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. Over the last two weeks, both wins by the Lions over the Packers and Bears, Detroit's defense has been on the field at the end of the game to make a critical play. Glenn thinks that's been huge for his young defense. They are learning what it takes to win and starting to believe in themselves, and Glenn said he's seen it before where something like that can really push a unit forward.
2. The New York Giants rank second in the NFL in third-down defense and red zone efficiency. Johnson said Detroit's offense really has their work cut out for them this week going against Don Martindale's defense. A lot of man coverage, fire zones, and Johnson said the Giants do a really good job of confusing a player's eyes with some of their looks. He said this defense will stress them more than any other they've faced up to this point.
3. Fipp gave us the weather and stadium breakdown for Sunday's game at MetLife. As of Thursday morning, Fipp's weather report read 38 degrees with 17 mph winds expected. He said the wind isn't as much a factor in that stadium as other outdoor venues because of the high vertical oval structure without many gaps for the wind to get in. Though he did say the make percentage on field goals drops significantly kicking towards the south end zone beyond 40 yards.
4. The Lions certainly have a tough task ahead of them this week trying to contain New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who leads NFL with 931 rush yards and ranks second with 1,128 scrimmage yards. Glenn said Barkley's vision, jump cuts, burst and ability to break tackles and take it to the house are better than any running back he's prepared for this year. Getting a population to the football has been the point of emphasis for Glenn this week.
5. Johnson will have a thorough self-evaluation of his performance at the end of the season, but he did say Thursday the most disappointed he's been with his play calling this year was two weeks ago in the win over Green Bay. He hated his failed fourth-down call in that contest and said there were several other calls he'd want back. Johnson is still growing and evolving week to week as a first-year play caller, but his offense ranks in the top 10 in just about every major statistical category.
6. The Lions' net punting average the last couple weeks hasn't been up to the standard of Fipp or punter Jack Fox. Fipp has a high standard for Fox, and he admits the punting operation must be more consistent moving forward.
7. Julian Okwara's sack of Justin Fields late in the fourth quarter on fourth down helped seal the win for the Lions. Fields initially slipped a would-be sack from Okwara, but Okwara stuck with the play and got him down on the second attempt. That relentlessness is at the core of what Glenn wants his defense to embody.
8. We don't really know what someone is capable of until they are pushed to the limit. That's what Johnson said Thursday when asked if he's worried about the usage of Jamaal Williams, who is only nine carries off his career high of 153. Johnson said Williams is Mr. Reliable and Mr. Steady, so he's not worried about his high usage. Williams is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season. His nine touchdowns are second most in the NFL behind only Nick Chubb's 11.
9. The Giants have turned the ball over three times on punts this year. Rest assured Fipp and the Lions know there could be some opportunities there, though the Giants have recently put cornerback Adoree' Jackson in to help with ball security.
10. Expect more and more playing time for second-year cornerback Jerry Jacobs moving forward. Glenn referred to Jacobs as 'a dog' on the field and is looking forward to getting more and more reps for him.