May 11, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz watches during rookie mini camp at the Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Lions held their second day of minicamp on Wednesday. One day of practice remains before the team heads out until training camp. Let's take a look at what Jim Schwartz had to say about the second day of practice this week. (Quotes come via the Lions.)
On his impressions of DT Nick Fairley on the field throughout the offseason: "He's been hustling; he's been working very hard and he's shown his talent. Last year, his biggest setback was the injury. He was never really 100-percent for a long period of time. Then in the offseason he was set back by off-the-field things. But his haven so to speak has been the weight room and the field and the meeting rooms. He's done a good job in all of those areas. He needs to make sure that the off-the-field stuff and injuries - and some injuries you can't do anything about - but that that stuff doesn't keep him from being the player that we know he can be. He's got a great personality and he works out hard and he's had a good spring. All of our (second-year players) have had good springs."
On what he's looking for out of the safeties currently on the roster: "I think those guys have had good springs. I think Eric Coleman has had an excellent spring. He was another guy... We signed him as a veteran free agent last year, but we didn't see him until the second week of training camp because of all of the offseason stuff and all the training camp rules, but Eric has had an outstanding offseason, an outstanding mini-camp, OTAs, everything else.
"Amari (Spievey) started slow and now he's hit the field and we're starting to see some good things from him. But those young guys are in the mix. John Wendling also has done a nice job.
"You have a hard time developing young players if they can't get any reps, and we made a commitment to giving those guys reps to see them develop."
On whether the lack of reps is making it that much more difficult for T Jason Fox: "Yeah, and it is all about reps for him, because when he has been healthy, he's (done well in practice). But, he hasn't had consistent streaks of being healthy. This offseason was good for him up until last week when his knee started getting sore he was doing very well. Hopefully this is another one... Maybe a little different than an off-the-field problem, but maybe if we shut him down here, then we won't have this issue come up in training camp. He needs to put some time together where he's injury free from an evaluation standpoint and proving that he can stay healthy over a long term. It's not just ability, its availability. It's an old cliché, but it's true in situations like that."
On whether WR Titus Young has looked as good to him as he has to the media in practice: "He's had a good run since he's been back with the team. He's made big plays in just about every practice. He's worked hard, he's been a good teammate and he's probably looked the best that I've ever seen him look in this couple week span. We just need to keep him on that track, because he's been outstanding the last couple weeks. You weren't seeing ghosts out there, you were seeing the same things that we've been seeing."
On DE Kyle Vanden Bosch not taking any reps during the team periods this week: "We just wanted to try to take (away) as many opportunities that he could possibly wear and tear on his neck. He had that fusion and all those different things. He's been around for a long time, so what he does is he goes out during individual and he works really hard there and then he runs probably more than any player on the field on the side during practice.
"We cut him out of practice on Wednesday last year and designed just to take the wear and tear off of him. We did the same thing this offseason and we'll have a plan for training camp. We saw good results from that. He had one of the best years of his career last year and he means a lot to us and we need to keep him going. He's in a little different situation... We mentioned a guy like Jason Fox who's trying to prove himself, he's trying to prove his worth as a player and prove that he can be consistent. I think Kyle has proved that to me, to you, to the fans, to the janitors here, I think everybody knows what kind of guy he is. We've just got to do whatever we can to keep him on the field. We started this last year and everything else, it really has nothing to do with the new standards and the new rules, but things like that will help veteran players like Kyle Vanden Bosch."
On how much punt and kick return duty WR Titus Young will see this season: "Yet to be seen. He can do it. He's a good player with the football in his hands and he's got good hands back there but we'll see. We have a lot of good guys that'll be in the mix, including a veteran player like Stefan Logan who's made a lot of good plays for us. It'll shake out over the course of training camp and preseason games."
On the advantage of moving the defensive tackles around and giving teams different looks: "It can just help some matchups here and there. There's one thing, ‘Hey, if you're a good fastball pitcher, throw the fastball,' but every once in a while you need to throw a changeup or a curve. I think that will help us. We're excellent fastball team up front. We have some guys that can really get after it. But every once in a while, a curveball doesn't hurt, even if it's a curveball in the dirt, it accomplishes a purpose."
On having players who can play multiple positions: "That's always been valuable to us just about everywhere. We're not looking for a multidimensional quarterback, but probably every other position, multidimensional means a lot. Corners that can cover and tackle; play zone and man. Linebackers that can move around and play different positions. Offensive linemen, you've got to plugin in a lot of different positions. Guys that can swing between guard and tackle, right tackle and left tackle, guard and center. Wide receivers that can block. We value multidimensional players and versatility. You've got to be smart to be able to do it. I think it shows the time commitment that some of these guys have done to put in. And if you're trying to make the team, the best way to do it is to prove yourself valuable. Special teams, you can back-up a lot of positions, you can start at a lot of positions, you can be a guy that the coaches want on the field in certain situations. It's definitely something that is something we look for and something we value."