Jim Caldwell Gets Asked About Ndamukong Suh, A Lot


Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell met with the media today and was asked about Ndamukong Suh…a lot. He wasn’t in much of a mood to talk on the subject, keeping his answers short. Here is what Caldwell had to say today, as provided by the Detroit Lions.

Opening statement: “Obviously, a great time for us in terms of our preparation. It’s one of the reasons this room is a little more crowded than normal because this time of the year there are only a few of us still playing. So, we know we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s a heck of a team we’re playing, strong in every phase. We get a chance to go away from home to a great venue and play a great game. We’re looking forward to it.”

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  • On the organization’s approach to DT Ndamukong Suh’s suspension appeal: “Those things are, procedures and such, where the league generally talks to those that are involved in it and makes an assessment from what’s presented. Our involvement in it is minimal.”

    On Suh’s reported comment that he said he had ‘cold feet’: “You know, what I do believe, and this is something I hope is throughout, is those proceedings are confidential. They’re private, I’m not talking about it. I don’t even talk about conversations that I have with our own players, let alone something as high level as that. So, if you want to ask that question, you might want to ask someone other than me because I’m not going to answer it.”

    On if Suh mentioned that comment to him during the game: “It’s a cold day. It was cold up there. I mean, everyone was cold. Let’s make no mistake about it.”

    On having Suh back in the lineup this week: “Yeah, obviously, any time you have a guy who does what he does for us, plays great, is a real factor in every game, it’s great to have him back.”

    On trusting Suh to do not something like this again: “I think one thing is that, we’re all human. I, for one, and several others in this room I would say have made mistakes in their lives. Certainly, I’m going to make more, that’s just the way I am and I would assume that everybody else may fall in that same category.”

    On if the organization is enabling player misconduct: “Here’s the thing that I think, and this is the last thing I’m going to say about this particular issue. Here’s the thing, there is a process, the league has a process in place. They have rules, they have regulations, they have ways in which they met those out, and they have a procedure to follow if you disagree with it. All of those things were done and it was ruled upon. If you have any further questions about that, I think you may want to talk to the league. I’m talking about Dallas right now from this point on if you have questions about that.”

    On Suh’s suspension being lifted: “We’re glad he’s back, happy about it, excited about it, thankful about it.”

    On if the suspension was warranted: “I do not, at any point in time, bring my personal views into anything. My personal views might be a little bit different than most, so I don’t think this is a platform for that.”

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  • On what has jumped out to him about Dallas QB Tony Romo: “He’s been a quality player for a long, long time. He’s one of those guys, I think, that’s got all of the skillsets, he can run, he can throw it, he’s got arm strength, he can make all the throws. A real talented guy, and I think it’s tough to do one without the other, just in terms of how productive they’ve been. What I mean by that is, that often times you’ll find that some teams can run the ball extremely well and what teams will do is pack in a bunch of guys around the line of scrimmage to keep you from running it as well and as much because they don’t think your quarterback can hurt you, or them I should say. Then often times you’ll see those teams get stalled a bit. In this particular case, he can hurt you. You pack the line of scrimmage, which you need to do just to stop that offensive line and the backs, and then what he (Romo) does is he’ll carve you up. Then on the outside, talented guys are running inside, (Jason) Witten, (Cole) Beasley, obviously as well. It’s a pretty talented group.”

    On the matchup between the Lions defensive line and the Cowboys offensive line: “Well, I think it’s going to be a good matchup. I think in both categories if you look at the numbers, they’ll tell you that they run the ball as well as anybody in the league. You look at the statistics for us, we’re right up there in the top of the rankings just in terms of stopping the run. Overall, I think it’s going to be a real good battle.”

    On players being on high alert about penalties this week: “You know, we try to make certain that we do what we do every week. We try to use preventative medicine almost in every category, not only on the field, but off the field. We do cover those instances. We talk about them, we try to educate as well as train. Obviously, sometimes we fall a little short. There are other times I think we do decently.”

    On if limiting penalties is more of a concern this week because it is a playoff game: “I just think in order to play well you have to be as close to penalty-free as you possibly can. Maybe about three a game gets you in the category where I think you’re in pretty decent shape. That’s what we try to focus in on. Those things are important to us.”

    On if this is a ‘strap your chinstrap tight’ kind of game: “Little different this time of year. Obviously, I think every game is tough and difficult I think when you get in the playoffs when it’s one and done if you lose. If you win you go on. I think it’s a heightened sense of intensity. There’s a lot more at stake, obviously, because of the fact that there’s only going to be one happy team at the end of the year. We’re in the running for that, and so we want to make certain we have the best opportunity to do what we do best in that area. So, you better buckle it up. This also is a strong running team. Typically with a team like that, they’re very, very physical and they are.”

    On how S James Ihedigbo will respond after last game: “I think he will respond like he’s always responded. He’s a champion. He knows what hard work and discipline is all about. He’ll bounce back.”

    On if Ihedigbo is the starter this week: “He is.”

    On what a playoff win would mean for Lions fans: “One of the things that’s often kind of missed is the fact that we get a sense of our fan base. Number one, I think this team in a number of respects is similar to what I think the city’s been going through. It’s had a tough time, had some difficulties, fighting its way out of bankruptcy. I think this team is the same thing. It’s had some issues, had been down really a tough stretch for a number of years and trying to battle their way out of it. I think the guys have taken that first step of getting in position to still be playing at this time of the year. That’s the first step, it’s not the ultimate step, obviously. But yeah, I do, without question (know what it would mean for Lions fans). I had mentioned to you all before, usually once a week I get a chance to get out in the public other than in this setting and the public is overjoyed with our position. I mean, it’s a lot of real excitement out there. I’m excited about that.”

    On if there is concern about this team having a ‘dirty’ image: “No, I don’t think so. I just think that, obviously, sometimes an incident or two will cause it. Particularly with the glare of the media, so much is written about it. For the most part, it’s just kind of the way society is today that people are looking more for a train wreck than they are accomplishment. I think often times that probably gets a little bit too much attention, but it gets some. That’s just the way it is. That’s why reality shows are so popular. But I do think, without question, in order for us to win, we have to be able to do things the right way. I think that’s extremely important. I think more so than anything else, our guys, they do understand that and we anticipate that that’s going to be certainly the way things will play from this point on.”

    On if there needs to be any adjustments to prevent further mistakes: “No, you know, anything that goes on on that field I’m responsible for. I mean, every detail of it, whether it’s good or whether it’s bad. Every call that’s made, every action that’s taken out there on the field, that’s my responsibility. If there’s something that’s negative, it’s my job to get it changed. If I don’t get it changed I won’t be here very long. I do understand that, have always understood that. I think that goes along with winning because I think you have to do things the right way in order to make certain that you win.”

    On talking to a player such as Suh who has had fines from the NFL throughout his career: “I can only tell you that since I’ve been here with him, the guy has been solid. He’s been good, he listens and he tries to do the right thing. Plain and simple.”

    On how Romo is a different quarterback than in past years: “I really don’t think he’s that much different. I’ve always thought he was a great quarterback. I just think he’s got a better supporting cast. He’s got a line that’s as good as they come. You look at (Tyron) Smith over there at the tackle and I’m telling you, I’m not certain I’ve seen a guy move as well as he moves. I mean, just a talented guy. Good blocking up front and you couple that with what he (Romo) does in terms of the passing game, I just think often times what happens is just like most situations. You focus in on the quarterback and you look at him solely for all of the ups and downs of the team and judge him accordingly. But those of us that make a living doing what we do and watching these guys and evaluating them, I’ve looked at him for a while and seen that. I think anybody you know that knows me, they usually ask me about quarterbacks. They’ll tell you what I tell them about Romo. It’s exactly the same thing I just told you. I thought he’s always been an outstanding quarterback.

    On if he has ever seen Romo play better than he currently is: “I’m a purist and I look at him strictly from what he’s been able to do and he’s always flashed exactly what you see now. I think he’s a talented guy. I think they’ve done a great job in terms of building a team around him. He’s certainly taken advantage of that. He’s throwing the ball accurately, I think he’s 68.9-percent or something like that, which is unbelievable. Right now, he’s playing with a whole lot of confidence.”

    On what sort of opportunity this is for Stafford playing in his hometown: “Well, I’d not only just say Matthew, I’d say our team in particular. That’s where the focus should be. The focus is on what we do together, that’s the only way we’re going to win. It’s not going to be just one guy, it never is in our game. Our game’s a lot different than others, it’s not golf. There’s other people that are involved in getting ourselves in position to win. I think without question, we have to have a real good team game in order to get this thing done.”

    On what the Cowboys offensive line does that makes them special: “Talent, ability, scheme, you know? I think they’re using the scheme that best suits their talent upfront and they do a great job executing. They come off the ball, they have size, they understand exactly what they’re trying to get done. They can adapt their scheme to multiple different fronts. There hasn’t been really any scheme that’s slowed them down much. They’ve been really good.”

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    On how much he consults the players for tendencies that the players might know from their former coaches: “I think everybody changes according to the people they have to coach. I know that’s that case. But, there’s certain things about Rod (Marinelli) that doesn’t change. He’s going to have guys that run to the ball, full speed, consistently. He’s going to have guys that are lined up in the right spot, he’s not going to be really complicated. They’re going to play with a lot of energy and I know he’s going to have some guys that certainly understand how to be opportunistic as well. Keep things in front of them, limit big plays, well coached. I think obviously, Scott’s (Linehan) been very productive on the offensive side and he’s done it a variety of different ways. Obviously, this way, they’ve been running the ball as well as anybody.”

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