Following Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz met with the media. He addressed several topics, although most of the focus was on the Lions' special teams issues. Via the Lions, here's a look at what he had to say:
On special teams: "We've given up five non-defensive scores in the last two weeks. We're 1-3 right now because we deserve to be 1-3 and that's part of the reason. Opening kickoff; one of our major points this week was what we needed to do on kickoff because we knew Harvin's a threat. We had a great kick out of Jason Hanson. Last week we didn't get very good about the location of our kicks, let's make no mistake about it: This time we had great location. Great kick by Jason. We knew he could bring it out. We didn't get guys off blocks and we gave up a touchdown. The other one - honestly, I thought we were going to force a fumble on the play. We had a free guy and I couldn't believe he didn't fair catch the ball. He ran through one tackle and we did an absolutely poor job. But that wasn't just all. Two defensive pass interference penalties set up their only scores. Five or six sacks; we couldn't run the ball against good looks to run the football. We dropped touchdown passes and we fumbled the ball in the plus territory. And that's why when I say we deserve to be 1-3, those are the reasons."
On why there have been so many breakdowns on special teams: "It's been different things. Like I said, today we got great kick location. We had a great opportunity to bring the ball all the way across the field. And we knew it was going to be a challenge with Harvin, but there is no excuse there. The other one, we should have that guy wrapped up. We missed a tackle, he broke the tackle - however you want to put it. They're physical mistakes, they're not mental mistakes. We need to play better."
On changing personnel on special teams: "You have to look at everything. Other than the throwback it's not like we're getting out-schemed or messing up schemes. We haven't physically been able to make the play."
On taking the bye-week to make some major changes and determining what is going on with your team right now: "I think you need to balance both of those. There are certainly things that we can't continue to do but I don't know that we can practice not fumbling the ball. I don't know if we can practice catching the ball. We're professional athletes and those are things that we have to be able to accomplish. We certainly have to be able to run the ball better. Particularly with the defensive game plans we've been getting. Last week we got a lot of first downs. One of the reasons is that we were able to rush the ball against good looks. We got our butts kicked up front. We got sacked and couldn't run the ball. Again, physically we need to be able to do that better."
On making a special teams coaching change an option: "No, that's not a consideration. If we were getting out-schemed, if we were making continual mistakes; there are physical plays that we have to make and we're professional athletes. We have to make them."
On his level of concern after four games this season: "The first quarter of the season is done; we're 1-3. We didn't start off the way we wanted to. There is nothing to say that we can't get it back and that's our challenge right now is to dig our way out of this. We're not going to sit here for a half-hour and tell you all the circumstances of teams that have done it and everything else. But none of that matters. Doesn't matter if other people have done it, doesn't matter that people have gone to the playoffs and everything else, have lost three in a row during the season or started off bad; I mean everybody has those experiences. None of those matter to this team. What matters to this team is we need to put these mistakes behind us and we need to play better. When we do we'll win. There is a reason we're 1-3 and it hasn't been bad luck. We've made ourselves have to overcome way too much. Even going back to the opener, we won, we were -3 in turnovers. We were lucky to win that game. Last week, today, like I said, five non-defensive scores and today we weren't able to overcome in scoring enough on offense."
On what he makes of all the boos of the fans: "They're voicing their same displeasures as is their right to do. We need to play better. I thought the fans were excellent today. At the end, they were loud as can be, got the ball back, nobody was leaving. I thought our fans were fantastic today. We need to play better if we don't want to hear boos."
On being satisfied with trying to balance the run game with the pass game: "We have to be able to run and last week I think we did. I think we accomplished what we needed to accomplish from our running game. But today we didn't slow their rush down and we didn't get those first downs or explosives. The one we did, we fumbled and it makes it hard to continue to stick with it. Last week we were able to continue to stick with it because we rushed for 11 first downs and we were moving the chains. This game we didn't do that and that had a big effect on our pass game and had a big effect on the pass rush that we faced."
On QB Matthew Stafford having trouble sorting stuff out: "Sorting what out? I mean you give credit to them. We didn't play well enough. I don't know what you're trying to get at."
On QB Matthew Stafford's play: "We didn't score enough to win."
On if the offense not scoring early is because they're relying on the fact they can come and score later in the game: "No, I don't think that's it at all. I think it has more to do with the more the opponents are playing us. They're playing to bend-but-don't-break, take away big plays, and make us drive the ball and when they do that we have to be efficient. You can't afford a sack; you can't afford a -3 run, a third down incompletion. Those kind of things, those are the things we have to play more efficiently on offense. If the plays aren't there, you can't make them. But again, you have to be able capitalize. And last week even though we didn't score early, we moved the ball, we got first downs, and today we didn't do those things."