Following Wednesday's practice, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz met with the media. Below is a look at what he had to say. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On CB Chris Houston being back at practice today: "Yeah, I think I'll just leave all injury report things to the injury report."
On CB Bill Bentley: "He's doing okay. He's got protocol that he has to go through before he's back. But other than that we'll just (defer to the) injury report."
On the San Francisco 49ers being a complete team on both sides of the ball: "They're definitely one of the better teams in the NFC and had one of the best records in the NFL last year. Won their division; made it to the championship game; one of the top-ranked defenses. Pretty much across the board in just about every category they were outstanding. They protected the ball very well; they flipped the field with their kickers and their punters. They're certainly a very good opponent."
On the amount of credit owed to Head Coach Jim Harbaugh for his winning record as a first-time head coach despite an NFL lockout in 2011: "That was a very difficult situation for all coaches, much less rookie coaches. It was installing a new, completely new system in the NFL with different players. That definitely is worthy of whatever. It was a job well done for sure."
On the difference LB Justin Durant will make against the 49ers this year after not playing in the matchup last year: "You look back at that game, and you don't want to look back too much, but our weakness in our game, the thing that we needed to do better was the long runs. We let them pop two long runs out and another one that wasn't so long but it was a big run at the end of the game. Then we had the one short pass at the end of the game but it wasn't a situation where we were being exploited all the time. We played well at times; we didn't play well enough to win."
On DT Corey Williams being underappreciated: "Not by us. Corey is an outstanding player. He played an outstanding game on Sunday. He's been a very consistent performer since he's been with us."
On what Williams brings to the unit defensively: "Corey is an outstanding leader. He's an experienced player; he's a veteran. He's a true professional. He's good against the run; he's a big giant guy in there. But he's also a good pass rusher and you saw that Sunday. Gets a sack in the strip and two of the bigger plays in the game were his forced holding penalties. He made such a good play they had to hold and those were drive stoppers. Those don't show up on the stat sheet, but Corey had an outstanding game. Like I said, he's been a consistent player since he's been here."
On how important it is to start strong against a team like San Francisco: "On the road it's important to start strong and it's important to start strong at home. I think the important thing is to play 60 minutes. We had a couple times on the road last year where we started off poorly and got wins. That's the only thing that's important is getting the win. However you do it, you have to play 60 minutes; you're not always at your best the whole 60 but you have to persevere through some trials during the game. It was that way for us last week and it will be that way for us this Sunday and 14 other weeks."
On battling for turnovers: "That starts with their quarterback. Alex Smith has really, really done a great job doing that; embraces what they do. I think last year he had five interceptions total in the year. Seventeen touchdown passes, five interceptions. They were number one in the NFL on turnover margins. It wasn't just that they protected the football, they also got turnovers. Turnovers are a big part of every game. Last week was a little bit of an aberration to be minus three and still win the game; that very rarely happens in the NFL."
On the 49ers defense success being due to a unique strategy: "No, they're a base 3-4 team. They have personnel that fit that very well. But they can also go to an even front, which they do when they go to nickel. They have good pass rushers. They have guys that can eat space inside, and that's important in their scheme. They have outstanding linebackers. NaVorro Bowman, everybody knows Patrick Willis, but Bowman had a little bit of an under-the-radar year last year. I don't think he made the Pro Bowl, but he was first team All-Pro. That says a little bit about what he can add to it. But they're good at all three levels. Defensive line, linebacker, and they got a Pro Bowl safety that was their franchise player. Carlos Rodgers has done a really good job-I don't want to say turning it around because he's always a good player, but he really fits their scheme well; has made a lot of plays for them. They go deep. They can play in a lot of different situations. They're good pass rushers. They're good run stoppers. They're opportunistic. We definitely have our work cut out for us."
On the Lions having three tight ends and what their contribution is: "I think that it's becoming a little bit standard in the NFL. It used to be maybe you'd have one tight end and a backup that would barely play. You see not just us, there are a lot of teams across the League that use multiple tight ends in multiple roles, including the team we're playing Sunday. Delanie Walker made the game-winning catch last year. He's really, really under-the-radar, good player. Everybody knows about Vernon Davis and what he can bring and his vertical ability. They have a lot of guys that contribute in a lot of ways. The same with us, and it's becoming standard in the NFL to have multiple tight ends that contribute in different ways."
On replicating the performance of RB Jahvid Best in last year's game against the 49ers: "Well, he's not playing."
On bringing in another running back to replicate the performance: "I don't have any comment on game strategies and how we're going to use personnel."
On the 49ers bolstering their receiver core in the offseason: "Randy Moss is a Hall of Fame player. (Mario) Manningham played very, very well for a Super Bowl team last year, so any time you're adding playmakers like that you have to count for them on defense. Just like us, there is only one football. They can't get it to everybody. But they definitely improved their wide receiver position. They have outstanding running backs. They even have outstanding running backs that are inactive right now or were for the first game. A little bit like the defense, they're deep in all areas. Running back they have a lot of different guys-wide receiver, tight end, very good offensive line, and good quarterback. It wasn't a fluke they went 13-3 and went to the NFC championship last year. That was a very good team."
On the significance of a win off of an NFC playoff team: "NFC team means more. They don't weigh them whether they're playoff team or not, but NFC team definitely means more to us. And being on the road-it's difficult to win on the road. You win on the road against an NFC team, that's certainly an objective of ours."
On the most impressive part of the 49ers win against Green Bay at Lambeau: "Everything. They didn't just win in one area. They rushed the passer well. They completely limited the running game-did a very good job defending the outside part of the field. They also limited run after the catch. They scored enough to win. They only blip was the punt return. Obviously you don't go into Lambeau against the Green Bay Packers and win a cheap one. They earned their way."
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