May 21, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz during organized team activities at Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
On the players' first practice in pads today: "Sunday was the first time we had shoulder pads for about six months and this is the first time we had pads on (the entire practice) in camp, OTAs and everything else.
"I think some of these guys, you know, the equipment guys put some weights in their pads. Some of them looked like the pads weighed about 40 pounds out there and that's a result of being out here and being a hot, humid day. We really got fortunate to have a hot, humid day to have this. It's a necessary step.
"There are a lot of things that we need to sharpen up. We're certainly not a finished product and if you were, the first time you put pads on you probably wouldn't have the need to have to wear the pads. So, you know, we'll be in pads a certain time in camp and we'll have some live periods in certain times to get these guys read, and also to let them compete. But we're certainly not in midseason form right now."
On hearing the fans during the first open practice of training camp: "Honestly, I never hear anything during a game, much less in practice. You're thinking about too many things and from a coaching standpoint, the only thing I'm concerned about is the safety of the players, making sure practice runs efficiently, and making sure guys are doing what they're supposed to do.
"I know the players feel it, you know. I think having guys out here and being able to compete and doing it in front of hardcore fans it definitely gives a boost in practice to those guys. But we're too busy coaching to really worry about what's going on. The only I thing I ever notice during games is that donut race because everybody starts cheering and I look around like ‘what's going on?' Then there's a couple donuts running on the field."
On deceased Lions best writer Tom Kowalski receiving an award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame: "Well, I'll say this: they don't give that award out lightly. You mention some of the guys who have won it in the past, they don't give it away to just anybody that doesn't know football. Tom always made it his business not just to write articles, but to write accurate articles and he worked very hard to get it right and understand the game. I think that commitment is reflected in him winning the award. It's well-deserved."
On the evolution of TE Brandon Pettigrew: "Pettigrew's a very good player for us and he has improved every single year. There's still things he can improve on to be a better player regardless of where his stats are. If his stats are better or not as significant as last year, that really doesn't matter. As long as we're happy with him in the scheme and we're producing on offense. We're putting the ball in the end zone. It doesn't matter who's scoring or who's catching the ball."
On Pettigrew adding another dimension with the inclusion of a running game this year: "You've seen everything he does. He's caught a lot of balls down the seam and deep passes and different things like that. I just think with him you'll see it done a little bit better. You know, a little bit more consistent. He had a very, very good year last year and he's just going into his fourth year. There's still things that he can improve on and he works very hard to do that."
On having continuity in the organization going into his fourth year as head coach: "I don't know. I don't think that matters to the players at all to tell you the truth. We'll see. I go to it too many times, when the first tie breaker is how many years you've been together let me know and that's where we'll spot it. I mean, for this reason, there's been continuity in the schemes that we coach. It allows the scouting department to have continuity in the way that we scout, which allows our players to be productive. So in a way, I mean, I don't want to make light of it, because it's certainly important, it allows the players to produce at an optimum level because you're not just over-correcting back and forth. There's a consistent philosophy and it doesn't change from year to year. I'd even go a step farther and talk about our coordinators haven't changed. There's tweaks every year and some things you're going to do a little different each year, some things you're going to add and some things you're going to subtract. You're going to try and match your talent on the field, but there's a been a common philosophy and that allows teams, and I think we're one of them, to have a little bit more consistency, which spills down to the players."
On the consistency and longevity of K Jason Hanson: "I think that speaks for itself. Incredibly durable and reliable kicker that's gone through a long time. We have confidence in whenever we put him on the field."
On where he looks for defensive improvement: "I think everybody, every single unit can play better, every single individual can play better. And we need to. We played some very good defensive games last year. Unfortunately they weren't at the end of the year when we needed them. We didn't finish the way that we wanted to. There's a consistency standpoint week in and week out. Every play is not going to be your best but we need to be consistent from game to game and we weren't necessarily there last year and that's probably the biggest area we need to improve. We did a very good job with turnovers last year. We played very, very well in spots but we need to be more consistent. We can do that."
On if the inconsistent defensive play last season was due to injuries: "Injuries are never an excuse because, and I say it all the time, it's not if we stay healthy, it's what happens when you get injured. The facts are that when we got injured, we did not respond very well and there's no excuse for that. We have to be able to do a better job. A lot of that starts in training camp; building your depth, having other players ready. That's one of the reasons that we're out here."
On S Louis Delmas being kept out of most of practice: "Yeah, he came out and did individual and did some one-on-one, some seven-on-seven and then we shut him down. We'll keep an eye on Louis and be judicious with practice. We've done that for a lot of different players and maybe they're just a little bit sore so you just sort of limit him. He wants to be out there every day, but it's our job to sort of say ‘Whoa' and not get a situation where he has to miss. Like I said, we're trying to be preemptive with a lot of guys and say, ‘Hey, let's miss now so that a week from now, three days from now, a month from now, we don't get that call that says he has to miss. We'll try to continue and Louis is no different than a couple other guys that we'll do those same things as we work through. Players have an off-day tomorrow so that should help. There's a reason that we went full pads today and that's because they have a day to recover and let them get their bodies right and come back on Thursday."