Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Friday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening statement: "It's our last day here in terms of our preparation and I think you'll find that a lot of our guys are sad to leave. It's been a great setting and a tremendous setting for preparation, particularly when you have an opportunity to have a pretty captive audience. Our guys have been really thankful for all of the staff and all the folks that made this possible for us. It's been fun. Our guys have been able to focus, our last two days of practice have been really sharp. We go into the third one today and hopefully that one will be equally as sharp. Without question, the last two days have been very good. Captains for this game on defense; Ziggy Ansah; offense; Dom Raiola; special teams; Josh Bynes. Those three guys will represent us at the coin toss."
On if WR Calvin Johnson will be available: "He did work yesterday. I thought he did a pretty good job, but we'll see where he is today."
On the TE situation: "It just depends on what happens here in the next day or so. Obviously, Brandon (Pettigrew) is still a big question mark to be honest with you. We'll see where that goes here in the next 24 hours. Twenty-four to 48 hours can make a tremendous difference, so we'll see what happens."
On if TE's Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria will not play: "Those guys are a very slim chance to be honest with you. It's very slim for those two guys."
On the team's preparation and having a great week: "Yes, I think it's been a great week. It's probably as well as you could expect at a different site other than where you've been performing. I think also, it's a testament to the staff here, just the way things were organized, we really had very few difficulties if any. I think our guys' focus was extraordinary. Also, our staff (coaches) did a nice job. We had to do some preparation, obviously prior to this, working on game plans on Friday afternoons when they would typically have some time off to look at Atlanta and formulate a framework to work with so that when they got here, knowing that we had travel involved and often times could make it unpredictable. They did a lot of work in that regard, I certainly have to credit them offensively, defensively and our kicking game. They all worked ahead to get that done. Our advance teams that came out here, we got here on Tuesday but we had several individuals from our organization that have been here multiple times and have laid the groundwork for us to have practices like the ones in which we've had. It's been good."
On why the team's extra bonding time could benefit the team for the rest of the season: "Probably a reason why I made the statement in regard to training camp is because some of these guys had not been to one, a pro training camp, other than obviously the fact that we work at our own facility. But at our facility, which is obviously convenient in a lot of ways, but you're not away from things like you are here and so, it has a unique feel to it. I think that we benefitted from the camaraderie. The guys hung around one another like downstairs in a couple of rec rooms. You could see a number of our guys all kind of working together, hanging around together. I think ordinarily, a lot of these guys are married and have families, they would be at home with their families in the evening, but this particular setting provided an opportunity for those guys to get to know their teammates a little bit better. I think it's a close group anyway, but I think this has fostered a bit more cohesion."
On if there's a change in thought process in where training camp will be held next season: "That's a ways off, but nevertheless, it's always something to consider. There's no question about that."
On how the team will approach Falcons KR/PR Devin Hester: "Anytime he gets the ball in his hand, obviously he's a threat to go all the way. He's a very difficult guy to handle. We've faced some very good ones prior to this weekend and he's no exception. He's probably going into the Hall of Fame, so he's a cut above maybe the rest. So what we have to do is, our kicking game has been our weapon for us in terms of our punting. Sam (Martin) has been able to get the ball high and kick it far and give our guys a chance to get down and cover and force fair catches. And then also in terms of just the return game from the kickoff standpoint, he's been able to get it out of the end zone now. Obviously, with where we're working, it's a little different circumstance, so we'll have to take a look at that and see what best suits us as far as a plan of attack. We have multiple, multiple scenarios in place to try and solve some of the problems that they give us. Their overall special teams are absolutely dynamic, not just good, they're dynamic. They do a tremendous job and so, they'll test us all the way across the board. Almost in every phase you hear John Bonamego saying, ‘This is the best that we've seen at this particular spot,' or ‘This is the best scheme that we've seen to this point all year.' When we keep hearing that refrain, it's for a good reason and because these guys are good. They believe in it and they function well in that."
On Hester being a potential Hall of Famer: "The guy has set multiple records. He's made it an art form and has cut a niche in there like no one else has in the game, I think. There's been some great returners in this game, there's no question about that. Dion Sanders was one that was one of those guys that was dangerous in that regard. This guy is equally so and I think he will be one of the first guys to ever sort of carve that niche out."
On if he has had conversations with Martin Mayhew about moving training camp away from Allen Park: "He asked me a question about it and I said, ‘It would be something to consider.' I wouldn't write that as hey, ‘Caldwell is considering going to or there's been a discussion,' please don't do that to me. There are a lot of other folks involved in that decision, our ownership, the whole bit. That's not a Jim Caldwell decision, totally. It's something that, because of the fact that I think all of us has really enjoyed it and like I said a couple of players said, ‘Hey can we come back over here for training camp?' That was their refrain, they didn't necessarily say somewhere else they said here. They really enjoyed it here and like it here, but nevertheless, that's always something that you consider anyway. The last couple of years I'll be honest with you, the first time not going away to camp was when I went to Baltimore and we had camp at the facility. I think a lot of teams, when the lockout occurred, it was too late for them to actually renew their contracts with where they were going. A lot of them ended up having it at home and finding out this is not too bad. That's what happened I think at Baltimore, so the decision was to stay. After that time they've never gone anywhere else and then obviously they fielded a pretty good team there year-in and year-out and still got the kind of cohesion and that kind of thing. Then when I came here, same thing, that's why it wasn't that foreign to me. Up until that time in Indy we went away every single year for 10 years straight. You can see the benefits of it and matter of fact I've been able to work with both ways. Some ways at the facility is a lot more convenient because you don't have to pick up your entire operation. Everybody knows exactly what's happening but you kind of lose a little, I think just in terms of guys together for an extended period of time. Even though our guys stayed in the hotel the entire time, which in Baltimore the older guys didn't stay in there the entire time. The veterans would leave the oldest guys and then guys over 30 and so forth, all the way down to I think the rookies that stayed the entire time. So, you have to always entertain those things but like I said, that's a long way off and I'm a bit more concerned about this game we have coming up than training camp."
On what he needs to see from T LaAdrian Waddle in order for him to play and who would play if he can't: "You know, it'll be doctor's protocol that'll make that determination as well as with the rest of the guys that are with him on that injury report. If not, obviously we have had a couple guys that have had some playing experience there fortunately. It's not a brand new experience for us to work with those particular individuals in both (Garrett) Reynolds and (Cornelius) Lucas who play that spot."
On if he has had any difficult experiences in London: "I have not been off this property. That's not atypical in terms of what we do. We don't have time for leisure but like I told the guys, ‘Hey listen, this is a business trip, it's very important and just hang in there. If you play well and you win enough games you're going to have enough money to come over here and have a nice vacation in the offseason.' My take on it is we have work to do. We have to focus and watch the same amount of film. Nothing changed once we got over here. Friday afternoon we have a little bit of a break. My wife is here, so hopefully I'll be able to at least take her to dinner, maybe this evening somewhere."