Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had to say after Thursday's practice. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ QUOTE SHEET
On adding a player to the practice squad late in the season: "You have this time and we have some situations at practice where we needed some legs to be able run through. Whether it was wide receiver, DB, offensive line or defensive line. Particularly a guy that doesn't have much of a background, you get a little bit more of an extended look. That certainly gives you an advantage going in to see if there is any future to move ahead with. It's not the final determination, but there is a reason why we practice. There is a reason why you go out and go through this stuff because players show their skills and it's not just a workout and it's really not a game, but it's part of an evaluation process."
On his feelings towards the Metrodome: "It's a loud place to play. I was a GA at the University of Minnesota when we played our home games there. It's been a tough place. Every place in the NFC North is a tough place to play. I don't know. I know this, their fans are going to want to close that stadium out with a win. The Vikings are going to want to close it out with a win and it's our job to make sure that the last game played there is a Lions victory."
On what TE Matt Veldman brings to the offense: "He has good size. He was with us in training camp. He has good hands. He has some skills that we can work in and he's a tight end. We are in the position now with some of the injuries that we had that we need a guy that can go in and play the position. We released him at the end of camp and we saw him earlier this year when he traveled with Tampa when he was on their practice squad, so we knew he was in shape and things like that. Whether he'll be active, how much he'll play and things like that are things that still have yet to be determined. It was a continuation of what we had with him in training camp. We didn't get a lot of time with him, but we did have some experience with him."
On OT Riley Reiff's ability to perform against the Vikings like he did in Week 1: "I think you go on the whole body of work. I don't know if you just put it on one game from Week 1 and then one game in Week 17. I think that you have to look at the individual games, trends, highs and lows and that just doesn't come from just one opponent. I think Riley's had a good year for us. Our offensive line has protected well. We have run the ball well. Riley has a lot to do with that. He has tough matchups every single week and Sunday will be no different. We talk about them wanting to go out with a win, Jared Allen has been a big part of their success and I'm sure he is going to want to do the same thing."
On if RB Joique Bell has the skillset to play as the team's down back: "A couple of times this year, one game it was hard to read a whole lot in to the Philadelphia game because of just the weather conditions, but the one thing about Joique is that he has done well with anything that we have given him. His career didn't start off quickly. He bounced around a little bit. I think he learned from a lot of those experiences. He stayed confident in his ability. He has worked extremely hard and I think that that is something he really figured out what he needed to do and watching successful players that were playing ahead of him and things like that. He's become one of our hardest workers. He's certainly able to handle the load that he did against the Redskins. If he has to do it anytime in the future we would be confident in him.
On the decision to bring Micheal Spurlock back: "When we had to let Spurlock go it really had no reflection of his ability or anything else. It was just where we were roster-wise. When we had the opportunity to get him back and the potential to have to plug him in and play right away on Sunday, we took advantage of that opportunity. Spurlock has played good, consistent football. Not just as a returner, but also as a cover guy, blocker and a lot of different things. Jeremy (Ross) has really done a nice job with our return game. He has made some big returns, but that's really no reflection on Spurlock. Spurlock I thought had a good season for us. We were in a pinch with the roster and now we are in the situation where we need a guy on the roster."
On WR Carlin Isles' ability to catch: "He's still working on it. When you're in rugby and catching the ball, it's a lot different. I wouldn't necessarily classify him as a rugby guy as much as of a track guy. He has a lot more track experience. That's something over the course of the NFL that that's happened a bunch of times where guys with track experience have come in and some of them have transitioned and some of them haven't. He has some natural ability. He played some college football and he has some interesting things. Number one of which is speed."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET
On RB Joique Bell's season and future: "Joique's really developed. I think we talked about, we were really his fifth team since he started in the League. For him to come back home, kind of earn his way onto the field and once he got on the field, earn his way on the field producing. Saw it last year, started really I think the second game of the year when we played San Francisco. I think he ended up having the most yards from scrimmage that game, didn't play that much, and then from then on, was very productive. Then we started using him in our third-down stuff, because he's a good matchup as a pass-protector, but (also) a really good receiver. This year I think you can really see him identifying his role as the guy coming off the bench, playing in a certain amount of snaps. We factored in snaps for him on first and second down and then his third-down role has been really big for us. He's really created a really good niche for himself."
On if there was a point when Bell showed that his play wasn't a fluke: "I think it was the body of work more than anything. I think each week when he would come out of a game, he might have 50 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving. That wasn't uncommon for him as a guy that wasn't starting. That's a lot of production from your second back. And he was consistent doing it, so I think his consistent level of play throughout both last year and this year has really put him in a good spot for the future."
On if Bell could be starter in the NFL: "I have no question he could start and finish a game. He's a guy that can handle a pretty heavy load. The thing about him is he has versatility to do that. He can be in the role we have him now (or he can) start a game. He's a guy that can go out there and get 100 yards for you running the football as well as produce in the passing game. There's no question he can do it."
On how he would characterize RB Reggie Bush's season: "It's just like anything else. We all had our ups and downs through the year, but he certainly brought credibility, as well as Joique's role to our running game. I think he's near 1,000 (rushing yards) now and has been very productive in our passing game. He's what we're looking for, that role that was missing. It's a little different than what we did with Jahvid (Best) when he was in there, but he certainly gives us the matchup, not only as a runner, but as a receiver that you're looking for. He's been able to give us some juice from the backfield."
On what QB Matthew Stafford has to do this offseason to get better: "Obviously, we have to do what we did for the first half of the year and stay in check with protecting the ball. Some of the things we've been able to do offensively as far as where we are offensively and how we're producing from a third-down standpoint, red zone standpoint, that's because of Matthew. You certainly, like we all have to do, is we have to maintain possession of the ball. That has ended up being our Achilles heel here down the stretch. It's not just all on him, but what was on him is he has to work hard at it, obviously getting in the rearview mirror. He'll work hard at that and he'll get that done."
On what Stafford needs to specifically improve on: "I think everything. I think you have to work on your technique as an athlete or a pro quarterback, or whatever position. The confidence will come as we move forward and we get him in a position where we can do some things that help him as well. We're all in the boat of making a push to step forward and get better."
On if he sits down and makes a plan with Stafford for what he needs to accomplish in the offseason: "Yeah, we do it when the season's over. Right now our focus is on this game."
On what the Lions offense needs to do to take the next step next season: "I think we've shown that we can certainly produce. Someone told me we were 40 yards away from finishing with a top-offense. It's going to be a top-three offense that the franchise has had coming up. We have what it takes to produce and move the football and get first downs and score. We just have to do a better job from the start of the season to the end of the season of maintaining possession of the ball. It happened to us with the fumbles last year. This year it happened with the fumbles and the interceptions were higher. Until that's resolved, you can't move forward from a standpoint of getting into position to win some of those games. From our standpoint, that's what we control from an offense. From a productive standpoint, in what we're doing scheme-wise, is very good and has proved that way over the course of the last three seasons.
On if the team is missing weapons at wide receiver: "The guys that have been playing for us have been productive in a very productive offense this year, so those are guys that can do the job. We'll address all those kind of things when the season's over."
On if he has a favorite Metrodome memory: "You know, someone asked me that the other day. I had a great stop there for three years. My favorite play was the Randy Moss no-look pass on a last play before the half. I think I was telling Tim (Twentyman) the other day, it's one of the greatest plays that I never saw because I was so mad that we weren't going to get another play off, because we got the ball with no timeouts on the 10-yard line. So the clock's going to run out and I can see it, there's no way we ran up and clocked the ball, so I grab my call sheet, I'm heading out the door in the Metrodome and I hear this loud sound, it sounded like an explosion, the crowd went crazy because Moss threw the ball over-his-shoulder to Moe Williams for a touchdown. It was a big touchdown, because we ended up winning up by seven points in the game and those points were obviously the difference in the game. I just remember that sound, that was pretty amazing."
On if he called that play right before the half: "What happened was, the play before we ended up getting sacked, so the clock was running and our players were all downfield. So they used a lot of time coming back and it was fourth down, we had to run a play, we couldn't clock it. We were so far back, we were on the opposite team's 40 (yard line), so we couldn't get it to the end zone, so Randy (Moss) got down the field. Moe Williams, he's not even supposed to release, but there was nobody rushing, so he just ran down the field. Moss catches it, there's like four guys on him and Moe's yelling at him, and he turns around and Randy, like in basketball, did a Magic Johnson-pass over his shoulder very subtly and Moe just caught it and walked it. Everybody in the Metrodome other than me saw the play."
On what Bush still needs to work on: "Like all of us, there are things that are very positive. We'll look at that when the season's over. We've all been bitten by the turnover bug and protecting that ball's going to be a big part of the offseason, obviously a huge part of the offseason focus. I think he certainly has brought a big dynamic to our offense that we were badly needing."