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KEY QUESTIONS: What is the #1 focus during the bye?

The Lions improved to 5-4 with a win over Minnesota on Sunday, and now head to their bye week in good spirits and in control of their own destiny.

What is the No. 1 focus during the bye week?

Getting rested and getting healthy are both No. 1 on head coach Jim Caldwell's list.

"This team has battled through a bunch of adversity and a bunch of injuries, and things of that nature," he said.

"Rest for us is extremely important to kind of get healed up, to see if we can get a few guys back. That's going to be our number one focus."

We'll see if Darius Slay (hamstring), DeAndre Levy (quad/knee) and Riley Reiff (illness) are closer to returning in two weeks, when the Lions host Jacksonville Nov. 20.

Why does Caldwell choose to not look big picture at this point?

Caldwell was asked about the second half of the season, what it means to be 5-4 moving forward, and having all three division games remaining on the schedule at home. He didn't take the bait on any of it.

Caldwell has been consistent in that the focus for this football team has been on the next game and the quarter at hand.

"I do not look at it, we do not talk about it," he said. "Only thing we talk about is what's coming up on the next game. I think that's the quickest way you can get in trouble with your team, is when you start to have your team try to look 'big picture.' Big picture softens you up, and we try to keep our guys away from that."

Caldwell even quoted author James Clear to explain his point further on why a broader focus on the season "softens" a team.

"He says there's no such thing as multitasking because of the difficulty that it takes," Caldwell said. "I think that's the same way it is with football. Football, you better be focused, you better be on your game, you better be able to play with some intensity.

"I really do think it makes you kind of start to look around corners. Once you start that, it's just my own personal opinion, that's how I feel, that's what I communicate to our team. That we're better off just looking at what we have directly in front of us and attack it that way."

Where has Caldwell seen gains from his defense the last couple weeks?

There's still plenty of room for improvement, everyone can agree on that, but Detroit's defense had a couple big stands in the Minnesota game that helped secure the win.

Holding the Vikings without points at the Lions 18-yard line after a Matthew Stafford interception, and then in the second half, the fourth-down stand deep in their own end -- those were two big moments.

"We're stopping the run the way we want to stop it," Caldwell said. "We're holding teams below 100 yards, at least holding teams below what we were able to gain. I think we held (Minnesota) to 70-something odd yards and we had close to 100 yards.

"That's one of our goals, is to out-rush them. Two parts have to be correct, the offense has to be able to run it with some efficiency and the defense has to hold them down. So, I see gains there."

Did the Lions expect they'd get the contributions they're getting from this rookie class?

It's a credit to GM Bob Quinn and his personnel staff that a number of rookies have been able to step in and be real contributors through the first nine weeks.

Quinn's first three picks – Taylor Decker, A'Shawn Robinson and Graham Glasgow – are key contributors on both lines. Decker and Glasgow are starters.

Safety Miles Killebrew plays on every special teams unit, and has seen his role on defense steadily increase.

Running back Dwayne Washington, a seventh-round pick, is a physical runner that's fit right into Detroit's backfield.

"It's tough to predict that kind of stuff," Caldwell said. "For a young guy to come in and be a factor is rare and we just so happen to have quite a few guys that are contributing for us.

"They're really talented guys. Now, I think you have to attribute that to obviously our personnel department and so a number of our guys are ready to play and playing pretty well, but we could not predict that. It's really outside the norm to be honest with you."

How has the offensive line developed and grown over the course of nine weeks?

That unit is probably coming off its best performance of the year in Minnesota against one of the best defenses in the league in the Vikings.

The Lions nearly rushed for 100 yards (97), and Stafford was sacked just once and hit four times total in the game.

"Yeah, you know, I think the guys are really playing better and better together and even though the group has changed somewhat with Corey (Robinson) in there for Riley (Reiff) this week in particular, some of the adjustments we'd made in previous weeks, they're playing pretty well together," Caldwell said.

"It's because they've got a lot of heart and they fight you, you know, and that kind of thing. When you think about it Larry (Warford) is the most experienced offensive lineman that we have up there, you know, that's four years. It's not like we have a real veteran group."

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