Jim Caldwell Discusses his Coordinators and Facing the Saints


When meeting with the media today, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell talked about his coordinators, Ziggy Ansah, DeAndre Levy and various Saints topics. Here is what he had to say, as provided by the Detroit Lions.

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  • On his first impressions of DE Ezekiel Ansah: “I certainly knew who he was because everybody was kind of talking about him. He was kind of an extremely raw talent that was big and incredibly fast for his size. And then playing against him as well, you really got a sense of his presence because he could create problems. He probably was a bit more of a bull rusher when we saw him, more of a guy that would try to overpower you and I think his repertoire has changed just a little bit. He’s added to it because now he can beat you a number of different ways. Probably when we saw him, his experience level was such where he was probably still thinking a little bit about what was going on around him and how to best attack it. He doesn’t do much thinking right now. He can react, and quickly. We didn’t have a chance to work with him early because of his injury and then once we got him back it was kind of slow going until he got back to where he is now, or where he’s been since the season started. I’m glad to have him back, talented guy.”

    On if he sees Ansah having fun on the field: “I do. I think that probably attributes to the fact that he’s not thinking a whole lot about what he’s doing, and he’s enjoying it. I think he understands that his role, I think that entire group does actually, they’ve got something pretty special going on where they are playing with an unbelievable amount of confidence, and for good reason.”

    On what impresses him most about the way Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi carries himself: “It’s one of the things that I think is very important in what we do. You have to be really good in a classroom setting and Joe has all of the presence that you look for. He’s knowledgeable, he’s also personable. He has a way of, with these guys, you have to keep it popping. You have to change some things up once in a while and he has the wherewithal to do that and the most important thing is, he has expertise and he displays all of those things.”

    On what Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin’s presence is like: “Everybody in this game has their different ways, but both of those guys are great teachers. Teryl has a unique knack of the ability to drive a hard bargain and then be able to just sit back and let it sort of marinate a little bit, and the guys respond to it that way. He’s a task master, but all of the same qualities (as Joe). That’s why those two young guys are rather special in that sense. I know we talked about them early on when they were first coming, but I’ve been around a little while coaching and you very rarely see two guys that have the kind of ability those two guys have. I think you’ll see as time goes on that they’ll just keep showing up. They’re pretty special.”

    On how much he stresses teaching as a coach: “It’s our job, really. That’s really what it is, and it’s not so much how much we know, it’s how much they know. How well you can teach, how well you can get your point across. I’ve been around some guys and have seen some guys in our business that have been extraordinary orators in terms of talking about some aspect of football, but maybe not as strong in terms of getting their point across to the players because they’re way over their head. It’s lofty, they can’t make it earthy enough. So, I think what these guys do is, they’re able to teach, and not only those two guys, we have a whole staff of really fine teachers and teaching, I think is the most important thing, to be honest with you.”

    On if Austin can be an NFL head coach someday: “Certainly, and I think not only him, I did mention that early on, but we have a number of guys on this staff that have that ability. He’s got all of the leadership qualities, he does a great job of dealing with you guys. Often times, you find that some guys just don’t have the wherewithal to handle every aspect. He’s also a very strong evaluator. Across the board, he’s pretty top-notch and I’ve been around him a long time, so I probably know him better than I know a lot of guys.”

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  • On what he remembers about Saints QB Drew Brees when he first came into the League: “He had the most unusual ability to anticipate cuts of anyone I’ve ever seen. I remember watching his college tape and I remember a couple of ballgames in particular, he drops back in the pocket and he throws the ball down the middle of the field and you’re thinking as you’re watching it, ‘Where’s he throwing it to?’ And all of the sudden, the receiver shows up. Just unbelievable anticipation, like a great point guard. And then the other thing that jumped out at you was, he could stick it in your earhole, if he wanted to. He’s a very accurate guy and those things jumped off the page. Besides that, you could tell he was in command of the offense, he was a great field general and the guys around him responded to it.”

    On how much he’s changed his process as far as scouting personnel: “Really, this business is kind of a give and take business, but Martin (Mayhew) and those guys have a great system in place and we exchange ideas, talk about a little bit of everything. But for the most part, it’s what they’ve done here since Martin has taken over and adjusted things the way he likes them. They certainly fit well for us and I think you have to look at, what we walked into was a number of players here that are capable of playing and playing well. I think you’ve seen that show up on the field. They do a tremendous job and there’s not a whole lot of tweaking that has to be done, but they’re forever looking for ways to improve. He’s very open about those things, but he’s a hard worker and has a great plan.”

    On LB DeAndre Levy’s instincts and how they’ve stood out: “Other than the fact that, week after week, you can see that he’s very active and is around the ball. Instinctive players have a way of showing up consistently and he does, but he works so hard. We sit in the meeting rooms and I sit there and I listen. He asks very good questions, questions that not only serve him, but the rest of the room as well. He’s one of those guys that without question could probably teach his position. He studies it that well and knows it that well and he’s also a guy that doesn’t have to think about a whole lot. Although the system is somewhat new, we’re doing some things a little bit differently than maybe they’ve been accustomed to, but he’s a quick study.”

    On LB Kyle Van Noy returning to practice: “He looked pretty good yesterday for the things that he did. He moved around well. He’s been saying for quite some time that you have to know him and that he’s ready to go. He’s working at it, but he looked good yesterday.”

    On how the offense changes without TE Joseph Fauria: “He’s a unique talent down in that area of the field (the red zone), obviously with his height, which is something that you can’t teach. And his ability to be able to get in positions where I think Matt (Stafford) was comfortable with throwing him the ball, high and up top, over the defense, where it’s either our ball or nobody’s ball. With a guy like that, with those kinds of skills and ability, certainly that has a bit to do with what you call and what you might be interested in trying to get accomplished. Although, some other guys can do it, but he does it in a little different way.”

    More from SideLion Report

    On the onside kick the Saints recovered in Super Bowl XLIV: “It’s not a pleasant moment, to be honest with you. The thing is, he’s (Saints Head Coach Sean Payton) always been a guy, and with this game this week the same thing may happen, he’s got something that he’s going to utilize or something that maybe you haven’t seen or would anticipate and expect. That particular onside kick took a lot of guts in that particular game, in that particular situation, with that quarterback (Peyton Manning) that we had on the other side, and you give him a short field? The ball bounced off one of our guy’s facemask and bounced out of his hands again, and in the pile up, we ended up losing it. So, it could’ve really gone either way and it was pretty close, but you have to credit him. It was a great call, they got it and it certainly had a lot to do with the outcome of the game.”

    On if he can point back to that onside kick as an example of anything can happen when facing New Orleans: “They’ve done many since that time. The other thing is, John Bonamego worked there and also obviously, we know Joe worked there. Both of those guys, John in particular in terms of our special teams, talked about the propensity of a few things to expect that you may not have seen otherwise. But I think that’s the unique thing about our business is that you have to sometimes expect the unexpected, but not to the point where you’re chasing ghosts. You still have to work on the nuts and bolts of the game and the fundamentals of the game and get your guys ready to play, and just anticipate and hope there won’t be just one play that makes the difference in the game.”

    On how often he reflects back on Super Bowl XLIV: “I get by things pretty quickly in that regard. Those are some things that are out of your hands. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to be in the number of games that we were in. You don’t win them all, typically. Two out of three, we’re not complaining much about it.”