Following his team's first organized team activity of the offseason on Monday, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz met with the media and addressed a number of topics, including the health of players like Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure and Stephen Tulloch. Below are quotes from his media session, which come via the Lions.
On the players who didn't participate today: "No. 1, this is a voluntary portion of our offseason - we're not in mandatory mini-camp. So I'm not going to comment on which guys are here, which guys aren't. They're all accounted for. We're aware of the reason that each person is either not here or not participating. We'll work through those things as we go, but this is the voluntary portion of our offseason.
"I thought the players did work hard today; we had great participation. It felt like the first day of training camp - it was a hot day. We were only on the field for about an hour-and-a-half, it wasn't even really that long. We were working for about an hour, but it was constant motion, our tempo was good.
"You can tell that we're not installing new schemes offensively or defensively. We're in a position that we haven't been the last couple years, obviously last year with no offseason, but even before that. This is fast becoming a veteran team that doesn't have to spend a lot of time with installation. We can work on fundamentals and we can work on making other wrinkles and progress."
On how having continuity on the coaching staff helps the team ‘hit the ground running' for offseason preparation: "Yeah, you start talking more about the physical nature of what you're doing rather than the learning curve. I mean, there's a lot of guys who's heads were swimming, but they were all rookies and first-year players or maybe even a player who's new to the team. But the veteran players have been around. It's hard to really imagine where we are installation-wise on a day like today. We did nickel, we did third-down, we ran a wide variety of route concepts and things like that - a lot of stuff on defense, a couple different blitzes, things like that. It would be well into OTAs or mini-camp before we install a lot of those things."
On DT Nick Fairley: "He obviously suffered through a tough rookie season - to get hurt (early in) training camp and go through the highs and lows of a rookie season. But you saw the flashes of what he can do.
"He's had a good offseason program so far; he can stay focused on those kinds of things athletically. There's no surprise that he looks good; that's why we drafted him."
On WR Ryan Broyles doing more today than ‘expected:' "Yeah, you guys have a lot more preconceived notions of where guys are than we do (laughter).
"Everything that he does is part of a very structured progression. He's doing some individual stuff; he's doing it at a little different pace than the rest of the guys. He's still not full-speed. (Did) some individual routes with the quarterbacks; you're not going to see him competing against any defensive backs and things like that. We'll start increasing his workload and really increase his workload based on how his body feels. We did some stuff with him last week and we did some stuff with him this past week and he's bounced back well from that. So each step along the way, we sort of take each day as a new day with no real preconceived notions with him.
"He's had a very good rehab; he's doing very, very well. We're expecting a contribution from him this year."
On RBs Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure: "Leshoure is probably a little bit more limited right now.
"Obviously we're in no-contact right now, so Jahvid's not restrained at all by anything we're doing. He physically looks very good - he looks a lot like when we last saw him on the field for us.
"Leshoure is probably a little bit more like some of those other guys; there's progression to him going and being on the field and going through all those kinds of things and it's all going to be based on how his Achilles is feeling.
"But we're very optimistic about both of those guys and both of them look really good."
On whether you can get a better gauge of the rookies as they matchup against veteran players: "The big thing now is that we're not really evaluating players right now. The evaluations will come more in training camp and things like that. This is a time for the players to improve, to learn, to do those kinds of things and we want to make advancements as a team and you do that by players improving.
"We're doing seven-on-seven, we'll start doing some team periods and things like that, but it's not competitive the way that training camp is.
"But I think you do have a good point. To see those guys in rookie camp is a lot different than seeing them out there when they're covering a veteran player or getting covered by a veteran player or going against somebody else in the drill. The good players will adjust to that very quickly."
On LB Stephen Tulloch: "Tulloch will probably not participate through May and then we'll just take it as it goes. He's had some tendonitis in his knee and we did an injection to settle that down and he's non-weight-baring. That one of the reasons you didn't see him out there - we're just trying to get it settled down. There's been no surgery or anything like that, we don't anticipate that.
"There's going to be guys that'll be here, guys who are going to miss for a variety of reasons, we're aware of everybody but he's going to be somebody that's going to a little bit more length of time, but it's all designed toward getting that settled down and being able to get him on the field and play like he has the last six years of his career."
On whether Tulloch is the only player missing due to injuries: "Well there are other guys that are injury-related, but nothing (long-term). Guys day-to-day and things like that.
"The one thing you don't want to do this time of year is push through an injury situation. If you have a hamstring tweak or you have a knee or anything else, now's the time of year to... There's going to come a time that we've got to push through that, during the season and during training camp, there's times that that's very important to do. But now the most important thing is getting right and getting healthy and that's the approach that we'll take with any of those guys."
On QB Kellen Moore: "He's not here to help out in the meeting room, he's here to help out on the field and to develop as a player. We don't know how that's all going to work out. We like a lot of things about him: he's a smart player, he's a very experienced player, he's a winner more so than just about anybody in the history of college football. How that all shakes out will be depending on how he does in training camp and how he does in preseason games and things like that. He's a skilled player. He wasn't drafted, but we're glad to have him - we made a strong push to have him here - but not for any reason other than his abilities on the field."
On whether the shorter offseason changes what you're trying to accomplish during OTAs: "The only thing is: in past years we would (have) two OTAs in a week - we usually would be Tuesday and Thursday, the players would maybe have a little bit more time to recover. Now we're going to be three times/week and as we get to mini-camp, it will even start ramping up a little bit more over the next couple weeks. It's just jammed in a tighter window and we're on the field more - we'll be on the field tomorrow, the players will be off on Wednesday, we'll be on the field again on Thursday, that's three-out-of-four days we'll be on the field. They're still lifting, they're still running, they're still doing all the other work as far as an offseason program. That's really the only difference; everything else is pretty much the same: the pace we practice with, the tempo; the rules, as far as OTAs and things like that, those haven't changed. It's just the frequency and the window you have to work all your stuff in."