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Lions quotes: Jim Schwartz's comments from Monday's press conference

Quotes from Jim Schwartz's Monday press conference.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz had to say during his Monday press conference. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

On the players' comments describing the team as soft and too comfortable: "Well first, I don't think anybody was comfortable. That was a very difficult game to play and no matter what happened in the game, you were one play away from a kick return or a broken run away from having the score flipped real quick. I don't think that was the case and we didn't play our best run defense in that game. I certainly wouldn't classify our defense as soft. We missed a lot of tackles in that game and LeSean McCoy did a good job with the conditions and we didn't. I wouldn't put it on anything else. Players can characterize it any way they want, but when you say that word it becomes sort of an inflammatory word. I think you look over the course of the season with us and I think that we are a big, tough and physical team. We played the run well, but that game we didn't play the run very well."

On the margin of error decreasing: "I think we'll see tonight with Chicago's game where that ends up. Obviously we are in a race for the division title. We have three games to play. You say it all the time that you can't really worry about what's happened in the past. You have to keep your eyes focused on the future. It starts Monday night with the Ravens. That's about all you can really say about that."

On the mentality of the team controlling their destiny: "Well sure. Anytime it's in your hands like that, you feel good about your opportunities. I know this, that the next three games we are not going to have to worry about eight inches of snow on the ground. We are not going to have to worry about 50 mile an hour winds or anything else, but potentially in the future we still do. I do think that we can do a better job adapting to the climate and things like that. I wouldn't characterize it the way that maybe some other people have, but we can do a better job there. I think our focus is on the next three starting with the Ravens on Monday night."

On the last three losses coming from fourth quarter performance: "You want to hold on to the lead in games. All three are different. I have never been around a game where conditions were like this last one. I know most of our players, or none of our players, have been in a situation like that. We have all had sort of slippery fields or icy fields or a little bit of snow on the ground, but our guys were almost knee deep in snow in end zones and trying to cover down the field and things like that. It was a bit, I don't want to say unprecedented at least in my experience. Each one was so different. It's hard to really comment on them as being the same. The key is that we had the lead and we weren't able to finish it."

On the defense missing plays: "Well the reason they were running in to each other is because they were having trouble with footing and things like that. I mean, same thing happened on both sides of the ball. I think we have been a very good tackling team. I thought we tackled very well in other games this year. I think that's been one of our strengths defensively has been our tackling ability. We didn't tackle well in this game. Somewhere in the neighborhood of about 180 yards of their rushing were after missed tackles. There is no excuse for it, but there are reasons that it happened. Other than players being in position and knowing what to do and things like that."

On coaching the team through mental mistakes: "I think you look at us with ball security: We fumbled twice in the early portion of the game where we sort of had command of the game, so that wasn't a reaction to having the lead and not finishing, and things like that. We did fumble once at the end. We were down I think eight points when we had it, but I don't think it had anything to do with mental toughness of anything else. We're on the road, we had emotion, the ball got snapped before the quarterback was ready and we ended up putting it on the ground. Our tackling, our guys were certainly trying to tackle, maybe even to, I don't want to say to a fault, but we were trying to get them on the ground. It wasn't like we were letting up or giving up or anything like that."

On the two penalties on Detroit early in the fourth quarter: "Those were a couple tough calls and I think the biggest thing penalty-wise is players knowing what they did wrong and being able to sort of learn from it whatever. In those cases with those penalties, I don't know what to tell them. There are some things you can say, ‘Hey you got your head right here' or ‘This is what the official saw in those situations' or anything else, but it's not our job to officiate. Like you said, Jeremy (Ross) returned the next kick and it gave us some momentum back, but we didn't do a good enough job finishing that game. Defensively it all had to do with stopping the run. We gave up a couple passes on their first scoring game, but the passing game really didn't have the impact that the running game did and that was the difference."

On CB Darius Slay's health: "He did have knee surgery last Friday. Friday evening. But he's just classified week-to-week, day-to-day, whatever you want to call it. We didn't put him on injured-reserve, so I think that probably answers your question without me commenting specifically on injuries."

On CB Chris Houston quitting on Eagles WR DeSean Jackson's touchdown play to complain to the officials: "I don't know that he quit on the play. He turned inside and DeSean stopped. When he found him again, the ball had already been thrown and then he saw his foot up on the plowed area right there. All our guys did, they thought he was out of bounds. It was really hard to officiate the sideline. Joique Bell had a run on the sideline where he stepped one foot into that plowed area and it was whistled dead right away, he would have broken free. It would have been about an 80-yard touchdown, but that play was whistled. And then DeSean stepped on that same sort of area and it was a touchdown. It was tough, they were all judgment calls and it's tough. We have to finish through the play. I don't think he quit on the play, he lost the receiver and again it was tough, because you're running through eight inches of snow down there. And the end zones are probably the worst part of the field, because they weren't as affected by all the mass of people tramping it down. The end zones, you had to really push your way through. Chris was sort of running with it and just kept on running where DeSean stopped. I don't think he quit on the play. After the fact, he looked and said he was out of bounds. That's the way I saw that one."

On the defense not being able to stop the run: "We certainly give credit to a guy (LeSean McCoy) that's near or at the top of the NFL in rushing. He certainly earned his yards. I think our run defense is good. We don't want to overreact because of the way that game went and the field conditions and things like that. We have confidence in our ability to stop the run. I think over the course of the season we've proven that."

On updates on RB Reggie Bush and DE Ezekiel Ansah: "Ziggy had a shoulder (injury). Reggie aggravated his calf. Neither of those guys are long-term. They're both sort of day-to-day type guys."

On if Bush aggravated his calf in pregame warmups: "He was out in pregame warmups. It wasn't his knee, it was his calf. It was his calf. He went back in to try to warm it back up and wasn't able to do it."

On if he can remember the atmosphere from the last time the Lions played on Monday Night Football: "Our fans knew what time it was, and they responded and we are going to need them to do the same thing. We had a couple issues, line of scrimmage wise, because of crowd noise at Philadelphia. One of those was the snap that we ended up fumbling late in that game. They were able to use a hard count and we were offsides a couple times. I think that definitely played into the fact that we were on the road. I think Ford Field is a tough place for people to come in and play. If we can get a couple plays like that that might be the edge we need in that game."

On how concerned he is with the pre-snap penalties this late in the season: "The defensive offsides was very difficult and they were judgment calls.  There was some movement, they were snapping the ball of the snow, and they weren't snapping the ball off the ground so there was a lot of movement with the ball. It was very tough to discern who was at fault. They were also the home team and they didn't have problems with counts. The big one was the fumble that got late and it was a critical error in a tough time. It is a combination of mental and physical error so to speak. I don't think the play clock was running down but our timing was off. We were trying to motion a wide receiver in and that action wasn't as fast because of the speed at which they could move. All of the passing game looked like it was in slow motion."

On if it concerns him that the team needs the extra motivation of being an underdog: "I don't think that had anything to do with our game in Philly. I don't want to read into anyone else's comments, but I would be surprised if anyone said that game we didn't play because we were favored. I don't even know if we were or not."

On the expectations being a little higher: "I think expectations are always high. We're not practicing harder one week and letting up the next week. We are out there trying our best every week. Sometimes we play very well like against Green Bay on Thanksgiving, this game, we didn't play as well. In spurts we did, early in the game, I thought we were responding well even though we had a couple fumbles, we got a turnover, we made a couple plays but when the game was over they ended up making more plays than we did."

On if he calls the League on clarification of questionable calls: "We talk to the League about every week when it comes to calls, mainly to find out what we can tell this player, what we need to do different, what the official saw. We will have the same conversations. I have never been one to come up here and talk about conversations we had or if this call was wrong or if this call was right. That's not our job, our job is play and coach and their job is to officiate. Those two plays are difficult because it is hard to tell those guys what to do any different. I would be surprised if the League had a different stance on that. If they told us, ‘Hey this is what they did wrong'."

On what it says about the team that they haven't been able to win the division yet: "Every game is tough in the NFL. It starts back in April when the schedule comes out, everyone looks at the games and says that's a win, that's a loss. You just never know. Even after half of the season or a quarter of the season there were some teams that weren't playing well at the beginning of the year that ended playing well. We came back in some games, we had some big comeback wins this year. It's not like every one of our losses have been in the same way or that we haven't been able to come back. We have come back, we have salted some games away and other games we haven't but we are battling for our division right now and that's the only thing we can worry about. We can't worry about anything else."

On if it's not a big deal that they haven't put the division away yet: "Well I don't want you to put words in my mouth by saying that. I just say that every game is different. We have come back in games, and we have had games where we lost the lead and we have had games where we had the lead and were able to keep it. There are other games where we were behind and weren't able to come back and we weren't able to keep it."

On why they took the ball to start the game: "Well the initial forecast was that the weather was going to get worse through the game. It is hard to imagine it being any worse right there but in that case it was like if it is going to get worse than this then hey. If the snow was going to continue to pile up, imagine if it was 12 inches at the end. I think we played our best at the beginning of the game. We were able to move the ball but we weren't able to finish those drives because of fumbles. There wasn't much of a wind, actually the wind died down at the end of the game, but with the potential of the wind, if we take the ball in the first half then we get to see where we want to finish in the second half. The other thing, it turned out that it was nearly impossible to kick a field goal. It was very, very difficult to throw the ball but the wind didn't have a lot to do with the game but there was potential that it did. It was a tough situation because you didn't know. It is snowing like crazy right but is it going to stop? Is it going to get worse? And it was none of the above. "

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