On the injury of OT Jeff Backus in today's practice: "Yeah he hurt his thumb in 1-on-1. He went in and got x-rays and didn't return to practice. We're going to wait and see what those look like. It was indeterminate right away but you know, if there are some findings in this we'll look at it later this afternoon and see what comes up. If it's something long-term, we'll let you know. Guys have played with a lot worse but obviously it's a training camp practice. We're not going to push through a situation like that. So we'll just wait and see."
On RB Mikel Leshoure not finishing practice: "He grabbed his hamstring a little bit. Where it turns out to be, we'll see. But again, if it's long-term we'll let you know."
On the play of rookie WR Patrick Edwards so far in training camp: "Yeah, makes a play but then puts the ball on the ground a little too much. He had a couple of those in practice but he's very quick. He's elusive and can make a play, but he's still got a long way to go cleaning up some errors as do all our rookies. So they're just showing their talent and also showing why they're rookies."
On the depth of the wide receiving unit: "You know, our passing game is very important to us and we have a different dynamic because of our quarterback and because of Calvin. It opens up a lot of opportunities. Not just for the other wide receivers, but the tight ends, the running backs and the run game. So it all works together, but we were very fortunate last year in that we were relatively injury-free with our wide receivers. Our three receivers played pretty much the entire year with very little missed plays. And that doesn't happen very often. So, you know, it's very important that other guys can step in if they get called because, again, it's not what happens when you stay healthy, it's how you play when you get injured. We have to be ready for it."
On the current competition at the cornerback position: "That's why we're practicing. We'll find out, you know. We have confidence in some of those guys to make plays and we can get a lot of complimentary pieces back there. But, you know, where all those guys are, there's not going to be anything that we have in mind other than how they practice and how they play in the preseason games. There are some guys who are physically talented enough to take the opportunity and run with it. They'll do it on the practice field and nowhere else. That's the way it needs to be everywhere. The best way to improve is to feel pressure and we have a lot of different kind of players back there. We have a couple young players, a couple veterans that were maybe, I don't want to say the final shot, but they were looking for an opportunity. We've got some other guys who have been here for a while so it's a good group. It is an individual position, but it's how your entire secondary plays rather than each individual because if you know the scheme well and know where your help is and where it's not, you can get by back there. Same thing with offensive line. Those are positions where the group is more important than the individual."
On the quickness and elusiveness of QB Matthew Stafford: "He's not going to lead the league in rushing, but he is elusive. You know, take a photo of him when he was a freshman and take one now. He's grown up a lot physically over the last few years. No. 1, he's a lot stronger and No. 2, he's a lot leaner. I mean he's bigger, but he's leaner. You know, he still had some baby in him when he was a rookie, but now he's a lot different. You've got to make plays in the pocket if you're a quarterback, but it's just not always going to be that way. You're going to have to make plays outside and you see a lot of the premier quarterbacks in the league with that. That's part of their arsenal. He's not going to all of a sudden change, but it will be something that he can add to."
On the potential of Stafford getting better this year: "You know, I think, the only thing we've got to worry about there is how much better the team is in improvement. I mean, you gauge a group in a lot of different ways and I think with quarterbacks, the one thing is leading teams to wins. You know, whether you're throwing for 100 yards a game or 700 yards a game, you've got to win the football game. That's what we need to see from him and nothing else."
On the potential for RB Kevin Smith to take over the running back position with uncertainty surrounding RBs Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best: "You know, Kevin was injured quite a bit my first couple years here. He came back last year with an opportunity and exploded on the scene for us. He gave us a really big lift in the middle of that season when we had a lot of injuries at the running back position. He's in great shape again. He's a veteran player and he's always been a very smart player. But you know, we talked a little bit about Matthew (Stafford) being injured his first couple years and the learning process that goes behind that; Kevin had a little bit of that. We have a lot of confidence in him and he's made a lot of plays for us. If he's out there, he can run the ball, catch the ball and he can pass-protect."
On if having RB Kevin Smith negated a need to draft a running back despite the injury situation with RB Jahvid Best: "Yeah, we weren't drafting for need. We drafted good players. If they're drafting players because of a particular situation, you're making the wrong draft pick. When you're making acquisitions this time of year, after the draft, things like that, you can gear toward need and replacing players that have been injured and different things like that. But the draft really had nothing to do with it. But we do have a lot of confidence in Kevin that he can do everything in our offense."
On when the first day of wearing pads will be: "Well we'll be in shoulder pads for the next couple days. First couple days we're just getting acclimated and not wearing shoulder pads even though we are wearing those little shock pads which we're not allowed to wear in OTAs. We'll be in shoulder pads tomorrow and shoulder pads on Monday. We'll be in full pads on Tuesday. There's a process behind it, we don't want to jump right into it. You want to, I don't want to say ease into it, but you want to have a smart plan to get to full pads and we will."
On if T Jason Fox needs to show a lot in training camp after missing minicamp: "Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't read too much into missing mandatory minicamp. What we need to see is just a lot from him just in general. Like some other players we've talked about, he's been oft injured his first two years and at some point you need to put that behind him. A couple other players have and that's a big thing for him in training camp and in preseason this year."