Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Monday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening Statement: "We had a chance to look at the film and it didn't look much different than what we saw from the sideline. Obviously, it was a real strong effort from the entire team. We did a lot of things well, still have a lot to work on, but the defense's performance was outstanding. A lot of guys contributed to it, both the backend in terms of coverage and the linebacking corps, and up front in terms of putting pressure on the passer. And then also, obviously we held them to a minimum in terms of the running game. Special teams should be noted because of the fact that they kept a real strong return game from giving us problems, which I think was extremely important. Two talented guys back there and our guys did a nice job of covering and I thought we did well in that area. Offensively, obviously we still have work to do, but not having any turnovers was huge. It makes a tremendous difference in a game like that when the score is close and just one mistake in that regard can make a huge difference. So, that certainly was important to us. And we ran the ball, I think, better. It's not quite where we'd like to be, but we had our moments."
On QB Matthew Stafford's ability to throw the ball away: "I think he certainly did a tremendous job in terms of he threw the ball away four times. He just got rid of it in situations where there was no one open from him to throw to. I think overall, often times you find sack-fumbles occur when you do get sacked and things of that nature. It should go without saying that he obviously did a good job hanging on to the ball in that situation as well. It's like anything else, we improved a little bit in some areas, but we're not quite where we'd like to be, particularly with sacks and things of that nature. One sack is too many in our rigor and my estimation. So, we have to continue to work in that area."
On Stafford's offensive numbers being down compared to past seasons: "I'm not certain what you've been accustomed to, but my goal was to change it. I came in with the idea that we're going to try to make certain that this team is more about winning than about statistical milestones and I think that's the most important thing that you have to look at. Teams win different ways. Do I expect that in some point in time you'll see the offense explode? Yes, I do. I do think you'll see us be a lot more productive than we've been. I think that's a part of the process, you just keep working at it and get better. But the most important thing is to win. That's the key, and I think often times in the business in which you guys are in, that's not enough. You look at all factors and so that's the way it is. But from our vantage point, we look at the win, the most important thing and then we try to make certain that we try to straighten out the other areas that we need to get done. But 17-3, on the road, with an outstanding defensive performance. Good teams win different ways. I think we're trying to develop ourselves into being a good team. We're not there yet."
On what he believes is the issue on offense: "Well, a couple of things, I think that execution is always the bottom line. We just have not executed as well as we're capable. Secondly, I think we hurt ourselves. We had three successive drives where we had two holding penalties, a sack and anytime that you have holding penalties that take you back to second and 20 or more, or first and 20, we had a couple of those. Those are very difficult to overcome, plus it left us with a situation where we were third down and nine-plus on maybe 12 or 11 different occasions, I think. It was long yardage issues that you had to deal with on third down. You look at the percentages of converting those in our league, it's minimal. I think we didn't overcome those. We've been very good in that area, but for the last couple of weeks we've had some struggles. But we have to continue working at it and we'll get better."
On Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi's play calling: "It's been good. Obviously, he's done a nice job and just like anything else, I think sometimes play calling is a difficult thing and it depends on what's working for you, but I think he's done a nice job."
On how he determines the defensive line rotation: "It's not necessarily a pitch-count. You'd like to be able to keep some guys from getting an inordinate amount, where they get fatigued and what we try to do is rotate them on that basis. Some of them are package related and then some of them obviously certainly have to do with just trying to get guys in and out as quickly as we can to make certain that we keep them fresh. We have a lot of guys that can play and play well, as you can see, and when we can keep them fresh, that rotation I think helps us."
On why LB Josh Bynes played a significant amount on Sunday: "He's a guy that's capable. You'll see that on defense, we rotate a lot of guys in there. You'll see (Danny) Gorrer in one package, you'll see (Cassius) Vaughn in one package, you'll see (Don) Carey go in in one package in terms of our nickel. There's a lot of guys. The same thing goes into that, if a guy is capable and he's able, we try to get him in and get him involved some where we can. It doesn't cross the board defensively. I think it's a bit different because of the way in which some of them have special traits that we try and utilize in certain key situations."
On if LB Josh Bynes was in the game more because of the packages the defense was running: "No, I said some of it is. I talked about several other spots as well."
On what special traits Bynes has: "Bynes is a heady player, he certainly can run and obviously he's kind of new within the system but yet he's familiar with it as well because of the fact that he's played with it and some of the nuances are similar with what he experienced in Baltimore. I do think he's a guy that's progressing rapidly and can make plays for us."
On if he would like to see TE Brandon Pettigrew get more involved within the offense: "There are a lot of guys you can say that for, you can go across the board and probably mention every receiver we have. You'd like to say he can get more targets and that kind of thing and really it just depends on the game. Some games it may be that way and other games it won't be, I'm not going to be too alarmed about that long as we keep getting W's, that's the thing. You'd like to get guys involved where they can but it's not a statistic orientated offense where you're going to single out one guy and say, ‘Hey we're going to get the ball to this guy you know 20-30 times,' or whatever it might be. We're trying to do what's best for us to get in the end zone."
On what he would prefer if he had to choose between having a top rated offense and low ranking defense or vice versa: "Not necessarily, I wouldn't state it that way. I wouldn't choose either one to be honest with you because I've been in situations where we've won with either one. I've been places where we had a great offense and maybe our defense statistically didn't look so good but the complementary work that they did together was outstanding and it led to wins, that's the most important thing. I've been places where we had outstanding defenses where the offense had been such, when we were in Tampa for example we had an unbelievable defense with a bunch of Hall of Famers running around on defense. Warren Sapp and the rest of that crew, but yet we played the kind of ball that got us victories. I think that more so than anything is the most important thing but if you can play defense and you're good and solid at special teams you're always going to be in the game."
On how the Lions defense compares to his defensive teams in Tampa Bay: "Couldn't compare it right now, we'll have to see in the long run where it is. We're not even halfway through the season yet. It's difficult, that particular unit, they were extraordinary for years, not just six games. I'll have to wait and see."
On how confident he is that the defense can keep up the pace that it's on throughout the rest of the season: "I think every week is different. Every week presents a new challenge. We have different offensive schemes to work against, quality offensive linemen to deal with, different threats, release of the balls are different in terms of timing and all those types of kinds things. That's the great thing I think about our defensive front, the guys on defense they take it on as a challenge and they adapt and adjust I think better than anyone in that regard. We're going to have do the same thing over and over again to see where we are at the end of the year. I certainly wouldn't be passing out any accolades and trophies at this point in time until we've gotten further along. They have been playing well though."
On if rookie LB Kyle Van Noy will begin practicing this week and what the expectations are for him: "There is a chance from a medical standpoint that this is going to be his week to start coming back to get a little bit more involved and we'll see what that looks like come Wednesday. He's a young guy who hadn't had a chance to get into the mix of things right now where we are, so we'll have to wait and see. He's athletic, he's big, he can run, he can tackle so we think he'll have a positive effect on it wherever that contribution occurs."
On the status of rookie WR TJ Jones: "He's about on the same path and just kind of depends on what the doctors see with him this week as well."
On what extent will he evaluate the snap, hold and kick process after two missed field goals yesterday: "It's constant. That's something that just never ends even when it's good they're always evaluated and looked at closely. I feel good about Matt (Prater), couple tough situations, there was some pretty good wind out there. Not everything was perfect but I feel great about him."
On WR Ryan Broyles voicing his opinion about his role on the team through social media outlets: "It's also kind of the way you interpret it, I think if you look at overall his tweets through the years. He's a guy that believes in motivation and he'll send things out that I think you can take a number of different ways. It just so happened that at the timing of that particular tweet you can take it one way or another. You'll have to ask him for his direct intention but overall I think things like that guys do express themselves, but I think that's the world in which we live in. We talk about those issues and that kind of stuff but they typically are things where guys are voicing their opinion."
On how he interpreted Broyles' tweet: "I didn't read his tweet to be honest with you, so I wouldn't lend myself interpretation to it. Let me just put it this way, if there's any point in time and I do think it's my responsibility to make certain guys know if they're feeling a little bit uncomfortable about where they are, where they line up, what their position is, or how they play in terms of their role, they should come and talk with one of the assistant coaches, then to the coordinator, then to me. My door is always open, we have an open door policy and I think you'll find that not to be the norm with this particular group. Nevertheless that's as much our issue as it is his. We got to make certain he understands where he is, why he is where he is and cover that clearly as brutally honest as we can be."
On if Broyles has come to discuss his role with him: "We've not had a conversation, not me in particular. Like I said, I believe in a chain of command. So, that's where I think we are right now."
On why Broyles has not had more opportunities given the minimal production from the other wide receivers: "First of all, in terms of minimal production I'd say a lot of that is not because of the fact of the receivers. There's a lot of factors involved in that, you know. It kind of all boils down to the same thing. Our passing game has not been as productive as we'd like to see it and it's not as productive as you're going to see it. Just like the question was asked about getting the tight ends more involved, when it's not working well there's going to be a lot of things that you could suggest. It's our job to try and get it right and that's what we're working on."
On the squib kick to open the game: "The wind was blowing such a gusting way that we didn't want it up in the air to let 84 (Cordarrelle Patterson) run it back down our throat, that was one of the reasons. But, it wasn't quite as deep as we'd like that squib.
On T Larry Warford being an eligible receiver on one play: "He wasn't split out wide but he was an eligible receiver, just to make sure we are correct on that. He was an eligible receiver, we had a little package in where often times what will happen is, you may lose track of a guy that you're covering in a man to man situation, tackle eligible sometimes give you a little problem in that particular case. It did not give them a problem. They were able to sniff it out."
On if he was disappointed he didn't get to see that play come to fruition: "Absolutely. I was excited about it but we didn't get it done. Matter of fact, we came here and had a play set up to run against Detroit while in Baltimore. We had a play with a tackle oriented play, Michael Oher, who's a right tack who can really run and has pretty good speed, so we had actually a hook and lateral to the tackle called in the game. But what happened is that it was so loud in the stadium that Torrey Smith didn't get the audible so he goes down and he blocks, the tackle does hear it but Joe (Flacco) ended up throwing the ball out of bounds because Torrey didn't run the proper route. It was supposed to be one of those things where you try to catch them in man to man, a no-huddle situation so it kind of set up nicely hoping they were in man. In man, nobody is covering that tackle so we're going to get a catch and pitch to Michael right around the 15 yard line, figured he could scamper it in. Matter of fact, it worked in practice quite well. But the interesting thing was, I asked Levy about it, the times that we've run that play we've gone all four receivers strong-side, everybody goes strong. Typically, all your linebackers run to the strong side so it then leaves a corner, obviously with nobody underneath him you that you could pitch it and run to because it's a three by one formation. Levy for some reason or another, is the first guy we ever saw that even though the action went that direction, he sniffed it out, somehow he started moving in that direction. So, if we had got it there in that situation he probably would have ended up tackling Oher or disrupting the rhythm of it. I did ask him and said, ‘How did you know?' He couldn't remember the play exactly, but it just shows you I think he's got great instincts and I'm glad I'm on his side now."
On who can run like Oher on the Lions offensive line: "Riley (Reiff) can run a lot better than what you think. He can run it well enough. I did use the term fast a couple weeks ago, but he can run. But, Michael Oher is a little unique in that regard."
On how good Warford's hands are: "Good, I'm sad you didn't get a chance to see it."
On what expectations he has that WR Calvin Johnson, RB Reggie Bush and RB Theo Riddick will be available this week: "We'll have to wait and see. All three guys I think are coming along and improving rapidly so we'll see where we are."
On if he is entertaining the possibility of sitting Johnson out these three weeks leading into the bye: "You know, to be honest with you, I do not hold a medical degree. It may appear that I do from time to time to you maybe. But, I don't. The fact of the matter is, I leave it up to the doctors. Those are the professionals, they know exactly what it takes and what can be done. Them in conjunction with Calvin and how he feels, they treat him not only the symptoms in the situation but also the patient as well in terms of what he feels. So, they'll let us know what's the best avenue to take."
On if he didn't kick a field goal at the end of the game because of the potential for a block: "Certainly. I'm not telling you that I'd never do it because of the fact that the circumstance may be different. But, when you're in that kind of game and it's 17-3, you get a blocked field goal, they take it back and score, onside kick, you know you'd be asking a different question today if we did that. It just doesn't make any sense. But, there may be some point in time when it may make sense and I have to come in here and explain it to you why it did make sense."
On WR Golden Tate's comments about stringing wins together: "Well, I think that what he understands and what we certainly try to get across is that in order to be really good at what you do, in order to be a factor in this league, you have to be able to stack wins on top of one another. If you're up and down, one week you win and the next week you lose, that's heading for an 8-8 season. Fact of the matter is, you have to be able to stack them on top of each other. So, that's what he's referring to and he's absolutely right."