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. Lynn said it was definitely different not calling plays last week, but still a good collaboration between himself and head coach Dan Campbell, who took over play-calling duties and the communication with the quarterback last week. Lynn said he was probably busier last week than he has been all season because he was trying to assist the head coach, looking at tendencies, writing charts and providing information to Campbell. He was doing all that and did call some plays through Campbell as well.
Lynn said he's been in Campbell's shoes before. At 0-8 Campbell needed to spark his team, and Lynn said he can appreciate that and probably would have done same thing.
2. Only the Atlanta Falcons have fewer sacks on the year (11) than the Lions' 14. Detroit was more consistent rushing the passer earlier in the year, but Glenn said teams have maxed protected quite a bit on third down against them recently. Teams are throwing short and using run after the catch to gain first downs.
Glenn said the Lions have to win more battles against max protection, but they also have to do better identifying those situations and not sending guys "into a brick wall." With max protect means less pass catchers, and Glenn would like to use their numbers to double players and win more of those max-protect third-down situations.
3. The Lions signed former Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas to their practice squad this week and rookie Riley Patterson to the active roster. Because Patterson was signed off another team's practice squad, he has to be on Detroit's active roster for at least three weeks.
Fipp said he did a lot of work on Patterson when he was coming out of Memphis this year and considered him one of the best kickers available. When the team moved on from Ryan Santoso this week, Fipp jumped at the chance to work with Patterson.
5. Two things really encouraged Glenn about last week's defensive performance: One, they made an emphasis last week of being better in the red zone, and Pittsburgh was just 1-of-3 down there last Sunday. Detroit entered last week's contest allowing a touchdown 83.3 percent of the time in the red zone.
Two, Glenn really liked the effort in overtime when they needed stops the most, forcing a fumble, punt and fumble on the Steelers' three overtime possessions.
6. Kalif Raymond is third in the NFL with a 12.1 punt-return average. That's certainly been impressive, but his consistency back there fielding the ball has stood out to Fipp just as much as his big-play ability. Raymond handles the ball really well in all conditions with the ball rarely hitting the ground. There's not much more a special teams coordinator can ask for in a punt returner than what Raymond provides both in ball security and return ability.
7. Lynn said the biggest thing with Campbell wanting to call plays last week was him wanting to talk to the quarterback, and only one person can do that.
8. The Browns enter Sunday's game against the Lions ranked second in the NFL in rushing, averaging 154.1 yards per game. They could be getting Nick Chubb back off the Reserve/COVID-19 list too, a player Glenn considers one of the best backs in the NFL. The Lions are allowing on average 135.7 rushing yards per contest, which ranks 30th. Glenn said he's looking forward to seeing how his players on defense will match up in that department Sunday.
9. Teams do a lot of things during the course of a week to simulate the upcoming game and weather conditions. If the forecast calls for rain, which Sunday's forecast does in Cleveland, Fipp said they'll spray the kicking balls with water and saturate them to try and simulate kicking in those conditions.
10. Newly claimed wide receiver Josh Reynolds is expected to play this week, and Lynn thinks he'll provide a spark on some down-field throws. Lynn thought Reynolds was one of the best 50-50 ball pass catchers coming out of Texas A&M in 2017.