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 RB Reggie Bush: "He's improving. We'll see where he gets to by the time we get to the game. We have a long time between now and the game. If he can be ready and if he can play then he's tough enough to do it."
On if Bush has a chance to play if he doesn't practice tomorrow: "You know, I don't put timetables on guys when it comes to having to practice on a certain day. We have had a lot of players that have gotten back to practice and didn't play. DT Nick Fairley was one last week. Other guys didn't practice at all, but played on Sunday. We'll take each case individually."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR SCOTT LINEHAN QUOTE SHEET
On his assessment of G Larry Warford: "He is starting as a rookie, that is hard to do in this league. He went through the rookie pains but quickly progressed. I think he has played very well. It's definitely winning football for us. We're really happy with him."
On what has led to Warford's progression: "He is a pretty good ball player number one. We had him for Senior Bowl and felt really comfortable with his ability to play early for us, but we didn't put a time table on it. His improvement in OTA's through preseason was rock solid. We were able to put him in there and so far he has played pretty darn good."
On if Warford's progression has surprised him: "Not really. We felt it didn't matter when we took him. Hopefully we would be lucky enough to have a chance to pick him and you do that with a lot of the players going into the draft, but we had a background with him and certainly watched his college tape. Then having him in the Senior Bowl, knowing how well he played for us that and practiced, we just felt like he was the right fit for us."
On if it's important for the backups to play their game as opposed to whoever they are filling in for: "Yeah you put words in my mouth on that one. That is exactly what they have to do. If Reggie (Bush) is out there then Reggie has to be Reggie. If Joique is out there, he does it his way. If Mikel (Leshoure) is called upon he has his style. Theo (Riddick) has a different kind of style, so he has to do it his way. We're very, very happy with the depth we have at that position right now and the things those guys bring."
On RB Joique Bell's drops last week: "He was running before he was catching it. I don't think it has anything to do with his role. I think it's just a fundamental thing and he knows it. We have worked hard to correct, not just that, but any of our mistakes from last week so we don't have that bite us this game."
On the offense in the second half last game: "First of all, Reggie (Bush) not being out there, we're not looking for an excuse. Next guy up has to go in and perform. We just didn't execute as well. We had some tight coverage pass attempts that weren't thrown and caught. We weren't able to flip the field. Field position was tough the whole game, but what you do with field position is you drive the ball and change the field. Whether you score or no, you have get the field position back and I think that hampered us more than anything, getting out of that part of the field. We have to do better on third down. Two weeks in a row we have been great in the first half on third down. We weren't as good week one and we were nonexistent in week two, so we have to step it up in that category."
On avoiding over confidence going into a game against a struggling defense: "It's the NFL, we don't look at the stats right now, two games in, those stats are a mirage. You look at that at the end of the year, you look at the record at the end of the year. They are very capable. We are looking at film from last year even because we only have two games to look at. We are watching them go out there and play like gangbusters and dominating. We know what they are capable of and we have to play really, really well to win this football game and that's what we are preparing for."
On how confident is he in T Riley Reiff and T Corey Hilliard with the matchups: "Well, they have played very well and they have played against good guys. Every week, it's the NFL, you're going against premier pass rushes. It's not just the left tackles anymore. The right tackle has got as big, like (Ryan) Kerrigan has three sacks, of a challenge as the left guy. They have played well so far. If they just stay playing as confident as they have been, we have all the confidence in the world in them."
On how to adjust to a defense with threats like WR Calvin Johnson and RB Reggie Bush: "One guy is a deep threat that you have to throw short to. The other guy is a short threat that you have to throw deep to. It's a tough balance. You have to do a lot of in-game adjusting with those two characters because we can look at all the film in the world and say, ‘They play us like this.' Then we get out in the game and they have guys covering Calvin and DB covering somebody like Reggie. You have to make those kind of adjustments in game, because people are going to specially game plan our personnel against what somebody else might do."
On the blitz game: "They're not going to change. They're going to run their stuff and we got to be the same way. We got to be certainly expecting it. I've gone in to games where you're expecting a lot more blitzes than base defense and you have the opposite, especially early in the game. They kind of change their, maybe, what their tendencies are or their thing. I think you expect it and then you react to the counter punch which could be a zone game plan or some kind of special game plan for Calvin, which is what we get every week."
On how detrimental it is to the offense without Bush: "Well the thing is, we have very capable running backs and good depth at the running back position. We just have to win a different way. There are other guys that can still do those things. Joique (Bell) is never disappointed in whether we hand the ball or run the ball to him. Mikel (Leshoure) finished strong, especially in the last game for us last year. We know if he were to play what he can do. We drafted Theo (Riddick) to come in and have some of the effect that maybe a Reggie might do or still be a running back. We were really happy with him doing those things for us in the preseason. If he were called upon, we have all the confidence in the world that he can help us."
On if Riddick's skillset most resembles what Reggie can do: "I don't know. I think between him and Joique, even Mikel in some instances, they can still do the same things. It's just going to be a matter of doing it and executing it the same way. Our challenge isn't to focus so much on that as everybody has got to step up in their role a little bit and pick up the slack. There are other very capable guys on our offense that can go out and help produce for us."
On how RB Mikel Leshoure has embraced his diminished role: "I don't think he has embraced a diminished role. I think he's a competitor. He wants to be out there, but he's been very positive. He's been a great teammate and he's been looking for an opportunity to go out and show what he can do. Possibly this week, who knows, we'll find out Sunday. But possibly this week he might have that chance."