clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions quotes: Friday's comments from Jim Schwartz, Gunther Cunningham

Quotes from Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham's media session after Friday's Detroit Lions practice.

Gregory Shamus

Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham had to say after Friday's practice. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)


On what it means to see injured WR Nate Burleson back in the Lions practice facility: "I think it's a little different than last time he got hurt, because last time he was hurt, he was away for a significant portion of time. To see him, you had to go to the hospital because he was not weight-bearing. Even when I think of the first time he came back, he was still in a wheelchair. Now, everyone knows he's going to be fine. It's going to take some time, but when he's back, he's going to be ready. The good news also, unlike maybe another injury, once his stitches and everything else heal up, he'll also be able to run, run routes. He won't be able to catch the ball necessarily right away, but he'll be able to stay in the swing of things. When he is healed up, it shouldn't be a long time before he's able to get back on the field, so that'll be good also."

On why former Lions RB Jahvid Best was so successful in the last Lions win over the Bears and how nice it is to have that speed factor again with RB Reggie Bush: "He was so successful because he was a really good player. The more good players you can put on the field, the better. I think you look at us, early on in the season, and saw the difference that a guy like Reggie made and how he complemented everything. It didn't necessarily work out the exact same way last week. A little different execution of a philosophy, that Joique (Bell) did a little different way. Regardless of who is on the field, we have an opportunity to make plays and we have to prepare that way. Whether it's somebody stepping up for Nate (Burleson) or guys stepping up last week for Reggie, whatever it is, I don't know that there's any particular players that have good matchups or fit better. There probably is, but we worry about our own guys, not as much about the opponents."

On the risks of having poor jamming techniques against big receivers like Bears WR Brandon Marshall and WR Alshon Jeffery: "They're big and strong and they can run through it. Some guys get clogged at the line of scrimmage and both of those guys can lose at the line of scrimmage and still win at the top of the route. It's because of how big and strong they are. So you can't just start off the snap well defensively. You have to finish through the top. It's happened a couple times so far this year on film with Brandon Marshall. Guys jammed him early in the play, it looked like he was out of the play, and he came back and still made the catch. So you have to play him through the down and particularly at the top of the route. You have to be strong there, it's not just about being strong at the line of scrimmage. They have big, big wide receivers. Both Marshall and Jeffery are really big guys. (Earl) Bennett's a big guy. The good news is that we have a lot of big guys here and we're used to practicing and playing against those guys."

On if Bears QB Jay Cutler can be rattled at this stage of his career: "I don't know. We really don't worry too much about that. We just worry about trying to execute our schemes and trying to keep him off the field and win third downs, win in the red zone, take big plays away, things like that. I think those things can be frustrating to any quarterback, whether it's Cutler or (Matthew) Stafford. Those are things we try to do defensively and those are things we have to guard against offensively. We have to take care of the ball. I think that's the biggest thing. Defensively, if we're able to get the ball, I think that can derail any offense."


On last week's game: "To me, it was one of the toughest things I've had to go into. I know Mike (Shanahan) real well, and they had lost two games. It wasn't fun to go and play because you didn't know what to expect. We anticipated the famous quarterback, RGIII (Robert Griffin III). We felt he would run the option right away and he did. I thought our guys responded well, I thought the defensive line had an outstanding game, all of them played really well and that helped us. Sometimes you start off a little slow. We have learned to play through the game this year and that was a good win for us."

On if the success of the Bears keeps him up at night: "I really have a lot of respect for Jay Cutler. I always have. I've coached against him here and at Denver and I think he is a heck of a player, he always has been. He has better people around him now, there is no question. They have good receivers and of course that little running back, he's not little, he's pretty good. Jay has really worked hard and I think he has bought into the system that Marc Trestman brought in. He is executing the game plans the way you're suppose too. He's not taking too many chances so it keeps you up at night. We have looked at a lot of things, studied it hard and hopefully we are on the right track in anticipating some of the things they may do."

On how different the Bears offense is under the new the coaching staff: "First of all, that last staff that was there, my hats off to those guys, they did a great job. Every time we've coached against them or I've watched them, Lovie (Smith) is an outstanding coach and so are all the other guys. The change now is, you can really see it in the passing game. Jay is very disciplined in his drops, we call them five quick's, and usually if you drop back as a quarterback, you take five and you have maybe one hitch-up and the ball is out. He is getting the ball out, he is delivering it. They have different concepts, they throw the ball horizontally to spread you apart in zones. They have the ability to go deep fast."

On DE Willie Young playing both right and left defensive end: "There are some guys that can do that. When I was in San Diego, I had two ends, Lee Williams and Leslie O'Neil. Lee Williams couldn't do it and he was a six-time All-Pro player. To do that you have to be exceptional. I don't know how Willie approaches it. I'm sure he doesn't even think about it, he may not know which side he is on. That's a good thing. He just comes off the ball. Last week I thought he did a heck of a job. They changed their stretch play, the perimeter blocking, and the minute I saw it I said ‘Oh boy, we're in for it' and they did the exact opposite. The tight end and tackle usually worked on our ends and the fullback went up to the safety and they switched it. Willie came off so hard that the full back cut him but he cut five yards in the back field so the back had no chance. He didn't care, he just came off like Jim Washburn emphasizes and he did a great job of executing it."

On if you can still rattle Cutler: "I'll be honest, I've never seen him rattled. We had them (at Ford Field) and I think they jumped offside like seven times and he kept fighting. You can look at the tape, I have never seen him (rattled). I think a lot of blame has gone his way and I think unjustified, no question. He is one of the better quarterbacks I've seen in this league in the last eight to 10 years."

On how much WR Brandon Marshall gives you nightmares: "When I was at Kansas City, we beat him and (Kansas City Chiefs CB) Brandon Flowers was covering him and he ran a post and it was a bad throw. He reached back with one hand and snatched it out of the air. I went ‘My God'. With what he was able to do in those days was catch the short stuff and explode for 70 yards. He is still moving but not as a young receiver. Now he is just physically strong and out battles the corners. He gets the high percentage of targets, last year he had like 256 throws at him. They use him and they know how to get the ball to him."

On if Willie Young has more professionalism this season: "I haven't heard him speak at all, which should answer that one. He has been all business from what I've seen. I've watched him, I haven't talked to him hardly. He is in the zone and I want to keep him that way. He is really working hard."

On limiting Bears RB Matt Forte: "We have to tackle him. It's a simple answer. What they do, they are very conservative in their approach like third down. If it's third and 10, they will dump it to him and the reason for that, a lot of times defenses spread out, we call it being over the top of the receiver. The linebackers hover at 10 yards on a lot of coverage's and he gets the ball and usually has one guy to beat for the first down. They have so much confidence in him that he has 23 targets and I think he has 18 of them and moved it."

More from Pride Of Detroit:

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.