Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni spoke to the media Thursday as the Lions kicked off training camp in Allen Park with veteran players reporting for duty.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. Cooter is hoping to see big improvements in the run game this year, and says working with offensive line coach Jeff Davidson has been very positive so far. The pair watched all the film from the last two seasons, and talked through philosophy and scheme. The result of those conversations has been that some of the small details have changed within the scheme. Cooter is looking forward to the first padded practice, so he can start to really evaluate the changes he's made to the running schemes.
2. Pasqualoni has known Matt Patricia a long time dating back to their time together at Syracuse. He said he's always known Patricia to be a passionate and high-energy coach, but one of the things he's learned about Patricia as a first-time head coach is how prepared he is. The details are very important to Patricia, whether that's in the meeting room or on the practice field.
3. Cooter has been the Lions offensive coordinator for two and half seasons now, and says he's grown as a play caller over that period "quite a bit." Football is a simple and yet complex game, according to Cooter, and learning what are good passing concepts against certain coverages and identifying good run concepts against certain defensive fronts is the never ending evolution of a play caller in the NFL.
"My plan is to get better in every area," he said.
4. Ziggy Ansah is starting the season on the PUP list, but Pasqualoni doesn't seem too concerned about it at this point. It's been Pasqualoni's belief throughout his coaching career that there's a level of responsibility injured players have to continue to prepare themselves to be ready to play. He believes injured players should never miss a rep mentally. He expects Ansah won't miss any mental reps, and will be ready to go when physically able.
5. This is an interesting time in technology with all the different information available to coaches and players. Cooter said there's a lot of stuff they can do with players they couldn't do in the past, whether that's different cameras or tracking chips or how film and cut-ups are now readily available via tablets. He said it's on the coaches and the whole organization to keep up with the latest technological trends.
6. The Lions have good depth at a number of positions on defense, but Pasqualoni is waiting to reserve judgement on exactly how deep his unit might be until the pads come on and they start working their way through camp. His philosophy is to practice hard, work hard and let the cream rise to the top.
7. Cooter loves training camp for the simple fact that for a couple weeks players and coaches are isolated from the distractions of normal life with only football on their mind. It's a chance, as Cooter puts it, to be "all in" on football.
8. There are three things in particular Pasqualoni wants his defense to be. "I want to see tough. I want to see smart. And I want to see really well conditioned guys."
9. One of the exciting parts of training camp for Cooter every year is that it always seems like one player steps up and stands out that maybe he wasn't expecting. He doesn't know who that will be this year, but he knows there will be someone that surprises him. That's one of the fun parts about training camp.
10. Both coordinators talked with anticipation about the first padded practice. Cooter said the evaluations for him really start when the pads come on. Pasqualoni said he'll start to really know what kind of defense he's working with once his players are padded. There's a two-day acclimation period before the pads come on, which means we could see pads on players as early as Sunday.