Below is a look at Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz's comments from Tuesday's post-OTA media session. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On the addition of veteran offensive linemen: "You know, it's just been opportunity. You know, a couple guys like (Leroy) Harris and (Jake) Scott were available this time of year. You know, after June 1 there is a little different dynamic when it comes to all the free agency rules and things like that. So, you know, a chance to add veteran players that have played a lot of football, one of them, Leroy, is still overcoming an offseason injury. He had knee surgery in the offseason so he's not ready to practice yet. But we'll get Jake up to speed right away. Once we get to training camp, we'll probably get Leroy up to speed. Both of them have experience and the more depth, the more guys in competition we can add, the better. But it was just opportunity. Those guys were still available."
On if they simply needed more bodies on the offensive line: "Yeah, it's absolutely not an indictment on anybody. It's just a fact of being able to add quality players and keep adding them. We have 90 guys in camp, so might as well take advantage of that and set ourselves up the best we can. You know, Nagy's still working back through his injury. You know, if we had Leroy Harris out there right now, he wouldn't be doing team (drills) either. So, you know, it's the same situation. We take a long-term approach with both of those guys and they do what they can now. Once we get to training camp, there will be a little bit more urgency."
On if WR Micheal Spurlock will fit into the return game: "Well, it depends on how he does. He's done it in the NFL. He's been successful doing it. You know, he's had success as a wide receiver, as a special teams player, as a returner, so that's part of his skill set. It's part of the reason we brought him here. We'll have a lot of different people competing back there, but he'll be one of them."
On RB Montell Owens' special teams ability: "Yeah, he's been a quality special teams player. Bono (John Bonamego), our special teams coach, coached him last year. So, he has some first-hand experience. It's easy to see his talent on tape, but also the kind of guy he is. You know, hard worker, pro, those kinds of things. It's a guy that we wanted to move pretty quickly on when he was let go by the Jaguars. So, it's another guy that has experience at running back. He's played a little bit of fullback and is a quality special teams player."
On where the team is at with the areas he wanted to address this offseason: "You know, we feel good about our offseason acquisitions. We felt good about the players we brought back and the players we drafted. They're all working really hard. You know, we're working mainly on passing game stuff and I wouldn't read too much into the teamwork that we do because you've got to avoid contact this time of year. So, it's really hard to get run game and run blocks and pass rush and pass blocking and those kinds of things accomplished because guys are trying to keep the contact down. But the timing of our passing game is good. Some of our young guys in the secondary have been able to get on the field that we hadn't really seen a whole lot of, guys like Chris Greenwood, guys like Bill Bentley. You know, (Darius) Slay's staring to work a little bit now. He's gone through individual (drills). Maybe, depending on how he does, we might be able to get him a little bit more each day. But you're starting to see that with a lot of other guys. We're starting to see (Mikel) Leshoure get back on the field and I mentioned Slay, Devin Taylor. Some of those guys that were nursing minor injuries, we're starting to get those guys back."
On WR Calvin Johnson not practicing today: "Yeah, just took the day off for Calvin. Calvin always works real hard. He was a little bit sore from some of the stuff he's been doing in the weight room. Just getting sore from lifting and stuff like that and, you know, it was down around his legs. So, we've got a day off tomorrow that can help him recover. It really wasn't an injury, it was just more slowing him down a little bit. Every time he doesn't practice is another time he won't dive for a ball. He won't lay out over top of somebody to make the catch and stuff like that. We have a good feel for what he can do. He provides a great example to the younger players. It did provide some opportunities for some other guys to be able to make some plays."
On G Larry Warford's performance in OTAs so far: "He's moved well. You know, he's a big man, he's got good athletic ability. He's picked things up quickly. Honestly, that's about all you can really say about a guy now. You can say how hard he works, how well he moves and how well he picks things up and that's really about it because we're not in pads. It's not even like a non-padded practice in training camp where you can still really get a good tempo. But he's set himself up in training camp to be able to show his physical ability. I think that's probably the main thing that a lot of those guys are going through right now, is learning the system and feeling comfortable with the cadence, comfortable with the timing and everything else when they can show their physical skills and they can be physical players, which those guys have to be, that you'll be able to see that. He won't be worrying about the count and, you know, the call that the center made and all the other things that go on."
On if Warford has shown the ability to be a starter: "Honestly, we've got 90 guys that project as starters. We want them all to succeed. He'll be in the mix, but how that goes is going to be how he plays in training camp and preseason games."
On how CB Chris Greenwood is progressing with his technique: "Improving. You know, I think that he looks in a lot of ways like a rookie out there, which was expected. He's a small-school guy that didn't get much time last year, so there are a lot of things that he's sort of learning for the first time and, you know, sometimes those lessons are only learned by making mistakes on the field. His technique is good, but just his understanding of the defense and where everybody fits and that's still a work in progress. But Chris has worked very hard off the field last year and it's come time to do it physically. So, we get a better feel for guys in coverage and wide receivers and things like that than you do the linemen. He's working hard, he's making mistakes, but you expect that. He's been cleaning them up and his technique has improved from where he was when he came."
On Vice Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr.'s comments about the team having a quick turnaround this season: "For sure, we think it's possible. I've said this probably from the end of the year last year. The balance in this offseason is not forgetting that we only won four games, but also combining that with realizing how close we were in the other games. I think it makes it more urgent for what we're doing. You know, it's a lot easier to preach that to the players, to sell it to the players and see the results of that when you know that one play is the difference. You know, I mean, we like the talent that we've acquired. We've fit those guys in pretty well, but our margins are small, just like everybody in the NFL and I think that's made it more urgent for us."
On feeling pressure from ownership: "Oh, everybody does. Everybody wants to win and to win now. I mean, whether you're in high school, college, the NFL, yeah sure, we all feel that. You know, that goes for coaches, that goes for players, everybody's in that same boat. We want to put last year behind us. The only way we can do that right now is working hard this time of year and working hard through our OTAs. Our first game doesn't come for quite a while. So, keep our eyes on what's important right now and what's important right now is correcting some of the mistakes we made last year, working hard each day in our OTAs, trying to improve on some of the things we're good at and try to work on some of the weaknesses that we have in some areas."
On what he hopes to accomplish in mini-camp next week: "Honestly, mini-camp is just an extension of our OTAs. It's really no different. You know, we have 10 OTA days and we have three mini-camp practices. Really, it's just 13 practices. So, the rules, everything else, the players can be here a little longer. We can meet a little bit longer, but we really can't do anything on the field that's different. So, you'll see a lot of the same. We just like to get most of our installation done before we get to training camp and if we can get the players comfortable with the scheme when they get to training camp, it can be about physical talent and competition and not so much about trying to learn the playbook."