On the Lions' current personnel allowing more of the playbook to be available: "Yeah, I mean, we've made a lot of progress. To get the personnel collected that you need, on any team in the NFL, it's going to take time when you come in new. I see with (Andre) Fluellen back for us, he's the only guy that's left. I think Martin (Mayhew) and the organization, and Jim (Schwartz) have done a great job of really working. But to get some of the positions in this league, it's really difficult. Now hopefully, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, that we hit the right buttons this year on some of the guys."
On the competition at the third linebacker spot: "They're all doing a pretty good job. I think Travis (Lewis) is helping us by being able to go back in the middle. He is probably more of a middle linebacker than an outside (linebacker). But Tahir (Whitehead) and Ashlee Palmer are both doing well as Travis is doing on the inside. We just got to get them in the games, and that's when we're going to go see the real situation. Whoever's going to win the job will show up then."
On what DE Israel Idonije brings to the Lions' defense: "He brings a lot of feel-good for me. I didn't like him very much when I saw him hit (Matthew) Stafford too many times, and I told him that when he walked in the building. But he is a great pro. He is a bright, bright young man, high-character, and a tough guy, and knows the game. So his veteran leadership really will help us."
On Idonije's versatility: "He and Jason Jones are very much alike. They can play outside, inside. They don't blink about it, they just go and play, and play well."
On the importance of S Glover Quin in the Lions defense: "Again, he's my feel-good guy. He's the guy that you count on, he's smart. I do a lot of studying during the offseason with statistics and hopefully find the answer to picking the right guys that'll help out in that area. And Glover Quin right now, in four years in the league, is one of the top safeties, production, for that amount of time. It's easy to see why. He's an all-out football player, he's really bright, he's very professional about the game. He's learned the system and any weakness that he has, he works on it immediately."
On the Lions defense taking a step this year: "There's no question. We've got a lot of talent, and it's a matter of getting the maturity in the games. Hypothetically, Devin Taylor, I mean, you don't find those guys too many times. He's raw at this point, meaning experience-level, but I've seen him do some really, really good things. If he is one of the people that's young to make progress, you have (Darius) Slay, you have a whole bunch of guys like that. Hopefully they'll round into shape in a hurry here."
On rookie CB Darius Slay's progress: "I felt in the offseason, in the OTAs and people asked why I was always talking to him, and working with him. I wouldn't let a day go by without quizzing him, talking about fundamentals and finding out what he knew about the game. As I said at that point, his college coach is a tremendous football coach. I guess he went to Auburn, but Darius will learn well. He knows the game, he understands the game. If you're out here every day, it's really a unique situation to see him go up against Calvin (Johnson). Chris Houston did it a few years ago and I kidded Darius this morning, I said "Do you really know who he is?," and he started laughing. Talking to Calvin (Johnson) about him, it's the same thing. Calvin really respects him. He thinks if he stays within himself, meaning focus on the game, he's going to be a good player."
On CB Bill Bentley's return from injury: "His thing is real unique. I think if you got into questioning him about his football and why he plays, and why he works so hard, it has a lot to do where he came from with his family, particularly his mother is what I found out. He was hurt, and he was one of the few guys in my career that I've seen on the sideline, in practice, every day be into the game - studying it, watching the whole organization evolve. Then during the offseason, it was the same thing. Every coach, and every weight coach, and every person in the organization kept saying, "Bill Bentley's the hardest-working guy on our team." And it's showing. He's out here, he knows what he's doing. I'm tracking personally all the completions and incompletions on corners and linebackers as well. The first week, the offense has 25% success. Well, Ike Taylor's the No. 1 guy in the NFL with 39.9 (allowing the lowest completion percentage). I'm talking about guys that play now. Bill dropped to about 26 because he had a tough day in the red zone. The offense changed a little bit, and the one-on-one team reps are all involved. If he keeps going at this pace, you've got a guy that can cover. That statistic may not mean much to some people, but to a coach it means a lot, because he's competing every day."
On how he likes Bentley playing in the middle: "I like him any way. I trust him. He's going to give you everything he's got. He's going to be sound, he's going to be smart, he's going to be very, very competitive for the ball. And that's what you need back there."
On how veteran CB Ron Bartell fits in with young cornerbacks on the roster: "He's a real veteran leader. He got banged up, he's out here. Yesterday he came out, we told him no contact. He was playing, but he made sure he didn't get into the piles. This morning, you saw him in the red zone and compete down there. That's what he does. He got burned on a play last year, and he came right back and finished the game, making a lot of good plays. He knows how to play the game, forget fast, and he knows how to handle the young players he's in that room with."
On CB Chris Greenwood's injury history: "It's a difficult thing. His first injury was coming out as a senior, working out for the combine, every other thing. Although he didn't go, he was taking a lot of visits and working real hard. And then he got the hamstring here. Those injures, this is camp. People are going to get them. Hopefully he'll get out here in a day or two. I heard the report last night. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but the trainers have to decide that and the sooner the better."
On DT Nick Fairley's mentality this season: "Some players come in and start like a bat-out-of-hell and make the splash, but then nobody knows what happened to them. Nick has gone through a couple injuries as well. Jim (Schwartz) and I were talking and Jim said that he played four or five really good games for us. I don't think Nick Fairley has played at a 100-percent level since he has been here because of the nicks, sorry caught myself, because of all the nagging injuries he has had. If Nick is 100-percent, you're going to see something. The other day, Tully (Stephen Tulloch) came off the field frustrated, I mean really frustrated. We had a run-play-action drill, I said ‘Tully what's wrong.' He said, ‘I can't get my reads, Nick and (Ndamukong) Suh are screwing up every play that they run. I couldn't get any reads, they're knocking the crap out of everybody.' I was laughing because I saw it from the sideline. Going back to Suh and Nick playing together, everybody in the league is saying the same thing. We have to stay healthy. That's the number one rule."
On S Louis Delmas' injury: "My relationship with him is a little unique, it's not really player-coach. I don't know what it is but it's pretty special. He is doing everything the trainers and doctors are telling him to do, and I support that. The days I've seen him out here, you can feel what he's got. He still has it all and he is obsessed about playing, I'm on his side, I believe he is going to be out there. If we had him and (Glover) Quin out there together, we are talking to some of those other guys. We will be ok."
On CB Domonique Johnson's shot at making the team: "He has a shot because he has great length. We talk about length all the time. He knocks down balls because he is tall, he's got the reach. He can close on a ball, he's competitive. He has a little bit of an injury history and he really started off poorly. He was awful last week. In the last three days he has come back. That's what he was like during OTAs. He has had some off-the-field, personal issues, he's trying to handle. It's nothing serious, but for a family man it kind of bugs him. I think that was what bothered him to open camp. The last couple of days he has been really competitive and made a lot of plays. That size is a factor. We have to be real careful with what we do when we get to cut-down time."
On what makes him excited about this defense: "The character and the youth and the enthusiasm with good veterans. I think Martin (Mayhew) and Jim (Schwartz) have done a great job putting together a bunch of good guys. Ziggy Ansah, (Israel) Idonije, Jason Jones, just take those three guys and if there was a curtain in front of them, you couldn't pick out who was who. They are really good people. I think that runs through the defense. They are much more together than I have ever seen them. I think that Suh has done a great job. In leadership alone, all of them respect him, the locker room is great. Those things can carry you. We just have to stay well, that's the number one rule. This is camp and a lot of teams go through this. We are not going to be well, but we have to fight those injuries and get ready."