The Lions were back to work in Allen Park Monday after a weekend off to relax, recuperate and do some self-evaluation over their Week 9 bye. Now the focus turns toward the Lions' first and only west coast road trip of the season Week 10 as the Lions head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers.
Head coach Dan Campbell spoke to the media Monday to kick off the week. Here are all the key questions from that media session:
What do the Lions need to get better at over the final nine games of the season?
Three things jumped out to Campbell more than anything else.
1. Turnover differential. The Lions are currently tied for 13th in the NFL with a zero turnover differential. Detroit has turned it over 10 times and has generated 10 takeaways. Campbell wants to see that number get into the positive territory.
2. Campbell wants to see both sides of the ball be better in the red zone. Detroit currently ranks 24th on offense converting a touchdown in the red zone 48.1 percent of the time. Defensively, that percentage is 65.4 percent allowing touchdowns for opponents, which ranks 26th in the NFL.
3. Campbell would really like to see his team's third-quarter production increase. The Lions have yet to score on their opening drive of the second half all season. Detroit has scored 28 points in the third quarter in eight games and has been shut out in the period in half of their games.
On the special teams front, Campbell said they are really close to springing punt returner Kalif Raymond for a big one.
How are the Lions coming out of the bye week on the injury front?
It's looking pretty good, especially on offense, where running back David Montgomery (ribs), center Frank Ragnow (toe/calf) and guard Jonah Jackson (ankle) all took part in Monday's light workout in Allen Park that included some individual and group work.
"All three of those guys moved around today," Campbell said. "They were out there. Today was more prime the pump getting ready for (practice) tomorrow, but we did some individual and some group and a special teams segment and they were all involved."
He said he feels comfortable saying all three are trending in the right direction toward returning to the lineup Sunday in Los Angeles vs. the Chargers.
How quickly can new wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones get up to speed to help this team?
The Lions traded a 2025 sixth-round pick to Cleveland for Peoples-Jones right before the trade deadline last Tuesday.
"We'll get him up to speed with the playbook here and make sure he's good and healthy and then just see where he is," Campbell said.
The Lions acquired Peoples-Jones because they think he can help them, but Campbell also said they want to make sure he's ready to do that before they just throw him in there.
"This week will be big for him," Campbell said. "He was out there today and then tomorrow we'll see where he's at and just take it day to day."
What is the second half goal for the season?
Campbell, his coaching staff and the players have made it clear dating back to OTAs that winning the division and hosting a home playoff game at Ford Field is the No. 1 goal. That's still the case with a game and a half lead over the Vikings currently in the division.
Campbell said the goal coming out of the bye is to clean up some of their first-half mistakes and get to a point where they are playing their best football at the start of December. As good as the Lions have been to get to 6-2 on the season, they have yet to play a clean game, and Campbell said there is a lot of meat left on the bone over the next nine weeks.
Will the Lions have an eye on Monday night's Chargers at Jets contest?
A lot of the game planning has already been done and the coaches will present it to the players on Tuesday. Campbell said a lot of the hay was in the barn in that regard, though the coaches will watch Monday night to verify what they think they already know about Los Angeles. They already have an eight-game snapshot of the Chargers and there won't be a ton that changes Monday night.
Why did the Lions sign LB Trevor Nowaske to their active roster last week?
It was either sign Nowaske to the 53-man roster or lose him. Campbell confirmed Monday that another team tried to sign Nowaske off their practice squad and this was a way to keep the rookie.
"We didn't want to lose him," Campbell said. "We felt like we had the flexibility to make that move. We feel like we're going to need him before it's all said and done. We like where he's going. He's another young guy that we have on the roster that is really developing and growing and that's a good room right now. All seven of those guys counting him it's an outstanding room. He was a guy we didn't want to lose."