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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 8

Change is a constant in the National Football League, and what we've learned is that there is no schedule, job description or boundaries for where and who it might strike.

Among the other things we've learned is that with all things considered rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson is holding up his end of generating a pass rush, and after further review quarterback Jared Goff did not make the wrong choice in going deep on the Lions' last play of Sunday's loss to the Dolphins.

We start with change in the NFL:

Change came to the Detroit Lions' coaching staff this week in a manner similar to a year ago when head coach Dan Campbell took over play-calling responsibilities from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

The Lions and Lynn ultimately parted ways after the season, and tight ends coach Ben Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator.

The defense, which has performed poorly from opening day, was the target this week. Defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant was fired. Brian Duker and Addison Lynch will take over, Campbell said in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Campbell was in a somber mood when he spoke to the media. It likely was not an easy decision for him to dismiss Pleasant, but the secondary has not performed well. The Lions have a 1-6 won-loss record and have lost five straight games.

"I have a ton of respect for him," Campbell said of Pleasant. "It's a tough decision, but we're in a production-based business. After seven weeks, I felt like this change needed to be made. I wish him the best of luck. I appreciate everything he did.

"He put his heart and soul into everything he did."

Heart and soul take a back seat to winning, and the Lions need to win games. They have a productive offense and one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

"I still believe in the guys we have," Campbell said. "I know what we have on the back end. I think they're good enough to help us compete and win.

"We'll see if we can get them going a little bit better."

Sack stats: Hutchinson had another quiet outing Sunday. Playing 58 of the 58 defensive snaps, his only entry on the stats sheet was one assisted tackle.

That means he has been held without a sack in five of the Lions' seven games. But that does not mean Hutchinson's rookie season has been all bad.

He leads the Lions with 4.5 sacks, getting three of them against Washington in Week 2 and 1.5 against the Cowboys in Week 5. Next up on the Lions' sack list is linebacker Alex Anzalone with 1.5.

No other Lion has more than one, and as a team the Lions have 11 sacks. Only the Raiders, with nine sacks, have fewer.

As we learned again in another game, whatever sacks Hutchinson is getting or not getting, it's not a case of a rookie benefitting from playing on a defense that wreaks havoc with its pass rush.

Further review: The Lions had fourth and one at the Dolphins' 35 on what proved to be their last play of Sunday's game.

Goff took the snap, backpedaled into the pocket and scanned the field for an open receiver. His final choice was to throw the ball into the end zone to wide receiver Josh Reynolds. The ball fell incomplete.

The Dolphins took over possession and ran out the clock.

Why not a short, safer throw to get the first down and keep the possession? Good question – with a better answer. No receiver was open. Everywhere Goff looked, the Dolphins had a Lions receiver covered.

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