Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn 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 called last week's defensive performance against the Bears one of the overall better performances for his squad this year, but he did admit the final 18-play drive by Chicago that milked the last eight and a half minutes off the clock and ended in a walk-off field goal put a black eye on it. He lamented the fact that after watching film there were three chances during that drive to get off the field, and this young defense couldn't find a way to make those plays.
2. It's a sad sign of the times that in the wake of this week's school shooting at Oxford High, Lynn said he had to excuse one of his defensive coaches from a meeting Thursday morning because their 14-year-old child was afraid to go to school.
"That's sad," Lynn said. "I hope we can do something about that. I'm tired of talking about it. We need to do something. I don't know what it is, but we have to do something."
Lynn was a player in Denver at the time of the Columbine shooting in 1999.
3. The Lions didn't face rookie Vikings kick returner Kene Nwangwu in their first matchup Week 5, but best believe he's on the radar of Fipp heading into Sunday. Nwangwu has only returned eight kicks so far in recent weeks, but he's been dangerous on those opportunities. He's converted those chances into 330 return yards and two touchdowns. His 41.3 yards per kickoff return would be tops in the league, if he had enough returns for it to officially qualify. Fipp said his guys on kickoff coverage are looking forward to that challenge this week.
4. Glenn talked Thursday about this young defense needing to learn how to finish games, but he also said he and his defensive coaching staff need to learn, too. It wasn't just about the players. Glenn and his staff are taking some of that accountability as well.
5. The Lions will lean on veteran Jamaal Williams with D'Andre Swift unlikely to play Sunday, but we could also see an increase in carries for Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike. Many people might not remember that Igwebuike was a safety to start is professional career. He was converted to running back earlier this year in training camp after Lynn and others identified some traits in him while he was taking part on special teams. He's rushed just six times this season, but for 85 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown in Pittsburgh. He's also been a solid kick returner.
6. You're never around this game too long to learn something new. Jack Fox had a punt in the first quarter last Thursday that bounced off Lions cornerback Bobby Price's helmet at the 45-yard line and traveled nearly 20 more yards before Price was able to down it at the 26 for a 70-yard punt.
Why was it not an illegal touching and down at the 45? Fipp explained Thursday if there's a penalty on the defense, which a hold was called on Chicago during the play, the play remains live until the ball is downed with possession, which didn't occur until the 26-yard line. I didn't know that one.
7. The Bears converted on a 3rd and 4 play at the end of the Thanksgiving game that allowed them to milk the clock and kick a field goal to win it. Glenn called a pressure on the play, but Bears quarterback Andy Dalton was able to get the ball out of his hands quickly because safety turned nickel cornerback Will Harris was playing off coverage. Glenn said he wished he would have communicated to Harris that he has to play tight. Harris also has to understand the situation, but Glenn put it on himself.
8. Quarterback Jared Goff hit wide receiver Josh Reynolds for a 39-yard touchdown last week on Detroit's first possession. Lynn said Thursday he hopes the chemistry continues because having more of a deep threat in the passing game will open up the offense more. Detroit is just 5-of-23 on passes that travel at least 21 yards in the air this season.
9. The Lions have missed some opportunities the last couple weeks to down punts inside the 5-yard line. Fipp said there needs to be better coaching and execution in those situations, and it sounded like those have been a point of emphasis for his guys on punt coverage this week.
10. Cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, Detroit's third-round pick this offseason, is eligible to return to game action after being activated from injured reserve this week. Jerry Jacobs has played so well at outside cornerback that Glenn said he's earned the right to continue to be a starter on the outside. Melifonwu played outside corner, nickel corner and in the dime in training camp, and Glenn said they'll use his versatility as a matchup piece moving forward.