LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET
On the problems the Buffalo Bills present defensively: "They got an excellent front four, both in the run and the pass, they're kind of leading both categories. Sometimes you see a front and they're a little better pass rush and you feel like maybe you can get some running game advantage or vice versa but these guys are all around as good a front as you're going to see. Good at the linebacker position and their corners cover very well. It's a really good defense that does what they do very well."
On what has he seen schematically from the Bills defense: "The last time we played the Lions was when I was in New Orleans in 2011. So there is a little bit of difference, maybe a little bit more variety in the fronts especially when you get into the nickel packages and maybe a little more variety in the coverage."
On if the hits on QB Matthew Stafford concern him: "Yeah, I think anytime the quarterback gets hit it's concerning. It's something that we are paying attention to and like I said we all have to get better at it."
On diagnosing the issues that may have an effect on the QB getting hit: "Well I think they're different. One sack last week was on a sprint out play, which as a play caller you kind of think well that's a safe as a pass as there is. They kind of jumped the route and he (Stafford) ended up getting hit on that one. I think there is a variety of things. I think there has been a few play calls that were a little ambitious given the situation. Sometimes there's been a breakdown in protection. One last week was I think lack of preparation on my part. The pressure that we saw for the protection we had wasn't covered so I'll take that as the coach. Like I said last week the quarterback can have a better clock in his head and sometimes we just need to block longer so everyone's responsible."
On if the fluidity at the RT tackle position is affecting the QB getting hit: "Who knows? If (LaAdrian) Waddle had played and we could have a test case A and test case B it would be easier to answer. There's no excuse for it, whatever the problem is we have to get it fixed."
On Stafford only getting hit once in the first week with Waddle and T Corey Hilliard: "Well, listen I hope that it solves all problems but we're not assuming that."
On if RB Joique Bell is unable to play how it affects what the team is trying to do rotationally: "You never really know for sure who's up until you get to the game on Sunday based on how the week goes. If Joique can't go like every week someone is going to have to step up and fill in the slack. Probably means Reggie (Bush) has a bigger role and whoever our second back is, is going to have to pick up some slack as well."
On if RB Reggie Bush can be a 20-plus carry back: Well I think he can, whether you would want to do it for 16 weeks in a row would be the questions. I think if we're thin at running back this week I don't think it's going to be a season long thing if it is at all even this week. I think for certainly a short period of time Reggie can handle that."
On what he saw in RB George Winn in the preseason: "I think you saw a decisive back, a guy that kind of gets the ball, makes his read and goes. He's very efficient, you're not going to see a lot of lost yardage plays from him which is comforting as an offense. He's strong, he runs hard and I wouldn't want to tackle him. We saw a lot of good things."
On if Winn will see more carries if Bell is out instead of RB Theo Riddick because of the style of running: "Yeah, I would agree with that."
On the progression of Winn: "I think I've always been impressed with him when he's been running the ball. The thing that I've seen that he's improved most on is catching the football and running routes."
On how TE Eric Ebron has reacted to a bigger role within the offense: "I think the more he gets the happier he is and he's pretty happy to begin with. I think he's excited."
On if the play of RG Larry Warford is being affected by the tackle personnel changing: "I'm not sure. I think I saw a headline that suggested that, I didn't read the details of it. I don't know who's been saying that but I think we felt he has been playing well."
On if Warford is playing as well as he did last year: "Again not being here, I mean I watched all the film but putting it back to back I'm not sure. I think he's been playing well."
On what was seen to allow Stafford to perform better than in previous weeks: "I don't know if you can put your finger on one thing. It might have been we had better plays called. It might have been he was more comfortable. There's a multitude of things that go into those, a ton of variables. There are a couple plays we look at and say, ‘Boy, we wish could had those over.'" I didn't look at the totality of it and say, ‘Boy he's playing really bad.'" Sometimes it just the way that things fall out that day he looks better. I think that he's getting more comfortable in the offense and I'm anticipating that he's going to play well this entire season."
On the difficulties he has experienced with play calling: "I think our success on early downs has been my biggest concern. I think that a lot of that comes down to, Hey, let's make sure we're putting our guys in the right situations on those downs and distances that we're having more success'. We're doing very well on third down but we have way too many of them. You like to see us go from first to first down in drives, first, second, first and not have to first, second, third convert. Let's say you're 75% on third down, which no one ever is, but if you were you have four third downs in a drive, you're going to have to kick the ball and not score a touchdown. You know three out of four, so we got to do a better job of skipping third downs and not having 18 a game."
On the difference in the running game at the end of the game compared to the beginning: "I don't know, I think a part of it is just guys sticking to it and outlasting the defense. At the end of that game Dom (Dominic Raiola) kind of looked over and said, ‘They're finished, keep running it,' which was in the plan. These guys are in good shape, they're tough and they just keep grinding away. I think we've been able to grind some people down.
On if the team is better conditioned that in years past: "I don't know but they're well-conditioned. I think they're fresh. Coach Caldwell does such a good job of not wearing these guys out during the course of the week. I think they go into a game feeling good."
On how losing a player in the middle of the week like TE Joseph Fauria affects the offense: "It's challenging and also not really being quite sure what Calvin (Johnson) was going to be like on game day. You have to have a backup plan especially because we're so specific, each guy kind of has his role in each play. So I thought between Ron and Robert Prince our, two Princes, that they really did a good job adjusting during the week and helping me through that."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On how much he knew about LB DeAndre Levy before arriving: "I've had an opportunity to see him play because we played here last year. You knew he was a really good player but didn't study him. But, when you get here in the spring and have a chance to work with him you can see why he's a really good player."
On CB Rashean Mathis playing so well despite his age: "I think with age comes wisdom. He keeps himself in great physical shape, so sometimes when you're his age and you understand the game really well, you don't have to be as fast. Young guys sometimes have to be that fast because they don't quite know what they're doing all the time and have to catch up. He doesn't play catch up very much."
On how valuable Mathis is off the field in mentoring CB Darius Slay: "I think it's off the charts. It's really good because he's been through it, they know he's been a good player for a long time in this league. So, guys listen to it and when he talks to them and gives them advice, they know he's coming from the heart and that it's sincere. They'll listen to it because they know he's trying to help them. There's no ulterior motive and there's nothing behind it other than the fact that he's a good man and he wants to help some younger guys out."
On if he prepares for the system of a team and a quarterback's past when dealing with a QB change: "Well, you prepare for the system, you know what kind of talent they have and then you have to go back and you look and see some of the things that he's done well in his career. So, you go back and look at some tape from a few years ago when he did play and see what throws he likes, see if that fits with some of the things they (Bills) do and think that maybe we'll get that. We've told our guys that if we play sound in our coverage, stay disciplined with our eyes, techniques and our reads, then no matter what happens we should be in good position."
On what makes a good safety duo: "I think communication, understanding each other, what each other's strengths and weaknesses are and playing off of that. My daughter played soccer and she used to play center back. If you have two of the exact same type of people back there it doesn't work very well. If you have two passive people back there or two aggressive people back there, it doesn't work. You have to have two people that have a little bit different skill sets and they can feed off of each other. I think that's what makes a good duo."
On if he has experienced any difficulties calling plays: "I don't even know if I've thought about that. I just know that we're looking forward to the next game and seeing if we can get our guys in the right position as much as possible. I don't really concern myself with that. I mean, we all do, we self-scout and, ‘hey was that a good call for the situation.' But, I don't know if I'd be able to tell you that I did this well or did this bad."
On if he can point to anything specifically after having the No. 1 ranked defense: "Good players, good players."
On what a person like Jim Washburn brings to a coaching staff: "Jim is a quality, quality coach. He gets those guys playing hard, playing disciplined and we're not sacrificing anything. I know sometimes you think, ‘Well, hey you have to sacrifice your run defense to get sacks, sacrifice sacks to play great run defense.' You don't have to do that. I think he teaches the guys great technique. They're able to get off the ball, crush and make things happen in the run game while still getting after the passer. It's really good. I'm glad we have him, really glad we have him."
On how pleased he is to see CB Darius Slay get comfortable in what they are doing: "I think what it does as a young guy, is that you start getting into position more, understanding more and he can start playing faster. Hopefully he will start making more plays like that because he understands the system, isn't thinking as much and he goes, ‘Okay if this happens I'm supposed to be here. If this happens I should be here.' He's able to react and it becomes second nature. I think that's good and it was great to see him because we've worked what happened last week. We've had that scenario before and it didn't always look that way. He did a great job last week and I know the ball was overthrown a little bit but that's exactly where he should have been."
On if he sees Slay's improvements from practice to practice: "You see improvements, you see the recognition going on and the, ‘okay if I get this split there is a chance at that.' I think that as a secondary guy, a lot of times what you have to do is eliminate things before you start playing well, with the idea that, ‘Hey if he aligns here, they're not running this.' So, you're not playing every route every time you step out of the huddle. For a young guy, sometimes that's what they do. They have no idea what's going to happen so everything is available. Once you start pairing that down and understanding the defense and understanding what they're trying to do to you, now all of the sudden, ‘Well I'm only going to get maybe three or four routes from here.' It makes it a lot easier and makes the game go a lot simpler for you."
On what was going through his mind when Slay made the interception: "Score, score. Every time we get it we want to score. What was going through my mind is that I was really happy for us, because we had some difficulties stopping them in the second half on third down. We got them into third and longs but we didn't stop them. Also, that we were able to come up with some turnovers and the excitement on the bench. I think the guys were really happy, obviously that we got the turnover for our team, but they were really happy for him because he is such a quality young guy. They see the pay-off of his hard work."
On what he watches during a play on the field: "I try to watch everything. I try to watch the point of attack stuff, that's what I do and see what we did well and what we didn't do so well. That's where I am looking. So, if we need anything I always can talk to one of the staff and say, ‘Hey, what happened here,' and they have an answer."
On how difficult it is for players to understand the zone concepts when players are rotating so often: "It's always a work in progress in terms of the matches, how we match, who we're looking at and where your eyes go if this guy goes here. So, that's always a work in progress and that'll be something that will never be simple or easy for anybody, even the veterans. We just have to continue to work at it and our guys will do it. For a young guy, when you get in the heat of the battle, because we don't just line up and run the same coverage all the time, it keeps them on their toes and there's going to be some mistakes at times."
On his evaluation of LB Tahir Whitehead: "Tahir did fine. He does what we say, he runs and he hits. He gets around the ball and we're happy with where he is."
On receiving praise on the defense: "I guess it's good. I think what it does is that it validates the system that we put in and the players that we have. We're doing the right thing with the players that we have. Obviously, it's a four-game sample and we have a long road ahead of us. Our hope and what we think is that our guys will continue to play at a high level all year and that's really what we want. It's not so much me as it is the fact everything that the coaching staff that what we've all done together is working. We want to continue to do that."
On stopping what the Jets were doing on the ground early in the game: "We weren't fitting the run very well. We weren't in our gaps and we didn't come downhill like we normally do. I think they just had us on our heels the first drive and we got that straightened out. In the second half, it was a missed tackle that was really the long run. We were fine on those gaps, we just missed a tackle and a guy got out on us. I think the biggest thing was, early in the game we didn't fit the run correctly. Our guys settled down and we were able to fit it up after that."
On if he makes a point of emphasis on specific things they didn't do well in games the next week of practice: "You always do because the thing about the NFL is that, if you're weak somewhere, teams are going to find a way to exploit it. So, you better get it fixed because if not, it will continue to happen to you."
On what Bills QB Kyle Orton will bring to the table: "I think like any veteran, he's going to bring some leadership. The game's probably not too big for him, there's probably not a situation that he hasn't seen or a coverage he hasn't seen. So, I think that for them, he'll bring a measure of calmness. For us, we'll have to defend their system and go back to see what throws he likes that are in their system."
Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin's quotes from Thursday
A recap of Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin's comments from Thursday.
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET