On having some injured players return to team drills: "Yeah, he's (WR Ryan Broyles) had a great rehab. He's working really hard. He's done a little bit more each time and he's really the only one of that group that's on a long-term rehab. It's been a long time for him, second year in a row with an ACL. But, you know, every time he's gone out on the field he's made plays and he did the same thing today. He's still not 100-percent, but he's able to sort of pick and choose some spots in practice and he looked good."
On S Louis Delmas: "You know, actually I take that back. With that group (injured players), you know, Broyles was the only guy that was long-term and Lou is on a longer term. Patience is a very difficult thing when you're a player. You know, it's difficult when you're a coach, it's difficult when you're a fan. But for a player like Delmas, patience is the thing that he has to do right now. He has to be able to be patient enough to work through that and give it enough time to heal. You know, then you've got to take it as that comes and you can't get ahead of schedule or ahead of yourself, whatever the word is. But Lou's working hard. He'll be back on the field for us sometime, but it's not going to be this mini-camp."
On counting on Delmas this fall: "We have a long way to go to worry about stuff like that. Now's not the time. Everybody wants to put starting jobs up for grabs and depth charts and things like that. We're really not even at that point right now. You know, let's get to training camp and let's see how that goes and things like that. I know that Lou is a very, very tough player and if he can be on the field, he'll be on the field."
On counting on Delmas last year before he was injured: "Any chance we can get him on the field, we want him on the field. We don't hold anything in the past against him when it comes to his rehab and all those things. You know, I think the only thing right now that we'd like to get started is, you know, adding (Glover) Quin to the secondary. That communication between the safeties is important and that's something that we're missing now. But physically, Lou can cover a lot of ground quickly. He's comfortable in our scheme and once he gets back to being healthy and being able to do the things that we do on the field, he'll pick it up quickly."
On what QB Matthew Stafford can get out of mini-camp: "Everything. You know, every player is working on something and they're also working through the scheme. They're working on precision in the passing game, making good decisions in the run game, you know, leading his team tempo on offense, decision making in the passing game and things like that. Every player has stuff that they're working on this time of year and Matt's no different."
On how much more room RB Mikel Leshoure has to grow: "Too early to tell right now. You know, I think at times last year we saw the Leshoure that we drafted and then we were too inconsistent in other games and I think that's probably the biggest thing. I think his biggest room for improvement is consistency from week-to-week, whether it's physical or else wise. You know, you can't be up one week, down another regardless of circumstances and things like that. I think that's probably his biggest challenge. It's something he's been working through this offseason and that's something he's going to have to put behind him as a player."
On Stafford striving for consistency versus improvement: "Well, he's always been a hard worker. I mean, he spent more time here in the city of Detroit, but that doesn't change the way he worked through the offseason. Rather than do it somewhere else, he was doing those things here. You know, Stafford's a very consistent guy in his approach to the game, the way he prepares for a week, the way he prepares in the offseason, training camp, those kinds of things. There's a confidence that goes with that. You know, Matt's not happy with last year. None of us were happy with last year, but you also can't overreact. I think that's a balance we've talked about going through this offseason in not getting away from what you do and who you are knowing that you just need to improve on finer things. We have a lot of confidence that he will and he's a great leader in setting that example."
On having competition at multiple positions: "Well, I think all the players feel that. It's a lot different when you're a young player looking, you know, at a guy like Jeff Backus or Jason Hanson or a bunch of different guys that we've had in there as key veteran players that have been around a long time and now seeing those guys like Jeff standing over with a coach's hat on. So, I think everybody knows what the situation is. You know, I keep saying they're not competing right now. I mean, they're competing to master the technique, they're competing to give good effort, be in shape and do all those things here to set the table for training camp. That's where the real competition will occur. Training camp, training camp practices, our padded practices, our preseason games, you know, that's where those jobs will be won. But they can all set themselves up to be in a position now to be able to make a run. It does increase the urgency for those guys, but they've all been hard workers before. Even the young guys there, their experience within our system, you know, guys like Riley Reiff or Jason Fox or Corey Hilliard, those guys have been around here for a few years now. They've been through a lot of training camps and things like that. So, it's not like we're really working a lot of new guys in there."
On CB Darius Slay: "Yeah, he made some plays on the ball. Some of those would have been negated by penalties. Our offense was taking some shots when our defense was offside. We were offside too much, particularly in a fastball period that we did today. But the thing that was encouraging with that is to have enough awareness to know when the defense is offside that the offense, you know, has free reign to take a shot down the field. The thing that was also good is his ability to put his body in good position and leap and time that and find that football. Those are the things we saw from him at Mississippi State. He hasn't been on the practice field very much for us. He's just now sort of getting into it where he's going through team (drills) and all the other stuff that we do. But he's picking it up quickly and athletically, he looks like he has some pretty good skills. You know, we need to see more of it."
On if the team has regrouped after last season: "Yeah, I mean, I think that we needed to put that in place. At some point, we need to move on from that and I think we have as a team. You know, you need to identify the reasons that you were where you were as a team and you need to take steps to correct those. That's what we're in the process of doing. But at some point, mentally we need to move on from that. You know, our focus can't be on 2012. It's got to be on 2013 and the only way we can be successful is if we learn from those mistakes and I think we have."
On DE Ezekiel Ansah retaining the scheme: "You know, we don't have a real complex scheme for defensive line, but that's a relative term. You know, there's still a lot for rookies to have to go through and learn and he's done a great job managing all of it. He's very serious about what he does, hard worker, you know, works hard both on and off the field. Just naturally has a knack for picking up the game and he knocked down a pass today. He did some really good things. You know, we had a couple blitz periods today and, you know, there are a lot of things that go into the blitz. Our base scheme isn't very difficult for our defensive linemen, but you know, in blitz with zone drops and man coverage and pickups and different things like that, he's done a nice job managing himself through that. He played a lot of different positions at BYU. They moved him around an awful lot. That probably helped prepare him for the complexities of the game because he had to know so many positions at BYU."
On learning on the job: "Everybody learns on the job. You know, we talked about our players a little bit before, coaches, you know, if you're building cars on the line down the street, you're selling insurance, you're coaching or you're a player, you're going to learn and you're going to be better the second time you experience something or go through something. I accept that."
On K Håvard Rugland's development: "Yeah, he made some nice field goals today. He's obviously got a strong leg. Every step you try to temper, ‘Well, let's see what happens when there's a snapper or holder out there, let's see what happens when he's got a defense that's rushing at him.' I don't know how much we can rush right now, it's hard to say. Let's see what happens when it's, you know, in the middle of practice rather than on their own on the side. He's passed all those tests. Every step along the way he's done a good job with that. So, the next thing is, you know, when the game's live and guys are really bearing down on him and there's pressure involved in the kick. But that's something that won't come for a while now. He's done a nice job working through all the different things that are new to him. That's encouraging to see. He doesn't over kick and a lot of guys have a tendency to. You get those 55-yarders and those longer kicks, he's got plenty of leg strength. There are a lot of golfers that have that, you know, the Ernie Els and Fred Couples, they just never swing hard. You've got to have enough strength to be able to do that and he does."
On having defensive linemen with the ability to knock down passes: "It's hard for the quarterback to see through all those guys. You're talking 6-5, 6-6 even 6-7 across that front and that's a byproduct of that great height. They all have good arm length and things like that. You know, it's a little bit different now, you know, they're not finishing their rushes because they're trying to sort of ease up at the quarterback. So, what happens is when you're not finishing your rush, you have a tendency to sort of stop and be able to get your hands up a little bit more than you would if you were really finishing that rush in a game. So, I mean, there are positives that go along with it, but you also have to temper that with the tempo that we're playing and practicing with right now."
On what he's learned as a coach that will help him in 2013: "It's just everything. Like I said, every day is, you know, something that you learn from. You know, if you don't, you're being static and that's not a good position to be in. You try to improve on everything that you do. Like I said, whether you're a coach, whether you're a player, anybody."
On Ansah playing in a low stance: "He's just got great flexibility to be able to do it. But, yeah sometimes when you want those to attack, and we do, they need to be in a heavy stance. That means their butt's in the air and their head's lower than their butt. That way they can get off. You see a lot of guys that are 100-meter dash guys and things like that. If you're going to get out of the box quick, that's what you have to do and that's our style on defense. He had lined up in a lot of different stances. When we coached him in the Senior Bowl, he had never really done some of the techniques that we did and it showed the first couple days of practice. But he picked things up quickly and he's done the same thing here. I don't know if it was him lining up at defensive tackle the way he did or just the fact that he's a naturally flexible guy for a very big man. He's 6-5 and a half and he's 270-plus pounds, but he's got the agility and flexibility of, you know, a smaller guy. I think that's what you're seeing more than what he's learned in the past."