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Lions Quotes: Gunther Cunningham Meets With The Media

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Just as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did on Friday, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham met with the media on Saturday. Via the Lions, here's a look at what Cunningham had to say:

On how camp is going thus far: "The camp's been going well. We've got a lot of work done. It's not where we were three years ago, obviously. We've got a lot of defense in and we're really polishing everything. The thing that we're trying to focus on with the veterans is fundamentals. That said, you've got to do the same things with rookies but when you talk to them they look cross-eyed. Although, they've had the benefit of OTAs, there are still a lot of things to improve on.

"To give an example, Tahir Whitehead in the OTAs was really, really good. He looked great. He came in the first week and dropped off where Travis Lewis stepped up and played much better. Now, Tahir is starting to come on again, so different guys start making that progression through the preseason differently. But as a whole, as the group is concerned, they're all working hard and they're all getting better."

On the young cornerbacks, Jonté Green and Bill Bentley: "Well, Green is fast, you can see that every day. He's really fast. I'd like to know his top-end speed because he can run with all the receivers easily. What he lacks is some of those basic things I was just talking about - the finer points of playing that position. He's going to have to get his feet wet through the preseason games. But he has talent, he's worked on it, he's really bright. Bentley, on the other hand, he acts kind of like he's been here before. I asked him this morning whatever he's taking for a diet, I want some. He's a top-end energy guy every day, flying all over the field, and he's really, really smart. He was well coached in college and Tim Walton is doing a great job with him. He's playing both positions, nickel and outside, and he's doing well."

On the state of the secondary with the injuries: "Well, that's the problem. (Louis) Delmas, we're just taking care of him. We want to get him through the 16 games. We know what he can do. The only thing that bothers me right now is he's my shadow. Every time I turn, he's next to me. He's getting a feel of how I call things and it's really beneficial to him. He stays in the game while he's doing that. We need him for the season and we'll get him ready for that. The rest of the guys back there, Amari (Spievey) has improved the last couple of days. He had the concussion issue at the end of the season and beginning of the OTAs, but he's really making progress. He's getting a lot better. He's making more calls with confidence to the other guys, so I'm happy about that. Erik (Coleman) has come back from the injury and he knows what to do, it's just a matter of getting his body in shape to be able to play the season."

On moving DT Nick Fairley and DT Ndamukong Suh around: "Well, I call it ‘Grey.' There's a great movie out called Grey and if you watch it you'll know what I mean. The wolves kind of trick them. They trick them, and the ending of it is great. That's kind of what we're doing. We started in the OTAs. A couple of coaches wanted to wait and I said ‘Well, 51-percent says you can't, so let's start.' The players really liked it. We've got a lot of varieties of those things we're doing where they're up and down. The big thing is the players, the leaders when you do things like that. The Pittsburgh Steelers made a living off of it. Every time we do it in what we call a hot period when our offense goes fastball no huddle, that's when we really show what it's all about. It's really good for the big men. We're very athletic with a couple of them. Suh and Fairley can really run and that excites me. We can move some of the ends around, too. Lawrence Jackson has had a good camp too. He just needs to learn to finish some of his rushes better. He's got good movement, but he just needs more movement, he just needs more explosion at the end and we'll be alright."

On if the defense will go as far as the defensive line takes them: "Yeah, I feel pretty good about all seven of them. I think we came in here and everybody is gone except (André Fluellen) and Cliff (Avril). That line that we have, I think it's two-tier. Eight guys probably could start anywhere in the League. That's arguable, but I think those guys can play. There's no doubt. We've got three pretty darn good linebackers. (DeAndre) Levy is coming on. He's probably looked better in this camp than I've seen him since I've been here. (Stephen Tulloch) and (Justin Durant) have been as good as anybody I've ever had at the position. They're smart, they're tough, they tackle, they know the game, they control the game. The great thing is we've got a couple good backups, young ones, that are going to be real good. Travis Lewis, I can't get over him. He is probably, other than (Tulloch), the top two middle backers calling defenses. That's a mouthful and people don't believe it'd come out of him. He handles things like I've never seen a kid handle."

On if Lewis' skills are due to his college coaches: "Those coaches at (Oklahoma) must be really good. It's like I always say, it's a 50-50. Tim Walton coaches some of those DBs and I know what he says and I look at the tape and they don't do it, so it's not the coaching. But with Travis, I'm sure it's a 50-50. He bought into Oklahoma coaches and they did a tremendous job. Tahir Whitehead is the same way. Those two guys, if they keep making the progress they are, there better not be any helmets put down. What was that guy's name? Wally Pipp and Lou (Gehrig). I know who Lou was and it wasn't Louis Delmas, it was Lou Gehrig. They are much, much further ahead than most rookies. Derrick Johnson in Kansas City, when I coached there, has those tremendous athletic skills but these guys are more ready to play the game, meaning mentally they're more ready. Matt Burke has done a great job with them."

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