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. Fipp tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday and is currently away from the team. He did his availability Thursday via Zoom. Fipp, who is vaccinated, said he feels fine and he's hopeful he gets two negative tests before Sunday so he can coach on the field vs. Philadelphia. If not, assistant specials teams coach Jett Modkins and head coach Dan Campbell will handle his duties.
2. Glenn always starts with the positives when talking with us, and he thought a big one for his defense last week was the job they did holding the Rams to 47 yards rushing, LA's lowest rushing total of the season. Glenn also liked the job his guys did in some short-yardage situations.
3. The Rams used All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey to cover tight end T.J. Hockenson and running back D’Andre Swift at times last week. Hockenson and Swift have proven to be Detroit's top two receiving threats, though wide receiver Kalif Raymond is coming off a good game against the Rams in which he caught six passes for 115 yards. Lynn said he wouldn't be surprised if Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay is matched up against Hockenson or Swift at times this week.
4. What is the big focus for Glenn and the Lions' defense this week? Glenn said they've really talked a lot and watched film on maintaining rush lanes playing a quarterback like Jalen Hurts, who has 361 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on the year. Glenn says it's tough because Hurts is really good with his legs, and he's got great players to throw to down the field when he's on the run in DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor.
5. Fipp said he knew during the week last week there was a great chance they'd run some of the fake punts and onside kicks we saw Detroit convert vs. the Rams. Fipp said he tried not to give it away talking to the media. He said there's even more where that came from in terms of trick plays in his special teams repertoire. Eagles beware.
6. Lynn admitted he didn't know a lot about Raymond when he was signed by Detroit this offseason other than he was a good return man and backup receiver. Lynn says he's been impressed since Day 1 with Raymond's route savvy and his ability to get open, which Lynn said negates some of the issues with his size at 5-foot-8.
7. Glenn said the nice thing about having a young roster is that coaches can mold those youngsters into the players they want them to be. He used rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs and second-year outside linebacker Julian Okwara as examples. He said both players have steadily matured and are now becoming playmakers. Glenn admitted that with young players come mistakes and you have to live with those early on, but he sees growth in some of these young defenders and he's excited about it.
8. We will see rookie cornerback Mark Gilbert play this week, though Glenn didn't know exactly how much or what it would look like.
9. What has Lynn most worried about Sunday's matchup with Philadelphia? He didn't hesitate in saying the Eagles' defensive front. It's a talented group upfront on defense for Philadelphia, and Lynn said this might be the best defensive tackle tandem they see all year in Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave.
10. The Lions had one of the better third-down defenses in the NFL the first month of the season, but Glenn said it's something they have to get back to being better at after allowing the Rams to go 9-of-13 on third down last week and Cincinnati to convert 8-of-15 the week prior. The Lions currently rank 19th in third-down defense at 41.6 percent.