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. "Belief is a powerful drug," Glenn said Thursday. The Lions' defense was on the field late last week at a critical moment vs. the Packers with the game on the line. The defense came through, stopping Green Bay on 4th and 10 to win the game for Detroit. It was something Glenn said his defensive guys really needed to build confidence. It has carried over to practice this week, per Glenn, and he's hopeful it continues to carry over into the game on Sunday.
2. Why hasn't the Lions' offense been as high scoring the last month as they were the first month of the season? Johnson said it's been a lack of explosive plays. During the first month the offense was averaging more than eight explosives a contest. The last month it's been significantly lower. The last two games they had five against Dallas and four against Green Bay. The Lions measure explosive plays as a 12-yard-plus run or 16-yard-plus pass.
3. Fipp has over 15 years of NFL experience coaching special teams. He knows every stadium like the back of his hand. When it comes to kicking this week at Soldier Field in Chicago, Fipp said historically it's been easier to kick field goals at the north end of the stadium than it is the south end because of the wind conditions.
4. Don't be surprised to see Lions rookie pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson line up more inside moving forward. It's something Glenn said they've been experimenting with of late.
5. Running back Jamaal Williams doesn't have a flashy or sexy running style, according to Johnson, but he has been consistent and tough. He has held down the fort with D’Andre Swift battling ankle and shoulder injuries all season. Detroit ranks 9th running the football (134.1 per game), and Williams is on track for his first 1,000-yard rushing season.
6. Long snapper Scott Daly has had a couple low snaps the last few weeks, including last week against the Packers on the missed extra point the Lions got away with because of a running into the kicker penalty on Green Bay. Fipp explained that play Thursday.
"He thought he was being triggered to snap the ball and he wasn't and tried to kind of hold it back and so he ended up rolling it back there," Fipp said.
Fipp said he doesn't have any concerns with Daly moving forward. He's been good snapping the ball the last year and a half.
7. With as explosive a rushing threat as Chicago quarterback Justin Fields is (602 yards & 4 TDs), Glenn said discipline has been the word this week for his defense. Discipline in their approach and discipline in their rush lanes playing an option-style quarterback that can run. Glenn said they must push and condense the pocket.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.
8. Johnson said he has a ton of confidence in young tight ends Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra. Both Mitchell and Zylstra had their first career touchdown catches in the win over Green Bay last week. The more that trio gets on the field the more they're going to grow and become bigger contributors, Johnson said.
9. Fipp and the Lions are finding more special teams reps for cornerback Amani Oruwariye now that he's not playing as many defensive reps. Fipp likes Oruwariye's length and speed. He sees the potential to use those traits to maybe block some kicks or affect kickers moving forward.
10. Fields has gotten a lot of credit for Chicago's recent success on offense (94 points last three weeks) but Glenn was quick to point out the challenge Detroit's defense has this week trying to contain Chicago's talented running back duo of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. The two are the Bears' version of thunder and lightning. Herbert is averaging 6.0 yards per carry with four touchdowns on the year. Fields, Herbert and Montgomery have combined to rush for 1,585 yards and 10 touchdowns.