Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Wednesday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening Statement: "Wednesday practice for us is obviously one that's extremely important, start of the week going to face a team that certainly does have some complexities from a defensive standpoint. They give you a number of different looks and from an offensive standpoint, particularly (Teddy) Bridgewater, they give you all kinds of problems and coupled with the fact that they have an extremely versatile, explosive playmaker in (Cordarrelle) Patterson along with others. It's going to be a real challenge for us and a real good solid kicking game there. They have two really good return men and every phase will be challenged, but this will be a great test for us. As you all know and probably have reported on it I don't how many times since last evening but Matt Prater obviously is with us and going to handle our kicking duties. He's one of the guys that you can look at, his track record has been very good, he's been a pro bowler, been in big games, and kicked in adverse conditions. We're happy to have him and I'll open up for any questions."
On what Prater did or said to convince him that his past mistakes won't occur again: "I'm not going to talk to you about exactly was said. I think that information is private between what he and I said and talked about. I think he gave you a pretty good synopsis of how he felt and that's the most important thing. Those of us that certainly understand problems in that area or have dealt with it in our families and things of that nature, it's really up to the individual that's dealing with it. I think he set the stage for that, but I am one who believes in a second chance. Probably unlike most of you out there I've had a few second chances in my life and it made a tremendous difference. I know maybe some of you experienced some of the same things. I do think the young man is sincere and it wasn't just the hour conversation we vetted him thoroughly a number of different ways like we typically do in those situations. Martin (Mayhew) did a great job with that and the scouting staff as well, so it's a lot of guys involved in that process."
On some of the second chances he has had in his life: "Don't want to go into them, those are private. That's a good question but I'm not going to answer it. I had many, it just wasn't one or two. There are very few perfect beings that walk this earth and I'm certainly not one of them."
On doing anything to help ensure that Prater is supported throughout the organization: "We have I think within our structure, a lot of different layers to deal with different issues. You all know anytime that you have 60 some odd guys that there are varied issues and problems. I think we are well equipped to handle those from Dr. Galen Duncan to a number of individuals that are trained in those particular areas that stay in close contact with our guys. I think you've seen that and we got good people here. That's one of the things that I noticed when I first came just how many good people are in this organization. I'm talking about players and when you do have that many good people often times they find a way to kind of insulate, take care one another, talk to him, and they certainly can help Matt I think and take him under their wings and do a great job with him in that regard."
On if any parameters have been set for Prater: "Every situation is a little bit different and you have to be able to handle those accordingly. Where we think those measures are necessary we do so but, I'm not going to talk about those in detail at this point."
On if he reached out to Broncos QB Peyton Manning to find out information about Prater: "He was properly vetted."
On if he feels fortunate to get an All-Pro kicker after the recent struggles: "Yeah, it's highly unusual that it just kind of falls in the wind. It may be unusual for some vantage points but from mine I think it's the way it's supposed to be. We're happy to have him, the timing was right, it was good and I think obviously with a guy like that. You know, we went through a little bit of kicking struggle in Indianapolis which no one realizes. Adam Vinatieri was hurt and had a couple operations, so we were kind of in the same situation. We found a guy who had been around a little bit that kicked once in a while, Matt Stover, who came in, did a nice job and kicked us all the way into the Super Bowl. I do think there are guys that are out there that have the kind of expertise that Matt has, fortunately it was the right time. There were several teams that certainly were suiting him as well but I think it was the right time and the right place."
On if Prater's performance in the tryout or what he said before was more impressive: "One of the things that you'll understand and realize is everything in this league is documented, it's on film. You can look at it and see what an individual does in the heat of the moment, heat of the battle, adverse conditions, you can look at all the statistical data, and get a good sense from there. That's the true measure of that particular area, but the face to face, one on one contact talking and talking to people that know him, things of that nature are the things that make a difference."
On if P Sam Martin will continue to kick off or if Prater will do the kickoffs: "Yeah, he's (Prater) done a little bit of both and it just depends on the situation. John Bonamego and Devin Fitzsimmons will look at all those areas and make a determination."
On if he has to talk to WR Calvin Johnson regarding his injury because of the situation the last two weeks: "The last two weeks, it was probably more like last week, he got hit right on it and had it been healthy, probably would have had the same outcome. That's the thing that a lot of people don't understand. But, nevertheless, it just is one of those deals where we kind of take it week by week and we'll see. He's a veteran, he knows his body better than anyone and the doctors will confirm and give us their advice as well. "
On defensive players targeting Johnson's ankle: "I think in this league, because that information is out there, it's one of those things that is not uncommon that people know exactly what your injury was and where it was located. In some cases, they can either tell by the reports or the amount of tape you have, whatever it might be. I just think it's kind of just part of the game."
On Stafford holding on to the ball longer than usual: "Well, I think you heard me give a little bit of a rundown about that the other day because there are a lot of factors that are involved in it. There are some pass concepts that we have that take three steps, there's some that we get the ball in our hand and get it out right away, quickly, even before a step is taken and just getting your feet underneath your body. There's some where you take five steps, there's some where we take seven and some were we take a little bit more. So, there may be a few more of play-action passes that require holding the ball a little bit longer to make certain that we get the proper depth of the route for the timing. So, some of those things are there and in place but it's a variety of things I think, so we're crossing the entire gamut that regard. Now, every game is different. Some games we feel, depending on who we're playing, that we may limit some of that some plays, and other games we feel like that's a great way to get a little cushion out away from the immediate rush and be able to buy a little bit more time. We evaluate it all. We also evaluate systematically, data driven, where our issues are caused in terms of what protections we're in and how many times he's been hit in that particular protection. We look at every single, conceivable angle and make what I consider to be decisions that are in the best interest of the player obviously, because we don't want to put anybody in harm's way, and secondly, the best interest of our offensive unit to make sure that we can get that ball in the end zone."
On if the offensive line's play has been disappointing: "Please make note, that's your assertion. I don't want you to put any words in my mouth because I am not discouraged with the way those guys are playing up front. They've played some very, very good football teams, some very good fronts and some of the best in football. All you do is take a look at those guys and the last few weeks that we've played, they haven't allowed anybody to run the ball effectively. But, our job is to make certain that we run it better. Now, I'm not hiding from that fact, we do need to get better, we have to get better, we must get better in terms of the run game and particularly this division. That's something I said from the onset when I first arrived here. But, in terms of the way those guys up front, they fight you, they play hard, determined and determined to get better. I think we have good leadership in that group as well. You can't put the sacks all on that group or anything of that nature. So, I know that's an angle that's one that's probably taken but certainly not a fact."
On the play of G Rob Sims: "I do think he's a veteran guy. Rob does a good job in there for us. No one up front has been perfect, there hasn't been anyone on the field that's been perfect. One little known fact, maybe you guys know, is that it's probably less than 10-percent of the time that you can get all 11 guys doing exactly what they're supposed to do on each and every play, less than 10-percent. That's on average, any team no matter how good or how poor. So, the chances of somebody breaking down at some point in time during the course of plays is going to happen. But, that's our chase, it's almost like hitting the perfect golf shot, we chase excellence. So, we're in pursuit of that, I'm making certain that we get all 11 guys doing what they're supposed to do each and every time. I think that's the challenge of our profession, but you can't blame our ills on any one person. Like I said, he's doing a fine job in there for us and he'll continue to get better. Not perfect, but he'll continue to do it better."
On how difficult it is to prepare for QB Teddy Bridgewater's mobility: "He did display it in college. You take a look at him and see what he's able to do, this guy, he can run. I think one of the things that, because of the fact of all the reports initially were not favorable, that everybody sort of underestimated this guy. This guy's a good player, I looked at him coming out closely. This guy can think on his feet, he can deliver the ball, he's very good in terms of analyzing defenses and he does it quickly. The other thing is, he gets outside of the pocket, he's like Russell Wilson. I know Russell Wilson the other night went for 122 yards rushing, this guy has the same kind of capabilities. He can get up the field, cover ground and he's a talented guy. He creates problems for us because he's also not the guy that just gets out there and runs. He can move outside of the pocket, he looks down the field and he doesn't necessarily look to run, he's going to look to pass first and then he can take off and do some damage. So, you have to watch what coverage you're in. If you have guys that have their back to the ball quite a bit, he can certainly be a dangerous, dangerous weapon in that regard."