The Detroit Lions kicked off their mandatory minicamp today and head coach Jim Caldwell was made available to the media following practice.
He touched on a number of topics including Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Van Noy, Nick Fairley, Jeremy Ross, Larry Warford and the debate between carrying two or three quarterbacks on the final roster. Here are the quotes as provided by the Detroit Lions.
On his impressions of DT Ndamukong Suh through the offseason program: “He’s just what we expected. I mean, obviously, most of us that are new here had an opportunity to see him play on several occasions. We know what kind of work ethic he has. He’s been impeccable. He works extremely hard and keeps his body in great shape. He’s doing a great job.”
On Suh’s leadership qualities: “He’s done all the things he’s supposed to do. He’s done a great job just in terms of setting the pace for the guys up front. He does a tremendous job in terms of scratching and digging, trying to gain as much knowledge as he possibly can. He’s doing a great job mentoring the young guys as well.”
On DT Nick Fairley: “Obviously, there’s a reduction in weight, which is something that I think will help him. He’s been going through a bit of a surgery, so he’s just now getting back. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him, so hopefully over the next couple of days or so we’ll be able to really get a good look at him. He looks good.”
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On LB Kyle Van Noy’s development: “He’s big, physical and he can run. He looks physical, I should say, just in terms of his body-type and from what we saw on college film. You have to understand, and you’re going to hear me say it time and time again, I can’t tell a whole lot about everybody until we get the pads on. When we get those pads on, this game’s not played in shorts. So, there are a lot of guys that look really good right now and the understanding is coming. With young guys you can see all of those things. I mean, we can see the physical tools that he has from being able to run. He’s smart. He wants to be good, he’s diligent about his work, he listens, he asks great questions. I mean, all the good things are there. He runs around and moves extremely well, but the fact of the matter is, there is still another phase coming. Until we get into training camp where we’ve got a chance to bang around one another, then we’ll really get a good sense of it. Even then, really the preseason games are the first time that we’ll be able to take them to the ground and those kinds of things consistently. But he’s making good progress.”
A head coach never has a good day because when the offense does well, then I’m worried about the defense. When the defense does well, I’m worried about the offense.
On the offense looking sharp in today’s practice: “The interesting thing is that it’s just like most games. Being around this game for a long time, oftentimes you’ll see one day one side of the ball maybe performed a little bit better than the other, and then the next day it usually exchanges. They change places. The other team goes in, they look at their mistakes, they have pride, they’re competitive and you see it flip flop. That’s what it’s been doing, and that’s a good sign. Rather than one side completely dominating the other, obviously, then you feel that you’re in trouble. A head coach never has a good day because when the offense does well, then I’m worried about the defense. When the defense does well, I’m worried about the offense. The kicking game goes well, obviously, we’re in good shape, but there are always some concerns to deal with. So, it’s kind of been back-and-forth, which I think has been healthy. It’s been competitive and it’s been good.”
On WR Jeremy Ross: “He’s the same guy in terms of his approach to the game. He loves to play and has got a lot of enthusiasm. He’s athletic and this guy wants to be good. He has infectious enthusiasm. He had it then and has it now. He’s always got a big smile on his face and is ready to go to work. His body has changed. He’s matured since the last time we saw him several years back. I think you’re going to see that kind of maturity continue to develop within him. I think he’s going to be a real fine player one day.”
With the First Pick
On Ross having a bigger role on offense: “You have to be seen. There is a role for him, there’s no question about that because he’s catching the ball well. You saw him there a couple times today. He can run with it, obviously, when he gets it in his hands. He makes good decisions, so it’s a good, competitive situation.”
On if he gets excited when he sees the schemes come together on the practice field: “Absolutely, but here’s the thing. Don’t mistake activity for achievement. That’s a big mistake that everybody always makes. They look at guys like Tom Landry and they think nothing’s getting done. All he did was win more games probably than anybody in his era, right? I mean, there are a number of guys that are like that. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter if you’re yelling and screaming because first of all, they tune you out after a certain point in time. I played for guys when I was playing and guys were screaming and yelling. Pretty soon that sounded like his normal, audible tone and you end up ignoring it. So, when I have to go up and octave or two, I guarantee you it will have a little bit different response than most people in that regard, and I do from time to time.”
On how G Larry Warford can take the next step this season: “I think you find out that guys that are young, it takes a while in terms of the development of a player, particularly in the offensive line. He has certainly shown that he’s made real good progress and had some real fine performances, but it takes you two, three, four years to really perfect your craft in there. (Malcolm) Gladwell says it takes 10 years and 10,000 hours. I’m not certain we’ve got that much time, but nevertheless, he’s coming along. He’s a guy that’s all business. He’s focused and I think you’re just going to see him continue to improve.”
On his philosophy on carrying a third quarterback on the team’s roster: “Every team’s different. I’ve been on some teams where we only had two. I’ve been on teams where we had three. There have been certain situations where we thought about having four, so it just depends. Every team’s different, so we’ll look at this one as we start to narrow it down and we’ll see where we are. It just depends on the roster. It depends on position. I mean, there are a lot of things that go into it. Sometimes you find that you’ve got a couple guys that you think will really be able to help you and help you a lot sooner, then you consider it. It’s tough to go into these days, this day and age, with the way in which our game is, without a third quarterback. It’s tough. I mean, it’s difficult, but like I said, I’ve had a couple places where we’ve had a couple ironmen. We carried two and had one on the practice squad, but we’ll see what happens.”