Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media Tuesday following last week's win over the New York Giants and ahead of this week's matchup in Oakland with the Raiders.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. Bevell dipped into his bag of tricks last week in the Giants game for a fourth-quarter touchdown: A pitch to running back J.D. McKissic and a pass back to Matthew Stafford, and then a 41-yard touchdown strike from Stafford to wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Bevell said his bag of trick plays is pretty extensive, but it's always about feel and execution. He wants to see them executed in practice and then he just has to have a good feel for when to call them in the game.
2. "Stout" & "thick" were some of the adjectives Pasqualoni used to describe Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who is a powerful back that can not only break tackles, but make also defenders miss in the open field. Jacobs is averaging 5.0 yards per carry with 620 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Detroit's defense will have their work cut out for them trying to contain Jacobs and the Raiders' rushing attack this week.
3. What is Bevell's favorite memory of playing in Oakland, which the Lions will do Sunday for the last time before the Raiders move to Las Vegas? It was back in 2003, when he was with the Packers and quarterback Brett Favre torched the Raiders for 399 yards and four touchdowns the day after Favre's dad passed away. "Angels on the field helping us," Bevell said.
4. Detroit can't seem to cut a break in terms of facing great tight ends week after week. Darren Waller will be another test this week. He's 6-foot-6, and can run and block. He leads the Raiders with 46 catches for 496 yards on the season. He also has three touchdowns. It will be interesting to see if Lions safety Tracy Walker, who's dealing with a knee injury, practices this week. Walker has been Detroit's primary defender on opposing tight ends this season.
5. Detroit's young running backs who are being asked to carry the load in the run game for the injured Kerryon Johnson are a "work in progress," according the Bevell. He thinks it will help their confidence moving forward that the Lions didn't add a running back to the mix at the trade deadline. Bevell still likes the collection of skill sets back there, but he does need more from them moving forward.
6. In watching Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on tape, Pasqualoni said it's really easy to see that he's much more comfortable in Jon Gruden's system in year two. Carr really looks confident running the offense.
7. Oakland is an unfamiliar opponent for the Lions. Bevell said when watching them on defense, the one thing that really stood out to him was the way they defended the run. The Raiders are ninth in the NFL against the run, allowing on average 92.9 yards per game. The run game is obviously where Bevell and the Lions want to start on offense, so they'll have to find a way to be good there and not become one dimensional.
8. Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand made his 2019 debut last week after missing the first six games with an elbow injury. Pasqualoni thought Hand fit in well, and thinks he'll continue to get better the more he gets back into the swing of things.
9. The Lions were good on third down last week vs. New York (8-of-14), and threw on every one they had. Bevell said throwing on every third down last week was partly a product of the distance to gain, but he did say that the team has a lot of confidence in the way Stafford is playing and the way the offensive line is protecting him.
10. Tackling was an issue last week vs. the Giants. Granted, Saquon Barkley and Golden Tate are tough to tackle, but Pasqualoni said his guys need to continue to get better at being where they need to be, having their knees bent and heads up when they get there, and getting ball carriers on the ground.