Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz had to say on Wednesday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On if WR Calvin Johnson not practicing today was injury related: "Yeah, I mean injury report will come out later today, but it is injury related."
On 2,000 yards at stake: "We'd like to get him on the field. The one thing, I've said this all along this year, is one of the more impressive things about Calvin is he hasn't been 100 percent healthy the whole year. He went through about a month where missed most of all of practice and was able to get out there on game day and be able to play. Over the last three or four weeks he's been on the practice field a lot more, but he'll know what to do when he goes out there. It's certainly an understatement to say that he makes a difference when he's out there."
On sabermetrics in football in regards to Calvin and as a whole: "I've heard some people say that Calvin's record doesn't mean as much because of the team only having four wins and things like that. But you look at our games; just about every single game we've played has been one score. So it hasn't been we've got a lot of yards in the fourth quarter when teams are playing prevent. I bet you can go look at Calvin's yardage and very little of it was meaningless yards. Everything was counting because we were down one score just about every single game. And even more so lately because of some of the injury situations on offense. I think statistically baseball is a little bit different than football because there are a 162 baseball games and baseball's more of a one-on-one game. Pitcher versus the batter for the most part, there's a lot more moving parts to football. I mean everybody's on the field and the dynamics and all that."
On whether or not all the talk of meaningless yards is offensive: "If it's third-and-20 and you run the ball for 18 yards and it's late in the game and you're down three scores, then that's sort of meaningless. If you're getting something out of it as far as field position, it's a tight game or something like that. In a tight game, there are no meaningless yards. The object is to try to win the game and anything we can do we try to do."
On the importance of QB Matthew Stafford to close out strong: "It's important for all of our players to close out strong. This is only one of 16 games that they get an opportunity to play, so we need everybody to play the best. Our biggest thing is scoring touchdowns. Whether we're running the ball or throwing them, it's all about touchdowns. We haven't scored enough in the last couple weeks. Matt can throw for them and that certainly means a lot. If, like what's happened a lot of times, Calvin's had the ball inside the one a number of times this year and we've run it across on the next play or the next play after that-however we do it, we have to score touchdowns. As an offense, you're judged on points that are scored and out-scoring the opponent. The easiest way to do that is get touchdowns."
On the return game: "We look at every single thing, every single week. There are a couple of things that we obviously need to do better. Make better decisions and better ball security. We'll make the best decision as a team."
On players taking pride in playing the role of spoiler for other team's playoff chances: "Nobody wants teams to celebrate at their own expense, so I think that's important. But it's also, like I said, one of 16 opportunities for the team to go out and compete and get a chance to prove themselves. I think it has a lot more to do with our team and each individual player on our team rather than what an opponent is trying to accomplish."
On changing Red Zone schemes as a result of multiple receiver injuries: "I think that we have changed and the way defense have played us has changed also as that's happened. There are some moving parts there, dynamic that has changed and we've always been a team that has been good in the Red Zone and score touchdowns in the red zone. Last couple games we haven't done that. We had a no-score on this game; turned the ball over the week before. Red Zone is extremely important. Look at Chicago's defense - turnovers are really good and No. 1 in the NFL in stopping drives. Red Zone and third downs...you know top 10, bordering on top five I think in most of those categories and as a result the scoring is down. So that's a big part of this game. They're good in those areas. We have to protect the ball. We have to do well on third down and we have to be able to capitalize once we're in the Red Zone. First game we played these guys it was 13-7 and the turnovers were the thing and again, no-score in the Red Zone. Those are key every week but even more so with the Chicago Bears."
On how many players do you think deserve to make the Pro Bowl: "Our focus is on the Chicago Bears, not who is going to make the Pro Bowl. I think obviously just like we saw last week with Calvin, individual honors are important for individuals and we certainly want our players to have success. But the thing they look most forward to is the game on Sunday."
On closing the season with a win as well as a win against a divisional opponent: "Both important things; you want to end the season on a high note. Last year we were a playoff team - unless you win the Super Bowl you're not winning your last game. I think the year before we had won our last four, but just having that last one...it does give you a little bit of feeling going into the offseason. It's one of 16, but it is the last one that we play."
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