On accomplishing what he wanted to in mini-camp: "It's been a good offseason for them. First, the guys reported in great shape and then they worked hard. It's a short offseason, it's only 10 weeks, but they took advantage of every opportunity. You know, they practiced with the same kind of tempo from the very beginning. I think we've accomplished installing just about all of our offensive, defensive schemes. We've introduced a new special teams scheme. So, there have been a lot of positives all through the offseason."
On his message to the players heading into the offseason break: "Just same stuff. We talked about reporting date, we talked about what's expected of them between now and the beginning of training camp, you know, both from an off the field point of view and also what they need to do to get ready and come in in great shape to compete for jobs. We've talked all offseason about how they really weren't competing. They were really competing against themselves as we went through all this stuff to prove their technique, to get better, to be in great condition. Once we get to training camp, that's when all that pays off because now they start competing for jobs."
On his impressions of some of the new free agents: "They all looked like good additions, but no different than when we signed them. We didn't just close our eyes and pull a name out of a hat. You know, we had very specific roles in mind for all of those guys and I think they have all proven that they can fill that role. But we have a long way to go before we're happy with really anybody."
On CB Chris Houston not practicing today: "Yeah, we had a couple guys that just had little tweaks here and there. It's sort of, you know, three practices in a row and seven in two weeks. You started getting a few groins and hamstrings tightening up. We had a couple guys get hamstrings tightened up. Nobody's long-term, but the last thing we wanted to do is take a little minor thing and all of a sudden you have a guy up where he's got four weeks of rehab rather than four weeks of training before training camp. So, Chris was one of those guys."
On implementing a new special teams scheme: "I think the way we practice is different, the drills are different, obviously. Terminology's a little bit different. Pretty much all the schemes are pretty much the same. There's really not a whole lot. But I should have used better words. I should have said the new special teams system, really not scheme. It's just a different way. We meet a little bit differently. On the field, we break practice up a little differently. The guys have done a good job responding to all that. That work will pay off when we get to training camp, when we get to preseason games and it will pay off once we get to the season."
On DT Nick Fairley's confidence: "He's never lacked confidence. He hasn't been healthy enough to be on the field for a long enough time for us and that's his biggest challenge. He's got work to do between now and the start of training camp. It's not just talent, it's not just confidence, it's availability. For his first two years he wasn't available enough for us and this will be a big year for him to be on the field consistently for us. We've seen some other guys be in that situation, you know, (Matthew) Stafford included. Stafford wasn't on the field enough as a first- and second-year player. You know, he seems to have put some of that stuff behind him and we need Nick to do the same thing."
On CB Ron Bartell: "Yeah, you know, he's got good size for a corner. He's got experience, plays with good technique, he's tough. He's a veteran player. He deserves to go out there when we put our first groups out there. You know, we really didn't work a depth chart, so to speak. We had a lot of drills, you guys probably didn't see very many of them, but we had a lot of drills where we mixed groups. You know, we tried not to mix the thirds and the fourths, but let the seconds and firsts sort of mix. So, they're competing against different guys and we wanted to see a lot of different sort of combinations. Also, guys get real bored going against the same guys. I don't know, bored is a bad word, but it gets a little routine if they do. Ron's had a good offseason. He came to us late last year, he picked things up quickly, played pretty well in the game against the Bears last year. He'll be right in the mix, you know, based on the way he's been in the OTAs and through the offseason program."
On CB Bill Bentley: "You know, even when we had him last year early in camp, he was a playmaker. You know, he got his hands on balls, he plays with a lot of spirit. He's out there and he competes all the time. He intercepted a ball, I guess it was yesterday. He's really improved his technique. You know, that's really been his biggest challenge. He's got a lot of talent, he's got quickness, but just not real experienced, you know? Last year he got hurt the third week in training camp and he tried to play, but just wasn't able to do it. He's gone through a hard year of rehab. He's worked very hard at that, but he's also worked a lot on his technique, understanding. In a lot of ways, he's still a rookie, but he's a guy that can make a play on the ball and that's important. It's a little bit like we saw from (Darius) Slay. Slay missed a lot of this stuff, but even though he's got a long way to go on technique, he's got a long way to go on the scheme, he's one of those guys when the ball's in the air, he can go get it. We need a lot of those guys."
On his confidence in S Louis Delmas' health: "I have a lot of confidence. I mean, there's no player I have more confidence in than Lou. I've said so many times, he's the heart and soul of our defense and he's got an incredible amount of toughness. It took a lot of discipline from his standpoint, from him and from us, to sit this whole offseason out. Number one thing for him is to get his knee right. There will probably be some times in training camp that we'll give him program days off, you know, and potentially even into the season doing the same. Trying to be proactive with it, but where it is and everything else, we'll just take it as it comes. You know, we're prepared either way. We're prepared for Lou to be our leader on defense and to be out there for 16 games, but we're certainly prepared for him not to be out there. Hopefully that won't be the case, but he's a tough guy and it took a lot of discipline for him to watch his teammates go out there and compete. You guys know he likes to compete. He loves to be out there and he means a lot to us. So, you know, when we get to training camp, we'll see where he is and try to make a good plan from there."
On pressure to win this season: "Honestly, it's the same every year. I mean, we didn't set the bar low when we were 0-16. So, I think it's a weekly thing. Every week you go and prepare your very best to win. You know, you can't worry about Week 14 now, you can't worry about Week 10 now, you can't worry about game one now. We just put mini-camp to bed. You know, we'll focus next on training camp, go day-by-day there, focus on our preseason games. If we do a good job of doing all those things, you know, the season will take care of itself. But we'll compete every single week and there's pressure to win every single week in the NFL. I think that we take it a little more day-by-day and week-by-week than looking at the whole season. But we certainly have high expectations and we have to work hard to fulfill those."
On K David Akers not kicking: "He wasn't going to kick this offseason. He's been doing some light stuff right here. Part of his season last year was he was injured and he was coming off surgery this offseason. So, we wanted, a little bit like Lou (Delmas), we wanted to give him as much time as he could to sit this one out. So, you know, he was still rehabbing, he was doing some light kicking and things like that. When we get to training camp, he should be pretty free to be able to do all the things that he's normally done. He's a veteran player. He's had a lot of success. He knows his technique. He's been really helpful to the younger guys, the two young punters and Håvard (Rugland). He's really helped out, he's very knowledgeable, he's been a good addition for us."
On mini-camp giving him a feel of what he has to work with: "You know, I think we knew. There are a lot of known quantities on the team. You know, Calvin Johnson, (Matthew) Stafford, (Ndamukong) Suh, you can name a bunch of them. (Stephen) Tulloch, (DeAndre) Levy, just keep on going. But seeing some of the new additions, like I said, there was a reason we signed them. We didn't pull their names out of a hat. We had a good idea, but to see them sort of working through the system, to see them sort of start to communicate offensively, defensively, I think that helped us to have confidence that they can get the job done. We haven't hit anybody yet. You really, you have to sort of hold back the competitiveness that goes along with mini-camp and those kind of things. But I think we have a good feel for where everybody is. There are going to be some open jobs. We have some spots that are open for people to fill and I think we have more than one candidate to fill those. I think it will be some really good competition once we get to training camp for spots, both on the roster and also for playing time."
On RB Joique Bell and delegating carries at running back: "Joique's (Bell) had an outstanding offseason. Him and (Matthew) Stafford probably spent most of the time here at the facility. Both guys lived here and both of them haunted the hallways in January, February and March before our offseason program started. I come in on a Saturday getting ready for the Draft or something and try to go get on the treadmill for a little bit and Joique would be in there on a bike or on a treadmill doing something. So, he's had a really good offseason. He's more comfortable. It took him a while to sort of earn his way onto a roster in the NFL. He was on the practice squad for a few years, but when he got the opportunity he made the most of it last year and he's not letting go. He's really done well and he's increased his special teams knowledge and technique and things like that. It looks like he can contribute in a lot of ways. Those guys, we'll have, and I said this way back, we have plenty of carries in our offense for a lot of different running backs. We've got plenty of touches in our offense for a lot of different skill players. We're not going to run out of people to run the ball or run out of people to throw the ball too. All of them have little different strengths, little bit different things that they can contribute. Once we get there, we'll try to put them in the best positions."
On WR Ryan Broyles' rehabilitation from injury: "We're too early to tell on that, but he's gone through it before. He went through it last year. He had a good idea what to expect. I mean, that's a long road and there are a lot of ups and downs daily within that. But he's done a good job of trending up from the very beginning. He's kept a good, positive mental attitude. He's made up some ground over the last two or three weeks too. He went from just doing a little bit of routes on air and mixing it into individual period to all of a sudden being able to do just about everything. He's still not 100-percent in his rehab, but I think it was important for him mentally to get out here and do this now before we get to training camp. We've got another six weeks or so before we're back on the field. You know, he's still got some ground to cover and things like that, but the fact that he's already been out here now, I think that sets him up. You know, Nate Burleson was similar. We thought that we would have to limit Nate through this offseason and I don't think he's missed one rep of anything that we've done and that's just been an incredible thing also."
On guest Balaal Hollings visiting practice: "Yeah, you know, I was telling our guys, ‘A lot of you guys are celebrities, but none bigger than Balall.' I mean, he's all over CNN and just about everything. He's going to Wayne State next year. Then also, he's a kid that was president of his class, captain of the baseball team, captain of the football team, captain of the golf team. Number one, it's a local story, but our guys make their livings with their bodies and they put their bodies through a lot of abuse. They've got to answer the bell every week and play through a lot of different bumps and bruises and things like that. It gives them a little perspective when here's a guy who took a bullet to the head and they didn't think he was going to live, much less walk or talk again. When we brought him out, he actually even jogged a little bit, probably against doctors' orders, but he actually jogged out to the huddle. Anytime you can put a guy like that in front of our guys, I think it lets those bumps and bruises that our guys go through, you know, be put in perspective. Our guys have a lot of respect for the rehab that he's had and the ground that he's covered."
On DE Jason Jones: "He might be forgotten for you guys, but he's certainly not for us or our offense who had to start to go against him. He's a young player, but he's also a veteran player. He's played in a couple different schemes. He's going to be a great addition for us."