Jim Caldwell met with the media following the Detroit Lions’ second practice of training camp. Here is a look at what he had to say, as provided by the Detroit Lions.
On his philosophy on hitting during Training Camp: “There are no pads on us right now, before we used to always start the first day with pads on. Now it’s a little bit different, there’s a three-day period where we can’t put on any pads and then we will put them on. We will be mindful of this being a heavy contact game, so I think you have to monitor how much hitting you do in terms of full speed hitting. Still it’s an aggressive game as well. I’m excited about seeing our guys in pads for the first time. I haven’t seen them yet, other than playing against them. But I haven’t seen them out here running the new system they have learned now, and just seeing how they do. That’s going to be an exciting time, we’re looking forward to Friday.”
On how he decides which players are on certain fields during practice: “Here’s the big thing, often times we try to look at some things and read into a few things. We try to make certain we get everybody reps. It’s more of a rep chart than a depth chart. When you see us working on the other field, most teams you’ll see will have those guys standing around kind of watching one group. We try to spread it out a little bit, so we can try to build some depth as part of building our foundation. We try to get as many reps as we can with some of those guys that are going to be helping us, particularly in the preseason, and also in backup and support roles.”
On the importance of rotating his front seven on defense: “It’s not quite like a hockey line, but we move them in and out as much as we can. We have some depth up there and we have some talent. We’re trying to get everybody involved as much as we possibly can, but the big thing is reps are precious. You can see the way in which we work that we try and multiply the number of reps that we do by splitting them up on to different fields for a couple of periods. That’s very important to us. That shuffle that you see is one that should be able to pay dividends for us in the long run.”
On Kyle Van Noy’s strengths: “I think he has many. I do think he does everything so easily. He’s fluid, he’s got speed, obviously he’s got size and bulk and he’s got a good understanding as well. He’s got a really fine football mentality and a football IQ. I’m looking forward to seeing him in pads and looking forward to seeing him obviously start to progress even in our preseason games, where he gets a few more opportunities for some contact. That’s when you get a pretty good measurement of each and every guy that you have and you start competing against other teams in this league.”
On what he expects to see from his team at Wayne State University tomorrow: “I’m excited about having the opportunity to see them in another setting. That’s kind of part of this whole thing is to get them away from this setting some. It’s not quite like an away game, but it is a little bit of a different atmosphere. We want to see them adjust. We kind of changed up our practice times because of that. We’re trying to build that mentality that we can play anywhere, anytime, against anyone. This gives us the opportunity to do that, along with another portion of our fan base. Our fan base is very important to us. They do such a tremendous job supporting us, so we’ll maybe see another portion of our fan base over at Wayne State.”
On what he likes most about his offensive line: “It’s big group, they’re physical, they’re smart. They have a great chemistry amongst them and great leadership within that group. Obviously, (Dominic) Raiola does a tremendous job and (Rob) Sims, and then you’ve got young guys that are really coming along and galvanizing that group. They’ve done some outstanding things. I think you can see that they have the potential to create some holes for us and creases, which I think without question they’ll be able to do. The other thing is, I think they’ll be able to pass protect well. I think one of the things that they probably ranked us on is the fact that last year there were only 23 sacks. A lot of that is both protection and the quarterback getting rid of the ball on time. I think those two in conjunction with one another, because Matthew (Stafford) did a nice job there, are very important.”
On TE Eric Ebron’s adjustment to the NFL and difficulty learning the playbook: “It’s tough, for any young guy that is coming in to a system, particularly the position in which he plays. One thing I don’t think people quite understand about playing a tight end position, you can probably notice that he lines up in a number of different places. He lines up in a true tight end position, so he’s got to know all the blocking schemes and routes from there. He lines up at an auxiliary, what we call an ‘F’, so he’s got to know all of the protections from that particular location, as well as the routes. We also put him in the backfield, so this guy literally has to know the slot receiver, the regular tight end and also the position in the backfield as if he’s a fullback. So, it’s not easy for him, he’s got to learn and adjust. There’s a lot of things going on in his mind right now , I think you’re going to continue to see that he’s going to continue to improve and continue to get better, because he does have an unusual skillset.“
On DT Nick Fairley’s weight fluctuation: “He’s got a clean slate with us. I haven’t seen that yoyo yet, he’s (been) working hard, he’s excited about what he’s doing and he’s going to demonstrate (being) the great player that he’s capable of being.”
On if he monitors the players’ weight during the season: “Certainly.”
On WR Ryan Broyles’ current health status: “You know he’s out there, full participation, moving well and I think he’s doing a nice job at this point.”
On RB Theo Riddick and his improvements so far: “Before coming here, there are a few guys that jump out at you on film. I was watching special teams, and every single time on the unit he’s on, he shows up. He’s got intensity, he hustles, he’s got desire, toughness, all of those things and he’s a very, very capable runner. Also, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. (He’s) very tough to handle in one-on-one situations, so he had a great spring and we anticipate this fall he’s going to perform equally as well, so we’re excited about that.
On Riddick’s ability to flourish in the current system: “I’m not sure. If he does flourish, it’s because of the system and the maturity and things of that nature. He’s maturing, he’s been in the league a little bit, and now he’s really feeling confident about what he’s doing. I do think I really feel good about him, and he’s going to continue to get better.”