Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham met with the media on Friday.
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET:
Opening statement: "Nate Burleson had his surgery this morning so just to give you an update there."
On LB DeAndre Levy not practicing at all this week: "We've had a lot of guys that haven't practiced get to Sunday and they can play. We'll see where they all are on Sunday. But Levy is an experienced guy and if he's physically ready will be the key thing. He's always mentally ready."
On not having the same four starters in consecutive games this season in the secondary: "That's certainly not an ideal situation and that's one area, along with offensive line, that the group play is more important than the individual play. We're a 2-4 team looking for a win so we're really not pleased in any spot right now to tell you the truth."
On CB Chris Greenwood: "It's been his first practice and it's a little difficult when you come into the season because we're not in a training camp mode. We're not hitting, we're not...we wore shoulder pads last week on a Wednesday, but this week we didn't even practice on a Wednesday so it makes it difficult. But athletically, scheme-wise, all those things, he's coming along well. He hadn't had any setbacks with the groin injury so he's on a good path."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM QUOTE SHEET:
On what impresses him about his three linebackers: "Well, they're good players, you know, to begin with and what they're doing now, they've played together for six games now and the offseason and have got to know each other pretty well. I think that's the best thing that they have going is the camaraderie and the chemistry and they communicate very well. You know, I don't think they've had a bad game all the way through. Although, we didn't win some of them, but it was certainly not because of those three guys."
On LB DeAndre playing his best football: "Oh, there's no question he has been. He's probably been the best overall through the games that we've played. The other two guys have had good games and dropped off a little bit here or there, but he's been the most consistent by far. You know, if something happens where he can't go, we don't know that at this point, we'll get the next guy up. Just like in the secondary, we just keep filling them in. The coaches do a great job with all the guys, you know, so I feel pretty confident in whoever we have on the roster."
On the secondary responding to challenges despite playing with a different four every game: "Well, for some reason it's noticeable this year, but it's kind of been going on for four years now. It seems like we got a different lineup back there every week. But the guys that are backing up the starters that have been out, they're really well-schooled by Tim Walton. I keep saying over and over, I thank God he's here. You know, he's a tireless worker along with Marcus Robertson. But the best thing is, that room, as we call it where they meet, they're on the same page in there. Tim's very, very demanding and it shows in the practices and the games that guys have played. You know, some of them are not as talented as the other guys, but if you're in the right spot you've got a chance."
On DT Ndamukong Suh's sack on Bears QB Jay Cutler last week: "I thought it was pretty good. I mean, that's what he gets paid for. I saw him break free and I knew. I said, "Jay, either throw it or go down fast." He stayed up."
On why Suh's plays seem to cause so much controversy: "Because his name's Ndamukong Suh. You know, everybody looks at that. I mean, it makes me laugh sometimes. He's just playing and he's had, you know, the last two or three weeks he's probably played as well as I've ever seen him play and practice that way. So, he prepares and, you know, that particular play the Bears had a double on both defensive tackles and he just broke free right now. I knew it. I saw it coming. When he broke free I went, "Oh, Jay you're not going to outrun him now" and he closed on him. The thing about him, he's strong, he's got great balance and, you know, he's on the spotlight because he breaks through. He's in the open so people see things and they make their judgments and I make mine."
On what the size of CBs Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood will eventually bring to the secondary and the rise of big defensive backs in the League: "Well, if you check my history I've always had them. I had a marker on my office door in Kansas City and if you didn't reach that, you're not going to be on the team. Then I got stuck with a lot of little guys. Chris Houston, I talked to you about him last week. You know, he's really strong. He did 25 reps at the combine with 225. That's good for anybody, a lineman, a linebacker. So, he's a strong, shorter corner. He's really fast, but the size really makes a difference. Jonte Green played very well last game and a half. He had one bad play last week and I saw it coming. He closed on him. It was Hester, and he choked down and stuttered down. That's what the League kind of is built around. I don't coach that way and neither do our coaches. Our guys are taught to go through fast, you know, and their friends will show up. He, I saw him coming and when he choked down I said, "Oh my God" and Hester broke free. That was about the only play he had that I didn't like. The rest of the time he was on Marshall a lot and he jammed him around. Jonte Green's got some power to him. You know, he's very fast and a darn good athlete.
The other thing you were asking, somebody kind of talked about this in the past, he has taken more reps than any corner I've ever seen in my life. He started in the OTAs doing it, went all the way through camp and I kept thinking he was going to die. He made it all the way through and my thing was, from Greenwood and Jonte, to be ready a year from now. They're developmental kind of corners, but all the reps he's had, he's stepped up. On the sideline last week at the end of the game, you know, they got the onside kick back and I felt bad until I saw him. I told him how well he's been playing and, you know, the respect that I have for him. He looked me point blank in the eye and goes," Coach, not bad for a sixth-round draft choice, huh?" I had to turn my back because I didn't want anybody to see me smile at that time. You know, that's the thing that makes you feel good as a coach. That story for me is really important. Willie Young's discussion a week and a half ago in my office and to watch him play last week and Sammie Hill is getting better. (Nick) Fairley's coming out of the woodwork and, you know, I'm really proud of a lot of those guys. They've put a lot of time in and a lot of effort to bet better and they're all improving. The problem with the line is, I've got to get with this line coach and get a better rotation going because some of them are getting a little salty. The first guy they pick on is me because I'm the smallest guy out there. We've got to get them all playing more."
On CB Bill Bentley responding to his shoulder injury: "He's, you know, he's into it. He's tough. He's mentally tough and he came out right away, you know, as soon as he could once the trainers released him to some things. He's got a good approach. He talks ball with me every day whenever we have a chance. He's into it and when you see that in a player, you know he's going to be well. He's fighting to get well and he's going to give us everything he's got I know that."
On the development of CB Chris Greenwood: "Well, we had a séance meeting and watched tape together and he was surprised how I felt about what he was capable of doing. He's really smart and he's worked really hard. It's tough to get a guy that hasn't had hardly any reps to be ready for the season, you know? So, we're really working him in practice every day and he's improved every day. He's got the skills, it's just a matter of getting enough reps under him."
On if Greenwood has a shot to make the 53-man roster: "Well, Jim (Schwartz) makes all those decisions. He'll ask me I'm sure like he always does and I'll give him my answer at that point. But a week's a long time, so I want to look at him some more."
On if Suh has lost weight: "No, he's between 309 and 303 all the time. You know, everybody talks about him. You know, it makes me wonder sometimes. I see something that, to me, is very rare. The ability he's got as a defensive tackle is rare. He's got balance, he's got power, he's got strength, and more than that he's smarter than all of them. You know, he's tough to talk to because you better be right when you say something to him. I enjoy being around him. I think one of the things that I've noticed, there are pockets of players that you see and I've seen his camaraderie with (Louis) Delmas, Nick Fairley and all these different guys, yesterday I think he was going to choke Tim Walton in the huddle. The DBs were huddling up after practice and all I heard was a lot of noise and Tim Walton was kind of taller for a minute. Suh jumped in the middle of the DBs. You know, I think people just need to let him go play."
On Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch: "He's pretty good, isn't he? Yeah, he's the real deal. There's no question. I kind of enjoy it every week. I get to make judgments on guys I used to see, you know, there's some great running backs throughout the League. I remember his run in that playoff game against the Saints. My God, he's tough. He is a little different than (Matt) Forte. He drops his pads. I mean, he uses his shoulder better. Forte runs a little bit higher and that's not saying he's not any good. He's real good, but he has some of the same mannerisms in how he runs the ball in comparing him to Forte. His explosiveness, you know, he gets in the secondary and he's a load to bring down. The thing that amazes me, they list him at about 215 and he runs like he's about 230. You know, he's strong for size."