Skip to main content

10 takeaways from Glenn, Johnson & Fipp

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp spoke to the media Wednesday. Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from those media sessions:

1. Expect to see more of veteran cornerback Kindle Vildor Saturday vs. Denver. Glenn said Vildor is a smart player and calming presence at the position. Glenn isn't giving up on Jerry Jacobs but wants to work Vildor into the game more.

2. Johnson said one area where they've trended backwards as an offense in recent weeks is in their base passing package. The things that are staples in the pass game that just haven't been up to their standard the last month or so. Johnson said there's been an emphasis on those fundamentals this week, but he said they've also tweaked some things in their base package as well.

3. Fipp said the emphasis in his room this week has been preparing for anything and everything when it comes to this matchup with Denver and the aggressive play calling of head coach Sean Payton. Denver opened the season with an onside kick. We all remember the onside kick to open the second half of the Super Bowl when he was in New Orleans. Detroit's special teams have to be ready for anything Saturday night.

4. What does Glenn see on tape from Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson?

"I think he's playing confident," he said. "I think what the coaching staff has done with him, is build a system that he's comfortable (in) and allowing him to use his legs still, allowing him to throw the deep ball which he's always been really, really good at. So, that's something that we have to be very aware of in the secondary."

5. What stands out to Johnson about Denver's defense? The takeaways. They lead the NFL with 24 takeaways, and Johnson said he can really tell from the tape Denver's defensive coaches emphasize getting them. Ball security is a big emphasis for Detroit's offense this week. Johnson also said Denver's defense has been No. 1 in the NFL over the last seven games on third down. They are No. 2 overall on third down defense this season, holding opponents to a conversion percentage of just 32.3.

6. The Lions have been so good on special teams this season that when they miss an extra point, have a bad snap or allow a big return it sticks out. When they do all three in the same game as they did last week in Chicago, it really sticks out. Fipp admitted they didn't meet the high standard they have in that room last week and it's up to every player and coach to look at themselves this week, take accountability and raise the standard back up.

7. Glenn has dialed back rookie Brian Branch's role a little bit so Branch can focus on what he does best, which is playing nickel cornerback. Branch had also been playing some safety and Glenn just wants him to focus on the nickel and being a playmaker like we've seen him be from that spot this season.

8. Johnson still thinks quarterback Jared Goff is playing at a high level despite the uptick in turnovers over the last month. He said what he doesn't want is for Goff to lose his aggressiveness. Johnson used the tight-window 4th & 3 completion to wide receiver Donovan People-Jones that gained 17 yards last week as an example.

9. Marvin Mims Jr. is a dynamic returner for the Broncos averaging 31.0 yards per kickoff return and 16.9 yards per punt return. Fipp called Mims a complete player and said they've got to do a really good job on the back side because a lot of his big returns have come when he changes direction and comes backside.

10. What are some things that give Glenn encouragement with the way his unit is playing right now? He's liked the job they've done when asked to suddenly take the field after a turnover and said they've been one of the better defenses at limiting points in those situations. He talked about the run defense, which ranks ninth in the NFL (96.8). He also mentioned their ability to limit touchdowns outside of the red zone. The 51 points allowed by Detroit outside the red zone are sixth best in the NFL.

Related Content