Jim Caldwell's comments from Wednesday's Lions OTA

Leon Halip

A look at what Jim Caldwell had to say after the Detroit Lions' organized team activity on Wednesday.

Below is a recap of what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say following Wednesday's organized team activity. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

Opening statement: "Second OTA, and I think it was, as you could see, a pretty spirited practice. The guys were being enthusiastic, but you can also see that we've got a lot of work to do and a long way to go. We are not supposed to be perfect today. If we were perfect today, I'd be a little nervous, but the guys are making strides and making some progress. We were pleased. You could see some guys were certainly in new positions that are taking a little different challenge. You know, obviously, that's going to be a challenge for them and great for us if they can come through. So, young guys are learning and developing and we have an opportunity to also work with the young guys a little bit later on so they can get a little double dose of work. We don't bring them out on the field, but we have meetings and things of that nature with them, so we're trying to get them caught up."

On DT Ndamukong Suh participating in OTAs: "He looks good. Obviously, he's in very fine shape as always. He's one of those guys who knows how to take care of his body. He's certainly done a great job of that. He's fit and excited about being here."

On TE Joseph Fauria: "Obviously, Joe has talent. He certainly demonstrated that last year. I still think, obviously, every position there is certainly a lot of competition. That's what makes you a good team when you do have competition at every spot. Guys are scratching and digging, and he's doing a great job of that. Obviously, you can tell there's a bit of intensity about him. But also, I think the thing about it is there is room enough for a number of talented guys at that position. That's the key. I think oftentimes you look and most people would think it's one-for-one, but certainly I've been on a number of teams - We had Jacob Tamme, we had Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard all on the same team, and then some. As a matter of fact, Joe Dean Davenport was on that team as well. So, there are enough balls, or I should say, there is enough to go around just in terms of action at that particular position."

On T Michael Williams switching from tight end to offensive tackle: "One of the big things, obviously, he's a guy with size and he's athletic. It's one of those things too where, you know, (he is) a guy who is probably a natural. I mean, he had to fight to keep his weight down. He came back and he was somewhat in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. You don't see very many 300-pound tight ends. He's a big guy, so I think it allows him not to necessarily have to worry about cutting weight all the time and things of that nature to kind of fit the position. I think he's a naturally-big guy that can be a very, very athletic tackle. I've been around a couple different guys during my career where I was on a team where Chris Hinton was a tight end actually. Chris Hinton was a tight end and Chris Hinton moved from tight end to tackle and had an outstanding career. Another one I was around, it just so happened when I was at Louisville, we had Bruce Armstrong. One of those guys, a big guy, he moved to tackle and played for a number of years with - I don't think any of you guys probably remember, he was with New England, right? So, he played with them. But nevertheless, I think Mike is going to be one of those kinds of guys that's going to be able to help us if he can develop quickly enough. He's working at it."

On his confidence in T Corey Hilliard and T LaAdrian Waddle: "They played and played well. You take a look at what they've been able to get accomplished, and those two guys are working extremely hard. They have talent and ability. You probably remember, Corey was with us at Indianapolis, so I've known him since he was a young guy. He's still young, but nevertheless, I've known him for quite some time. Those guys have talent and ability and they'll do a great job."

On instilling a championship mentality in the locker room: "One of the things I'm sure they're (the players) referring to that I mentioned is we treat them like men because of the fact that we anticipate that they'll bear responsibility and accountability. So, it doesn't take me standing out there in the middle of the field screaming and yelling, acting like it's all about me. It's about them and what they do, and we put the onus on them. We certainly give them their marching orders, some orders, how we get it done, and then we try and make certain that we also give them a little bit of autonomy. Obviously, I think most people respond pretty well to that. The other thing is, you're talking about from a schedule standpoint, we're doing things that certainly we've done at other places that we know have worked and have been successful in terms of our schedule. I told them rather than a wait-and-see sort of format, we're going to put them in that mood right now, right away and make them work for it, obviously. But nevertheless, we're going to put them on a championship path."

On the offense's tempo this season: "That's key. I mean, I think that's extremely important. That's why we have the clock going and the whole bit. You can see guys running in and out. We're trying to get them in a mode of what kind of pace we would like to keep. That's a constant pace. We think that pace puts pressure on the defense. If we can do that and still exchange our personnel through all of our personnel groupings - Then also, you saw a couple things (where) we pop up and maybe just change the pace even a little bit more, so I think that's extremely important."

On grooming veteran leadership: "Oftentimes, I think that is my job. People talk about developing leadership and whether or not they're born a leader or you encourage it or develop it - I do believe we have a number of guys that are natural leaders, but oftentimes not allowed to lead because of the fact that, you know, one individual can be so over-bearing. From a business sense, if you ever read any of Jim Collins' books, you can read it and it spells it out pretty quickly about whether they are a level-five leader, a level-one leader, and I think that ties into what we do in football as well. So, I think there are some times where you've got to let guys that know what they're doing that are certainly very, very bright, understand what you're trying to get accomplished and give them an opportunity to take on a leadership role as well."

On the defense playing ‘excited' today: "Well, you can't play defense, you can't play offense either without some passion, you know, without some excitement about it? It was natural. The guys kind of got into it. A competitive atmosphere I think is something that we try and foster with some boundaries. But the enthusiasm is there."

On CB Cassius Vaughn: "At this point in time, he's been here with us for a while. He's a guy that loves to play and he loves to tell you about it once in a while as he's playing. But nevertheless, he's a guy that's working extremely hard trying to win a spot on this team. He does bring some energy."

On how important it is that Suh is participating in OTAs: "It's great that he's here. Obviously, he's not obligated to be here. You do understand that it's all voluntary. He looks great, he's worked extremely hard. He's back. He's been trying to get as good as he possibly can. You're going to have an opportunity to talk to him shortly here. We're glad he's here. Obviously, I think he does a great job of demonstrating his leadership down there on the field. Guys have someone they can emulate because he's really good. He's an expert at what he does. I think he's proven that Sunday after Sunday, so we're glad he's here. I think you'll see that he's pretty excited about being here as well."

On the opportunity OTAs present for younger players to impress coaches: "One of the things you'll notice about this, we did rotate in quite a few groups. It should be looked at more as a rep chart than a depth chart. It doesn't matter when you see them coming in. Don't make any assumptions that that's the role he's going to play for us. But it gives the guys an opportunity when a guy's not there, whatever the numbers are, to get a few more reps. Reps are priceless at this time of year because they are just few and far between. You only get so many of these practice opportunities. The more you get, the better opportunity you have."

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