Lions quotes: Players comment on Sunday's loss to Bears

USA TODAY Sports

Quotes from various players after the Detroit Lions lost to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD

On being hard to win a game with four turnovers: "Yeah it is. You know, that's a team on the other side that hasn't been giving up a lot of turnovers. So we got the ball on the ground a couple times and just the ball bounced into their arms. And then when it was fumbled for us, they did a great job of jumping on it. They've been doing it all year. That's what they live by - creating short fields for their offense. I thought our defense did a good job when there were turnovers, holding them to three points. We still had a chance there at the end to win the game."

On what you learned from this year and this experience: "It's a little fresh right now honestly. But there are things that are good; there are things that are bad. You learn from everything, the good and the bad. Obviously four wins isn't good enough. I can definitely look at my play and I will and I'll work on it and get ready for next year."

On what needs to change for next year: "We just got to make the plays. We were in almost every game we played and you know I don't know how many we lost by less than seven or whatever it was, but that's the difference between a successful season and one that's one successful is winning those close games. That takes everybody and we understand that. No doubt the team will look a little bit different next year, just like it does every year for every NFL team. We'll learn from this year and the guys that are back next year, we'll be better for it."

On an explanation for why the turnovers continued throughout the season on offense and special teams: "I just think they happen. It's definitely on us. There's no excuse made. We either threw it to the other team or fumbled it and let them get it, whatever it was. It's something that we've got to be more cognizant of especially in key games like this."

On how disappointing it is to lose eight straight games: "It's disappointing. You never want to lose whenever you play. To be so close so many times and then just not pull it out is tough."

On what specific things you will personally be working on to improve during the offseason: "I'll take a look at it. It's kinda early to tell you about that to tell you the truth. It's going to be trying to get back to work with guys as soon as they're healthy. We have some guys that are still rehabbing and when they're back out on the field it will be good to work with those guys."

On where the emotional level of the team was to start the game today: "It was good I thought. Put up a fight early on, had the lead three nothing and kept coming back. I was happy to see that. At this point in the season, you go down 17 points and fight your way back within two is a good sign. Obviously you'd much rather win the football game, but I was proud of the effort on both sides of the ball and guys were giving everything they had."

On if you and WR Calvin Johnson were a little out of sync today and if you were forcing passes trying to get to 2,000: "No. I was trying to win the game. If he got one-on-one coverage, I was trying to throw him the ball and if he didn't then other guys had to step up and they did."

On contrasting how you feel about this team and how you felt coming into the season: "Every time you start a season you expect to make the playoffs and then see what happens from there. That's kind of everybody's goal these days is getting into the tournament and anything can happen after that. Obviously didn't get a chance to do that. It's a results driven business and it's just not good enough."

LIONS WR CALVIN JOHNSON

On 4-12 not being what they expected and how difficult it will be to turn around: "I don't think it's going to be too tough. We had a bunch of games there that were super close - about seven of them at least - where one play here and there changes the game over. You could say ‘if' a lot, but it is what it is. We're 4-and-whatever. So, we just have to come back and strap it up against next year."

On if his accomplishments this year were bittersweet: "You could say that. There'll be a cloud because, personally, we didn't finish like we wanted to. In the end, had a good year, but there's a lot of things that could have been done better."

On how tough it is to finish 36 yards shy of 2,000: "It's not really tough at all. It's a hell of a feat getting to where we got to. So I'm not disappointed as far as that goes."

On how he gets better after a season like this: "Go back and look at film. There's a bunch of things that could have been done better - concentrated a little bit more. We had some drops this year, got to get rid of those. There's always room to get better, though."

On how much it affected the offense after losing Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles and Titus Young: "It's hard to say. I know it did. When they're not there you can't really say what could have happened - it's tough to put yourself in that situation and guess what might have happened, but at the same time, we definitely could have used those guys - no doubt."

On if it ‘blows his mind' that it's been an eight-game losing streak: "It does. It does. When it gets started in the season, it goes so fast and, before you know it, like I said, we went on an eight-game losing streak. That's tough. It's a position none of us want to be in."

On the emphasis the coaching staff has put on eliminating turnovers and why they've been unsuccessful doing that: "They put a big emphasis on it. We know ourselves (that) the more and more you turn the ball over, the less and less chance you have to win. That's something that we have to put on our own shoulders as an offense. When the ball does hit the ground, get on it, and we just can't have those."

On if they saw eight straight losses coming as a team: "No, never; never, never, never. Season goes fast and we get on that slide and its boom-boom-boom, we dropped eight and, before you know it, it's the end of the season, so it's tough."

LIONS G ROB SIMS

On the offseason distractions coming into this season: "You know, I can't say that it did or didn't. I mean those guys came back, the guys it happened to came back or they got rid of the guys that they didn't think could help the team. So, I don't really think that was it. I don't really think that was an issue. It didn't help us by any means. We need all the help we can get. We've got to watch what we do period, especially this year, our microscope's going to be zoomed in even just a little bit more. We've got to take care of our business."

On if there is anything he wants to hear from Coach Schwartz: "I mean, for me, I think it's what I just said just a minute ago. We can be the team that everybody was thinking we were going to be this year and we still can be that team. Just to fix it. You go back in your mind and see just a couple plays this season, you have a different outcome if different situations went different for us, it's a different outcome. I'm not going to say it's close right now from the way we finished the season but I know it's there."

On if an eight game losing streak blows his mind: "Yeah, it does blow my mind, you know what I mean? I mean, Matthew was missing a lot of his weapons for a good part of that time. I think that's one thing. I think we hung in there and battled and stuff like that. That's the only surprising thing about it is that we could go back every week and fix some things and come back. Remember that time we weren't starting fast, we figured out a way to start fast. We got our run game where we could be successful in some plays in the run game. So that does surprise me that we went back and did all that work and tried to shuffle to fix it and we couldn't fix it."

On what he anticipates to change this offseason: "Yeah, yeah. I'm not going to pat you on the back. This is the NFL. I was on a decent team, not even really decent, but I was on a team in Seattle where I thought for sure they were going to keep me and they got rid of me. I'm not one of those people any more that says ‘Oh, this guy's going to be here, this guy's going to be here,' other than Calvin, of course. Everybody else, it is what it is. This is the League and maybe you've just got to roll with the punches."

On Schwartz as a coach: "I mean, I think he's a great coach. I think he's a very good coach. I think he's an improving coach. I think we're all going together and once in a while you'll hit a bump in the road. That's the way you've got to look at it and if you go back and look at all the things that happened this season it just seemed like not many times did it go our way and the reason why I call him a good coach is because for all of that kind of stuff, we could have shut it down a long time ago but everybody was still hanging in here fighting, trying to get this done."

LIONS K JASON HANSON

On it being a bittersweet season: "Exactly, you know, it's been really disappointing and it's been really sad that it was a blown season for us. By the end with injuries and stuff, I mean, no excuses but at the crucial time we didn't get it done. Really, really disappointing for everybody here."

On the season being a step back from last season: "It is. I'm hesitant to feel like we've hit reverse in a sense of we have talent. Something needs to change but I don't think there's any blowing the team up and starting over. We better fix what we have because we have the guys and that's what's maddening. There's no excuse to play like we did this year with the talent that we have."

On if he expects major offseason changes: "Well, 4-12 coming off the playoffs, I assume, not being an executive upstairs, that there's going to be some significant changes. We have some core guys but everyone in the organization is going to be evaluated by whoever does that because it wasn't right and it wasn't good and it's not expectable. And I know that from the start of the season, talking about playoffs and moving deeper and Bill Ford, Jr. talking about on our way to getting to the Super Bowl and to do this, everybody better be nervous because it can't be like this."

On his future: "Well, honestly I don't know. I had no idea that I would play 21 years. It will be a definite year to evaluate. I'll pray a lot, God's been good to me to keep me this long and to think about ‘Do I have it to keep working hard to stay on top of my game for the team?' There's no free ride here and the first 21 years makes no difference if I don't come back and prepare for 22 if it happens. So I will take a very serious hard look at myself and talk with my family and like I said pray and hopefully be led to know what to do. If I come back it'll be full go. I mean, I'll be ready to go. If I don't, I think it'll be not because of the season or anything here but simply because I don't think I'm going to prepare enough to be the best I can be. So, we'll see. We'll take the next weeks, months or whatever time to figure out - whatever time they tell me I've got to figure it out by, I'll do it."

Ending statement: "Well thank you. And to the fans out there, nobody in here is happy and I'm super disappointed for the people that pay for the tickets to come see us. It's got to be better. I have a sneaking suspicion it will be and that this bump is just that and our talent's going to carry us through in the coming years."

LIONS DE KYLE VANDEN BOSCH

On the 4-12 season: "It's tough. You feel like you were turning the corner as a franchise and for the people and for the city and the fans. It's frustrating to let down the guys in the locker room, but to me it's more frustrating to let down the fans."

On if he anticipates being back in Detroit next season: "I don't want to talk about that now. I mean, it's not a time to address that."

On head coach Jim Schwartz's leadership: "I think he does a great job. I mean, I think at some point it's on the players themselves to be responsible and to put the team first. I think a lot of that just falls on the individual players."

On if it would be a step back to have Schwartz fired: "I think he's a great head coach. I don't think there's a better one in the League, personally. Again, you know, it's not just about the head coach or one person. This season is a disappointment to nearly everybody in the locker room and nearly everybody could have done something better or played better. I think that's where the guys' mind should be."

On what makes Schwartz a good coach: "My opinion, he's a real good mixture of being a smart coach and an emotional coach. I think he understands what players need and this year, for whatever reason, as a group we didn't respond the way we needed to."

On not being able to generate turnovers this season: "It's huge. It's the way this defense is built. Making plays, getting turnovers, it's probably one of the big reasons we didn't have the success we did last year."

On why the defense has not been able to force turnovers: "Yeah, I mean, I don't know. Turnovers are a funny thing. You get a couple and then, you know, it seems like they come a lot easier. This year we just weren't able to do it."

LIONS DE CLIFF AVRIL

On the defense keeping the team in the game: "Yeah, I mean, we did a decent job. But when it counted we couldn't get those stops at the end to try to get the offense back out there, you know? But overall, I think we did OK. Like I said again, when it counted the most we should have got the stops."

On falling short in critical moments: " I think that was the biggest difference between this year and last year. You know, being able to get turnovers on defense and having that turnover margin be on our side more so than the other way. Just things we need to work on this offseason and get better at."

On the close margin for improvement: "No, I agree with him (Jim Schwartz). It's not that far away, honestly. It's just a few things we need to correct, you know? Fundamentals, just getting down to the basics of things and not overlooking the small things. I think we'll be fine."

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