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Austin eager to take over talented Detroit defense

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm •  Published: February 9, 2014

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin says he's already had a chance to chat with Ndamukong Suh.

"We didn't talk about scheme, we didn't talk about anything. We just talked, you know, what he liked here, what he does in the offseason — and we'll have plenty of time to talk about football," Austin said. "The one thing I can tell, talking to the guy, is he really wants to win."

Austin was hired to join the staff of new Lions coach Jim Caldwell, and the defensive coordinator met with reporters Friday. Naturally, he was asked about Suh, the powerful defensive tackle who is a force at the line of scrimmage for the Lions but has faced questions throughout his career about his discipline and leadership.

"I think that he really and truly wants to be part of a winner. So, that's good," Austin said. "You want your best players to be for the team and to be able to say, 'Hey, listen. The most important thing for me is winning and not how many awards I get or anything like that.' So, that was really good. I kind of felt that from him."

Suh has 27.5 sacks in four seasons with the Lions, and he's teamed up with tackle Nick Fairley to form an imposing middle of Detroit's defensive line. Rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah also showed promise last season.

The linebacking corps includes the steady Stephen Tulloch, as well as DeAndre Levy, who had six interceptions last season. Cornerback Chris Houston is a veteran presence in the secondary, although the Lions are hoping for more development from younger cornerbacks like Darius Slay and Bill Bentley.

"My feeling is this. In the NFL, you can't have enough corners," Austin said. "I think we have some good young pieces. You know, as we watched the tape, one of the young guys, Slay, I looked at him and you go, 'Boy, he had his ups and downs.' You know, he had some things, he had some growing pains. There were some times he didn't look very good and there were some times he looked outstanding. Our goal is to try to get him to be consistent."

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