LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET
On how unusual is it for rookies to be impactful: "I think rookies in general across the NFL, there's definitely an urgency to get them playing. You expect guys to produce right away. You think back long ago in the NFL and how long it used to be to consider a quarterback to take the play. You didn't even think about reaching the field before your third year or fourth year. Same thing with the offensive line. There's a lot of training camp. There's a lot of off season. There's urgency to get guys in there to play well. It doesn't always happen, but I think you're seeing some rookies that are being productive on both sides of the line."
On why T LaAdrian Waddle went undrafted: "I don't know. He started 40-something games at Texas Tech. He's got great size. I think sometimes in scouting when you get in, people find things that they're not happy with rather than the things that a player can do. He's got great size. He started a lot of games. That's all he could really do there. He's been good. I don't know what it was that caused him not to get drafted, but we're happy to have him."
On how long did it take to discover Waddle's potential: "We brought him in for a pre-draft visit. We liked him going in. He was in consideration as we were drafting late. We had a good relationship with him. Coach Washburn had really worked hard to sort of let him know that this was going to be a good opportunity for him. We expected it. We were very happy to get him as an undrafted free agent. I always talk about Joe Fauria and our efforts to get him, but Waddle was a lot of the same way. I don't know that he was really a surprise to us. He was a guy that we liked. From the time he's been here, he's done a nice job."
On how will the secondary handle the change if CB Bill Bentley doesn't play: "We can do it a lot of different ways. Mathis gives us flexibility. In the last game with Dallas, we had a package where Don Carey played in there also. He has the flexibility to be able to do that. Both of our safeties can cover wide receivers, so we don't necessarily have to go nickel. Both of those guys have good range and good man-to-man skills and former corners in their background. We'll have a lot of different ways to be able to handle that."
On if Bentley had been playing well before the injury: "He was trending up for sure. Nickel is a different position. It's a lot different than playing outside at corner. It's not just the blitz game and the run support, but the routes are different and things like that. He had some growing pains and some on the job training. He was definitely trending the right way. The one thing with Bill, he made some mistakes, just like a lot of young players do, but it was very rare that he made the same mistake twice. There are a lot of mistakes to be made. We were starting to sort of reap the rewards from some of those on the job training plays. We'll get him back. I don't know how long it's going to be, but we'll get him back."
On if Bentley is considered short term: "Yes."
On if Owens fulfills some of the h-back responsibilities: "That's what he was doing in training camp and early in the preseason. He got injured, I think it was our third preseason game, but that's what the plan was him. He's been away for a while, but he's got some flexibility there. He can carry the ball. He can be a tailback. He can also be a fullback type position. He's always been a good contributor on special teams. He's worked really hard to come back. I think he's on the right path."
On if the media reports that Bears QB Jay Cutler practicing today change their scheme: "We expect all hands on deck in a game like this. I don't think that would be any different. If he's able to, he'll get out there and play. He's a tough guy, he's a competitor. He's played through injuries before. We'll be ready for both of them. I don't think their offense is going to change very much. Both of those guys have a little different skillset. Sort of throw the ball a little bit different way. It really doesn't affect their offense. They call the same type schemes and things like that. Both guys have good mobility. We'll be ready for of them."
On how to approach preparing for Cutler with the uncertainty of his playing status: "Honestly, as a coach, as a player, I don't know that you ever plan on a guy being limited. I think you can sort of be suckered that way a little bit. If you think a guy is not going to be full speed and you plan on him not being that way and all of a sudden he's out there and he's playing, so we always prepare for guys being at a 100-percent. If they're not in the game, we'll then sort of play it after that."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET
On QB Matthew Stafford's game-winning quarterback sneak vs. Dallas: "It was a great play by our quarterback because he saw a moment where...first of all, you have to clock that ball to stop the clock. We didn't get in (the end zone on the previous play). You don't know where it's going to be spotted and there's a lot going on. Once you saw the ball the ball was not a yard out, it was a foot out or whatever, six inches, he made a play. Basically he knew they weren't expecting him to do it, nor were we. And he knew he could get in without it being a risk. He just made a very intelligent play and seized an opportunity to get it in."
On if the Lions could have gotten off another play if Stafford did not score: "It would have been hard. It would have been close, but I'm not sure how easy it would have been to call two or three plays and get it in. Either way, you want to take advantage of the best opportunity to get in there."
On his immediate reaction to Stafford's game-winning play: "The coach in me was to be ready, because they were reviewing it. Once the play is declared over - touchdown signaled - whether he ran it or not, so you just have to be ready to have another play. I wasn't able to have too much of a (celebration), I was thinking of the next play with a lot of celebrating going on."
On what the next play call would have been: "I don't know. I'm glad we didn't have to get there."
On if rookie offensive linemen are more ready to be productive early on in their careers: "I think so. I think you have to make that commitment if a guy is ready to play. It doesn't matter whether he's a rookie or not, you put him in the game. You have to put your best players out there, regardless of their experience. The only way they're going to get experience is to get them on the field."
On T LaAdrian Waddle's development: "He's done a really nice job. Right from the get-go when he was here, we saw that he had that ability to be playing for us at some point. Just because of what happened with a couple guys going down, I think he's taken advantage of that opportunity and he's played well for us."
On WR Calvin Johnson's 329-receiving game vs. Dallas: "Impressed. I have to be honest with you, Calvin never ceases to amaze me with what he can do and what he's capable of. He's had some of the quietest 150-yard games since I've been here over the four-and-a-half years. That wasn't one of them though. That was a monster game. From the receiver position, it's very hard to dominate football games and be the player that is game-planned by the defense, but I'm not sure, when it's all said and done, if there's ever going to be a receiver that is game-planned more specifically by a defensive coordinator or scheme than Calvin. He has so many years ahead of him that we'll see. Even with that said, I think the guy still manages to find a way to get it done. He obviously does. He's an impressive human being as well as a great player."
On how Johnson was able to record 329 receiving yards: "Just Calvin being able, playing at a high level. Obviously he turned it up a little bit, but great players do that when their number's called, especially the amount of times it was. I think it was impressive with him and Matt (Stafford), the combination. Matt targeted him 16 times and completed 14. That's obviously a success rate of completions with targets. I think that's one of the most impressive things I saw. He had 14 catches and only 16 targets. It wasn't like you threw it to him 28 times and hit half of them. He was able to do that and that was as impressive as anything."
On if he has redefined how the team uses the slot-receiver position because of injuries to WR Nate Burleson and WR Ryan Broyles: "Some. Jeremy Ross has stepped in, has played fair, does a nice job for us. We know that he will be able to do some of those things for us. We play different receivers in the slot, it's not just our slot-receivers. We move guys around. Calvin (Johnson) plays in the slot some. The one thing that the receiving core has done a nice job of is that we've asked them to wear more than one hat. If you're an ‘X,' you have to know the ‘F' and the ‘Z' receiver position, because we have to have that versatility, especially the way people scheme Calvin."
On how many more yards Stafford will throw in his NFL career as he is on the verge of breaking the Lions' all-time passing record: "A lot. I think I've told you guys before, he's really just kind of entering the prime of his career. If you really look at quarterbacks, when it starts, some guys start early certainly, but there's really no bar that he can't surpass at this point. The things he's been able to do are impressive, but who knows what it's going to be. You have to have some luck along the way with being able to play for a number of years, but like you said, he's only 25 years old and talking about some numbers that I'm not really aware of what they are and all that stuff, but there's not too many people that can do what he's done at this point in his career. He did it in high school, he did it in college and he's doing it in the NFL, that's just kind of been his life."
On what Stafford has done differently the past three seasons to avoid injuries: "I think some of that was bad luck to be honest with you, but he's worked very hard at his durability, his training. Not that he wasn't training before, but he's worked really hard with the strength coaches and his offseason program. He's a true professional. I told you guys about him last year, he was in this building in January and February and March, preparing mentally for the year, but he was physically already getting himself prepared for the next season. That's what the great pros do, the guys that have long careers, they just have a great 12-month routine that they do so that they can be there and be available during the long stretch that we go through with these seasons. These are long seasons. An NFL season is longer than any other professional season and it's much more physical than any sport in my opinion, so guys have to be taking care of their bodies and Matt does a great job of that."
On choosing between RB Theo Riddick and RB Montell Owens and what Owens brings to the offense: "I don't know, I think a lot of things factor in, especially even with Montell with special teams. He has a big role there, so that probably trumps his availability for us offensively more than anything, but it doesn't have to be at this point. We decide on Saturday night who is going to be available and if somebody has a big special teams role, then obviously they're going to be available for us on offense. Montell brings a guy that has a background as a fullback, a tailback, you can use him in different roles. Right now, it wouldn't need to be too extensive for us, but he's a guy that got a lot of work in our offense during the preseason. So he has a good feel for what we're doing and we feel like he can step in if we needed him at some point."
On if Owens can fill the h-back role: "He's a little more running back, he goes more through the running back side of things than a tight end, but they all kind of at some point meet in the middle. They do have similar job descriptions. They just have to do it a little bit different. He can probably take on some of those things as he gets back in the swing of things."