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Mar 26, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell speaks to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Training Camp Day 4: Jim Caldwell's Comments

One day after holding an evening practice at Wayne State, the Detroit Lions were back at their Allen Park headquarters for their fourth practice of training camp. Here is a look at what head coach Jim Caldwell had to say, as provided by the Detroit Lions.

Opening Statement: “[We] followed it up and had a good session. We had a great opportunity to expense a lot of situations. (There was) a lot of red zone work today, and I think (if) we keep stacking good days on top of one another, we’ll get a little better. There are some things you can’t be pleased with. We had had our NFL officials out there who will be with us for the next three days and there were quite a few flags flying. That was the intent, to get them aware of the things that you have to do correctly or obviously we’re gonna suffer the consequences. I think they did a nice job adjusting, but I think they’ll help us the next couple of days.”

On the jersey-pulling rule and its effect on bulkier guys: “It’s really going to affect everybody, you know? It used to be if you grabbed a jersey and you restricted a player, if they saw the shoulders turn a little bit or maybe his stride changed, they would throw the flag. But now, it’s any tug of the jersey, regardless of what it does to you. The quarterback can be looking over there and the foul can occur behind him and they still are going to throw the flag. So, there’s a huge emphasis on that. Those are some of the things we have to make certain we get accustomed to.”

On the difference in CB Darius Slay with his increased role: “I’ve only known him as I’ve seen him in the spring and the fall. We saw him a few times last year when we played against him. One thing you knew was that he had speed and ability. He’s got length, he’s got all the things you look for just in terms of physical gifts and tools to work with. I think he’s getting better and maturing and certainly he understands the gravity of the situation that he’s got an opportunity to play and play well and play a lot, which he wants to do. He’s been willing and he’s been getting a little bit better every day.”

On what CB Rashean Mathis means to Slay: “Well, guys like Rashean Mathis are absolutely tremendous, just in terms of the insight they can give a player, the example that they set for our younger guys and he’s been around. We used to do a lot of battle against one another when he was down in Jacksonville for all those years. (He’s a) very talented guy and he has some of the same skillsets a lot of our corners have. He’s a guy that spends a lot of time counseling, talking to, (and) instructing, and he shares his knowledge, which I think is extremely important at the stage we are now.”

On the linebackers and how close they are to being considered elite:

“That term is utilized for a number of different positions in football. Let me talk about that linebacking group first. I think it’s a solid group and I think they just keep getting better. Tully (LB Stephen Tulloch) is a guy that has been around a while and (DeAndre) Levy had a great year last year and is certainly capable. We have a couple of young guys that are coming along. (Kyle) Van Noy is one. Tahir Whitehead is a guy that has speed and ability. You see him show up and flash quite often. Ashlee (Palmer) has been around a while and he’s a very good player as well. Just that term ‘elite’ that I was talking about, often times people want to use that label to define whether or not a group is worthy of championship play. I don’t think that’s the case. We’re more interested in trying to develop a championship linebacker system and I think we have those tools. We have enough guys to get that done. They’ve proven that they can stop the run fairly consistently and that’s a key. If you can stop the run, you’ll force teams to do things they don’t want to do.”

On wearing pads for the first time tomorrow: “It’s going to be a situation where we’ll do maybe a little bit more heavy hitting, but you get most of your work in this league in terms of tackling and taking guys to the ground during preseason games. That’s kind of where you get the majority of it. We’ll do some isolated things, but for the most part you want to see whether or not a guy can carry his pads, run in his pads in the heat. I like a little bit more heat. It’s starting to warm up, day by day of course. We need some particularly, for some of the games we have in warm weather. We’ll be challenged. Hopefully we can get acclimated, but that’s what we’ll be looking for. Can they carry their pads? Can they run behind them, use leverage and bend their knees? When fatigue sets in, can they overcome it and can they strike consistently? We’re looking for those things.”

On WR Kevin Ogletree: “Quick, resourceful, really has a good understanding of the positions. Works at it, quiet, hardly says a word, but I really like what we’ve seen from him so far. He has been catching the ball consistently. We anticipate that that’s going to carry over. He’s got some unusual traits on the inside.”

On the importance of establishing another receiver to take weight off of WR Calvin Johnson: “I think for the most part people are still going to pay some attention to Calvin. He’s one of those guys that draws a lot of attention. But other guys can certainly help us solve a little bit of that problem, with Golden Tate on the other side as well as some inside presence. We have a number of different guys on the inside, besides Tree (Ogletree), we also have our tight end corps with a great presence on the inside. When they do roll both corners up, that’s a situation we need to look to run. Our running game and offensive line are solid. We have backs that can run. (Reggie) Bush looks great out there, been moving well, Joique (Bell), Mikel (Leshoure) have been doing a nice job and all across the board. (Theo) Riddick’s been doing a great job and some of our younger guys as well. So we think we can show up the inside a number of different ways.”

On how S Glover Quin and S James Ihedigbo will help out the secondary: “There are a number of different ways I think they will help us. That’s one of those differentials that you look at as a critical factor, limiting the number of big plays the opposition has. Out pointing them in those areas, making sure your offense has more than they do. But the defense has to do a good job of containing all of that. Those guys are the last line of defense for the most part, not only in terms of their presence and stopping it themselves, but making sure they are in the right place. Those guys are like the quarterback back there in that perimeter, so they do a great job communicating. They do a great job making sure everybody is in the right place and I think that’s key. If everybody is in the right place they have the proper angles of running to the ball and we’re going to limit the big plays. In this league there are enough talented people. It’s going to happen once in a while, but we have to limit it.”

Tags: Calvin Johnson Darius Slay Jim Caldwell Kevin Ogletree Rashean Mathis

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