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Lions quotes: Friday's comments from Jim Schwartz, Gunther Cunningham

Quotes from Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham's media session after Friday's Detroit Lions practice.

Tom Pennington

Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had to say after Friday's practice. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)


On Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris: "Probably the best right now, at least statistically the best dual returner in the NFL. He's made big plays. He's scored. It's not just his return ability. The guy is probably their best cover guy also. Gunner, kick off cover, it reminds me a lot of Josh Cribs a few years ago as a dual purpose returner, but then also as a cover guy. That's rare to find. He's playing well for them."

On the difficultly of a tackle playing while injured and how it affects the offense: "That would all be hypothetical and subjective. I've never played tackle so I'm probably the wrong person to ask on that. Players deal with it. Coaches deal with it all the time. Everybody has varying degrees of health, particularly in the middle of the NFL season. That's where we are and that's probably where the Dallas Cowboys are also. There are ways to be able to handle some guys being limited in some roles."

On restoring CB Chris Houston's and P Sam Martin's confidence after last week: "Both of those guys are strong guys. I think there is some similarity in that when you're a corner and you're on the field, you're in the spot light. You're one-on-one. You have to be able to embrace that. Field goal kickers and punters, everybody knows when they don't execute their job as well as they can. If you miss a kick, everybody knows that you missed or you didn't have a good punt. You're used to living in that kind of pressure. Sam bounced back real well from the first game when he dropped that one snap. We expect him to bounce back from things like this also. It's not the first adversity we have seen as a team or he's had. He's has an outstanding year. There is a lot to do with consistency and young players are usually working on that."

On DE Devin Taylor's role: "He's played well in the role that he's had and that's always the first indication. When Jason Jones got hurt, he was expected to do that. Part of that load went to him. We've been happy with him. He's done a nice job. As he continues to make plays, he'll gain more confidence."

On DE Jason Jones' status: "He's a long-term rehab. You don't want to evaluate his rehab in weeks or even months. It's going to be quarters probably. His spirits are up. He's doing a great job. He's a tough guy and he'll be back."

On the addition of S Glover Quin helping the performance of S Louis Delmas: "I think having consistency next to him was something we weren't really able to do in probably the first four years of his career. He had a revolving door at the safety next to him and was never able to really get comfortable playing beside another player. We haven't always been on the practice field together, even going back to OTA's and training camp. We have managed to keep that group together on the field on Sundays and I think that has gone a long way to helping us defensively."

On LB Cory Greenwood's rehab: "He's the same. He's not a guy that you're measuring week-to-week. He's on a long term rehab. Part of the whole process of him getting that done was so he could rehab and be ready to go in the future. We expect him to also."

On how dangerous Cowboys QB Tony Romo is with his feet and the passing game: "You made a good point with his feet. It's not just his ability to throw and throw on time. He can buy time and make plays down the field and is a very good scrambler. He hasn't scrambled for a lot of yards as far as rushing yards, but he has scrambled and bought time and made some plays down the field. He's dangerous because those guys can still get open. We're going to have to rush very well. We're going to have to keep him in the pocket. Also, be able to disrupt their timing a little bit, but not at the expense of letting him scramble around."

On if DE Ezekiel Ansah is performing as well now in comparison to the start of the season: "We have been happy with what he's doing. Like all young players, there are going to be some inconsistencies. I'd be careful of reading someone else's evaluation of our players. If there is going to be an evaluation, I would focus on team evaluations, which we don't share. Again, I'd be careful because they don't know what schemes we're running or what he's asked to do within the defense. I think that all rookies are going to have ups and downs. There are very few that are going to come in and be consistent week-in and week-out. We're happy with him. He's going to be a very good player and he has been a very productive player for us this year."

On the d-line having pressured enough in recent weeks: "I don't think anybody would think we had enough pressure d-line-wise unless they're getting probably a dozen sacks a game, they don't feel like they've done their job. That's not just us. I think any front four in the NFL probably has that kind of philosophy. You look at us, part of their thing with getting pressure is creating turnovers and that's something that in our three losses we have only had one takeaway. That's something they can help us with. Whether they're getting sacks or not, we saw a lot of examples early in the season where they didn't necessarily get the sack, but they were able to get enough pressure or affect the passing game enough that they forced some mistakes. If we're doing that, you don't have to look at sacks and things like that to know that they're being effective."


On how close the defense is to being the defense he thinks it can be: "Every week it seems like something happens, whether it's good or bad. I thought we played the run well and we fell short on the passing game last week. We just have to put it together. I think the guys have a great attitude. They have had a great attitude all year and some of them are still getting to know each other, but the leadership is coming around on the defense. (Stephen) Tulloch's doing a great job, Glover Quin's doing a great job. Other guys are jumping in the fray. There's a lot of discussion and it's all about football and that makes me feel good."

On what has contributed to DE Ezekiel Ansah's struggles the past few weeks: "He faced a couple pretty good tackles. Like I said a couple weeks ago, the quarterbacks get paid a lot. I'd like to have some of the money the left tackles make on offense. Joe Thomas is a good player. Ziggy's doing ok and Devin Taylor's coming on too, and that's what I really like."

On why the defensive line has not been able to bat down passes like they did in preseason: "Those things come in bunches like sacks and anything else. We talked about the red zone a few weeks ago and the first half last week I was fit to be tied, because we weren't doing it. In the second half I think we gave up one conversion and came back. All those things kind of fall into place as the season goes. The biggest thing that I look for is the development of the players, are they getting better? Like I mentioned, Devin Taylor the last two weeks, (Jim) Washburn hasn't let me down working him and I'm excited about that. I hope we play him a little bit more."

On DE Devin Taylor: "If you watch the tape, he's making some chase plays. He's had a couple sacks, he's knocked the ball out of the guy's hands a few times. He's a young kid and he's a very talented young kid, so he needs to play."

On if Taylor is using his size or speed to make those plays: "I think it's a combination of the coaching and getting used to the NFL. I think a lot of times we expect and I except, but it takes time to learn it. I reflect back on DeAndre Levy. I hope he keeps this pace up, because he's playing well. It was a struggle for him the last couple years. Maybe two years ago and he's starting to round into shape into the kind of player we had expected."

On how much of creating turnovers is a mentality on the defense's part or if it is more of the other team's mistakes: "You didn't mess around. That's a great question. That's the key to the game and we didn't get any. And that's what you have to do. If you're going to give up an 80-yard touchdown pass, you better come back and take the ball away. And for whatever reason, we've lost that edge and we need to retain it quickly, both in interceptions and fumbles."

On if it is no coincidence that in the team's three losses that they have generated just one turnover: "That's it. And that's what happened to us last year. We started out getting them right away and we need to get back to that mentality. The defensive backs are practicing much better this week. They're much more focused and the ball's coming out. When we play man they're stripped it in the end zone. Bill Bentley had about four of them this morning I think, so those are good signs."

On how he expected Houston to bounce back after his struggles in the last game: "He used to call me his grandpa, so I expect him to bounce back. He's practiced well. You have to have tough skin to play cornerback. To me, you watch baseball. I watched Holliday bat last night and I always thought he was a great player and I guess he hasn't been so great this last year, although he got a triple last night. To me, good players bounce back fast and cornerbacks have to be the fastest bouncing back."

On if Houston has adjusted his strategy on double moves from wide receivers: "Well he should have adjusted last week. We worked on it hard a week ago and he got a lot of them in practice this week, it seems like every snap we ran was a double move. I remember when I was coaching with Jim in Tennessee, Andre Dyson was playing left corner and Pittsburgh came into town, all we told him all week long was double move, early. First play of the game his guy went 65 yards but we won the game. You wonder what happens sometimes but I don't go out there and play. The only thing I can look for is the bounce back and I know he will."

On how much Cowboys WR Dez Bryant uses double moves: "Like every other play. He is a good player, my god. He is strong, big and uses his body well. You have to go fight him, you are going to have to have your best game to cover this guy. They go to him and after that, No. 82 (Cowboys TE Jason Witten), I know most the time when Romo gets in trouble, he goes to No. 82. Those two guys are really tough. We are going to have to play hard and do our job."

On if he is confident Houston can cover Bryant one-on-one or if they plan to give him help with a safety: "I think we like to give all our players help when the opportunity is there but the opportunity isn't always there depending on formation and where he goes. Chris isn't going to be on him all the time but whoever is on him is going to have to do their job."

On his impressions of Cowboys QB Tony Romo: "It's like (Jay) Cutler, how can you bad rap this guy. I think he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and I have always thought that. He didn't play a few years ago against us and I went ‘oh my god, thank you'. He can really throw the ball, he has command of the offense, their players respect him, he shows leadership when I've watched him play and he can really throw it and he has good receivers. "

On the chemistry of Lions S Louis Delmas and S Glover Quin: "They have gotten along really well. I'm sure at first with the "new guy" coming in, it's always the case, although I haven't seen it, and I would have, I'm the top dog around here (laughs). They communicate a lot off the field, on the field and you can see it. Lou has probably played some of his better games this year. He's not gambling as much, he is playing the system better and he knows he has a guy on the other side. It's funny, we practice sometimes where there is a blitz designed for Lou and he tells Q to take it, just to get a rep at it, just in case something happens. Those are the things you look for as a coach and the communication between them is outstanding."

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