Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had to say after Thursday's practice. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET:
On CB Chris Houston having the flu: "Yeah."
On why DE Ronnell Lewis not being able to be successful in the role he was drafted for: "He's a young player and he's still learning his craft and working his way through. We saw a lot of our young players doing the same kind of things. Everybody can get impatient with a lot of different guys. Not everybody goes in and has success right away. It's a work in progress for a lot people. Go back about three weeks we were fielding the same questions about (WR Ryan) Broyles. How come he hasn't been successful and things like that. A lot of times it's just an opportunity and he's still developing."
On how dangerous a player WR Percy Harvin can be: "As dangerous as they come. He can do it all on the football field. I honestly think he could play running back full time. He does part time for them. You give them a couple reps he could play quarterback. He could play safety. He'd probably be a good corner. He'd be a good linebacker. He could play rush the passer, return kicks (laughter)."
On if Harvin could coach too: "No, he's too good for that (laughter). Extra point, kickoff. He's just that guy, you know. Just that guy that's just a good football player. Over the course of his career, you watch when the offense turns the ball over, interception or a fumble, he's almost always the guy that makes the tackle. He's not just grabbing them and pulling them down. There's some contact involved. He just does it all. Short passes, long passes, he's a very, very good player. Obviously we didn't win the game last time, but he's the leading receiver in the National Football League and we allowed him to return a kick for a touchdown. But on defense I think he had three catches for about 20 yards or so, so us being able to keep ourselves in the game defensively and only giving up six points on defense. A lot of that was limiting Percy Harvin's opportunities No. 1, and then what he did when he did have the ball in his hands after that."
On who was primarily responsible for limiting Harvin: "There was nobody that was really primarily. I think the guys all did a good job of executing the plan that we had. We did a good job tackling. They had a couple times, and I think two of them in particular come to mind. One time (S Ricardo) Silva got him when he was in the backfield and then another time Chris Houston got him on a short pass. Tried to run a reverse and (DE) Cliff Avril got him in the backfield. I think we just did a good job tackling and limiting the run after the catch-or run after the time he had the ball in his hand."
On if there is anything he coaches to specifically tackle RB Adrian Peterson: "I don't know you can really change those things based on an opponent. It's definitely a team effort. One guy out of their gap, he's going to find that hole. He's very good at setting those things up. He can go the distance on anything. He can threaten the inside and he threatens every gap along the front - outside, inside, pass game, everything else. I think it has to be a team effort and you have to have a gang tackling mentality when it comes to playing him."
On the new rules on padded practices have anything to do with increased passing yards: "No. I think it's good quarterbacks and good wide receivers. I think that's probably the biggest thing."
On if there is a reason the Lions have played better on the road: "I think you're a good team when you're on the road if you don't get affected by crowd noise and things like that. A lot has to do with your quarterback and Stafford and all the quarterbacks that we've had here, Shaun Hill, Drew Stanton, those guys that have been involved in winning games on the road didn't let those things affect them particularly over the last year and a half, two years, whatever it's been. But the most important thing when you're on the road is just having good players that do well in a scheme and that have good roles and doing those kinds of things. That's the most important thing. I think it helps us that when we have gotten down that we know that we can catch up, we know that we can get stops on defense, we know that we can score on offense. And I think that makes a difference. That belief makes a difference when you're on the road. It's very easy when you're on the road to get down a score or get down two scores and be out of the game at that point, and we find a way to keep on fighting and finish those games. A lot of it's because of the confidence of the players that we have on the field."
On if Minnesota is a particularly difficult place to play on the road: "It's loud. Ford Field can get really loud when our fans are going and Minnesota's the same way. Pretty much all the NFC North (stadiums) are difficult to play. Lambeau's difficult place, Soldier Field's a difficult place. "
On anything Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman did to change up special teams: "No, we've been careful about that. I mean, you don't want to panic and change. There were reasons. I mean, they returned the one punt for a touchdown. I mean, we have guys in position right there to make the play. All of a sudden you start changing things and you show panic as a staff. A couple guys ended up moving in different positions. A lot of that had more to do with getting guys back from injury and fitting guys in that way than it did with anything else. Just get guys back into the roles that they were comfortable in and it was very difficult to do in the first part of the year. It continues to be difficult. You know, the person who is affected most by injuries is special teams coach. Offense, defense you plug the next guy in but all of a sudden that chain reaction, you know, that one domino falls and it makes it very difficult to get the next guy in. I mean, DeAndre Levy's been out the last two weeks. Ashlee Palmer stepped up and started. Well, Ashlee Palmer's one of our core special teams guys. So, there's a trickledown effect that goes along with that and all of a sudden putting the less experienced out there or taxing a guy more than he's used to. He's playing, you know, all the special teams reps and all the offensive and defensive snaps. It affects him. You know, injuries affect the special teams coach more than the offensive and defensive coach."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET:
On T Riley Reiff's involvement in the offense: "Yeah, he's a young player. He had to go through training camp obviously to learn his position and other positions on the o-line, but once you get into the season, start using, finding ways to get your best players on the field and he's certainly one of them. And we've got big plans for him and his future to play on the offensive line for us. But as a rookie, it's nice to get your feet wet that way, get out on the field, have a role, a very specific role-one that we were counting on him being able to add some beef in there and some help in blocking the edges in the run game and all that stuff. Once he digested that and was able to perform well then, you know, we can kind of add a little bit here, a little bit there each week. I know New England did a lot of that with their young tackle a year ago. Kind of studied that in the offseason and felt like that was probably a good way to introduce a young talented player-not slowly, but, you know, kind of giving him just little pieces to our offense."
On if he could tell from Reiff's one play on the field early in the season that he was good: "We just felt like when he was coming out this guy was going to be a mainstay offensive lineman for us. We knew that he was going to be that kind of player. But you like to see him go out and do it, and him going out and playing the way he has been able to play and consistently over time has really shown some great promise for us."
On Reiff's hands and ability to catch the ball: "He hasn't been begging for the ball, so I'm not sure if that's a good sign. But he says he was an ex-tight end at some point in his career, so I think he's probably caught a few balls. He's a good athlete though. He's a very good athlete, very humble individual. He's going to be and is a heck of a player for us."
On if he sees where Reiff projects as a starter: "Well, I think he can play. I think I've said this, I think any position but center he'd be an excellent choice there. We drafted him to play tackle. I think at some point based on where you would project him in a couple years down the road or whenever, that would probably suit him well but there's not really any position. Like I said, I think there's four positions that he could play pretty well-either tackle or guard."
On if facing DE Jared Allen requires an all hands on deck strategy: "Yeah, they've got a really good front. We think they're one of the best fronts in the League. They have been since we've been playing them since we've been here. Jared Allen's certainly a great defensive end, one of the best in the entire National Football League. So, we've got to do a great job against him but we've got to do a great job against the rest of those fellas too."
On WR Calvin Johnson's injury limiting his playbook: "Calvin at any percent that he is on the field is a bonus for me or anybody else."
On if there were things Johnson couldn't do: "There were, but once he got in the game it wasn't so much. It's not that hard to manage that. Calvin can play any position. He can line up on any side of the field for us, and so it makes it a lot easier that he's so mentally sharp and in tune to the game that if we just switch the positions or do things like that it's really not that big a deal. And then his preparation and his ability to do that make it a lot easier to manage that. And I think him getting through last week's game; really I felt he dominated the game in a lot of the situations, third down in a couple of the drives. Just him being on the football field affected the game positive for us."
On TE Brandon Pettigrew and the difference now making good catches compared to earlier drops: "I think he's a little more healthy. Again, I'm not making excuses for him. He's had a couple sore knees and he battled through it and played. But he's been able to, I think, steadily progress and get better, and I think that's helped his performance. He had a big huge game against Seattle on third down and some situations there-made a key catch on third down last week. He's always been a guy we have 100 percent confidence in in going to him in critical situations."
On WR Ryan Broyles' success by creating space: "Yeah, he's a very good, he's a little bit of a chain mover when it comes to the zone. He has a very good feel for the inside part of the field. He can play any position for us. He caught a big third down on the outside on the last drive. So he just has really kind of a nice knack and a niche of playing in the slot against nickel defenders, sometimes a linebacker, sometimes a corner. His background in offensive football helps him play early for us in our system."
On matching last week's success of the run game: "Well, we'd like to build on it. They're still an excellent rush defense. I think they're still seventh in the League in yards per attempt as far as an average. They've played some teams, that run the football, that that's their go-to offensively. And I think some of that probably in the last couple weeks has lots more to do with them giving up a few more yards. But it's going to be a tough challenge for us, but we feel confident in our ability as we're moving forward in our run game and having some things that we're doing. Backs are getting confidence, they're running good. The line's blocking extremely well-got a package with our young tackle in the game at times. So, you know, we feel like we're developing an identity in our run game."
On what he has seen with WR Mike Thomas and if he expects him to play more this Sunday: "Yeah, he could be. He played quite a bit, obviously didn't get any catches, but he played some. Two days of practice, which was positive. This week, you know, having a full week of practice, being able to digest the base game plan on Wednesday and spend time on his day off with the receiver coaches going through, just learning our system and all those. I think I see him with a lot more confidence in knowing what he's got to be able to do and where to line up and I can see his role expanding each week as we move forward."
On utilizing versatile players like Thomas: "The thing I like about Mike is he's not a tall guy, but he's not a small player. He's very strong, big hands, excellent speed. He gives us a little different type of player. You like to have different types of receiver. You know Calvin, Nate was a little different, Titus with his quickness and speed and hands, Broyles. Mike is just a guy that can play bigger than his height, and I think he has the deep speed that's nice to have that at any point in our offense with Matt's arm strength to be able to attack different parts of the field. So I'm excited to see him grow in our offense."
On RB Joique Bell's catching ability: "Joique has just every day proven more and more his ability to play the game. I mean, it comes natural. You know you've got to be a pretty special athlete, doesn't matter what level, to have the kind of production he has. What he is, is an excellent athlete. I mean, he's a running back with big size, but he can do more than run the football or block. He can literally play and do receiving-type skills for us, and he's proven that because we've asked him to do it a few times and he's gone out and produced. There's nothing that he has not shown me that he can't do for us in our offense."
Reminder: You can follow Pride Of Detroit on Twitter and like us on Facebook.