Like most rookies coming into the NFL, defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson came to Detroit with the mindset of putting his head down, going to work and letting his actions speak louder than his words.
When the Lions drafted the former Michigan pass rusher No. 2 overall, they saw him as a foundational piece on the edge for a defensive scheme they were tweaking a bit from the previous season. Primarily a read and react 3-4 unit in 2021, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn pivoted to more even front looks, with Hutchinson playing the big end position from the three-point stance.
Hutchinson set the University of Michigan sack record as a senior last year mainly playing from a two-point stance, though he did mix it up at times and play inside and from a three-point stance.
During the bye week, Glenn called Hutchinson and the two talked for a while. The rookie spoke up on what he thought could spur some more productive play on his end.
"Man, as a coach, the one thing you have to do, is listen to the player, and that's something that I try to pride myself in in doing that," Glenn said. "And Aidan would never just say what he wants to do, but he said, 'Coach, I think I can be pretty successful doing these things.' And I'm like, 'Listen, I get it. I've been there before.'"
Hutchinson told Glenn that standing up and playing more in a two-point stance is something he wanted to do because he thought it allowed him to see the field and unlock more of what makes him special as a pass rusher.
"AG called me and kind of just talking about what I think and what I think is best for myself," Hutchinson said of that bye week conversation. "We just had that conversation and he's very flexible and right when I kind of expressed how I felt about (moving more into a two-point stance) he was like, 'We can get that done.'"
Hutchinson thinks of himself as an instinctual rusher who likes the two-point stance vs. the three-point. After watching film on the opponent all week and studying keys and tendencies, Hutchinson told Glenn he thought he lost a lot of that information by putting his hand in the dirt and closing off his vision of the field. Hutchinson said standing up allows him to see the field better and read cues and motions.
In his first game after having those conversations and playing more from a two-point, Hutchinson notched 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and four pressures.
Rookie safety Kerby Joseph made his third career start last week in Dallas and had his most productive game yet. He notched five tackles, one quarterback hit and had a crucial forced fumble right before the half deep in Lions territory to thwart a Cowboys scoring opportunity.
It could have been an even more impactful afternoon for Joseph had he not dropped an interception that hit him in the hands.
A former receiver turned safety, Joseph had five interceptions his senior year at Illinois. He's shown in just three starts he can be around the ball. Now he just has to finish, which Glenn thinks he'll start showing.
"What has showed up the past couple of weeks is him getting his hand on the ball," Glenn said of Joseph. "Now he hasn't caught them, which he did a good job in college doing that. I'll tell you what, it's going to break through for that player at some point and when he gets one it's going to be like a domino effect and I can guarantee there's going to be a couple he gets behind that."
Joseph has proven to be more physical than he showed from his college tape, which Glenn thinks is a big plus. Glenn wants to see Joseph finish some of those plays with the ball in his hands, but is overall pleased with how Joseph is progressing.
It's been a down couple games for the Lions' offense after their hot start to begin the season. Detroit's trying to get back to being the explosive unit they were over their first four contests, and reinforcements could be on the way Sunday vs. Miami to help them accomplish that.
Running back D’Andre Swift has been a full participant in practice this week and is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is trending toward returning this week as he navigates through concussion protocol. Wide receiver Josh Reynolds has been dealing with a knee injury the last couple weeks, but returned to practice Thursday. He didn't practice until Friday last week, but was still able to play in Dallas.