as long as Pasqualoni has. Pasqualoni particularly likes how Mahomes sees the field, has a unique ability to extend plays, and the ability to put the ball anywhere on the field. All of it together is a pretty nice package for a quarterback.
5. The Lions have had four different 100-yard, one-touchdown receiving performances in the first three games. Bevell said that allows quarterback Matthew Stafford to go through his progressions and his reads with confidence. First read not there, go to the next, and the next, knowing he's got a number of different players who can step up and make a play for him. Mostly, he doesn't have to force it to one or two playmakers like some other clubs.
6. Detroit's gotten their hands on six passes upfront already this season. Pasqualoni passed the credit for that to defensive line coach Bo Davis and linebackers coach Al Golden for making it a point of emphasis in the offseason.
7. When people think of the Chiefs, they usually think about their offense. When asked about the Chiefs' defense, Bevell pointed out three players the Lions have to pay attention to and know where they are – nose tackle Chris Jones, defensive end Frank Clark and strong safety Tyrann Mathieu.
8. When going up against a great offense like the Chiefs – Kansas City is averaging 33.7 points and 487.0 yards per game – there is pressure on the opposing offense to perform. Bevell admitted it. For him, that's just not just holding on to the ball and playing keep away from the Chiefs, either. He knows Detroit is going to have to score some points Sunday. Detroit's averaging 22.3 points per game on the season and will likely need more than that if they want to win.
9. Talking about last week's offensive performance, the drive that really bothered Bevell was early in the fourth quarter. The Lions were ahead 27-17 with 13:02 left on the clock. Detroit started the series on the Eagle's 48-yard line. Bevell said the game could have really been different had Detroit executed better there and gotten points instead of going 3 & out.
10. After catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown Week 1, rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson has just one catch in each of the last two games. Bevell said Hockenson has kept an even-keel demeanor through the ups and the downs. Hockenson knows he's left some plays on the field the last two weeks, but Bevell isn't worried about him. Don't be surprised if he has some more opportunities Sunday against Kansas City's 24th ranked defense.