Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had to say following Thursday's practice. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET:
On EVP of Football operations and GM Martin Mayhew saying that WR Mike Thomas can be used in a utility role: "His role will develop as he practices and things like that, but he does have some multidimensional skills. He's played in the slot, he's played outside. He's good run after the catch, he's played special teams. His role will depend on how well he does in practice and the confidence that we get in him in games."
On Thomas playing on Sunday: "We've gotten plenty of players up to speed that quickly. We'll just wait and see when we get to the end of the week. It's a possibility."
On CB Bill Bentley's injury dating back the Oakland preseason game: "Yeah. He actually even tweaked it in our OTAs and then Oakland in the preseason, and then I think in Philadelphia again. It was just one after another. It just made sense to finally get that thing operated on, get it right. We've had some other corners that have had that done. The key is give them enough time for a good rehab and they've all bounced back well from it. We hope, we expect, Bill will be able to do the same thing."
On it being a tough call to put him on IR because he may be able to help down the road in the playoffs: "We're not thinking anything other than this game and thinking about what's best for a particular player. With the way it was, it (shoulder) could come out this week or six months from now. It needed to be fixed. He really tried to battle through it. He had a hard time raising his hands, and it didn't make him look real good as a player a couple times. Some of the pass interference stuff and stuff like that-he didn't have real confidence of going up and extending his hands. But we can get that worked on and like I said, we've had success with some of other corners doing that."
On if the injury is similar to what QB Matthew Stafford had to go through a couple of years ago: "No. It's more similar to Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith and Aaron Berry and some of those other guys that we've had done."
On why it is such a common injury among cornerbacks: "Because they're 180 pounds and running backs are 230. They take on pulling guards that are 300 pounds and all those different things. It's just what it is."
On if CB Chris Greenwood isn't ready to fill the roster spot yet: "He's doing well at practice and we'll just wait and see. He missed all of training camp and almost all of our OTAs so he's still catching up."
On the Jacksonville Jaguars' secondary having success preventing big plays in the passing game: "I think a lot of their coverage will start with defending the big play. I mean they can get aggressive at times, particularly on third downs. They generally do a good job of playing over the top of routes and forcing you to drive consistently and work hard to get you off the field on third down. I think it's just a philosophy that they have."
On the Jaguars being primarily a Cover-2 shell: "They have it. It depends on which game they play. Some games they play a lot of single high. Some games they play a lot of two high. They blitz in some. Just like any other defense."
On the rationale behind outdoor practice today: "We want to be outside whenever we can. It's a little easier on the guy's bodies being out there. We're midway through a season and that's always a consideration. But we want to be outside as much as we can and we're not trying to accomplish anything other than go out and practice."
On being favored in this week's match-up: "We're playing on the road. We're playing a team that has played tough against everybody in our division, and we know how tough our division is. So it doesn't matter what any other kind of match-up or anything else says. We have a lot of respect for our opponents. We'll have a good game plan. We have to take away their strengths and we have to accentuate our strengths. It's no different than any other week. I think that our guys look at it that way. We're a 3-4 team that's working hard to get back to .500 and this game's the only game that we can play so that's the most important thing. Not anything else."
On seeing a lot of potential in Jacksonville's offense if they eliminate drops: "They made a lot of big plays as it was. They threw for over 300 yards. (WR) Cecil Shorts was big play after big play. (WR Justin) Blackmon made a bunch of plays for them. (Rashad) Jennings, their running back, had some good run after the catch. Even without that, they were still explosive and they still gained a lot of yards. They have good players in there. (TE) Marcedes Lewis really hasn't made those big plays this year but he's a good player, and he's traditionally done that kind of stuff. We'll have to be on the lookout for him. They certainly have the ability to be able to do it and you combine that with the missed opportunities that they did have and we certainly have a lot of respect for their ability. Like I said, we'll have to be our best on defense."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET:
On if WR Mike Thomas being used in a utility role: "Well, we've got to see. I mean, he's been here less than 24 hours. Right now he's just got to learn, get comfortable with the system, then go from there. My thing is-don't want to put too much on a guy's plate from the get-go. See once he gets comfortable in the system, then we'll see what some of the type things he can do that he did in his past and try to apply those to our offense."
On why RB Joique Bell plays more than RB Mikel Leshoure in late game situations: "Well, one of the things is Joique's proven to be a real effective receiver out of the backfield, you know, since we haven't had Jahvid, in those situations when we're in obvious passing situations. Joique has really come through for us in two-minute and situations where we're getting good matchups on our running backs. And Mikel can do it too but Joique's been a really nice job for us and his role's increased because of it."
On the lack of QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson touchdown connections: "Well, I think he's had four that he's gotten tackled on the one. He's had a couple that were close in the end zone that we weren't able to execute. So you have two or three of those that were caught on the 1-yard line you're in the end zone, he's making plays that he normally makes. Not necessarily concerning. The thing that I'm most happy about it is Titus (Young) being able to catch a couple touchdowns and (Ryan) Broyles has two. They're obviously giving us matchups at other positions and putting a lot of the attention on Calvin and it opens things up for other guys."
On what Jacksonville does to limit big plays in the passing game: "Well, really last week they did a really nice job of playing deep-to-short on defense when they played zone. They'll blitz some, blitzed quite a bit against Oakland when they played them there. But they test your patience. A lot like what we saw kind of early in the season as far as playing, you know, playing soft zone but they play pretty sticky coverage when they do play man. So they mix it up. I think they're doing a good job of disguising their defenses. I think that's caused some confusion for some of the offenses that have played them. And they've really done a good job of keeping the big play away from happening to them in the passing game so we're going to have a challenge there."
On if he has final solved an issue against two high safeties that they struggled against early in the season: "Well we're the second-ranked offense in the League, so I'm not sure we had a problem moving the football. But, we're finding more ways to get guys in different positions to make plays. That was probably our best game as far as being able to do that. We played a team that didn't play as, played a little more single-high, but they did change to a two-deep look in a number of situations and we're comfortable going against it."
On the reemergence of TE Brandon Pettigrew: "Yeah, I think he's getting closer to 100 percent. He's been dinged up, I don't know what you want to call it. He hasn't been 100 percent. He's been playing with an achy knee and a couple knees and, you know, that affects guys. And it think he's getting to where he's feeling better and you could see that last week."
On if Pettigrew thrives on his own momentum: "Yeah, I think that's human nature. I think a lot of athletes are that way. But he was feeling it and Matt was feeling him in third down situations and critical plays. And when that happens, when we're in that kind of zone offensively, when we can go to the big fella in the middle of the field, that usually really pays off for us."
On the key to success on third downs against Seattle: "I just think guys making plays. I think guys, I mean, we were catching balls short of the first down and getting the first. You know, making that second effort to get there. Knowing, smelling the sticks so to speak, where you had be. I just think guys really made, you know, those kind of extra-effort plays to get it done and Matt made good decisions and I think guys got open for him and made plays for him."
On if third down success can carry over from game to game: "I think so. It's like anything else. Like a shooter, you know, you get confidence in your ability to convert third downs-you know, a shooter in basketball, that ball starts going in, you start feeling confident. I like the trend that we're on as far as that goes."
On if the intent at the end of the game was to milk the clock: "Intent was to score a touchdown. It worked out good because of how the drive went. But, you know, it'd be nice to sit here and say ‘Okay, we're going to score a touchdown but we're going to use every second of the clock so we don't have to go out and kick the ball.' But I think it worked out that way and it was really good how it ended up in the drive, but the whole idea was if when you need to score in that situation that you obviously can't not come away with points but you want to win the football game if you can."
On if WR Titus Young is ready for a larger role: "I think so. Titus is another guy that hasn't been quite 100 percent. I think he feels a lot better. I think that was a big game for him to be able to come out, you know, step up with Nate being down and to be able to have that production, come up with a big play in a situation like key third down like he did last week. Just shows that he has that ability, always has had it. But now that he's got more opportunities you see him going to have, I think, more production for us."
On how WR Ryan Broyles has developed: "Very well. I mean obviously he's gotten in the end zone twice. He's been very productive as far as when he's played and we've called his number. Just has a really good field for the slot. That's going to be his domain as far as a receiver. He can play outside and understands the game. But to see him paying in there at this early point in his career and really coming off of the knee injury he had last year and be producing already this early in his NFL career is a really good sign for us."
On if finding space in zone coverages is one of Broyles' strengths: "Yeah, and he understands the position. You get labeled a slot receiver is probably a little unfair because he played a lot outside as well. I just think he's going to always get that kind of matchup based on Calvin being on the field and Pettigrew and Titus and that those guys are going to put him in position where he's going to have favorable matchups in man. And then he's going to have a really good feel for working the inside part of the field against zone defense."
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