Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp spoke to the media Thursday as they do every week. Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from those media sessions:
1. Glenn said he's looking forward to rookie linebacker Jack Campbell being the mouthpiece for his defense this week if veteran Alex Anzalone (hand) can't play. Glenn said Campbell is a 'true' MIKE, and there are times in the meeting room when he'll ask Anzalone not to say anything and the next voice to speak up is Campbell. The Lions will need the rookie to play well Sunday and get them into the right plays and checks if Anzalone isn't available.
2. Johnson said second-year wide receiver Jameson Williams continues to get more and more comfortable every week.
"He's getting better every week. You see it and because of that, the way he's practicing, the way he's preparing and the way he's playing on side, because of that, his reps are going up," Johnson said.
"And so, he continues to get out there and the ball's going to just start gravitating to him just a little bit more than it already has. But he's doing a really nice job, and he just needs to continue to put in the work, like he's doing right now and good things will happen."
3. Special teams units usually have the biggest roster turnover from year to year just because it's a majority of backups typically playing on teams. But Fipp said one of the unique things about the Saints' special teams is they have a number of players with three and four years of experience and that makes them overall a really experienced group. He said they've mixed some young players in really well and overall, they are a really good special teams that doesn't make a lot of mistakes.
4. Glenn knows Saints all-everything weapon Taysom Hill very well from Glenn's time as the defensive backs coach in New Orleans. Hill is such a versatile player for the Saints with his ability to be a passer, rusher and receiver. Glenn said it will be important for his defense to always know where Hill is lined up and to play their defensive cues really well, especially in the red zone.
5. Johnson considered the performance of his offensive line on Thanksgiving a bit of an anomaly. Detroit gave up three sacks and 12 hits on quarterback Jared Goff.
"I know our guys, they're going to respond really well," Johnson said. "It was not the best game up front that we've had, really in the last year and a half it'd be on the bottom end of that. They know that. And really, it showed up I think more on critical situations. Great learning opportunity for us. We've got to have our best stuff each and every week."
6. Speaking of Hill, Fipp said the Saints will use him as the personal protector on the punt team and that's an element to their fake game Fipp and the special teams players have to be aware of because of Hill's ability to run it or throw it. Saints punter Lou Hedley is an Australian punter who boots to the right before he kicks, and that's another added element Detroit's players on special teams have to work on this week.
7. Who is the player upfront on defense Glenn thinks needs to step up alongside Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill? He said it was second-year lineman Josh Paschal. Glenn liked some things he saw on tape from Paschal against Green Bay. Paschal now needs to take it to the next level and unlock more of his pass-rush ability, according to Glenn.
8. Johnson said rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker did a good job in his practice debut Wednesday. Johnson said he could tell Hooker was fired up and joked that he threw about a million passes. He thinks joining practice will really accelerate Hooker's learning curve.
9. Fipp took the blame for the 4th & 4 fake punt that didn't work vs. Green Bay. It ended up being a big play in the game as it gave Green Bay a short field to score a touchdown. Fipp said he didn't do a good enough job preparing his guys to execute that look and also lamented the execution of the play in a couple areas.
"For me, at the end of the day we let (Dan Campbell) down and didn't execute well enough to get the job done," Fipp said. There's a lot of things that go into that but mostly falls on my shoulders. I have to do a better job getting them ready to play that play no matter what the look is."
10. How do the Lions improve their 30th ranked red zone defense? Glenn said it's really as simple as winning more of their one-on-one matchups defensively. Things are tight in the red zone and it's hard to play zone a lot of times. Glenn said in the end it comes down to his players winning more of their matchups, which he hopes they do this week in New Orleans.