Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Tuesday following last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers and ahead of Sunday’s matchup in Philadelphia with the Eagles.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. From one defensive coordinator to another, Pasqualoni was asked about Jim Schwartz’s defense in Philadelphia. Pasqualoni called Philly’s defense “very, very aggressive” and masters of creating negative plays. The Eagles do a nice job mirroring rush and coverage, per Pasqualoni, so Bevell should have his work cut out scheming against them this week.
2. Bevell also used the word “aggressive” in describing Philadelphia’s defensive scheme. Bevell said the hard thing about this week’s matchup is that Schwartz has the personnel to really get after the quarterback, but can also change at a moment and go full coverage.
3. The Eagles suffered injuries to some key players on offense Sunday night in Atlanta, including wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Pasqualoni said Detroit is preparing as if those guys will play, and will adjust if they don’t.
4. Asked about rookie running back Ty Johnson and his increased role vs. the Chargers, Bevell said he’s trying to get his best players on the field. Johnson averaged 6.0 yards per carry last Sunday and had a nice 17-yard run. Interestingly, after the Bevell conference call, the Lions announced the release of veteran running back C.J. Anderson after claiming running back Paul Perkins off waivers from the Giants. In the short term, it seems like that will mean more action for Johnson behind starter Kerryon Johnson.
5. Veteran cornerback Rashaan Melvin has played pretty well opposite Darius Slay in his first two games with Detroit, which is something Pasqualoni didn’t seem surprised by when asked about Melvin on the call. He said Melvin is a heck of a competitor, and a real pro the way he prepares during the week and comes ready to play on Sunday. Melvin has five pass defenses through the first two games of the season, tied with cornerback Robert Baily (five in 1999) for the most pass defenses a player has had through two games in team history.
6. Second-year tackle Tyrell Crosby had to step in at left tackle last week against a good Chargers front. Bevell said he was really pleased with the performance. Crosby didn’t give up a quarterback hit or sack filling in for Taylor Decker (back).
7. What has rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai shown Pasqualoni through two games?
“I think Tavai is really showing us that this NFL game is not too big for him,” Pasqualoni said. “He’ll get better, and better, and better the more he plays. The more he sees, the better he’s going to be. Like a lot of young guys, he’s a work in progress. He is really getting better each week.”
8. Two Eagles players Bevell is definitely focused in on this week are talented veteran defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. Bevell said the biggest thing when playing those two is trying to control their penetration into the backfield.
9. One player on the Eagles' offense that seems to worry Pasqualoni is veteran tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz caught a record 116 passes for Philadelphia last season. It will be interesting to see how Pasqualoni and the Lions scheme to try and stop a player who is such a difficult matchup week-in and week-out for opposing defenses.
10. Bevell called fullback Nick Bawden a “tone setter” and “hammer” for his offense. Bevell likes what Bawden brings to the position. Bawden missed all of his rookie season last year with a knee injury.