The big story through the first quarter of the Lions' 2017 season has been the impressive play of the defense.
They have 11 takeaways through four games, including three fumble recoveries last week in Minnesota, and it's a big reason for the Lions' 3-1 start.
"Turnovers always help in the game," linebacker Tahir Whitehead said this week. "When you win the turnover margin, you definitely put your team in a better position to win the game.
"We're hungry, baby. Everybody wants a piece of the pie. You've definitely got guys that are pushing each other, challenging each other, to get to that ball.
"That's how we're made. That's how we practice. It's a party at the ball. That's how we see it."
Whitehead has three of the team's 11 takeaways, with an interception and two fumble recoveries. Safety Glover Quin and cornerback Darius Slay are next with two interceptions each. Quin also forced two fumbles, and is playing at an All-Pro level right now.
"Yeah, he's a playmaker," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Quin. "He's a guy that, you always find him around the ball. He's either making a tackle in open field, he's making an interception for us cleanly in the air or tipped balls because he hustles all the time.
"Very, very, very smart, high football IQ and that kind of individual that has the physical talent along with the intellect, you got a pretty good package there."
And it's not just Quin, the entire secondary is playing well right now, including second-year safety Miles Killebrew, who is really coming along.
"Maturity," Killebrew said, what asked how he's taken his game to the next level. "There's no substitution for it. I've always wanted to work hard, I've always wanted to get better. But now that I'm a little bit more mature, I know exactly what I need to get better in. I'm able to attack it a little better."
PREPARING FOR PANTHERS
This week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, are coming off a big win over the Patriots in New England last week. Will that have any carryover into this week's matchup?
"It's about whether or not we build off it," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday in a conference-call interview. "It's one of those things that can catapult you to the next direction. It's how you approach the next game.
"It all depends on what happens this week. You go out and lay an egg, you wasted the opportunity. You go out and play well, you build on that opportunity."
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Panthers, click here.
A CRUCIAL CATCH
Lions players hosted and participated in several events this week as part of the NFL's Crucial Catch initiative.
On Monday night, the players dressed up as superheroes with pediatric cancer patients for their first Superhero Ball. The next day, defensive end Ziggy Ansah hosted a spa day for breast cancer survivors. And on Friday, wide receiver Golden Tate visited with cancer patients at Karmanos after practice.
View photos from a superhero ball as part of kids kicking cancer at Ford Field.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- How does the Lions' 2017 defense compare to 2014? Tim Twentyman tackles that question and more in his latest 10 Questions column.
- Watch guard T.J. Lang sit down with DE Anthony Zettel for the fifth episode of Talkin' with T.J.
- Mike O'Hara sat down with Lions Legend Barry Sanders prior to last week's game in Minnesota. Read what Sanders has to say about the 2017 Lions.
- Catch up on all the news from Teryl Austin's and Jim Bob Cooter's Thursday press conferences.
- You asked. Now watch wide receiver TJ Jones answer your fan-submitted questions in this week's #AskALion.