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 conference calls:

1. When asked about the Dallas Cowboys' defense, Cooter said the Cowboys play good team defense, but said their defensive line starts everything with how active and penetrating of a front it is.

2. When asked about the Cowboys' offense, Pasqualoni talked specifically about running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott, and both of their ability to run the football as being something his defense has to look out for. Prescott is averaging 6.1 yards per run when he takes off with it. Elliott is averaging 5.7 yards per rush. The Cowboys currently rank seventh in the NFL in rushing (132.7 ypg).

3. The Cowboys could be without MIKE linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) on Sunday. Cooter said that would be a big loss for the Cowboys if he doesn’t play. Cooter talked about Lee being so good at checking the calls on defense based on the quarterback checks, and said Lee plays the game cerebrally with the quarterback, which is part of the reason he’s so good.

4. The Lions are third in the NFL with 10 sacks on the year and have yet to be called for a roughing the passer penalty. That’s obviously a hot topic in the NFL right now. Pasqualoni said the Lions probably don’t teach their defenders anything different than any of the other teams. He said his guys have just done a good job of not putting their weight on the quarterback or driving them into the ground.

5. “Impressive group effort,” is the way Cooter described the play of his offensive line against the Patriots. He wouldn’t signal any one player out because he thought all five guys played well, and that’s why it looked the way it did Sunday both in the run game and pass protection.

6. There’s talk in Dallas that there might be a change in who makes the offensive play calls next week. Who is making the calls doesn’t really change anything for Pasqualoni this week. He’ll just focus on the Cowboys' players and concepts. It doesn’t really affect anything he does from a preparation standpoint if the Cowboys decide to change play callers.

7. The Lions are just 3-of-10 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, which ranks last in the NFL. When asked about the offensive struggles down there, Cooter said he has to do a better job getting to the right calls at the right times, and when they have the right call, it needs to be executed better on the field. It’s an issue that seems to be a point of emphasis right now.

8. The Cowboys are probably the best team in the NFL using the stretch zone running scheme because of the combination of Elliott and an athletic offensive line that can move. The Lions will have to be tough against a bruising Cowboys run game this week.

9. Guard Frank Ragnow played his best game as a professional Sunday vs. New England. Cooter expects the rookie to continue getting better and better every week as he gets more reps and feels more comfortable with what’s going on in front of him.

10. Pasqualoni’s received a lot of early contributions from new players like Eli Harold and Romeo Okwara. Those players came in with a terrific fundamentals and techniques base, and that’s allowed them to assimilate pretty quickly, according to Pasqualoni.

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