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 getting help from RB Stefan Logan at receiver: "You know we used in the last game on about four or five plays. He's a multi-purpose player. We've had him at running back, we've had him at wide receiver before and when he's had a role he's made plays for us."
On the thin line between being a genius and being criticized: "It all comes down to execution. Every play is meant to work whether you're blitzing or throwing a deep ball or running a short yardage play. I think that you're going to try to put the players in the best position to be able to make those plays and just live with (the) decision. You're used to that in this League. You can't...you're always critical; you're always analytical trying to see where you can do better whether you're a coach or a player. But you also can't lose confidence in your abilities whether you're a player or a coach."
On DT Corey Williams: "Corey is a consummate pro. He was a big addition for us a couple of years ago when we were able to bring him and (DE) Kyle Vanden Bosch in in the same sort of offseason class; two guys that had been around the NFL that had both had a lot of experience and both played very, very well for us. Since Corey had an outstanding game in the opener against St. Louis after missing a decent amount of time in training camp with his knee injury and since that game we haven't had him on the practice field as much and also in the game. We were able to get him back last week. It meant a lot to us. He made plays for us. It shows the respect that we have for him that we still consider him a starter. The way our defensive line goes you can go seven, even eight players, that you can introduce as a starter. When you're an offensive lineman you're pretty much out there playing every single snap, when you're a quarterback you're playing every single snap. There's a nickel defensive back that plays and people used two different tight ends a lot of times and a couple different backs. But our defensive tackles and defensive ends roll through. We expect quality play from them so we still get a lot out of them. But Corey certainly a key member, an important member of our locker room and it shows the respect that we had for him."
On adding S Tyrell Johnson: "He's a guy that we played against when he was with Minnesota so we had a little feel for him. He had been cut in training camp by Miami, and he had an injury the last two years of his career that sort of shut him down early. He's a guy that our front office had their eyes on; we worked him out earlier this year and thought that he could offer us something. He's got some experience, he's got great size, he's got great size. He's a guy that's been on our radar for a while and it was a good time to get him. We'll get him up to speed as quick as we can and see what kind of contribution he can make."
On the decision to let S Erik Coleman go: "Very, very difficult decision because a lot of the same reasons we talked about with Corey (Williams). Erik was a consummate pro and I thought that last year we really missed him. When he got hurt last year in that Minnesota game we didn't have that IR rule. We were sitting there looking at eight, 10 weeks, whatever ever it would be for that ankle to come back. It was a difficult decision to put him on IR last year. It was difficult at the end of the year when we were struggling in our secondary to see him moving him pretty well at that point. Erik had done a nice job on a special teams role, played some defense and had a couple really good games for us. But every decision we make we think is best for the team. We thought that Tyrell could give us a little bit (of) help in different areas than Erik had given us. We certainly wish him the best. He was another guy that meant a lot to us from an experience standpoint, from a leadership standpoint."
On how hard it is to overcome injuries: "It's our job. It really doesn't matter if it's difficult or easy. It's a job that we had last year (when) our wide receivers stayed healthy the whole year. Nobody was asking us how much easier that made things. It's just life in the NFL. Earlier this season even though we had a lot of different injuries in the secondary we had done a good job of patching it together and last week that didn't happen. Six plays of over 20 yards or more in the passing game. That had a large part to do with what we experienced with them coming back and scoring touchdowns on the last two drives.
"But there's also been some encouraging signs with some of those. I mean you talk about opportunity. I know (RB) Joique Bell has been a story this year because he's gotten the opportunity and he's made the most of it. He bounced around with some practice squads and got a chance to get on the field. (S) Don Carey you could say the same thing about. Don was a guy that we liked in training camp; he got hurt and was going to be down for a while. We made the decision to release him but when he got healthy we were able to bring him back. Played special teams for a couple weeks and then got him into the defensive role. The reason he's on defense now is we thought he was a good fit for us last year and last offseason and in training camp. So you're seeing an opportunity for those so even though you're dealing with some injury situations there's opportunity for somebody to come in and earn a spot, to make their mark, to be productive to help us win. Wide receiver position is no different with that this week."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET:
On RB Mikel Leshoure's success against Green Bay and what he looks to improve on this game: "Well we just need to-I think we have to have the same kind of approach. We're getting a lot of favorable boxes when we play teams. We're getting a lot of nickel defense. We're getting the kind of things that enable you to have a potential advantage. We just need to continue to move in the direction that we have. I think we're well in that over four yards per carry, and our average per carry which is, since I've been here, the best we're been consistently through 12 games. So, if we continue to trend that way between him and Joique, I think we'll feel pretty good about the direction our running game's gone from where it's been in the past."
On needing to run better than the end of the Colts games: "Well, yeah, I mean the whole idea there is they're not playing a favorable box. We're in a situation where we're trying to do two things. We're trying to stay on the field. We're also trying to make them use their timeouts. Two years ago we played the Jets and threw an incomplete pass in a similar situation and left a lot of time on the clock and the Jets were able to drive the ball down and score. So a lot of that is you're trying to do two things. Trying to get the first, the only way you can keep the clock rolling as you're trying to get the first is to ensure that you do that by running the football. If you get the first down there, it's a perfect scenario. If you don't, you're at least leaving less time on the clock."
On how effective receivers Mike Thomas, Kris Durham and Brian Robiskie can be: "Well I hope very effective. They're all very capable. I'm very excited for their opportunity. They're all guys that are in the NFL for a reason. All of them have been drafted and been with other teams and now with ours. They all have unique skill sets. Mike's got speed, and we're going to play him some in some different positions. He'll be able to, I think, take over some of our slot since we've lost our two slot receivers. Robiskie's been a guy that's a very good route runner, a student of the game, excellent hands. And then Durham, he's the guy that we brought in. We had very good grades on him coming out of college and ended up going to Seattle, and then, when he was available, brought him in knowing that he was going to give us a receiver with size. We got Calvin but to be able have a receiver 6'5'' on the outside that can build speed down the field I think gives us another dimension that we haven't had on the field. So I think all three of them bring something pretty unique to the table."
On if it is hard to bring the receivers up to speed: "We've had a few weeks with all three now so the challenge isn't as tough as maybe it'd have been maybe two, three weeks ago. All those kids with some of the guys being banged up throughout the year have been getting quite a bit of reps in practice."
On Coach Schwartz allowing him to play call and not get involved in-game: "Well, Jim's great at that. He understands it. He was a coordinator. He hires coaches to do their jobs and that's what he does for all of us. He gives me a lot of help during the week and hopefully as we're moving forward we can continue to have the offensive success we've enjoyed especially over the last three years."
On if RB Joique Bell is earning more playing time: "I think that's a fair statement. By his play he's been able to do that. Preseason on how he played in situations there. Came away with some big plays even in the passing game he was getting some big plays in obvious passing downs. Him rattling off really the three explosive runs that we've had this year certainly gives him more opportunities I think in our offense, not just in the games. I think you'll see him playing a little bit more throughout the game."
On if WR Calvin Johnson's numbers are due to him being a freak or his connection with Stafford: "He's had a great year, but even last year he had over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those guys playing together over the last four years and being able to have that synergy together has a lot to do with it. Calvin's a great player. We target him probably as much as anybody in the NFL for obvious reasons. He's able to do it. The thing unique about Calvin and Matt's ability to produce is he's able to do it with people, it's not just double coverage. A lot of times there's three guys, someone over the top, someone playing up and bump and some linebacker leaning that way. So that's what's pretty amazing about it."
On the last game in Lambeau and the offensive production: "That was an unbelievable game and it was obviously disappointing to lose it. But that was one of the funnest games I've been a part of because the players came out and they just played their hearts out. There really wasn't a lot riding on the game at the time I remember. I think had we won we would have ended up having a difference in the (playoff) seed. I don't know what that would have done to our playoff chances or any of that but our guys wanted to go. One of their goals is to go in there and win. They left it all out there and I fairly felt like we had a chance to win the game at the end and this year if we can get in that same situation we need to do it."
On if Stafford can throw for over 500 yards in the game again: "I don't know, I mean that was...I think it was the most prolific offensive day in the history of the Lions. These guys do some amazing things and they'll continue to do so. I think that was one of the games that just kind of set a new standard for how we can play when we're on our A-game."
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