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. When asked what he's liked most about his defense the first two weeks, Glenn paused for a bit to think about it, then said the big steps forward some of the young players took from Week 1 to Week 2. If that continues to be a trend, Glenn thinks they have a chance to be a pretty good defense when it's all said and done.
2. Detroit's 69 offensive points scored are the most in the NFL through two games. But for how well that side of the ball has played early on, Johnson said no one is patting themselves on the back. In fact, Johnson said the first two weeks have shown them how far they still have to go. The passing game (ranked 10th) needs to catch up with the run game (third), and Johnson feels like they've left a lot of plays out there. That's good to hear if you're a Lions fan. They feel like they can still be much better on offense.
3. Head coach Dan Campbell really puts an emphasis on special teams, and Fipp said that makes his job easier because the players know how important it is to the head coach. Fipp also said the type of players Campbell and GM Brad Holmes wants to build this roster with – tough, versatility, gritty – translates well to special teams. Detroit's been one of the better overall special teams units the first two weeks of the season.
4. The Eagles limited Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson to just 48 yards last week. Glenn said they did a good job of always having a safety over the top, but mostly they just played hard and physical. There might be some things Glenn saw from Philly's defense he could apply this week. The Vikings do a good job of moving Jefferson around to create matchups. At the end of the day, Glenn has to count on his defensive backs to win some one-on-one matchups against Jefferson, but the expectation is that a safety will have an eye on that matchup.
5. Detroit's offense has seven 3 & out possessions in two games. It's the second most in the NFL through two weeks. Johnson referred to the 3 & outs as the offense's Achilles heel right now, and something that has been a big emphasis to correct moving forward.
6. Fipp said defensive lineman Charles Harris was pretty adamant he got a finger on the missed extra point last week that ended up being a big play in the game to keep it a two-score game late. It's always nice to see starters on offense or defense value the importance of special teams and wanting to make plays on teams.
7. Losing defensive lineman John Cominsky to a hand injury for an unspecified amount of time is a bigger loss than most people may think. Cominsky has led the team in quarterback pressures and set up sacks for others. He's also been strong in the run game. Glenn pointed to Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant as two players who could get more opportunities while Cominsky is out. Will they make the most of the opportunity?
8. What jumps out about Minnesota's new defense under new coordinator Ed Donatell? Johnson said it didn't take long after turning on the tape to see how the edge rushing duo of Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith can wreck a game. That's a great matchup this week between those two and Detroit's bookend tackle pairing of Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell.
9. Cornerback Jeff Okudah has had a good start to the 2022 season. He'll have a big test this week when he finds himself across from Jefferson. Glenn really likes how Okudah has accelerated his study habits in his third season and been more aggressive asking for hints from fellow cornerback Amani Oruwariye, Glenn and other coaches. Glenn likes how Okudah is trusting those tips and applying them on the field.
10. Johnson has always had an affinity for slot receivers dating back to his time in Miami, when Jarvis Landry was catching so many passes for the Dolphins in the slot. A good slot receiver is hard to eliminate, and that's a philosophy Johnson believes in. That's evident by the eight-game streak of eight-plus catches for Lions slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.