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10 takeaways from Cooter & Pasqualoni

Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke to the media Tuesday.

Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:

1. Cooter admits the offense has had to change a lot this year because of injuries and roster moves. The NFL is all about adapting and adjusting. Cooter said Tuesday that is not about philosophy but reality, meaning this isn't the offense he had probably envisioned, but it's the one he has to employ with the personnel he has.

"Once you get to this point in the season you better just adjust," he said. "It's the week that it is. We've got the roster that we got. Let's go draw up a winning game plan. Let's go find a way to help our team win whatever manner that looks like. That's the job.

"You better not live in the philosophical and academic world. You better go live in reality right now and sort of find a way to win the game. That's what we did last week and that's what we have to do this week."

2. Why has the Lions' defense been playing so well of late? Pasqualoni chalked it up to two things. The communication has been much better all around and they've been able to minimize the big plays allowed over the last month and a half.

3. Running back Zach Zenner gave the Lions' run game a real boost in the fourth quarter Sunday, and we could see some more of him moving forward. Cooter said he's never been around a more unique player both physically and mentally than Zenner. Cooter said Zenner works harder than any player he's ever been around.

4. Rookie safety Tracy Walker played 43 snaps Sunday, his most extended work of the season. Pasqualoni said that's really a product of him maturing this season, and understanding his role and taking advantage of opportunities when he gets them. Pasqualoni also said Walker has been smart to attach himself to the hip of veteran Glover Quin this whole year to learn the ropes. It's also a credit to Quin and the other veteran safeties that they've welcomed Walker.

5. Reserve offensive lineman Joe Dahl (6-4, 305) played as an extra blocker upfront and even some fullback when Nick Bellore aggravated his ankle injury in Arizona. If not for Dahl and his versatility at 305 pounds, the Lions wouldn't have been able to make a few of the calls on their call sheet Sunday.

6. Pasqualoni admitted he's been "pleasantly surprised" by the contributions he's received from guys like Romeo Okwara and Eli Harold, two players acquired right before the season began. Okwara leads the team with 6.5 sacks on the year. Harold has 4.0. Credit Bob Quinn for identifying two players that fit the scheme. They've worked out nicely in Detroit.

7. Tyrell Crosby held his own against the Cardinals while replacing right tackle Rick Wagner (concussion). Crosby is a pretty steady-minded guy, according to Cooter, and that serves him well. It wasn't perfect for Crosby, but he handled his business, and in doing so is gaining the confidence of the coaching staff.

8. Pasqualoni has seen some pretty good dual threat quarterbacks throughout the years. The Lions have faced a number of good ones this year in Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Mitchell Trubisky to name a few. But Pasqualoni puts Buffalo's Josh Allen right there at the top of the list. Allen leads Buffalo with 490 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the year. He's a big guy with speed, and he has a strong arm. The Lions will have to be very aware of his ability to run Sunday in Buffalo.

9. Cooter seemed pretty impressed by Buffalo's defense that ranks 1st in the NFL overall, first against the pass and ninth against the run. It could be another game Sunday where points come at a premium.

10. The Lions are playing fast on defense. It takes time to get familiar with the complexity of the new schemes put in and the multiplicity of the formations and personnel groupings. At this point in the season, there really seems to be a comfort level on defense between the players and the schemes.

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