Jim Caldwell's comments from Day 1 of Lions minicamp

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

A look at what Jim Caldwell had to say after the first practice of the Detroit Lions' voluntary minicamp.

Below is a recap of what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say following the first practice of his team's voluntary minicamp. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

Opening statement: "Let me begin by just saying it was a great first day for us. The guys, I think, have been working extremely hard the last couple weeks trying to learn the system. They came out on the field today and had very few glitches in terms of the things that you normally see on the first day. So that shows me that they do have the ability to concentrate and focus. We've got very, very good leadership in terms of the guys that are in the meeting rooms doing a great job of showing the way to some of the other guys. It's been tremendous thus far. Actually, in my coaching career, it's probably the best turnout as a head coach that I've had during this time of the year, so we look at that as a positive. We look forward to tomorrow."

On if DT Ndamukong Suh missing practice is different: "It's not any different. It's voluntary. It's not any different, and I think I've addressed that enough. I think I went over it. If you look at my statements before, like I told you, my business is coaching. We'd love to have every guy here every single day, not just on this particular practice. I'm talking about all of them, you know? But that's not the way it is. So we'll leave it at that and I'll answer anything else."

On if CB Chris Houston is injured: "He is injured, there's no question about that. So, obviously, his participation is simply because of the fact that he cannot do his job at this point."

On if Houston's injury is a toe injury: "Can't confirm it. I think the NFL rules don't require us to give out information on injuries at this point in time, and I'm going to comply with that."

On what he hopes to achieve during these three days: "Implementation, that's what it is, really. It's a great opportunity for us to teach and instruct. You know, it's early for us right now because of the fact that we do have the ability to come in a little bit earlier than the rest of the teams. We do have this particular point in time where no one else has a voluntary mini-camp, so it gives us a chance to get out on the field. Typically, this time of year you would be doing in the second week basically strength and conditioning. Then at some point in time, you move into phase two, which allows you to go out onto the field but not working offense, defense and things of that nature. So we certainly have an opportunity to come out and really instruct and teach. We also realize that we're a couple weeks ahead as well, so we really want to focus on teaching and instructing more so than putting our ears back, running 100 miles an hour for two and a half hours."

On the value of having veterans like C Dominic Raiola around: "Well, you know, Dom in particular, once a guy's been around the league as long as he has, systems are very easy for him to learn and adapt to. Not only that, he's a real pro. He's an early riser, he gets in here early, he studies and when you see him in the meeting rooms, obviously, he has a real fine impact on the younger guys as well. So, we appreciate him, but (Stephen) Tulloch's the same way. He's one of those guys that understands systems extremely well, and when you do that, all they're doing is kind of replacing their knowledge of what they know about a particular defensive scheme and just transposing the names, you know, for the most part. They're familiar with all those things. It's great to have guys that have been around, that have played this game and had some success doing so, particularly when you're trying to implement a new system."

On bringing in players who have Super Bowl experience: "It's invaluable. You can't have enough of them. I believe that. When you find guys - not only that, I mean, these guys are a cut above, the guys that we're talking about here. Obviously, Golden Tate, you're talking about Dig (James Ihedigbo), both guys are guys that have been in the thick of it as leaders, that know what it takes to win. Not just to win, but to win a championship. Oftentimes, I think people that are involved in our business, like you all are, don't understand the difficulty of it. I mean, it is extremely hard to get it done, to be able to play well consistently enough to get yourself in position to win that game. Those guys do have a good sense of it. They know what it takes and that's why it's great to have them around because a coach can only do so much. You need players and guys that have had that kind of experience to also come alongside of you and kind of help things move along in that direction."

On how the players have responded defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi: "I think they've responded very, very well, but they're two young coordinators that have Super Bowl experience as well. They have an invaluable experience of being with teams that have won a lot of games. They do a great job, just in terms of instructing. Obviously, I've known Teryl for a long time and had a chance to be in the meeting rooms with Joe. He does a tremendous job. I think the guys respond to him well. You know, I think he's certainly capable, both guys. I think you'll see that as time goes on."

On how much trust can be built during a mini-camp: "We're still in shorts, you know? This game's played in pads. You find out a little bit about them during this time of the year. You certainly don't get a real sense of whether or not a guy has the true resolve that we're looking for and the grit that we're looking for until we get our pads on and test it in game conditions. But you can certainly tell whether or not a guy's committed to his craft. You can learn about guys in terms of their learning style. Matthew (Stafford), for example, certainly is getting a good feel I think for Golden (Tate). You can see even today, those two I think are going to function well together. But that's what you work out. The precision of the game is what you can get done here from a passing standpoint, for your backs and receivers and tight ends and things of that nature. But you can also get a lot done from a defensive standpoint, where a guy can feel a bit of comfort knowing that the guy next to him knows exactly what he's doing. He's going to be where he's supposed to be. I can depend on him, and I think the basic foundation is being built in that regard. But certainly, we can't tell until - was it T.O. (Terrell Owens) that said, "until they start selling popcorn?"

On bringing back CB Rashean Mathis: "I have a lot of respect for Rashean. He was one of those guys that, you know, every single time we played them, you had to know where he was because he was extremely knowledgeable. You could tell he had a real good feel for the game. Besides his athletic talents, he's long, has range. Now, he does a tremendous job of knowing himself and what he can and can't do. He can put himself in the best position to succeed. I think that's invaluable, but also he's a great instructor. You can see what he does with the young guys in terms of providing great leadership. I think it's tremendous, so we always had a lot of respect for him during his time in Jacksonville."

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