Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had to say on Friday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET:
On if re-evaluating your schemes is an on-going process: "Yeah. We evaluate every Monday after every single game. Adjustments we need to make, things we need to do better, things that work, things that didn't work. You also do that on a yearly basis. Part of it is also tied into personnel that you have and you want your schemes to match your personnel. You have a general philosophy, but there's some flexibility within that philosophy. This offseason will be no different than any other one."
On if not being able to score on the defensive side of the ball like last year is surprising: "Yeah, that's one of the things that was key to our start and also to coming back in a couple of those games was getting defensive scores. We wouldn't have won the Dallas game unless we got started with a couple defensive scores. We haven't done it this year. It's hard to have the pace that we had last year, but we also go from that to zero. That's certainly something that I guess surprising is a good word for it."
On squashing rumors of your relationship with GM Martin Mayhew: "Yeah, Bill just gave me that, and it couldn't be further from the truth. I don't like to comment on rumors and stuff like that but, particularly people that aren't in our building, that don't see us every day; I mean it couldn't be farther from the truth. We're all in this together and we're all very determined to get us back on the right track."
On if defensive scoring is more circumstance or a result of coaching: "Well, I think there is something to playmakers I guess you'd say. I don't know that you can coach. I mean after you get the turnover, you can coach up. You know give them blocks and things like that. We haven't had very many turnovers. So I think that particularly fumble recoveries and things like that, sometimes that's the way a ball bounces. You can force fumbles, you can get interceptions, but sometimes recoveries just happen to be the way the ball bounces. A lot of turnovers on defense also come when you make a team one-dimensional. Whether it's by game score or otherwise and we haven't had enough of those games this year. There's nothing better for getting a turnover than having a three score game with four minutes to play. That's a good situation for a defense scoring, because the offense has to hold the ball longer, they have to take chances down the field. You have chances to get sacks and strips and you have chances to get interceptions. We haven't been in that situation enough this year."
On TE Brandon Pettigrew working so hard to get back to play in game without bearing: "Well, it's still an important game for us. We've listed a lot of reasons that it is. We want to finish strong, we want to finish with a win, it's a division opponent, it's a home game, and it's a team trying to qualify for the playoffs I'd guess you'd say - or at least have a chance to be in the mix. But it doesn't surprise me with a guy like Pettigrew. He's a very, very competitive guy. He's battled through a bunch of injuries this year. If he can get on the field on Sunday, I know that he'll do everything he can to be able to do that."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM QUOTE SHEET:
On comparing Bears WR Brandon Marshall to Lions WR Calvin Johnson: "Well, they're very similar. You know, they're big strong guys and Brandon made his gold so to speak back four, five, six years ago when he was with Denver. What he was able to do at that time is catch the short stuff and break it. He was devastating as a run after the catch guy in those days. Now, he's slowed down a little bit, not much though. It's hard for me to say that and justify how good of a player he is. He is catching the ball and Jay's (Cutler) going to him. I think he's been targeted almost as much as Calvin has and he's making the most of it. He catches the ball well. He's big. He's strong. You know, like I said, the thing that doesn't show, he used to just catch a five-yarder and turn them into 65-yarders. I remember, I think it was a 2007 or 2008 game, Brandon Carr was on him. He ran a post down on the 20-, 25-yard line and Jay threw it way behind him and he reached back and caught that thing. It was the only score they had and it was a great, great catch. That's what he is. He's an outstanding receiver."
On what has stood out as a disappointment this season: "Well, yeah, you know, the turnover problem is something that's kind of haunted me. I've never really been in that situation before. I've always been a part of defenses that got the ball. The way the game was going, each game went, you know, we couldn't get ahead of the game. It was even, low-scoring and the ball wasn't coming out. That was really frustrating.
"You know, basically having to work like dogs every week with the injury situation in the secondary, and like I've told you all year long, my hat's off to Tim Walton and Marcus Robertson. They've done a great job. I don't know how many starters we've had back there, but it's been a number. You know, you've got to keep continuity somewhere back there and it's important. People have to play together and at times we've really still held our own. If you look at the overall pass defense stats, we're giving up 10 to a catch and 6.4 an attempt. That puts you way up in the League, but we've given up some big plays back there that have been disappointing. You know, we just need to finish the season (Sunday).
On reevaluating the defensive scheme in the off-season: "Well, we've just got to look at everything, and to me the most important thing to address is each and every player and evaluate him separately each guy. You know, decide what they can do for the future and that's the same thing with scheme. You know, the book that I end up giving Jim (Schwartz) at the end of the cut-ups, I think he wants to put it all on a computer because it's probably too heavy to carry. We go through every aspect of it like any team in this League does. I think we do a real good job of that with personnel and the scheme. So, we'll see what happens."
On if he is surprised that DT Ndamukong Suh didn't make the Pro Bowl: "Boy, I could talk for hours about that one, but I know one thing. In the last three years, he's been the most productive defensive tackle in the NFL. That means, tackles, sacks, tackles for losses, everything. I think he's a great player and the thing I like the best about him is the way he's handled himself lately. You know, he's able to maintain his focus on the football field with some of the things that are said and written. I'm really proud of him. It has not affected him with things that are said about him and to me that is a great sign of maturity."
On what he has seen from DT Andre Fluellen: "He's still the same guy. He works like a dog every day, you know, and he's got a great personality. He's very intense about his job and he's playing well. He's doing a good job for us."
On if DE Ronnell Lewis can ever develop and become a defensive end: "I think so. You know, he's working real hard. He and (Gosder) Cherilus go at it every day and Cherilus is not fun to go against. I don't know what he's eating for breakfast, but he has an attitude every day he comes out here and it's a good one. You know, he's intense about his job over there on offense, and Ronnell and he go at it. It was close to fighting one time. It doesn't go to that point, but they are very competitive. So, that's a good thing for Ronnell and we'll see what happens in this offseason."
On snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Bears: "I don't think I've ever been in a state of mind like I am right now. I'm not used to that. I don't like it, I'm not used to it and it seems like we can't make the play to win the game. You know, I'm specifically speaking about the defense. You know, I'm used to getting the ball at the end one way or the other. Take it away from him, sack the quarterback, whatever they have to do is done and you win that way. We haven't been able to do that and it's really frustrating."
On if CBs Chris Greenwood, Jonte Green and Bill Bentley physical enough at the line of scrimmage: "Well, you know, Greenwood, I study him hard and I work with him quite a bit during the season, especially on Fridays.
"But Green, when you watch Green closely, he gave up some last week and he met his maker so to speak. I told him on Tuesday I think it was, I said, ‘Welcome to the NFL, brother. Now you know.' Initially, he kind of tried to play it off and then we got serious. I said, ‘Now, those are the real guys. Those are the guys you're going to live against the rest of your career.' But if you watch him closely, he made some of these plays last week. He can drive the receiver. When he makes contact, the ball's coming out, he has power and strength. One of the weight coaches said he needs to get stronger. Well, he's got natural strength. He's got a big body, a big frame and he is a force when he hits you. He does well against the run.
"Greenwood is a long athlete, a bit like Nnamdi (Asomugha), that kind of guy except he may be a much better athlete and faster, which is going to be hard to believe. But from what I've seen in street clothes and him moving and accelerating, the other thing he has going for him is he's really bright. He's really, really studying the game. Ron Bartell came in and he's a big corner. Ron knows how to play this game and I think guys like Greenwood and Jonté Green should study what he does and how he moves. That's what I told Chris Greenwood the other day. I said, ‘Always watch big guys. Watch long guys. Don't watch these little midgets that are running around because you can't do that. They can't do what you do.'
"So, hopefully we've gone in the right direction with some of those guys and we're a lot bigger there. It's just like you watch Tyrell Johnson and Don Carey run, they are very, very fast. You know, both of them are sub-4.4 guys and they're playing safety. The problem is the lack of education and eye control, you know, what you're looking at. That's really an issue when you bring guys in. They all look pretty, but it takes time."
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