Jim Caldwell’s Comments As Detroit Lions Conclude Minicamp


The Detroit Lions concluded 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 minicamp performance, Brandon Pettigrew, the kicking competition and practice structure . Here are the quotes as provided by the Detroit Lions.

Opening statement: “We think we had a real productive couple months with these guys. I thought they prepared well. They worked hard. They certainly didn’t flinch under all the circumstances that we had to deal with, whether it was raining or cold or whatever it might be. I thought they did a nice job of lessening the number of mistakes that we had. We had fewer and fewer mistakes as our practices went on, which is the way it’s supposed to be. We were pleased with the effort they gave us as well, so a lot of guys are making real good progress. We like where we are.”

On his feel for the team now compared to March: “You certainly get a better feel for the guys because oftentimes you just didn’t know very many of them. You had a few guys that you had worked with previously, but I certainly do have a good feel for them. I’m impressed with the things that we’ve seen in terms of the progress we’ve made. We have a lot of good, strong leaders and we’re excited about this group.”

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  • On if he accomplished what he had hoped for in this mini-camp: “One of the things that you do is you certainly look at what you want to add from a schematics standpoint. We had a long list of things that we wanted to put in because we’re new, you know, the entire scheme, so we had quite a few things that we had to get through, then also situational as well. I think the guys were able to handle that, but the nice thing about the way in which we do is we try to make certain they hear it multiple times within this time frame. So, we start over on several occasions. They had a chance to hear it from scratch. You get a little bit more, you have a little bit better understanding the more you hear and we’ll do it twice again in the fall. So, it’s been good. Our checklist, yeah, we’ve been able to run down it and get the great majority of the things in and feel good about where we are.”

    On how he defines leadership in a player: “There’s an old adage that says, ‘The mark of a true leader is a man that can lead himself.’ We have a lot of guys like that, that can lead themselves. We don’t see a whole lot of mishaps off the field. We’re not perfect. We have some, but for the most part these guys know how to take care of business and they stay focused. So, I think that number one, that’s your first indication.”

    On his message to the players during this time off: “It’s all year long for the last two months because of the fact that we wanted to make certain we got our foundation and how we believe or what we believe in terms of core values, what we anticipate. So, that’s been ongoing. There’s not anything new. They’ve been taking breaks all along on the weekends and things of that nature, so we’ve had to discuss the same things we discuss normally. Nothing’s really new and different in that regard. Just a little bit longer break.”

    On TE Brandon Pettigrew’s role as a leader in the tight end room: “I think it’s very important because of the fact that they (TE Joseph Fauria and TE Eric Ebron) look up to him. He’s able to provide some information and direction. He challenges them. He does a great job, I think, in that role. He has experience and knowledge. Oftentimes, even though coaches will tell him, and coach (Ron) Prince does a great job in terms of coaching them, but sometimes when they hear it from one of their peers, it carries even a little bit more weight. So, I think Brandon’s role is extremely important.”

    On P Sam Martin“Sam has obviously got a live leg. He does a great job. He’s athletic. I anticipate that he’s going to continue to improve because, obviously, he’s only in his second year. He’s young, but he’s done a nice job thus far.”

    On the current competition at kicker: “I think you can see that it’s going along pretty well. Both guys are thumping it pretty good. Giorgio’s (Tavecchio) doing a nice job and Nate’s (Freese) doing a nice job as well, so I think it will be a good, healthy competition.”

    There’s a very, very strong nucleus of guys that can play the game and we anticipate and expect them to do extremely well.

    On if the team’s talent level is what he expected it to be: “Nothing’s changed my mind in terms of what I believe and the talent level in what we’ve seen. What we’ve seen out here in practice only confirms. There’s a very, very strong nucleus of guys that can play the game and we anticipate and expect them to do extremely well.”

    On how much he has stressed situational-football this offseason: “Every practice. You see at the end even we go through a couple mock situations that we try and cover anything we can possibly think of or anything we’ve seen that has come up in recent times and ball games that we need to make certain we have an answer to, that we understand how to function within that situation. So, we try to put them in those situations as often as we can because those are things that will make a difference in ball games for you. The more knowledge they have in those and how well they execute in those situations are going to make a difference.”

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    On adding external elements such as crowd noise to a practice: “That’s not going to be new to us. We do it. We just didn’t do it this spring. We’re not playing next week, so when you get to the fall you’ll start to see those things on both sides of the ball. Every day, either your offense is going to have to deal with the noise or your defense at home has to deal with the noise. So, we work that constantly. Typically, we’ll use music rather than crowd noise. Sometimes it’s a little bit more entertaining.”

    On preaching aggressiveness and how to avoid making mistakes: “With kind of a simple phrase that, ‘We play smart, not scared.’ You’ve got to be aggressive and this is an aggressive game, but you also have to take calculated risks as well. You just don’t want to be overly-aggressive where it creates problems, but we want to play smart. We certainly don’t want to play scared. We’re going to make some aggressive mistakes along the way.”

    On running certain drills in slow-motion: “What that is, those are mock situations that we cover, things that we talk about during the course of our meeting. We sort of back that up with film from different situations that have happened in ball games in our league, so we try and walk through them and give them a good feel for it, understand what we’re trying to get done. We have a myriad of different situations that we have to cover and that’s just one way to do it. We cover some in practice full-speed. We did yesterday. It was a full-speed work. Today, we wanted to slow it down a little bit because a particular play we were utilizing didn’t require full-speed work at that time.”