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Lions Quotes: Jim Schwartz's Comments From Wednesday, Sept. 19

September 16, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz watches warm ups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
September 16, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz watches warm ups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Following Wednesday's practice, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz met with the media and addressed a number of topics. Below is a look at what he had to say. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

On if the team has renewed energy with RB Mikel Leshoure, CB Chris Houston and CB Bill Bentley back: "We're trending the right way. We know it's just a matter of time before we get all of our injured guys back on the field. They've all been working very hard to get back there. We did get Leshoure back and that always gives us a boost. He's fresh."

On RB Mikel Leshoure: "We liked him an awful lot when we drafted him. We moved back up to get him. We've been waiting to get him on the field for a long time. He's a multidimensional back. He's not just a power runner inside, which he can do. He can make guys miss. He's good in the pass game; he's a smart guy. We say all the time when we draft, it's about finding a good match for what we're asking and it's also about requiring talent. Mikel fits what we want and he also is a talented player. We'll sort of reserve judgment and wait to see what his contribution will be, but it's good to get him back on the practice field."

On if it's beneficial to have a running back with ‘fresh legs': "Hope so."

On Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak: "I think the world of Mike Munchak. That's not many people that had the career that he had. Hall of Fame career; he's got one of those Hall of Fame jackets. No. 1 wanted to coach, No. 2 was willing to start off as quality control coach. We all know I started out the same way. We know about those hours. It's a thankless job. There's a guy that's going to Canton and he's grinding until midnight. I have a lot of respect for Mike because our cars were parked next to each other in the parking lot down there and we were always the last two guys. If you left and his car was still there you felt like you were cheating the clock a little bit. Sometimes both of us would sleep in the office or one would sleep in the office.

"What I'm trying to say is I have a lot of respect for No.1 his playing career and No. 2 the fact that he earned his way up from the bottom in coaching. He didn't get a coaching job because he was a great player in the Hall of Fame, he got a coaching job because he knew what he was talking about and he worked very, very hard at it. He was willing to grind out a thankless job. He didn't need the money. It says a lot about him, his character and the way he wants to run that team and the way he's going to build that team."

On his strong ties to Tennessee: "I lived there for 10 years. I'm not the friendliest guy in the world, but my wife has a lot of friends. My kids were born there, they went to school there, and they have some friends. I don't know how many ticket requests that I'll get but they'll have a lot. It's a place that we had an awful lot of experiences as coaches, as families. We saw Super Bowls; we saw best records in the NFL, playoffs and also saw salary caps overhaul and poor seasons and everything else. It was a great learning experience. It was a great experience in our lives to be there. But Detroit is home now. It's just a road game to tell you the truth. It's been so long since I've been there I couldn't find my way back from the airport."

On preparing for holding calls that won't be called based on what has been seen so far this season: "No. You never take the approach of coaching penalties or coaching anything other than the rules of the game. We play, let the officials officiate. Last thing we'd want is to prejudge whether they're going to call something or whether they're not going to call something and it ends up costing the game. We've made a big point this year to try to minimize penalties. We've been spotty with our success so far. I thought we did a good job against St. Louis, not so good against San Fran. Our objective is to play a smart, clean game and not be penalized."

On why he believes from a defense standpoint there have been 1500 points scored League-wide in the first two weeks of the regular season: "There's a lot of good players. I think the trend of the League is there's a big push for player safety. It protects defenseless receivers. Now we've also made a push to protect defenseless defensive players. Some of the crack-back blocks rules and some of those other things, the illegal contact and stuff like that. It's opened up the passing game a little bit more. It's not unusual to see offenses with multiple playmakers and wide receivers. Quarterback play is getting better and better and better. There's very good quarterback play in the NFL. And when you have all those things you're going to score points."

On if he sees anything different in QB Matthew Stafford this season after his slow start: "You can't judge one year on the next, you can't judge one week on the next. You have to go out and grind. You see a Hall of Fame player like Peyton Manning throw three interceptions in a quarter. I don't think there was any doubt if (Detroit) got that ball back at the end that (Stafford) would have found a way to get them in the end zone. Good quarterbacks can do that. There are a lot of things that go on in 60 minutes of a game. There are a lot of things that go on in 16 weeks of the season and you need to persevere through all of them. That's part of the makeup of a quarterback. You need to be mentally tough. I think Matt is. I think that whatever is in front, he'll figure out a way to get it done."

On not being able to ignore Titans RB Chris Johnson's 2,000 rushing yards season: "There's no question. I was there for his rookie year; saw how explosive he can be. It's very rare that there's a team that is averaging 29 yards a game rushing that you sit there and say, ‘Hey we got to stop the run,' but guess what? We have to stop the run. It starts because it's Chris Johnson back there. He can have eight carries for eight yards and then go 80 yards on the ninth. He's an explosive player and we have a lot of respect for what he can do. We're going to have to play our best in run defensive. And like penalties, we've been a little spotty on that in our first two games. We played well in the first week on run defense, not so well last week. We need to get back to playing well or we're going to have a difficult time."

On the Titans having a lot of weapons on offense: "Oh yeah, there's definitely a lot of talent there. They've got (WR Kenny) Britt back last week. I think he only played like eight or nine snaps, but Nate Washington is an explosive player for them. They go deep at wide receiver. Pass receiving tight end Jared Cook is a good player. There are definitely a lot of weapons. Like I said, Chris Johnson is definitely a guy we have to stop but if we think he's the only one, we're mistaken."

On getting Titans QB Jake Locker to do things he doesn't want to due to his lack of experience: "I think every week we try to do that with quarterbacks whether it's a young guy or not. He is in his first year as a starter but he's been around a year. It's not like he was in college last year. He knows what he's doing. We have to rush well; we have to stop the run. He's also a good scrambler. We need to be able to take that away from him too. But I think we need to also remember who we are and not get too much into a particular player. We do some things very well defensively and we need to accentuate those. You always game plan; you always tweak things for an opponent. But we need get a good fast ball; we need to play our fast ball too."

On if CB Drayton Florence will be placed on Injured/Reserve: "He had surgery yesterday on a broken forearm. To tell you how tough he is, it happened in the third quarter and he played the rest of the game. I have a lot of respect for that guy. He's played a lot of football in the NFL; came in here and learned the system very quickly and got thrown into the fire very quickly. I thought he acquainted himself very well and the team needed him. We were so short of corners that he really couldn't come out of the game. He went and soldiered through. We didn't know it was broken until afterwards because mainly he just didn't tell anybody. He didn't let anybody get a feel for it. But he had surgery and I don't know if that administrative move has been made yet. When it happens we'll get it to you guys."

On IR being short term or long term in his case: "It has the possibility to be short term. I'll just reserve until we actually make that announcement."

On claiming CB Jerome Murphy: "A couple years ago he was coming out of South Florida; we liked him then. He was hurt last year. He got drafted in the third round. He got hurt and missed just about all of last year, but he's a very good special teams player. A little bit multidimensional. He can play in the slot, play outside. We thought he could increase our production. I think Martin's always been very strong in saying and throwing the same pitch like me: The draft is not the finish line. The starting day of training camp is not the finish line. The first day of the regular season is not the finish line. Any time that an opportunity comes that we think that we can increase our productivity we'll do it and we'll get them up to speed quickly."

On the strategy that goes into placing a player on short term IR: "Well yeah there is strategy involved but you also have to remember that there's a minimum amount of time that you can be out. Once you get to about half way through the season it pretty much becomes irrelevant. You can still carry an injured player. If you have another injury you just carry them as one of your 53 and make them inactive every week. This gives us an opportunity if it comes to it that you replace the roster and I think some other people have done that already. But that doesn't close the door on somebody in the future that's hurt that you stick with. It just becomes a personnel position at that point as far as what's best for the team as we go forward."

On if he sees Stafford getting rattled by the commentary currently surrounding him: "That's part of this League. If there's a job that everybody thinks they can do it is quarterback. There are three jobs everybody thinks they can do and that's quarterback, that's head coach and that's kicker. Right, why can't the guy make a field goal? Everybody has all kicked a field goal in high school or something like that and they all know when he did it wrong. Not very many people can tell if a guard got beat or defensive tackle or linebacker. Brandi's (Jim Brandstatter) back there smiling, he thinks he does. I'm sure (Killer) Kowalski is smiling somewhere. ‘I knew. I had the game film.' But the scrutiny is part of this League. Part of the reason it's so popular is people like to talk about it. The decisions that the coaches make or go for or don't, throwing interceptions. Everybody can tell when the quarterback throws an interception. Not all of them know exactly why, but they all know it wasn't good. If you're thin-skinned as a kicker you're not going to last very long if you listen to too many outside (opinions). We get a lot of letters of people telling some tips for Jason (Hanson). We don't pass any of those forward. It's the same thing for quarterback, for head coach. It's part of this game. You better be confident in your abilities and you better have a good plan. And you stick with that plan. If you're easily discouraged then you're in the wrong business."

On the importance of the offense getting up quick: "I think that goes to any road game. It's hard to continue to run the football if you're down two or three scores, particularly in the second half of the game. That's a big goal all the time, whether it's the Tennessee Titans or the St. Louis Rams or the 49ers. If you get that run stopped, you get a lead; you can make a team one dimensional. That would definitely serve us well if we were able to get that done."

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