Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Friday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
On the captains for Sunday's game: "On offense, Reggie Bush. In our kicking game we have Isa (Abdul-Quddus) and defensively, we have Dig (James Ihedigbo)."
On TE Eric Ebron's health status: "He's got a little bit of an issue that he dealt with the other day and he's had a similar issue before. It's just a matter of how quickly he's going to be able to rebound, so the doctors are still working with him. It'll be day-to-day and he hasn't practiced since Wednesday, so hopefully he'll get back soon."
On what TE Jordan Thompson brings to the team: "One of the unique things about where we are right now is that we've always said that if you're on the practice squad, you should stay ready so you don't have to get ready. It's a little different than college, you're not in a redshirt year where they aren't going to use you at all. There's a chance that you could be called up at any point in time. It just kind of depends upon what happens. I think he's one of those guys though that's been studying from day one. He's very diligent in his preparation, he knows exactly what to do, understands his role if he does happen to get called up and he's a guy that can run and catch. Obviously, I think in the role that he would play, he'd end up serving in a capacity where typically Joe (Fauria) and Ebron both would have played. But I think he'll be ready for it."
On if the team would sign a TE before the game on Sunday and if they could play right away: "That's difficult, unless he's a system ordinate guy or a guy that's been in it. Not too many guys out there are like that, but we're always kind of trying to stay ahead of a bit of an injury bug that we've had from time to time. We've looked at a few guys, we kind of know where we need to go, if we need to do so."
On if TE Brandon Pettigrew will be more of a focus in the passing game if Ebron can't play: "Yeah, and I think he's more than capable. I think if that does indeed happen, I think he would relish the opportunity to show what he can do in that area as well. He's a guy that's big and has some speed. He's a hard worker and has been performing extremely well for us, so that would just add a little bit more to his plate."
On how midweek injuries affect the team: "They create problems because of the fact it gives you little time to adjust. So, rather than you having a guy who you know has had three days of practice and you can get him ready really in a hurry, even if you sign him on Monday or if you sign him on Tuesday, he's not behind the eight ball in terms of game plan installation. But you couple that with the fact that he's learning a systemic change for him, and that's difficult. That's why you have to find system guys, if it does happen to you midweek. So, it does kind of shrink the pool."
On if the injuries at TE affect how the team will go about using WR Calvin Johnson: "Not really. Although that's all a part of the passing game, all those positions. We still have to look at each case a little differently and it really depends upon what the doctors say."
On if he anticipates Johnson playing this Sunday: "I've been surprised before. He's an unusual guy and just talking to him yesterday after practice he's feeling good and coming along. Miracles have happened."
On if it would take a miracle for Johnson to play on Sunday: "It would probably be fairly close to that in some cases but in this particular case I just think he's a little different guy. These guys have an unbelievable tolerance for pain, the recovery is quick and he's no different. When they take such great care of their bodies, you'll find the healing process happens a little quicker and your attitude as well. I was talking to (Eric) Ebron walking down the hall and he had kind of a glum look on his face. He's dealing with a little nagging injury and I told him I said, "Hey, you got to start smiling. Attitude helps you heal quicker. It's a proven fact so get a smile on your face," and he's a young guy as well so he'll come along."
On if TE Joseph Fauria is getting closer to returning to the field: "They're ramping up his activities. Often times if they're not on the practice field sometimes it's due to treatment that they're receiving and we feel they're better served maybe during individual periods and certain periods inside. When team work begins and a guy can learn, listen, watch, and sort of get mental reps we think it's advantageous to walk them on the field. If it's in any way, shape, or form that would be detrimental to his recovery by standing on his leg too long, particularly if it's a lower extremity injury, typically shoulders and things of that nature may not be placed in the same category. Those lower extremity injuries we certainly do look at that and try not to put too much weight on that particular area too often too quickly. With him being out there you can see that he's making good progress."
On what more QB Matthew Stafford can do to help the other weapons on the team: "I think one of the things is that it's always I think dangerous in a team game the one in which we play, where you try and do too much. You got 11 guys out there on the field, they're assigned to do a job, and you have to be able to rely on everyone to do their job. I think he's done a real fine job of that and he's been a guy that has a real astute understanding of how to win games, in particular tight games. He I think has gotten to the point where you can see him progressing. He hasn't been trying to do too much and I think you'll continue to see him do the things he knows how to do but still try to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers, I think that's key."
On if he will damage personnel to counter what the running backs of the Saints are doing: "They're close to that. It's similar to what they had with (Darren) Sproles. They create problems for you and they have so many of them that they utilize. Pierre Thomas may be, in my estimation, one of the best screen runners that I've seen in a long time. He's just got a natural feel for it. (Mark) Ingram certainly can run over you or around you. (Kyrie) Robinson also does a nice job as well. So, they have a bevy of backs that give you some issues and give you some matchup problems depending upon who you utilize in certain situations and they certainly could. But in those situations, passing situations you may adjust. But sometimes in run-down situations they, depending on the personnel grouping, they still could give you a problem in space. But, good thing we have guys that can run. Our linebackers can move."
On if it's easier to plug guys in place to a system that has been developed: "I don't think there's any question about that if they're on your squad when you talk about plugging them in. There's no question after you've been in there a long time and depending on how long that individual has been in there. A year is a year in a system, you know what I mean? But, if he's been there five, six or seven years, that's a huge difference in terms of a backup role. In that case, yes, but you still have to look at each individual and regardless of how long they've been teaching the system is how long that particular individual has been in the system. That makes a difference."
On how being more aggressive on offense would affect the rest of the group: "I'd probably say the most important thing is probably executing better would open up things. I think if we have the precision we're looking for in terms of our passing game, if we have the catch and run after the catch that we're looking for in that phase, I think if we have our timing and accuracy in place, our pass protection operating properly to give our quarterback enough time, I think if all those things are working, our execution, that open things up for us. But also conversely, I think that our running game still could be a great aide to us. It's a quarterback's best friend. When you get linebackers and everybody else reacting to runs that have been effective then it opens up your play-action game, it opens up seams for you so I think that ties hand in hand as well. So really, it's an execution thing we just need to execute better, really on the offensive side of the ball."
On if he expects Saints TE Jimmy Graham to play: "I don't know about that latter part of it, but what I do know is that we go into every game preparing for their absolute best, the absolute best they can be. Then beyond that, if a guy's playing or not playing we're going to play the same way. I think one of the biggest problems that teams have is that they take a sigh of relief when a particular guy is not playing for some reason or the other they think it's going to be an easier day. I think a lot of teams probably look at us the same way with last week, perhaps they didn't see Reggie or Calvin, but our team can still be effective. I think that's one of things that you have to be guarded about in this league, that anybody that they place in that position, I don't care who it is, if he's lined up in the National Football League for that first snap or whenever it occurs, this guy can play, whoever that guy is. He has talent, it's a speed league, they all can run, they're all high energy guys, they're all guys that are ambitious, all guys that are looking for an opportunity to shine that have had great success in college and now want to take it to the next level. That's a lot of ambition, a lot to force and drive to reckon with on game day and you see that week in and week out."