Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Comments from Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET:
On practice being inside today: "It was raining before. We would have been outside if it hadn't rained in the morning. It was a little slick. It's nice out there now, but the last thing you want is wet on a Friday. Somebody slip or something like that. But if it had been dry we would have been out."
On concern over WR Calvin Johnson not practicing this week: "He's done it before. He obviously knows our offense, and then his health is the most important thing. But yeah, any time your players aren't out there it's definitely a concern. An ideal situation is to go practice every day, but by the time you get to the middle of a NFL season, nothing's ideal."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM QUOTE SHEET:
On who the MVP of the defense has been so far: "Well, I think (Ndamukong) Suh's played really well. He's played consistently. I think Chris Houston's played that way. Prior to (DeAndre) Levy being hurt, he was really playing well. You know, there are a whole bunch of other guys that had some good games, but those guys have been really consistent."
On Houston leading the secondary amidst all the injuries: "He's really stood up both on the field and off the field. We had a good meeting this morning, and I was kind of asking questions. He answered every single one of them. I asked him about it, when did this all happen? He said, ‘When I came here. You know, I started to understand things.' Which makes you as a coach, Tim Walton I'm sure, feel good about those kind of things. He's really taken a leadership role. So, he is definitely one of those guys."
On DT Ndamukong Suh improving his run-stopping ability: "Well, I'll be honest with you, he's always played the run well. That's what they did in Nebraska, and we changed his stance up and he's taking the fight to them. What you're seeing now is the big play because he's more aggressive in going into the line, whereas coming out of college, he's more of a read player, read and react player. Now he's taking it across the line of scrimmage and, you know, Corey Willams had those kind of plays. I still think we lead the League in tackles for losses against the run, something we've worked on. Most of those things are coming to those guys and especially him."
On if Suh is playing back on his heels more this year: "No, you've got to look at it. I mean, he's in the backfield most of the time. What's happening is the guys are playing better around him. A couple plays we got hit last year with were misreads. We don't ask the tackles to play traps around here. I've never done that as a coach. Linebackers have the draws and have the traps because if you slow down and read that when they pass, you're going to be standing on the line of scrimmage. So, it's a different kind of approach."
On the progression of S Ricardo Silva: "Kind of amazing. I called him spider-man this morning. He's all arms and legs. I mean, he is one of the biggest surprises I've had in a long time as coach. He came in as a scout team guy, and I was lucky to replace him. Talking to Jim (Schwartz) and Martin (Mayhew), he just wouldn't have it any other way. He just kept working. You know, he started playing well last year in preseason and kind of caught our attention and he's been working really hard. He knows everything there is to know about the defense. He's really played well to this point. I hope he keeps it up."
On S Louis Delmas being injured again: "It breaks my heart. The personal relationship I have with him, he's one of the finest young men I've been around. He makes me laugh every day. What happened this time is a little bit different. In his first injury this year, he was really moody and wouldn't talk much. The other day we had it out in a team meeting, a defensive team meeting, and he was laughing, which tells me a lot. It means that he's going to be back soon and the thing's healing. So, I'm excited for him about that."
On LB Ashlee Palmer: "He had a snap or two that wasn't very good, but for the most part I was really happy for him. He played about as well as he could be expected to play. From what (Special Teams Coordinator) Dan (Crossman) said he played really well on teams. One thing that's happened to him in the past, when we ask him to step up on defense, he drops off on special teams. Last week, he was able to carry both. He made one play, they ran a lead at him and he almost killed the fullback. And Tully (Stephen Tulloch) came over the top. He was a clean-up linebacker and Ashlee takes out the fullback. Well, Ashlee took out Marshawn Lynch, the full back and the guard (laughter.) And he can do those things. He just needs to get settled. I think now that he knows we have confidence in him he's getting better every day and he is a great athlete for his size."
On if Palmer would have made the play on the touchdown if he and Tulloch hadn't bumped: "Yeah, you know he got caught up. His technique at the line wasn't very good. That was one of plays he didn't play well on because he can out-run that tight end. Easy. He could out-run him backwards probably. The tight end's a good player, don't get me wrong. He was at Oakland - I know how good he is. But he (Palmer) had poor technique at the line of scrimmage and lost him (the TE) and that's when they ran into each other. He should have jammed him up and not allowed him to get out, which the other linebacker could have cleared him."
On LB Travis Lewis progressing: "He's got a lot of tools. He's like Tahir. They both have a lot of tools, but Travis is really quick. He's very aggressive, probably over-so right now. But it's the ‘rookie-it is' as I call it. You know he's never played special teams. He's never been a scout team guy, and at Oklahoma he's a hero for four years. What he's learning right now is that this game is not as easy as college. The coaches will get you, the players will get you-the experience level. And he's got to work on his keys more. But he's got the movement skills we're looking for. He had a shot when Marshawn broke out to the right, late in the game. That was his play. That's something that he has to learn to do. It's a progression, but low and behold, he's moving up the food chain so to speak. I think we drafted the right guy. It's just going to be a matter of time."