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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.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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 the Giants ruling out WR Victor Cruz: "(Jerrel) Jernigan went in, in the last game. I think they had seven catches. He was like six or seven. He's a good slot player. It probably affects them more in their two receiver packages than their three receiver packages, but (Hakeem) Nicks is a big receiver on the outside. (Rueben) Randle is a second-rounder that has been productive for them. Jernigan comes in and plays the slot for them. I think that he was obviously their top receiver, but they still have a lot of other guys that catch the ball. Eli (Manning) does move the ball around to a lot of different guys also."

On the rumor that the Lions once attempted to trade for Giants WR Hakeem Nicks: "Yeah, there are a lot of rumors that are out there all the time. I think we'll stick with the not commenting on the conversations that we didn't have. We have conversations and Martin (Mayhew) probably has conversations with other GMs on almost a daily basis through training camp and up to the trading deadline. Guys are always talking about other things. I don't know that that makes news. Some deals get close and some deals don't get close. Some things get floated, but that's just part of the business."

On CB Rashean Mathis being ill: "Yeah it's that time of year. We had (John) Wendling last week with some cold and flu-type stuff. Rashean is starting to feel a little bit better, but we also don't want it to become a half a dozen guys on the team too. He's getting his work from home. It's like I said, cold and flu season, and I think probably every team will have a couple guys here or there. We had a couple coaches last week, and we just tried to quarantine them and keep it away from the whole team."

On TE Joseph Fauria's TD catch vs. Baltimore: "That's where he does have an advantage is down in that red zone. That's where most of his success has come from and if (Brandon) Pettigrew's not able to play, he's going to have to extend that success. He can't just be in the red zone. It's going to have to be on third down and first and second down. He's a big target for the quarterback. He's had some games where he has been very effective and other games where he has been a part of people's game plans. I think when you have three touchdowns in a game you're going to be a marked man after that. When he has gone in to the game, a lot of teams have, I say it with Calvin (Johnson) all the time that it's hard to hide him when he's 6'5, 235 and wears number 81, Joe is hard to hide when he's 6'8 and wears number 80. They know who he is."

On LB Rocky McIntosh: "Rocky has really been, just like his name, a rock. Not only on special teams, but also on defense. When he has had to play he has gone in and played well. He's done his job. He's a veteran player. He's been around a little bit. He's a really steady player from week-to-week. With special teams he prepares well. We wouldn't expect a letdown at all if Rocky went in to the game."

On QB Matthew Stafford's improvement from last year to this year: "Well, I think you improve with experience. I think that just going through, we talked about it when he was a first and second-year player and dealing with the injuries and things like that, and we talked about how even though it was difficult at the time that it was going to serve him well over the course of his career. He's dealing with some struggles right now. Maybe there is some experience that goes along with that. Eli Manning has thrown a lot of interceptions this year and you're talking about a two-time Super Bowl champ. All quarterbacks go through stuff like that and Matt's tough. Matt has a lot of mental toughness and a lot of physical toughness. We have confidence in his ability to lead us and his ability to make plays."

On Stafford's footwork: "I think he's been good. He made some plays with his feet earlier in that game. Just stepping around pass-rush and scrambling. Bought time to find Nate (Burleson) on that one. Scrambled, didn't make the first down, but got speared when he was sliding and that kept that first drive alive. I think Matt does very good with stuff like that. Like I said, there are a lot of quarterbacks that will drop down sidearm from time to time. I think that's part of his skillset. That's some of the things that make him good. A lot of people look at the negatives with it, I think there are also positives that people can overlook sometimes there too."

On the players staying upbeat: "Honestly, I haven't even seen that because our concentration is on the Giants. I know our team and I know that our guys are resilient and things like that. It doesn't surprise me. I don't spend a whole lot of time obsessing about what's written or what our guys say or stuff like that. It's more about their actions and the way they handle their practices. This is a hard-working team. A lot of stuff is said about discipline with the team, but part of discipline is coming to work every day, working hard, staying focused and putting the work in. You look at this team and the way that they prepare and things like that, I'm proud of what they do, I really am. We are 7-7 right now. We can certainly do a lot better, but I'm proud of the way they prepare each week. We have been pretty consistent when it comes to our approach and I think that serves us well."


On uncalled penalties on the running play before the game winning field goal: "Their left tackle was moving, it wasn't hard to see. I saw it from about 40 miles away in the press box. They didn't make the call so we have to live with it."

On how Lions CB Jonté Green played against the Ravens: "I think he played really well. It was too bad on the one play when (Louis) Delmas got the helmet-to-helmet call, I don't think he did, but Jonté was in good position to get the ball out. If Lou looked up he might have had the ball. I was glad Lou broke out of the middle like that. It shows he still has speed and he made a great break on the ball. We had a couple practices, yesterday in particular, where Jonté and Chris Greenwood were playing outside and the ball kept popping out, and they kept knocking them down. They are getting better. I am excited about those guys."

On what the future holds for Green and Greenwood: "I learned a long time ago from Al Davis that you never give a corner away and never give a defensive end away. Draft them when you find a big fast one, same with defensive end, we got Ziggy (Ansah) and Devin (Taylor) and those two as corners. They are the size you need to battle the big receivers. I have been saying it all my life. It is hard sometimes for people to understand that."

On what the plan is if Lions LB DeAndre Levy is unable to play: "Mac (Rocky McIntosh) has been taking his place all week and he has played well when we have asked him to play. If I am a betting man then I know who's playing. Levy will play no matter what. He is a tough guy and is preparing himself. It is too bad he couldn't get more practice reps but he will be ready."

On Green giving the defense energy: "I think that is his personality, but more than that I don't think there is a player or anyone in this building that doesn't like that kid. He is the same every day. He knocked one down in the red zone today and the whole team went crazy. He is a competitive guy and to me that's the number one quality you look for in a corner. Second is real fast and real big."

On how dangerous the Giants are coming off of an embarrassing loss: "They are a different kind of team. I would never look back on what happened last week or six weeks ago. They did that in the Super Bowl run. If you watched them earlier in the year you would think ‘my god'. They got handled by Green Bay and then they came back to Green Bay and beat them and went to the Super Bowl. You can't think about yesterday, you have think about Sunday."

On how different the Giants offense is without WR Victor Cruz: "That will be the interesting part because he is the catalyst on that team. They have some good receivers and Eli knows how to get the ball to them and spread it out. Obviously it will hamper him some, how much I don't know yet."

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