On why they worked out so many kickers: "I think it is just what we do as an organization and a personnel department. We have done a good job being proactive over the course of the season and being ready for things that have come up. I think you have seen a couple examples of that already this year with us signing WR Kevin Ogletree and WR Jeremy Ross and we have added guys to our practice squad. I think Martin (Mayhew) has always been firm in saying that there is no finish line when it comes to the roster. We have to be ready for anything that comes and what has gone on here over the last few days is no different than that."
On if he is still confident in Akers: "I am confident in all 53 guys on our roster and that's why they are here. All 53, if the opportunity came for them to go into the game, whether it is Akers, or its Shaun Hill or its Kellen Moore, they are here because we have confidence that they can go in and get the job done for us. Now they don't always, that's just life in the NFL when it comes to being consistent and all those things but that wouldn't affect our judgment in putting anybody out there to do their job on Sunday."
On if CB Darius Slay is ready to excel after his best game of the year: "There are still things that he can do better. I look at that last pass that he gave up, I thought he was going to intercept it, I thought it was going to be the icing on the cake and instead they completed that ball. It didn't make much of a difference in the game but I still think there are things he is working on from the consistency standpoint. He played a good game. We talk about (Ndamukong) Suh getting an assist or Nick (Fairley) getting an assist on (DeAndre) Levy's interception and Suh has had a bunch of those. I don't know if Suh gets that sack if Slay doesn't cover the guy the way he did. Slay mashed an inside route, it was a quick pass, they didn't want to take a sack in the end zone. They were trying to get the ball out quick but Slay stepped in front of a receiver and if he threw it, it wouldn't have been a safety it might have been a pick six. I think that was a play where a lot of people saw Suh's sack and it was a good sack but he was the recipient of the assist this time. I thought the other thing that Darius did well was that he tackled well. That was important last week and it will be important this week the way Philadelphia runs their spread offense."
On what gives him confidence that CB Chris Houston can bounce back when he gets healthy: "He has done it before. He did it when he bounced back from Cincinnati and into Dallas, we couldn't have won that Dallas game without the contributions that he had. He is a veteran player, he has been through a lot of different things before. You have to have confidence in those guys. There has been ups and downs, they are pretty well documented but I think we are on the right track."
On if seeing Slay play well gave them confidence to put him in if the secondary is struggling: "I think it validates some of things he has done on the practice field. We said it over a couple weeks that he was doing good things in practice and we had confidence in him, I think it validates that. It gives us more availability of players. We have seen a couple times where some guys weren't available, we have some of those guys back now and that makes a difference. There are a lot of different defensive backs packages that you use, we have a lot of different ones and we need all those guys to work through those."
On if he expects Houston to play Sunday: "Probably too soon to tell but he was back on the practice field so I think that helps."
On reducing turnovers and the volume of scoring: "Part of that is being aggressive and pushing the ball down field. We don't just have three downs and a cloud of dust and punt on fourth down all the time. There is some risk reward that comes with pushing the ball down the field and doing some of the things that we do. I think in some circumstances we can take care of the ball a little bit better. Obviously we don't want turnovers but you can't get to the point that your so worried about turnovers that you're afraid to go make a play. I think the same thing goes for defense. You want to get takeaways but you also can't cheat to go get a takeaway because it tends to make things worse. That is a good formula, one of the oldest formula's in the NFL is to take care of the football."
On the Lions cornerbacks only having one interception: "I don't know if it struggling in coverage. I think we are the best third down team in the NFL, we near the top on third down, near the top in red zone. I think we have missed some opportunities in that there have been some plays that we could have got interceptions and we failed to capitalize on some spots. There are sometimes where we need to play the ball better down the field, I think we are improving there and this last game went a long way to helping on those. You could also go and say that at least a half-a-dozen plays have been there to be had. (Bill) Bentley has had a few slip through his fingers, (Rashean) Mathis had a few slip through his fingers. I think it's more just finishing those plays, capitalizing on the opportunities when they are in position. Once again you can't press, you can't start gambling. We were there a couple years ago where we had a couple guys that were gambling too much and it ended up hurting the defense. We have been good stopping the run, we have been good on third down and we have been good in the red zone and we are improving on the long plays. That was sort of our Achilles heel for a while and it seems like we are better in that area and if we can continue that then that will be a good sign over the last quarter of the season."
On Eagles QB Nick Foles: "He played pretty good last year when he had the opportunity. He has taken care of the football but that's not to say that there weren't opportunities. He threw an interception in his last game that was overturned because of a penalty that was away from that play. I still remember from getting ready to play Green Bay last week, I actually saw it again this morning, he threw the ball over the top of a corner and into a safety and the corner and safety ran into each other and the ball just popped to DeSean Jackson for a touchdown. He has played well I mean he has 19 touchdowns and no interceptions, proof is in the pudding there. He has led the team, I think they are 5-1 since he has been the starter. There has been some rough spots also but he has done his job since he started there and that's been getting them wins."
On DE Ezekiel Ansah's injury allowing him time to refresh: "Let's wait until we're at the end of the season before we say that. I think anytime a player misses, I don't think he can ever point to it saying that that was good time. Unlike Sam where it was this weekend and having a couple extra days rest, we're talking about missing games and these are games that still count. He has played well since he's been back. I think that over the course of the year when he's been out there, he's made plays. He's had a couple of plays overturned with penalties, but I think that he certainly is trending up. He's a difference maker when he's on the field. Devin Taylor also has affected the game. Didn't play a whole lot, but when he did he affected the game. Those guys are certainly on the rise."
On the reason behind Ansah's performance: "I honestly think that he was doing similar things early on. If you take some of the ones that were taken away with penalties somewhere else, I think you'd be looking at a different thing right now. We saw it, I think the third play he played in the preseason where he intercepted that ball and scored. He just has those instincts. He's around the football and he's very comfortable in our defensive scheme. He doesn't have to worry. I don't think this has ever slowed him down, but there is an adjustment period sometimes where Rookies or young players go through where they are sort of thinking about the call or something like that, I think it's pretty automatic with him. He's done a nice job not just in our rush packages, but stopping the run. He's hard to handle in the run game and he's also done a good job in our blitz packages."
On K David Akers' performance so far this season: "I think we're still a work in progress when it comes to it. There are some things we can do better. Our protection at times early on in field goals wasn't very good and ended up costing us a game. I think we've improved there. Coverage has been outstanding. A lot of that has had to do with our kickoffs and our punts and Sam (Martin) is a big part of that. I think our return game is starting to get going now, both kick and punt return. A little bit like the question with Ziggy (Ansah), I think we'll just wait until the season is over and just keep trying to work through it. There are going to be different issues every week. Different things and different challenges. Even though we are through three quarters of the season, I don't think our attitude has changed when it comes to correcting your mistakes, work on your weaknesses, try to accentuate your positives, that same thing and we are no different than 31 other teams when it comes to that."
On feeling vindicated by Ansah's performance: "We can't worry about what other people say. I don't know how many of those people had exposure to him at the Senior Bowl or really watched film, maybe they saw a highlight or heard somebody on TV say something. Can't concern yourself with that kind of stuff. I think he has done a nice job for us. I think he's just scratching the surface of what he can do for us. He's been a difference maker when he's been on the field. Hopefully we can keep him there."
On Ansah's ability to adapt and learn quickly being surprising: "I would say yes to that if we didn't have the experience with him at the Senior Bowl. That was sort of, I guess you say the book on him is that he was an inexperienced player and it was going to take time and things like that. Our experience with him at the Senior Bowl was different. It was he was a fast learner and he picked things up very quickly. He was naturally instinctive for the game and things that challenge other inexperienced players like screens and reverses and draws and things like that, those were the best plays that he would make. The answer to that is, it really hasn't surprised us because we already knew that about him and we expected that from him."
On the strength of the run defense being tested this weekend in Philadelphia: "Well they are number two in the NFL in run and they have the second leading rusher in the NFL and he's a challenge. You never know where he is going to breakout. They stretch the whole field horizontally with their run game. He can run inside and he can run outside. I'm speaking of (LeSean) McCoy. He also can run with power and he can break tackles. As has been made of (Nick) Foles and 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions, that run game is really what keeps them going and allows them to do some of the things they do and no huddle puts a lot of pressure on the defense. We're going to have to do a good job of not just protecting our edges for the outside plays, but also defending him inside because he also runs the ball and it creates some big gaps on the inside. It's a little bit like playing option teams. Everybody has responsibility. We're going to have to play good team defense to shut their run game down and to also keep McCoy off of the score card."
On why has the run defense been effective: "Again, I don't think it's just been recent weeks. I think if you go back and you look early in the season, it was big plays. The exception to that would have been Green Bay the first time we played them where we were playing light in the box. We were devoting attention to their wide receivers and not really to their run game. I've said this a lot of times even going back to Minnesota, we gave up an 80-yarder or a 78-whatever it was on the first play of the game and then after that they were about one yard a carry after that. Chicago broke out a long one. Cleveland had a long reserve against us. It was more those kind of plays that were keeping the numbers up and things like that. I think over the rest of the time I thought we have been pretty good playing the run. I think we've been pretty good the whole year. I think it's just a continuation of that. We are not doing anything different. There hasn't been a change in philosophy. There haven't been any new calls. There haven't been really any new players. Our guys know our scheme. We've been beat physically a couple of times and have given up some big plays and those are always going to make your stats look different."
On G Rodney Austin's growth: "He's a good, young player. He's played a little bit of center, but he's really a guard for us. He's improved. He came from a small school. He made a run last year in training camp and continued that through the off season this year and through training camp and is a guy that we think has a future. If you're on a practice squad, you're not just a practice player. You need to be able to develop and I think he's done a nice job. Coach Washburn and Coach Heffernan this year both work alongside of him and that's a two way street too. Rodney has worked very hard to prepare himself and like I said we have confidence with everybody on the 53 man roster. We have been relatively healthy on the interior offensive line, but if the situation ever arose, we would have no issue putting him in the game. That confidence is the reason we were able to keep him."
On Austin having a future at center: "He's probably more of a guard. He has played center for us and he played center in the preseason. When you're an interior player, I think that just sort of goes along with what you need to do. He's probably still more of a work in progress at center than guard, but he's a natural guard. He's strong and powerful and he's done a good job of developing."