Since we're of in a "calm before the storm" sort of situation right now with everything settling down before Thursday's preseason opener, I've decided to change things up a bit. To make up for the lack of things that came out from yesterday's practice, you can just read what Rod Marinelli had to say after the practice for yourself. Via the Lions' daily press release, below are Marinelli's thoughts on various topics.
On which injured players have been ruled out for Thursday's preseason game: "Cory Redding, we're going to hold him - we just don't want to mess with it. Langston Moore, shoulder. He's fine. It's a real one, I mean he could probably go - but (we're being) smart."
On the injury status of LB Buster Davis: "Today's the day. We're going to find out. He did some work today. We'll find out where we're at there."
On the injury status of CB Brian Kelly: "I think Brian (Kelly) should be OK. It's on us how much we want to do with him."
On whether LB Ernie Sims is out as well: "No, Ernie's not out; it's still day-to-day with him. We'll wait and see. Healthwise, he's doing fine.
"Edwin (Mulitalo) won't play left guard, and then - I wish I had my sheet with me - and the PUP. So we're probably down about 10 guys or so. We'll probably go into this thing with about 60-70 guys."
On having a better idea of the rotation tomorrow: "We'll get the rotation and we'll go from there."
On letting veteran players take it easy during today's practice: "What happens too is a lot of these younger guys are going to play more. They're going to play the majority of the game. We won't play the first group very long, so they need the reps right now because it's different looks. It's a different run game, completely different run game for us, which is good, great fits for us. And some things on defense, they do a little bit differently. So we made sure we got the looks in today."
On how much of the playbook has been installed: "We have a few things left, but right now in terms of the running game I think Jim might have a couple things left (to install), but right now we have to go out and just see if we can get a few runs and see if we can execute. Just see where we're at in terms of pad level and getting off the ball. We should know who to block. My grandson might be able to know who to block by now. We've done this stuff every day a million times. Now we've just got to go out and execute it and tee off and do some of those (things.) You don't want to do too much tomorrow. I want to see us just execute and how physical we can be and see where we're at with it."
On what new things fans should most be excited about seeing Thursday: "In a game this early, I don't know, I think just the commitment we're trying to do running the football. That's something we've got to really tee off on. And I think new would be watching some of the young players. That's what I think will be exciting, some of our draft picks will play a lot. And the tempo and some of those things, but our commitment (to the run); we've got to see if we can get that thing going.
On whether rookies RB Kevin Smith, LB Jordon Dizon and T Gosder Cherilus will get much playing time with the first unit in Thursday's preseason game: "Well, I don't know how much the first unit's going to play. It will be limited."
But will they play: "Oh yeah. They're going to play some ball."
(More after the jump)
On the intangibles he believes lead to the feeling of a playoff caliber team: "I think - trying to get the right word - a form of intelligence. Not book intelligence; it's the brightness at those positions where you don't make mistakes; when you have players who are really on it, which we're trying to do The first rule to winning is: Don't' beat yourself; with penalties, there's concentration or judgment, self-control. And then a team that's smart will not turn the ball over; and just third-down defense not making mistakes. If you blitz, you have to do things exactly right. When you see people being exactly right, they know what to do, then they start gaining a little bit of swagger to them, and it's about execution. And I think once you feel that running game, as we keep banging away at that thing, if that thing starts to crank for us, then I think that is a chance to really tee off and go. If we're running the ball, we're probably defending it well."
On focusing more on the intangibles of the game instead of talent alone: "I think one thing is (that) the talent pool is so close in the league because we're all drawing from the same talent pool. Which means you can't make mistakes, or you have to make fewer mistakes than others. So, talent is important, but I don't think that's what separates you in this league because there's so much of it and it's so equal and it shifts around in the league so quickly. I think what it comes down to is getting a bunch of men working together, some chemistry - team chemistry - a willingness to have a great special teams, because that's a big part of our game, and attitude. I just think that's how the game has been designed to be played."
On how he stresses the importance of playing as a team: "The thing I've stressed to them a lot is, defense especially, and offense too, is you, at times, have to give up an opportunity to make a play so a teammate can make a play. That's hard to do in this league because guys are getting paid to make plays. Sometimes a guy's got to squeeze a block, he knows he can probably go in and make that play, but if he fights in there and that thing breaks outside, that's a big play. He might go in there and make a big hit, or make a big play. We have defensive ends that we ask to drop in coverage on third down at times. We zone blitz. Well, he's getting paid to do what? Rush the passer and get sacks. But now he's got to give up that opportunity to maybe go get a sack, so that we might be able to beat a protection on a blitz. That's just the way this game was designed to be played at one time-as a team and doing whatever it takes to win the game."
On his acknowledgement of teamwork and unselfish play: "That's something we talk about. The real team is non-verbal acknowledgment. In basketball, it's an assist, it's a pick - it's those types of things. You have to keep selling that part of - that's what winning is all about. The good teams in this league can do that. What breaks it down sometimes is the individual stats."
On whether he looked back to last year's matchup against the Giants to prepare for Wednesday's game: "I was just watching the tape again last night. It's just doing the things we're supposed to do when we're supposed to be doing them. It's just not beating ourselves. They're a great team and they did a nice job, but we had penalties that hurt us bad in that game. Our own penalties, but it's something we've got to take care of. We turned the ball over a couple times. You just can't do that against a team like that. They're not going to turn the ball over. They're going to kick field goals and make their points and play tough defense. And they run the ball well."
On if he reflects on losing to the Giants last year and the different direction the two teams went the rest of the season: "Yea, Dallas and those games, too. That's all part of it. Some real tough, pressurized games we came up short in. That's what we've got to stay after, just that part of it. We're good enough, if we play good team football and have good chemistry and eliminate mistakes. That's going to keep us in the game. Then once it gets down toward the end, a playmaker's got to make a play. Toward the end of the game, a playmaker has got to step up, and we've got enough of those."
On if he thinks last year's Giants team is a good model for his team: "It's a great model for this league. I don't know if they had all the talent of anybody in the league, but they play good team football. They play good defense, they got up the field, they ran the ball, the quarterback, when it counted the last seven or eight games, didn't turn it over. They had few penalties and they won. And they're very physical, an extremely physical football team. I thought that was just an awesome job of coaching football."
On the Giants ability to plug players into their lineup and still succeed: "They had two great players that they didn't have at tight end and running back from a year ago. I think they had a fifth or sixth round pick at running back that came in and played great football for them. I think every rookie made their squad and contributed in some form-offense, defense or special teams. That's great, that's great ball."
On if he uses the Giants as an example when he talks to his team: "No, we know what we want. They're a great example of team football, I think. They're really doing just a tremendous job with their team."
On the progress of QB Dan Orlovsky throughout training camp: "He's going out every day and just keeps getting better. I want him to go all out and he's got to keep going. Injuries just lay there like that. I don't want to miss a beat in that area."
On if he feels this season is a make-or-break year: "I don't want to get into that. It's just a process right here, right now. That's all we're doing."