Jim Caldwell Discusses Captains, Calvin Johnson’s Injury and Matt Prater


Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell met with the media today, touching on the subjects of captains for week six, Calvin Johnson’s injury and Matt Prater. Here is what he had to say, as provided by the Detroit Lions.

On captains for Sunday’s game: “Captains: Offense, Golden Tate, Defense, DeAndre Levy, Special Teams, Don Carey. That’s the three guys that we have in place and they’ll do a great job for us.”

On K Jason Hanson reaching out to the team regarding kicking: “He didn’t reach out to me. I think Tom Lewand probably answered that today when he talked about it a little bit. Obviously, we know he’s a great kicker and means a lot to what he’s done for this organization, he’s been tremendous. But, we have our guy in place and we’re really pleased about that.”

On if it is more difficult to win division games on the road than typical road games: “It’s hard to win anywhere. Obviously, division games are huge in terms of what you want to do with goals and things of that nature. So, wherever they’re played they’re difficult. They’re even more difficult, obviously, anytime on the road in this league is hard to get a victory and versus a team that has talent as well.”

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On if there’s a chance WR Ryan Broyles might see more action: “It just depends. Obviously, he’s up and active which has been different from previous weeks. Obviously, I kind of think everybody probably was focused in on the fact that he had such a fine preseason. I would anticipate that he’ll still be a factor for us one way or another. But, it just depends on how the game goes, the flow of the game, what personnel grouping we think is working better for us and sometimes you have to mid-stream adjust depending on maybe they’re doing something you didn’t’ anticipate. So, it requires you to use a little different type of attack, which may fall in line with him in terms of where we’d like to utilize him. It just depends, but he’s been practicing well, he does a nice job in that area, he’s a guy that I think will contribute. He’s caught one pass for us that was pretty significant and I think there are more like that in his future.”

He hasn’t gotten the ball an inordinate amount but I think you’ll see those things kind of increase little by little as he goes on.

On what TE Eric Ebron’s versatility allows for: “When you’re asking just in terms of Eric, probably the thing that is going to affect a little bit more than anything is the fact that there’s only two of them, in terms of the tight end position and numbers. I think you saw his numbers go up just in terms of participation numbers, quite dramatically because Joe (Fauria) not being available to us. So thus, he kind of handles dual roles in that regard. Maybe the things that Joe did along with his own sort of packages, so that increased the number. He hasn’t gotten the ball an inordinate amount but I think you’ll see those things kind of increase little by little as he goes on. He does give you some matchup issues, obviously. I think one popped up in the game the other day where we kind of had him out flanked and he was able to get inside. Couldn’t complete the task but, nevertheless, he’s a threat.”

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  • On if a decision has been made if WR Calvin Johnson will play this week: “Not yet. Not a public decision I might add. One of the things that I don’t ever want to do is be misleading in that regard. Like I mentioned to you before often times some things are incongruent with what we are trying to get done. I would tell you not a public one at this point. You never know, there’s a possibility. A couple weeks ago I really didn’t think that he’d be available but the fact of the matter is he came out after doctors looked and said, ‘Hey he can go,’ so anything is possible.”

    On who takes Johnson’s starting spot if he is unavailable to play on Sunday: “It depends on the package, it really does. Often times you saw he (Johnson) and (Corey) Fuller were in the game at the same time so Fuller would be there but it just kind of depends on what package we use and we use quite a few of them.”

    On being excited to see what the other players on the team can provide in game situations: “One of the things I think that this game provides is each and every week is an opportunity for someone because of the fact that hardly anyone stays completely healthy the entire year. I’m always excited about guys getting an opportunity and see what they do with it, kind of take it to that next level, next level of performance in terms of execution and not only that, just seeing their reaction. Sometimes a little pressure does one or two things, either it polishes you up or grinds you down. Some guys find it very difficult to function within that limelight, so I’m always excited about having an opportunity to see how these young men react and for the most part I think that they respond favorably.”

    On measuring how a K deals with the pressure of the position: “There’s an old kind of football cliché that says, ‘In God we trust but everything else need data.’ I think when you watch him and see what he’s done previously that gives you a pretty good indication of where he is and what he’s capable of, so that’s comforting.”

    On what he has seen from his team in practice this week: “I can see improvement in areas, which is what you look for. We’re getting a little bit better. Yesterday, to be honest with you, we were concerned about a couple of areas, our practice wasn’t as crisp as I’d like to see it. Thus, that’s kind of what Fridays are for, to get all of those things kind of straightened away. That’s what coaching is all about. There’s a phrase that a guy named Dr. Samuel Proctor made and he said, ‘A young person’s mind is not cultivated enough to perceive the consequences of their deeds.’ And I think that sort of appeals to coaching. Young guys, although they’re 22, 23, 24 years-old, they’re still young men that need guidance and direction. It’s our responsibility to make certain that we get them headed in the right direction on the practice field. Give them examples of how it should be done, talk to them constantly until they get it. Some things they haven’t gotten yet and I think that’s an ongoing pursuit. But it’s one that we’re up for the challenge, we thrive for that challenge. That’s the reason why I coach because that’s the fun part of it, ushering young men into the threshold of reaching their full potential in every single aspect. Not just on the field, but off the field as well.”

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  • On how K Matt Prater has been accepted by his teammates: “To crystalize a little bit of it loosely, the comment that I made in regard to the support system, I’ve mentioned Dr. Galen Duncan and Dana Sinclair. Clair, both of those individuals are great at what they do. They’re able to talk with them and handle a number of different situations and it’s a constant, ongoing exercise. Besides that, we have people in the building that have gone through similar issues and problems that we think have a lot in common with him in terms of being able to give him a support system. We have players on our team that not only are I think great role models, but then also know him, that were here when he was here the first time and can relate to him, talk with him, along with the coaching staff as well. I think we’re up for that task and that’s what we do with pretty much everyone that we have here. We try to support them in some way. But then also, you asked about his reception and how he was received. What we do on Mondays is we talk about the roster and the changes that we have, so we kind of let them know what’s been going on over the weekend and over the past couple of days on Tuesdays. Particularly, because there’s quite a few guys that we bring in, work out and we often times might sign a guy here or there. When we did that this particular week, when his name was announced, it was a rousing applause, let’s put it that way. This is another anecdote to that, we were working a drill yesterday afternoon where it was second down and long. We were at the plus-45 and we were running a series of mock plays, trying to get the extra yards in order to get into field goal range. So, the first one on the second and 10 play, there was nobody open, so Matthew (Stafford) threw the ball out of bounds, threw it away. Which is what you should do in that situation because you don’t want to catch it inbounds and get tackled or have the time run out on the clock. We had no timeouts. So, he tossed it away and was getting ready to tee it up for the next one and he looks back at me, I was standing in the position of the umpire, and he said to me, ‘Hey, I don’t have anything to worry about, do I?’ I said, ‘Why is that?’ He said, ‘Matt can make can make it from here, can’t he?’ That explains to you how they feel about him.”

    On if there are people within the organization that Prater has in common with in terms of substance abuse: “There are many. There are many in the building that have had similar situations, I being one of those individuals (family members) and there’s probably several others. I think most of us, we kind of look back at our own past and we probably could do a pretty good job of supporting him as well in that regard.”