LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET
On what makes up the return game's struggles: "The biggest thing has been the penalties. That's really what has taken away a few returns. It's going to be tough to return kickoffs because of how deep they are. When they changed the rules it made it a lot more difficult to return kickoffs. Punt return, sometimes you're at the mercy of the punt, location, hang time and stuff like that. Other times we need to be able to get more positive results there. That's something that we haven't done a good enough job at throughout the first three games."
On Sunday's upcoming game: "It means more because it's an NFC North game, which is the Bears. Like I said before, it's not like it's only a chance to get a win, a home win, but also to put a loss on one of our division opponents. That would mean an awful lot. Teams know each other real well. Their defense hasn't changed a whole lot. Their offense has changed a little bit. There personnel is pretty much the same, both offense and defense. We have a lot of respect for them and we're going to have to play our very best on Sunday to come out with a win."
On WR Nate Burleson: "I don't think I ever had heard of a surgery that right afterwards didn't go well. It's just too early to put any kind of timetable on those things. Every person heals at a different rate. Each position is a little bit different when it comes to how quickly you can come back from different stuff. That's why we never use timetables. All indications have indicated that it has gone well, as far as the surgery goes. It's not just the surgery, it's the rehab and how the body reacts. Like I said before, he'll be back. How long it takes, we really don't know."
On if he's spoken to Burleson: "I have not spoken to him since the surgery, but got good updates from the doctor. I spoke to him before."
On what DT D'Anthony Smith does well: "I don't know that you say that he's one or the other. He's a good athletic defensive tackle. He plays the run well, he's strong. Rushes the passer well. He was drafted fairly high. He had a hard time getting his career started. We have seen that from some other guys. He was on the injured-reserve two years in a row. This is really the first year that he has really got going for an extended period of time. We'll give him an opportunity and see what he can do."
On what is needed by DE Israel Idonije: "Just the same thing from all of our guys, consistent play. Izzy is a veteran player. He has high expectations for himself. I thought that maybe he can play better, but he hasn't hurt our defense. He's a good run player. He gives us a little flexibility as far as rushing the passer. He's very experienced. He knows his way around the field. He has done some stuff special teams wise for us. He'll make a good contribution to our team."
On if he caught the end of the Tigers game or Tigers manager Jim Leyland's moonwalk: "I did not. Sorry. I wish I could follow baseball this time of year. I wish I could. Did he slam any headsets down or anything? Everybody gets excited in a different way. I don't think that'll be me after a game."
What kind of added pressure is P Sam Martin facing with Bears KR/PR Devin Hester: "Same as it was in Week 2 with (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson. Hester's one of the best dual returners of all time. He's the kind of guy that can take it to the house and he has against us. It's not just coverage, it's the punt. It's not just the depth of the punt, it's the location and it's the hang time. All those go in to it. Sam will have a big part of trying to contain Devin Hester both on kickoffs and also on punts. Kickoffs, if he can catch the ball, he's going to bring it out. If he's got to jump on the backline to get it, he's going to get that opportunity because that's his contribution to the team. He plays on kickoff return, punt return and he's on the field goal block team. He's going to take advantage of every time he can get the ball in his hands and we have to be up for it and get him contained. That's a big key to this game."
On Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman's road to the NFL: "He had a lot of experience in the NFL before that (CFL). He was the offensive coordinator for the Raiders in 2002 when I was with the Titans when we played them in the AFC Championship game. He's been around the NFL for a long time. Left the NFL and was in college for a little while then off to the CFL. A good coach is a good coach, high school, college, CFL, or arena. He won in the CFL and won Grey Cups. Again, he didn't win because it was 12 guys on the field and 55-yard midfield and everything else, he won because he's a good coach. They're 3-0 because he's coached the team well."
On if Trestman's style of coaching is different now in comparison to 2002: "Everything changes so much. You look at the League in general and take a game from 2002 and put it now, everything would look different. From techniques, the size of the players to schemes people were using. Everything looks different. Everybody reinvents themselves not only every year, but just about every week. You have to adjust. It's a little bit like during the game. You don't wait until halftime to make adjustments. You make adjustments after every series on the sidelines. Everybody has changed a little bit. There is some continuity in some things, but there are other things that I'm sure he has picked up on along the way. I'm sure they run because it fits their personnel. They have different players with the Bears than they had in the CFL or at NC State or anywhere else. That's coaching too. You're trying to put your players in good positions. They have done a good job at avoiding sacks. They have taken care of getting rid of the ball a lot quicker than they had in the past. Like I said before, their defensive schemes haven't changed a whole lot. Some tweaks on their special teams with their new special teams coordinator. Their run game hasn't really changed a whole bunch, but their pass game has changed as they're definitely trying to get the ball out quicker. They have only taken three sacks on the year. You can see some of those things coming through."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET
On if the players also view it as a collective effort to replace Burleson: "Oh yeah, for sure. That's how teams look at it and that's how we're looking at it."
On if there will be a competition for the right tackle spot with T Jason Fox returning from injury and T Corey Hilliard playing well in his absence: "No competition. We make decisions on Saturday night as to who's playing and all that, but right now we're just moving forward so we're not in a situation where (we're in a) competition or anything. Both guys we feel very good about playing though."
On if Fox needs time to get the rust off after not playing since Week 1: "No, I think he's practicing well and he's working very hard to get ready to play."
On if RB Joique Bell deserves a bigger role after playing well in Bush's absence: "Joique's role is going to be similar week in and week out. I think every week's going to be different. I'll sound like a broken record, but some games you're going to see him carrying the load and some games, not as much. And some games 50/50 I think as long as things stay the way they are now."
On how WR Ryan Broyles responded to his playing time in the last game: "I thought he played well. We called his number a couple times, he made some nice catches in crucial situations. He played about the right amount of snaps we felt for that game. We just feel like he's right on track to continue to progress that way."
On the technical problems on the sidelines in the game at Washington, including a lack of pictures: "It's certainly a nice thing to have. It felt more like it was in college. I spent a lot of years in college, we didn't have that luxury. So you just go back to what you do and you know what the looks are, you do more communication with the people in the box. ‘What was the front in coverage? What did you see up there? We saw this, ok, great.' And then the players at this level, Matt (Stafford) and our front guys and everything, they're pretty sharp guys so I think the players did a great job of handling it more so than anybody."
On how the Bears' front changes without DT Henry Melton: "They're going to play somebody else. They're a group though. Here's something that we know. They roll in guys, sometimes you don't even know who they are. They just play so well together and hard. It doesn't really matter who they put out there, because they're going to present a big challenge for us. We're preparing for anybody to be over there."
On how TE Joseph Fauria has fit in as a rookie: "Joe's done a nice job. He's played the plays that he's played and he's got in the end zone a couple times. Seen him go up and make some nice catches back there. But he's played a lot of football. He's got in the end zone a lot in his last two, so that's a nice little addition to our offense right now and I'm really happy with him."
On the offense's long stretches in which they are unable to convert third downs: "First half has been good. It's been the second-half thing where we have to do a better job of converting in both halves and not make it...come out and play lights out on third down in the first half and then second half. Last week was a little different. One of the third downs could have been a good spot or not, we got a fourth-down conversion. I was disappointed on where we were on third down and not converting. We missed on a third-and-three, a third-and-two and a third-and-one and that's what you want. If you're in a third down, that's what you want. So we have to do a better job in second halves converting third downs."
On what the Bears do so well to limit WR Calvin Johnson compared to other teams: "Not so much what they do to Calvin, they just play excellent defense. They have certainly very good personnel and have had very good coaching. They have a new coaching staff, seems like they're running the same defense. They obviously recognized a very good defense in keeping a lot of things the same. You just have to execute against Chicago and that's easier said than done, because they're an execute-defense. They don't do a whole lot of things. They certainly have some scheme things they do that are challenging, but they make you execute against them and I think that's the biggest thing. I think it's, like I said, it's a tough challenge because they play and believe and really some base looks and they live with it. What they've done to Calvin is they've played good defense and they've done that against our offense at times too and we just have to go out and execute well and do a better job than we've done at times. We've had some good games. Biggest thing you have to do against the Bears' defense is work very hard at protecting the ball, because they do a great job of getting it. I think the team that is most successful doing that is probably going to have the best chance to win"
On if there has been a concern to not go as vertical so far this season: "No, not really. We've completed passes that have gone for more than 20 yards, so that's good. You don't have to throw them deep if you can run them."
On how Bell and Bush play off of each other: "There's different styles. You see how Joique ran the ball last week when we were going against a tough run front and he was able to crack through a couple times. That's a kind of game that Joique's going to have to have to be a primary ball carrier. And you have a guy like Reggie, who has got the run pass kind of thing. And Joique's not a throwaway at receiver, he's been very productive for us. So they just have different styles. I think everybody in the league likes to have two different style backs when they're trying to play a couple guys."
On if it's fair to say that Bell has developed into a feature-back talent: "He's developed into an excellent talent for us. Feature back or whatever, when we call upon him, the last two years since we put him in the lineup, he's always gone out and performed well and we've been very happy with him."
On if Bell is capable of carrying the load in a situation where that would be needed: "I think so. He did it his whole life. I don't know how many carries he had in college, but he had a whole bunch and he was able to do that, and he comes here and every time we've been able to give him the ball, I've felt very good about the production that we're getting out of him."
On why Bell has been able to be so successful in a limited role: "Just a football player. He gets it, understands it, great competitor, runs with a lot of passion and heart. You have to have a lot of ability too. He's a very determined young man. He's got a great story, just his progression of how he got to where he is now wasn't easy, it wasn't overnight. He had to bounce around the league and end up here. And it wasn't easy for him when he was here. He had to earn his way to where he is. There was a point I think, and you can ask Joique, there was a point where he just decided ‘I'm going to do this' and bam, from that point on he's been very, very good for us."
On if Bell was with the Lions when he reached the point that he ‘was going to do this': "Yeah. I wasn't with him in the other places, but he's always had the talent. There's a point where a light came on, whatever it is, maybe it's the opportunities he got that he didn't have, whatever it was, he took advantage of it. That's a great story."
On if he remembers when that point was for Bell: "I don't know exactly. I think it was a point probably where he wasn't getting reps and maybe it was the first game where he got a shot at a special teams role. He went out and played well and then they're like, ‘Whoa, Joique played well on special teams. Maybe we'll put him in for a few plays.' They gave him the ball, he carried it and got a first down on a play where you didn't have an expectation. When we played early in the season last year, Joique was in the game on a third-and-long against San Francisco, we called a screen and we threw one of the best defenses in the league for 50 yards. I'm like, ‘Wow, I didn't know Joique had that in him.' He's doing a great job for us and I hope he keeps it up. I know he's got to work hard to do it."
More from Pride Of Detroit:
- Lions injury report: Nearly everybody practices on Thursday
- Nate Burleson injury: Lions WR hoping to return by November at the latest
- Sit/start fantasy football advice: Which Lions to play in Week 4
- Bears player to watch against Lions: Major Wright
- Lions notes: Sam Martin named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week