Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz held a press conference on Monday to wrap up the St. Louis Rams game and look ahead to this week's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Below is a look at what he had to say. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On the play of the defense against the Rams: "Well, there were a couple things that stood out defensively. One is we went in with a goal to try to limit Steven Jackson as much as we could and I thought the defense did a good job there. He had one carry for 9 yards but the rest of it we held him to about 2.5 a carry. We missed a couple tackles in the game, but there was very little yardage after missed tackles. Other guys came in and cleaned it up. We pursued real well. We played pretty good team defense and we had no runs over 11 yards. We only had one pass over 20 yards so that went a long way to keeping us in that game. It's very rare that you win a game where you're minus three in turnovers and the way that game went, our defense was able to keep us in that game until our offense was able to really find their way and start scoring touchdowns."
On the secondary's performance against QB Sam Bradford: "You know, I think a lot of that went beyond just those four guys. It was our linebackers and our D line. Our d line did a good job rushing, particularly inside. Corey Williams, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Sammie Hill, all those guys made contributions inside. I think it was a team effort when it came to that but, you know, guys like Jacob Lacey came in; Bill Bentley played real well until he left the game. You know, (John) Wendling and (Erik) Coleman, two veteran players did a really nice job and Drayton Florence with only a week of practice went in and played really well. We had one miscommunication early in the game between the safety and the corner, and I don't want to say it's to be expected but, you know, he practiced with us three days. We had good pressure, forced the quarterback to elevate the ball and Drayton was able to come back and get his hands on it and knock it down. Potentially, you know, a big play against us we were able to save. So those guys did a nice job."
On CB Drayton Florence fitting into the system: "Well that was the idea when we got him. He's a veteran player. You expect veteran players to get up to speed pretty quickly. You know, there's still a lot of other things that we'd still be working on, you know, with any player including him. Mainly communication and terminology and things like that, but he knows how to play football. He's had a long career of doing it."
On S John Wendling saying there weren't many plays to be made in the secondary because of the pressure up front: "Well I think there was something to that. I think that, you know, John might be trying to spread some credit also. He's a humble player. He played very well. Erik Coleman played very well. There's a reason that those runs weren't able to get out and get started. Our safeties were cleaning them up also. Those guys played well and they had to. We knew that they were going to try to run the ball, control the clock and we had a pretty good idea of what their game plan was going to be. The Rams had a really good game plan and executed it very well for most of the game. You know, but in the end we made more plays."
On when S Louis Delmas and CB Chris Houston will return: "We'll see. Both of those guys are getting better like I said. They're closer today than they were on Friday, let's put it that way. You know, each case is a little bit different and those guys are veteran players. They're two of our better team guys. They're not being selfish. They want to be out there but when they're healthy we'll get them back out there."
On the play of DT Nick Fairley: "You know, they screwed up a blocking scheme on one and let him free. He actually thought it was a screen because, you know, when you don't get a block it's like ‘Hey, there's something going on.' Then he finally realized, ‘Well, I can go sack the quarterback.' He did a nice job in the run game. I mean, he showed up with a sack which was a big play for us. But that wasn't his best play. His best play was stuff that falls below the radar. He did a nice job in there, particularly against the run."
On taking advantage of the Rams' injuries along the offensive line: "This is the NFL. You know, like we talked about with our secondary, when guys are on the field we expect them to do the job. There's no handicapping in the NFL and I was happy with what we did up front."
On the play of DT Corey Williams: "I mean, he had the pressure, had a hit, had a sack. I think his two biggest plays were his two forced holding penalties, including one early in the third quarter where they had gotten a first down and he had caused a holding penalty. You know, sometimes things don't show up on the stat sheet. Maybe the quarterback has an intentional grounding. It doesn't show up as a sack but you made the play - same thing with a forced holding penalty. Corey played very well. He had a tackle downfield with a pass which when you're 300 and some pounds and chasing, you know, receivers down the field, then that's a sign of your hustle and things like that. But Corey had an outstanding game."
On if he saw what he expected out of RB Kevin Smith: "Kevin's a veteran player and he's always available whether it's run, whether it's pass protection, whether it's pass game. He had a couple of drops; balls that he normally catches, let's put it that way. But you knew he was going to make the play when it was clutch. Got some good runs; we averaged I think 4.6 a carry. I think Kevin averaged 4.8 or 4.9. That was a defense that wasn't really geared to stop the run but our ability to run it, even though we didn't run it a lot, our ability to run it and Kevin picking up some key first downs.
"That one drive, the second to the last drive, we went I think five plays for a touchdown and never got to a second down in the whole drive and it was just Brandon Pettigrew and Kevin Smith. Pettigrew had three catches for nice chunks and Kevin had one nice run; it was about 23 yards I think and then the 5 yard touchdown run which I thought was his best run. He got close to that goal line, put his head down and scored. Those were big plays. The attention was the last play when he got the game-winning touchdown, but that drive to score before that I thought was more impressive."
On if there is carryover from Game 1 to Game 2 in terms of preparedness for solid running backs: "I think every week is a little bit different. There's carryover from schemes the way people try to attack. The very first run game of the game was a wham-play that we had given up a bunch of chunks of yardage last year against San Francisco and Atlanta and a couple of other teams. They watched our tape last year and said right away, ‘Hey we're going to try that same play.' I don't know if they got a yard on it. They tried to come back to it another time and they weren't able to get anything. Things like that carryover but I don't know that just a particular back or anything like that. You gain confidence in your run game; you sort of understand how people want to try and attack you, what plays you haven't done well on, what plays you have. I think all that experience helps but not necessarily a particular player."
On his reaction to DT Ndamukong Suh's one-armed tackle of RB Steven Jackson: "You have to be a strong man to be able to do that and Suh is. He had that sack early; he overpowered one of their guards. (He) was very disruptive.
"Like I said, our defensive tackles played well and Ndamukong was certainly one of them. That's a hard play to make even when you have a smaller running back, much less a 240 pound or whatever...it's hard to really get a feel for how big Steven Jackson is until you're down on that field. We've gone against him a bunch of times. You know 2009, 2010 we played him, but it never ceases to amaze you how big he is on the field. That was definitely a good play by Ndamukong."
On if QB Matthew Stafford's interceptions are the result of teams studying his tendencies and if there's something he can do to counter that notion: "I don't think that had anything to do with it honestly.
"He just had a couple bad throws, a couple bad judgments trying to fit some balls in that he shouldn't have tried to, including the very first one. We drove right down the field, got a little greedy on trying to throw the backside hip to (TE Tony) Scheff(ler). We should have thrown that one away. It's a run-pass check, we could have handed that ball off. A few of his things were just sort of pressing. There's a fine line between pressing and being aggressive and Matt's very aggressive throwing the ball. He's got a great arm and he can make throws that maybe some other people can't.
"Some of those throws are tough to make on a consistent basis, let's put it that way. We paid the price for it early on. We could have had another pick in there too. Their defensive back had his hands on the ball right before our field goal. What mattered was the way we came out in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. The way that we had a short memory, we were able to come out and get touchdowns when it mattered. I think that was more important. When we were throwing that last couple series, Matt wasn't all of a sudden conservative and taking checkdowns and I think you've seen that from other quarterbacks in history, around the League and stuff like that. Maybe he'll make a couple bad plays and all the sudden is a lot more conservative, the coach becomes a lot more conservative. Matt wasn't that way.
"The only way we were going to score those last two drives was for him to fit some balls into some tight coverage. Their plan was to sit back in coverage; try to make us be real patient. Fourteen play drives, which we had a couple of them early, and try to hold us to field goals and keep the scoring down. For a scheme that was designed to stop the pass, we still had 355 yards passing. We still had 6 explosive pass plays. Very, very difficult to get those plays and you can't get them unless you remain aggressive so there's a fine line there."
On RB Joique Bell's touchdown: "We have a lot of different packages on offense and that was a big package. We actually had Riley Reiff in at tight end on that package and we needed to get the ball in. He's a big back, he's strong and he can do it. After he scored I think he went running right out of the stadium right up to the campus at Wayne State (laughter).
"It feels good for a guy like Joique. It's tough to be an NFL football player; it's tough to break a roster. We had him in the Senior Bowl a few years ago and he's made teams and been on practice squads and stuff like that and it felt good to see him get in the end zone in his hometown. That was fun to watch. It was seven points on the board, which is always good, but it was special seeing that."
On whether CB Bill Bentley must go through procedure to be cleared to play: "Yeah. I don't know how you would classify because a concussion is a concussion but he's doing really well. But yes he has to pass a protocol to be back. And that's an objective thing. That's not a subjective, 'Well we think he's doing fine.' He has some hurdles that he needs to cross but we're optimistic."
On WR Titus Young having another penalty: "I think we've made some really good progress in areas like that. We had 3 penalties in the game. Two of them should have been avoided. One we got called for an illegal formation, which is a bit of a judgment call and we can do a better job lining up there. Titus' play and then also Jonte (Green's) hold. We have to avoid those plays. That was a huge, huge flip in field position on the Jonte play on the punt. Titus' play set them up to be able to mess around with their kickoff. Will Heller did a great job of defending the play and sort of bailed us out of that situation. We've gone a long way to putting stuff like that behind us but like I said yesterday after the game, we're still a work in progress there. We need to be able to make plays that are in the best interest of the team. Titus contributed to the game and made a really good catch, had a reverse for 11 yards, was blocking very well but that wasn't his best moment. I think we're making progress as a team. We're playing a lot smarter football and it will be a week-to-week thing."
On the banner ceremony for the home opener: "With the NFL and with coaches and players, it's never about what you've done, it's always about what's next and what you're going to do. But for our fans, people that have stuck with this team for a long time, our season ticket holders, the people that go to that stadium every week and support us, I think it was nice for them."
On the attention the handshake between him and 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh shared last season already getting attention and if he has talked to Harbaugh since: "Well sure I've seen him a bunch of times since. There's a bunch of NFL things that go on after the season. It doesn't surprise me. The NFL is a very scrutinized thing. I heard somebody called today 'overreaction Monday.' It's always reaction Monday and everything else. Like I said, there are 16 teams that are on their way to the Super Bowl and 16 teams that might not win a game this year. There's something to the scrutiny in this league. It comes with it.
"That's long in the past. It just seems so long ago that that occurred. When two teams take the field, that's not going to be on one player's mind and that's the only thing that's important.
On if there is something to handling a primetime atmosphere: "I think we've played in a lot of situations. I don't think there's a more difficult place to play than the Metrodome. I'm sure fans coming into Ford Field will say the same thing. You get in that dome that sound just reverberates through. It's very difficult no matter where you are whether it's San Francisco or, you know, Lambeau, Soldier Field, they're all difficult to play. Their fans, I'm sure, will be ready for it. We'll be ready for it. It'll be an exciting time, but the game is going to be decided by the players on the field. The fans in the stands or people watching on TV are not going to decide the game. it's going to be decided on the field in the 60 minutes we play."
On why WR Ryan Broyles' was inactive: "It wasn't health, it was more just numbers. We had a couple situations. We ended up, a couple guys couldn't finish the game and we wanted to keep a couple guys up at some other positions. I wouldn't anticipate that being an every week thing. It's just a week-to-week thing. We had four wide receivers up. We also had, you know, three tight ends up. We used all of them in our passing game. Used Stefan Logan a bunch, used Kevin Smith a bunch, had a lot of different packages. I thought we were able to handle what we needed to do during the game and the other offensive skill backs all played. We talk about Joique, he had a role in the offense. He was able to play."
On how much the goal line play by San Francisco last season will be motivation for the upcoming game: "You mean the last fourth down play that they scored on? No more than any other play in the game. I mean, our rallying cry isn't going to be ‘Let's make amends for our fourth down play from last year.' It's in the past. We expect our D-line to play well. They're a good front four. We have a good front four. Like I've always said, it goes beyond the front four. But, I mean, it's not going to be based on any particular play or the game last year. The game last year is played. We have to play this year."
On CB Jonte Green's coverage: "Well, he gave up a touchdown pass. It's a tough situation. He was one-on-one, had a couple little bit of technique things. Could have done a little bit better at the line of scrimmage. Did a really good job of trying to finish. Quarterback made a great throw, receiver made a great catch, was able to hold onto it. Jonté went in and I think represented himself very well."