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Lions quotes: Thursday's comments from Jim Schwartz, Scott Linehan

Quotes from Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan's media session after Thursday's Detroit Lions practice.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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.)


On the value of a player like CB Rashean Mathis that can produce plays late in the game: "High. He can play outside corner. He's played nickel. He's played some safety for us. He's done a good job as a hold up guy on punt return and kickoff coverage as a safety. He's experienced. Good sized. He's really a great acquisition for us. It's not just because he's smart. He's still a talented player. He came off an ACL a couple years ago. He's now recovered from it. We're really glad to have him. Whether it's as a starter or a bullpen or a jack-of-all-trades. Whatever it is he can contribute to this team and he did in this last game."

On how pleased he is to see what may have been a detriment turn into a big strength on the secondary: "I don't think any of us ever thought it was going to be a detriment. It's a little bit like the offensive line. We had confidence in the guys there. I've said before our biggest thing in the secondary is just availability and keeping those guys out there. When we're available, that's a good group of guys. That's going to be the tale of the tape with us. It was a tough outing for those guys because we put them on an island quite a bit in that game. They lost a couple battles, but they also won quite a few. Allowed us to control the run game. Those guys tackled very well. It was a good starting performance. It wasn't a great performance. It was a good starting performance. We can play better and we'll have different challenges each week. This week we have (WR) Larry Fitzgerald, (WR Michael) Floyd and it's a good passing offense with (QB) Carson Palmer."

On if the secondary allowed CB Darius Slay to settle down and not get overwhelmed by the game: "I don't think he does. We have perfect confidence that he can go out, but again in the fourth quarter of a game like that I just made the decision that I wanted a more experienced guy out there. It had nothing really to do with Slay as much as it was the positive for Rashean. Slay played really well. He had just given up a deeper ball and I just, again, didn't want to have the situation where now he was playing cautious because he had given up one. It's a learning experience. We certainly have confidence in him. It's really not that big of a deal. I don't know if you guys have made it a big deal, but it wasn't like he was benched or anything else. It was more of a situational substitution than anything else in that game."

On P Sam Martin's responsibilities this week in terms of managing Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson's returns: "Well there are a couple of things that goes into that. Our offense has a hand in that also. If we're not punting very often, then it makes it difficult for Patrick Peterson to get returns. Also, if we're punting from the midfield area, you're getting a lot of hang time, and it's generally difficult to get returns that way. If we are backed up or in our own part of the field and we have to punt his hang time and direction is extremely important in the coverage aspect. A player like Patrick Peterson you can't cover the whole width of the field. You have to narrow the field. That helps your coverage units. Hang time allows those guys to get down there and be in position to get them tackled. The deal is finished by the guys that are covering. They have to tackle well and tackle strong. I think Peterson had just one return last week. I think that had a lot to do with schemes that people used, but also just the offense's affect and here they're punting the ball. I think those all play a big role in this game."

On what is Peterson's most dangerous position: "All. He's a guy that with the ball in his hands he can score a touchdown. There are a lot of guys like that. Not many can do it in so many different phases. He does it in punt returns, interceptions, fumble recovery. They scheme the ball to get the ball to him in offense. They have worked that into their package. He ran a wildcat play against us last year. He's the guy that when you have a play maker like that you want to put the ball in his hands. We just have to be alert every time 21 comes on the field. We have to do our jobs and make sure that he doesn't make a big play in the game."

On how much of last year's Cardinals touchdowns were a giveaway on the Lions part: "They all count. However they score them, they still go on the scoreboard. Whether they're grinding them out or whether they're scoring on one play it's still the same. I will say this from a run game standpoint defensively, for us when we gave up the long run to Adrian Peterson it was one play that was easier for our players to get over on the sideline then eight straight runs, 7.8 a carry. It's easier to lose confidence that way then to lose it with just one big play. They all still count. Whether you get them on turnovers, score on special teams, run it in or throw it in it doesn't matter. Touchdowns are touchdowns. We have to find a way to keep them off the board on defense and we have to find a way to score on them on offense.  They have big play capabilities. We mentioned Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald speaks for himself. There are a lot of guys that they have that can make a play. It's going to be our job to get them stopped."


On the running game: "Well it gives us some other options. Certainly we have been pass heavy since we've been here. We looked a little bit like we did when (RB) Jahvid (Best) was out there as far as creating some explosive plays from some different positions. It was a good start."

On expectations of defenses to change the way they play: "I don't know. I think everyone is going to be different. I think we will certainly see some different things but every defense has a different philosophy. We are playing a different defensive team, when it comes to who's calling the plays too, so there is a lot of mystery as to what that'll be. We will find out Sunday."

On if there is concern of Bush getting so many touches: "Not really. We don't really go into, ‘Hey he has to average this.' Some games he's going to have that, some games less. It's just kind of how the game went. He was going to be the primary guy until they were to change and basically take him away. He ended up with quite a few and (RB) Joique (Bell) was able to come in and spell him and do some good things for us. I like the way their roles are coming around."

On the offensive line play: "I thought they played very well, the whole line. That was a challenging group to go against. Every week is that way but for the first game, I couldn't have asked for a better outcome for them. It wasn't 100 percent, it never is, but the way they competed was great."

On the depth on offense: "The really good offenses in this league have guys that have roles, you specifically say that on certain plays you're in. You know, you say maybe this series you're playing running back or this series you're playing tight end and having guys like that, maybe that have a different skill set, it gives us a lot more versatility."

On how RB Joique Bell has improved: "A lot. We knew about Joique because he was a local, followed his college career, had him in the senior bowl. From the time Curtis Modkins was his position coach his rookie year in Buffalo to the time in Philadelphia, in New Orleans and back with us, I mean he has gone through a transformation of rookie, trying to figure it out, to a guy that figured it out. He knows that his role is very critical to this team and did it on the field. He did it on the field for us last year and really played great in preseason. You're seeing what you need him to do, a good dose of it last week."

On the combination of run blocking and pass protection: "I thought for week one it was very, very good. It wasn't perfect but it was pretty darn good for an opener. The challenge was very much on us because we were going against a defense we haven't had much success with, especially in the run game. It was a good start for us."

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