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 said he’s seeing progress in the run game, and it’s encouraging they’ve been able to help the team win with the run game. The improvements he’s seeing in that department have also helped him as a play caller because he’s seeing defenses play them much more straight up than in the past.
2. Detroit’s run defense has been its biggest Achilles heel this season. The Lions are last in the NFL defending the run (145.8). Pasqualoni said the issues don’t belong to one position group, but to all 11 guys on defense. He also said the No. 1 statistic he focuses on is the score. The Lions rank 26th in points allowed (27.4).
3. Kenny Golladay is quickly becoming a star at receiver in his second season, but Cooter says he’s not surprised at all by the success Golladay is having because he gets to see Golladay work at it every day. He said Golladay goes about his business “the right way.”
4. The biggest thing Pasqualoni pointed out about the run defense was that in victories over New England and Green Bay, the Lions didn’t give up any big runs.
“It’s amazing in those games where you don’t give up those big plays how well you do,” he said.
5. Cooter had a little fun when asked about getting fullback Nick Bellore out of the red in receiving yards this season. The linebacker turned fullback has one catch for minus-five yards.
“No comment on the route tree of the fullback,” Cooter said with a smile. “We’ve got a nice playbook page in here somewhere with a lot of good-looking routes, so this might be a good week to try them out. We’ll see.”
6. If Jamal Agnew does in fact miss significant time with a knee injury, Pasqualoni likes the versatility Nevin Lawson could provide the defense. Lawson began his career in the slot, though he’s played the majority of his time on the outside the last couple years. Could he be an option to move inside to replace Agnew?
7. Wide receiver Golden Tate made a terrific block to help LeGarrette Blount into the end zone for his second touchdown Sunday after being motioned into a lead blocker role. Cooter said he’s been hearing from Tate since the play about how good of a blocker he is. Cooter already knew that, though. He said all of Detroit’s receivers do a good job blocking in the run game, and it’s part of the reason they’ve seen improvements in that area.
8. This is a good self-reflection week. During the couple practices the Lions will hold before breaking for the bye week, Pasqualoni said he plans for the scout-team offense to run all the big plays offenses have hit on them to correct mistakes because he expects to see more of those plays after the bye.
9. If the Agnew knee injury turns out to be significant, Cooter said the Lions will have staff-wide discussions every week on who is expected to be active for the game and playing in what roles. That will all be part of the decision-making process in deciding who replaces Agnew at punt return, if needed, if it’s an offensive player like Ameer Abdullah, Golden Tate or TJ Jones.
10. Pasqualoni is of the opinion that the sack statistic is way overblown. While sacks are obviously great to get for the defense, he says he grades a play where the quarterback is affected by pressure and has to throw it away or if pressure forces a timing issue and a pass goes incomplete on third down just the same as he does a sack.