Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Wednesday ahead of the team’s bye this weekend.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. What’s one thing Bevell’s liked about his offense through four games and one thing he’d like to see get better moving forward?
Like: The diversity of weapons and number of go-to guys that have stepped up and made big plays and had big performances early on.
Dislike: Too many turnovers. He especially lamented the two inside the Kansas City 10-yard line last week. Cleaning up the turnovers will be a point of emphasis for Bevell moving forward.
2. What’s one thing Pasqualoni has liked about his defense through four games and one thing he’d like to see get better moving forward?
Like: How hard his defense has played and the effort they’ve given to be in every game so far down to the last possession.
Dislike: He says they have to get better with individual details and fundamentals. He said if players take more care of the little things then the big things will start taking care of themselves.
3. In describing his offensive style before the season, Bevell said he wanted to be an offense that was physical, focused on running the ball and explosive in the passing game. They’ve been that pretty much to a tee through four games. Detroit’s been a team that’s consistently stayed with the run, even when it wasn’t going as good as Bevell might have liked, and they are certainly explosive in the passing game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is pushing the ball down the field at the best clip of his career.
4. Pasqualoni said he made the call to rush three and drop eight on the 4th and 8 play last week because Kansas City had so many good players on the field, he thought that was his best shot to get one more stop. He entertained the idea of coming after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a moment, but thought he could get one more stop playing the coverage he did. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way when Mahomes scrambled for 15 yards and a first down.
5. Bevell thought running back Kerryon Johnson was much more decisive and physical running with the football last week. He said Johnson had the best game of the season last week in his 125-yard performance against the Chiefs.
6. Detroit’s defense is holding opposing passers to the second worst passer rating among all defenses this season. That’s pretty impressive given the quarterbacks the Lions have faced early on. Detroit’s done that with not a lot of blitzing and a good amount of three-man rushes. Are Patricia and Pasqualoni on to something here?
7. Bevell was pretty impressed with the Stafford touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Golladay where Stafford threaded the needle between four defenders to fit the ball to Golladay. Bevell talked about the anticipation and precision that takes. He also said a throw that was just as impressive to him as the Golladay one last week was two weeks ago on a sideline pass to wide receiver Danny Amendola for a key third-down conversion. If you go back and watch that throw, it is some terrific anticipation by Stafford to make the throw before Amendola was even looking or on his spot.
8. The Lions have faced the No. 1 overall pick in Kyler Murray, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and the reigning MVP Mahomes as opposing quarterbacks. That’s a pretty good collection so far. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is next, who Pasqualoni called a “Hall of Fame kind of guy.” He described his job preparing for Rodgers in two weeks on Monday Night Football as “no box of chocolates.”
9. Both players and coaches have talked for weeks about how close they thought they were in the run game, and how they just needed all 11 players on the same page. Bevell thought they really got the message last week and it’s why Detroit was able to run for 186 yards as a team. We’ll see if it carries over to Green Bay Week 6.
10. Asked about his defensive line play, Pasqualoni said the big thing is really getting all the parts back healthy and playing together. The two missing right now are Mike Daniels (foot) and Da’Shawn Hand (elbow). Pasqualoni is hopeful they can all get back sometime in the next quarter of the season, and then he’ll really know what he’s got upfront.