Jim Caldwell’s Comments From Wednesday’s Practice


Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell met with the media at practice today, here is what he had to say as provided by the Detroit Lions.

Opening Statement: “These weeks come around fairly quickly for us it appears, and the older you get, the faster they move. You guys are still young folks, so you probably don’t recognize that. Our guys have gotten a really good focus and they’re focusing in on our next opponent. It’s going to be a difficult task. They have a really strong front line. Their defensive front is probably as good as you’ll see. With talented guys, they run to the ball well. They play with a lot of energy. They have a real veteran linebacking core, with (Brandon) Spikes leading the way there within that group, and also a secondary that’ll run and hit. Offensively, they’re making a couple of little adjustment in this game where they’re changing quarterbacks, which kind of creates its own set of problems because of the fact that we don’t have an opportunity to kind of see what they consider to be his forte (Kyle Orton’s) in terms of the things he does best. I would not anticipate the offense changing a drastic amount, but some of the zone read stuff that they have done with E.J. (Manual) is probably not going to be in the game plan, perhaps. But they do have a lot of weapons. Two receivers on the outside that can run. Sammy Watkins, I think everybody knows who he is and what he’s capable of doing. Very solid tight end play on the inside, a good offensive line and two great backs that have certainly been able to churn up some yardage. It’s going to be an issue. Their special teams also are a very talented bunch. They use a lot of their starters on their special teams units and they’re very effective in those units, in particular in the return game. So, we’re going to have a real challenge in all of those areas and we certainly get prepared for that.”

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  • On if he coached against Indianapolis while he coached with Baltimore and if there’s an advantage to knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the personnel: “Well, when I was at Indy, we played against the Buccaneers and when I went to Baltimore, we played against Indianapolis in the first round of the playoffs, it was early. Although I know for the most part that some may look at this differently, but it’s common in our profession because guys are hired and fired so often, and frequently as well. You find that there are a lot of guys that are all across the league that have faced the same phenomenon that’s going on this weekend. For example, Alan Williams is on our staff, we’ll play the Vikings at some point in time. Bill Sheridan is on our staff, we played New York. It’s just all across the board, you’ll find guys. We play New Orleans this year, Joe (Lombardi) was at New Orleans. You can just look and there’s so many teams that that happens with. I think you probably have a sense of the fact that you may know a team a little bit more intimately, but it’s still a team game and some teams change dramatically from one year to the next. This team is a bit different than we were last year in a number of respects. There will be some things you’ll be able to hang your hat on and some you won’t.”

    On not beating yourself: “The first part of your question I would say that it just takes constant vigilance in terms of talking about the things that give you problems and what hurts you. Show them why so you give them video evidence and then not only that you obviously illustrate those things they that do in practice that are harmful to us as well. We try to make certain that we cover all those bases but the big thing is I think it just has to be consistent. Just like anything else you can probably get it if you make it a huge point you can get it for one game, but one game is not a season make. You have to get it week after week. We haven’t arrived yet, we’re still on that road and hopefully we’ll continue to improve.”

    On what happened to FB Montell Owens that led to him being placed on Injured Reserved: “Just one of those things that happens just in terms of numbers and injuries at other positions. Therefore, you have to find a way to get guys up add new guys to your squad. That was more so the issue.”

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    On RB George Winn possibly playing this week: “Yeah, I do it’s certainly a possibility and I think he’s a guy that’s up for the task as well. He worked extremely hard obviously during preseason, was able to come in do some good things. We think he’s progressed since then so I do believe if called upon he certainly can help us.”

    On what makes the Bills front four so formidable: “You hit it right on the head, it’s a powerful group. (Marcell) Dareus is one of those guys where he can come off the ball, knock you back and he can run. Matter of fact, I was looking at a clip on film where he literally took the guy in front of him it looked like the back was going to go inside, so he took the guy and kind of shed him this way. The back went into the opposite direction because he was on this side, he took the guy, moved him that way, ran and made the tackle. For big offensive linemen that he was facing it takes a very strong and powerful individual to do that. This guy is pretty incredible. Kyle (Williams), who I’m not certain if he was injured last game a little bit, but he’s a guy who’s absolutely relentless. I mean he just runs hard and plays tough and he just harasses you all day long. Mario Williams is certainly a huge factor as well, big man with power and speed. We saw a bunch of him in Houston early on in his career and he still has a tremendous impact on the game. He can beat you a number of different ways particularly in pass rush with speed to power and he can bull rush you. He’s also very good at setting the edge. On the other side Jerry Hughes who we know and had him in at Indianapolis, is a quick twitch, fast, hard charging individual that can make plays all over the field. It’s a pretty formidable bunch. (Jarius) Wynn, when he stepped in there he played well he looked stout. So we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

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  • On DT Ndamukong Suh avoiding outside distractions: “You’re not going to lead me down that road, but nevertheless, you have to be yourself too, I think. That’s the thing I like about him, I like about the rest of the team and it’s what we try and breed is authenticity. I think there’s nothing wrong with a guy that demonstrates whatever feelings he might have under any circumstances as long as it’s not detrimental to the team. Obviously, he probably has not had as much experience as I’ve had of dealing with guys that are very, very persistent and doesn’t know how to kind of let it roll down his back once in a while. Every once in a while you may see something from some of these young guys that does indeed occur. That’s something we have to deal with and we’ll learn to handle as we go.”

    On WR Jeremy Ross’ contributions: “He gives a sort of an added benefit in terms of, he has return ability, but then also gives us a number of reps in terms of the pass game and the running game as well because he does a great job blocking. You can see he’s a threat also in the passing game, he’s not someone that you can just ignore. Often times, and it’s been my experience over the years, we’ve had guys that have simply return ability and they take up a spot on the 46 (active roster) and you don’t get much out of them from whatever position they play. It could be in the secondary, receiver or whatever it may have been and that’s tough because he is a huge value for you in that area. But, you’d certainly like to have another individual up to handle the chores and duties that he would ordinarily fulfill at that fourth spot or fifth spot depending on the location. He gives us a great flexibility in that regard because he is productive as an offensive player and very productive for us in the return game as well.”

    On the running game: “We’d like to get off to a better start, we just haven’t got off to a great start in terms of running the ball consistently. But, I do think that we will just keep working at it and it’ll happen for us. But, the run game is just like anything else, it just takes patience. What we have been able to do, like you mentioned, is when it counted we’ve had to close the door on a team. One of my old bosses used to say, ‘There always comes a time in a ballgame, football’s not that complicated. There comes a time when you have to make somebody say, ‘ouch.’ What he was referring to is the fact that at some point in time, you take over the line of scrimmage to seal the game. I think that holds true. So, our patience has been good in that regard but we’ve been pretty strong down the stretch, not as good as we’d like to be. Every week’s a new challenge, but yes, we’d like to start a little bit better.”

    On if he has diagnosed the issues with running the ball early in the game: “Yes, we analyze constantly. I mean every single phase, every nuance of the game we look in detail. We look at it from a data driven standpoint from what we get from computers and analysis. We look at it from a personnel standpoint, what guys can do and can’t do and some of that you’re still learning schematically. We look at it from a scheme standpoint, I mean we look at all of those factors and try to make the best adjustments that we possibly can to see some improvement. So, week after week that’s the key, we just have to keep improving. We’d like to get up around that 4.0 (yards per carry) average and we’ll feel pretty good about where we are.”

    On how RB Joique Bell is doing with the concussion protocol: “Joique Bell is doing okay. He’s doing fine.”