July 27, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz speaks with the media after training camp at the Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
After the first practice of training camp wrapped up on Friday for the Detroit Lions, head coach Jim Schwartz met with the media and addressed a number of topics. Via the Lions, here is the quote sheet from Schwartz's presser:
On the chemistry between QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson in practice: "Well any time it's one-on-one, we have a pretty good opportunity to go to Calvin and I think that's what you saw out there in practice today. I think those guys obviously have a good connection and they make big plays on the field. They started off camp that way."
On the injury status of RB Jahvid Best: "You know, we have a handful of players who started on PUP for a lot of different reasons. Jahvid is still not cleared for total contact. He has made tremendous strides in a lot of areas, including being able to work out with the rest of the team, lift hard and do all those things. But there are still some areas where he's got some ground to cover and, like I said, we have a lot of experts that are handling his case. We defer to them. We're very optimistic we'll get him back, but his progress is really not judged day-to-day. It's going to be judged week-to-week and we'll make the decisions when they give us clearance. We'll be ready to go, but it's a little disappointing for Jahvid. He is in fantastic shape right now. He has worked very, very hard physically, but there's still a ways to go. Like I said the other day, times have changed in the NFL. There's no more being unconscious and going out and playing in the game or having a concussion and coming back too soon. I think that's a good thing. We had a couple of other guys that we're just trying to get an eye on to make sure that they don't have anything that's going to carry forward. Broyles and Ronnell Lewis. With Broyles, he's coming back from an ACL. We just want to make sure that he's working with the trainers and that he doesn't swell up before we release. "
On the injury status of LB Ronnell Lewis and T Jonathan Scott: "Ronnell was fighting some back tightness and we just want to make sure there's nothing there. But overall the team's in pretty good shape.
"(Jonathan Scott) is obviously behind from a (conditioning) standpoint. He wasn't doing what the rest of the team was doing. He wasn't ready for it. Our guys knew exactly what conditioning test was coming. We threw a couple guys into that at the last minute. He's a big man and it's difficult for him to catch up but when he does we'll get him back to the field."
On if they're looking to add another running back based on Best's health: "Well, we finished last year. We played our last ten and a playoff game without him last year. So we've already worked through a lot of contingents. It's not like it's the first time that we've been without him. I think one change that we, I don't want to say haven't seen before, but we'll see Stefan Logan a little bit more exclusive at running back. But we have a lot of different packages. We finished the season with two tight ends and three wide receivers on the field quite a bit. There's a lot of different ways we can handle if a player goes down including one of our running backs."
On whether or not Best is behind on his recovery: "Well, you can never have an even schedule for those kinds of things. I've said it too many times that it's different than an ACL or a shoulder or anything else.
"Again, we're going to defer to the people who know the most about those things. They want some more time so we'll give it to them."
On how RB Mikel Leshoure looked in practice today: "Well, we only had him for a little bit last year so it's not like we really missed him to tell the truth. We didn't have him for even a preseason game. But there's a reason that we drafted him and that's because he's a good player. He's a big running back but he's also not exclusively a power back. He's good in the passing game, he's a good blocker and he can do a lot of different things for us. He's come a long way in his rehab and I thought he looked good also."
On S Erik Coleman taking starting reps at safety instead of S Amari Spievey: "Yeah, you know, there's a lot of different things that we're looking at. Spievey missed a lot of our offseason and has some ground to make up. There's a long way to go. Be careful reading anything into depth charts or anything else. We don't have a depth chart. We have groups that we practice with and we change them up all the time. But I would not start to read anything into that this time of year."
On the potential of the running game if Best is able to return: "It's the first day of training camp. We have a lot of good players back there including Mikel Leshoure, Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith has played a lot of football for us and gave us a really big boost last year. He scored a lot of touchdowns for us. So we'll have plenty of people to hand the football too."
On QB Matthew Stafford being able to perform better than last year: "We would expect him to. He's 24 years old and still a developing player. Even though he is throwing for 5,000 yards there are still things that he can improve on. And just experience... We all know the more you do something, the better you get at it and the more comfortable he gets going against teams in our division. He gets more comfortable going through a training camp practice and all the things that go on with it. We definitely expect him to improve just like all our players. We're just talking about him playing well and winning games for us. You know, we don't have any expectations to do anything other than what it takes to win the game. His stats really don't matter. It's how well he commands the offense and puts us in position to win."
On the value of last year's playoff experience for this year's team: "I don't know. We'll find out. You know, last year doesn't really mean a whole lot right now to tell you the truth. Nobody's thinking about that. Nobody's thinking about anything but the first day of training camp. We got a lot of work to do and today was a good start. But today that's all it is. Anything that happened last year, you have to be guarded about expecting things like that to carry you over. We have a hard-working team and they're able to keep focused on what's at hand. But you know, I think if you went through our group you wouldn't hear anybody talking about last year's playoffs or this year's playoffs. That's just not the personality of this team."
On what he saw as a coach in the first day of training camp: "Many people got their legs back today and many guys lose their legs today. But that's typical for the first day of training camp."
On having a player like WR Calvin Johnson with national popularity: "I mean, the NFL is a worldwide proposition. Games are aired all over the world. We play internationally, that's not a surprise. He's (Calvin Johnson) one of the best players in the National Football League. I mean, he's a really good player. That's something he's going to have to deal with. I mean, he's 6-5; he doesn't disappear very easily whether he's in Detroit, Atlanta or Mexico. It just is what it is. He's a very good player. I don't know what else to say."
On how to evaluate CB Justin Miller after not playing since the 2010 season: "He finished up at camp in 2010 and didn't make that team. Then he was out in 2010 and 2011. Like I said, he's about 20 pounds lighter than when he was last seen, but he's got some experience. He went to a Pro Bowl. So, like I mentioned, a couple other guys that were 11th-hour signees, he's one of them. We'll give him some opportunities and he'll pick up the terminology pretty quickly. That's really his biggest challenge is rounding into football shape and picking up the terminology. There's a lot of guys who sit around in football shape and no matter how much you think you're in shape, you go through a 60-play practice indoors, all of a sudden it's a little different training the way you want to train. He has a couple challenges ahead of him."
On why CB Alphonso Smith got the first cornerback spot and why OT Riley Reiff was taking reps with the third team: "There's no such thing as a third-team and nobody's getting first crack. It's just the groups that they're lining up in. You'll see those groups change quite a bit. It is what it is. Whether somebody makes our team, earns a position, earns a starting spot, earns playing time, is going to have absolutely nothing to do with where they start the first day of training camp. We have a long way to go and we got a lot of practices in between.
"Alphonso's been (doing) very well. He's made plays and he's certainly an efficient NFL player and Riley's a first round draft pick, but he's a rookie. So I think it's maybe a little more in some cases a reflection of where we are as a team, that you can have good players that aren't necessarily expecting to play the very first day of training camp. You know, I think that's a little more where we are as a football team, but there are absolutely no decisions that have been made about any player. There's a lot of competition. This is training camp. We're not drafting our fantasy football team yet."
On what Alphonso Smith needs to do to get better: "He's still a fairly young player. But like all of our players, he has some strengths and some weaknesses. I think one of our biggest things is to accentuate his strengths and there's some things that he's needs to work on like all our guys. I don't want to get into a laundry list of what I think each player needs to work on. I think that's a little bit more not between us and the media. It's between us and the players."