Below is a look at what Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin had to say on Thursday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET
On how being without WR Calvin Johnson changes his preparations: "Well, the biggest thing is kind of the unknown of whether he is going to play or not. That's where maybe some of the stress comes in, not knowing exactly what his health will be on Sunday. Like anything, you kind of have a stable of skilled players that you're dealing with and you do your best to try to guess who's going to be available and who's not, and gear your game plan to the guys that you think are going to be healthy and playing."
On how much Johnson's limitations have limited what he has been able to do with his game plan: "Maybe not as much with the Jets' game plan because he was a little bit more questionable and so you were a little bit more ready for that situation. When a guy like that or Reggie (Bush) gets hurt halfway through the game, then you're looking at your call sheet trying to figure out who's taking his place, what is he capable of doing and is he capable of filling in that spot. So, it's always harder mid-game maybe than it is if you haven't anticipated it. In a week like this week you kind of have two plans, kind of like we did with the Jets. He's fully Calvin Johnson or he's going to play, this is our plan if he's going to play but maybe he's not 100%, and this is our plan if he's not out there at all. When you're not counting on him you can certainly make those contingency plans a little earlier."
On if he has to make three or four game plans with Johnson being out: "I don't think it's three or four, it's more like one and a half it that makes sense. You know, most of the offense, or a good portion of the offense, this works no matter who and then there's those specific plays often times on third down where you maybe have to have a few more options."
On who fills in for Johnson if he cannot play: "I think everyone kind of does. You can't replace Calvin with just one guy and so there are multiple options that replace him."
On the frustration level with the offense: "It's disappointing. You know that we can do better and so every week you go back to the drawing board and try to get the ball in the end zone. People can get mad at the kicker but if we just do a little bit better, that's not even a factor."
On if the offense is close or if there are many little things that need to be corrected: "I think it's close but there are a lot of little things. If the quarterback plays a little bit better, if the receivers play a little better, the tight ends, the offensive linemen and us as coaches, you know, we all have to get a little bit better. But, I think we're close."
On if protection is a minor issue: "No, it's all big things. But' it's often times little adjustments here and there that can fix it. Little things often lead to big things as we know."
On if WR Golden Tate has exceeded expectations: "A little bit, I mean, we had high expectations obviously with how we recruited him and signed him. He really is, and you really don't feel it until you get into 22-man football with pads and you're playing football with pads, that's when he really shines. Not so much in OTA's, running around here with shorts, but that guy's just a football player and you really feel it on Sunday."
On what he has to do to improve the running game: "I think with all these things that we're not quite up to speed on, it's just details and just getting a little bit better all around."
On if the offense is not up to speed yet: "That could be part of it. I think we've played some good defenses but it's just a whole combination of things. Like you said, a lot of the run game is very similar to last year. I don't think it's necessarily guys not knowing what to do but it's everyone executing a little bit better."
On how much Johnson's situation enhances what he and players have to do to prepare for games: "There's a couple players that have to be able to learn more than one position. There may be a little bit more on some of the receivers' plates as far as, what they have to be prepared for based on whether Calvin is playing or not."
On how players have responded to being ready when called up: "Excellent. I think the receivers have been really locked in and mentally they've been awesome."
On if there is still a role for RB George Winn when the other running backs return: "I think so, I think so. I think he's proven through the preseason and the regular season that he's effective as a ball carrier so, for sure we still plan on it. A lot of it depends on roster spots, obviously, but when he's active he'll definitely have a role."
On TE Eric Ebron's role: "I think we're always trying to get that player going and every week he's got some targets that we're hoping turn into big plays. He's hit on a couple of them and some of them just haven't fallen the way that we're hoping, but he keeps working hard and I think his time is coming."
On how frustrating the film study was to see missed opportunities: "I mean, it's always frustrating after a game like that. But, players are never going to be perfect. It's not always on one player. Sometimes the protection could be a little bit better, sometimes the route could have been a little crisp or sometimes the quarterback could have read the player a little bit better."
On QB Matthew Stafford holding onto the ball longer: "I think some of our play action stuff is designed that way and that's actually been pretty successful for us and he is not getting hit. Some of the plays that he holds the ball the longest on are plays that are designed to block everybody up and give him time in the pocket. But, there's definitely some drop back opportunities where you're hoping that ball comes out a little faster."
On how he can explain the regression in the offensive line from last year to this year: "I don't know if you can explain it and I don't want to sit here and say that it's regressed. There's been some games where it just hasn't worked out the way you wanted, but we have trust in this offensive line and we know that just a year ago the sacks were low and the run game was a little bit more productive. That's still in our future."
On the progressions that Stafford goes through: "It all depends on the play. Sometimes there's a progression where number one is a little shorter and you get to the deeper route, and sometimes it's deeper to shorter. It depends on the play."
On what give him confidence that the offense will catch fire: "Well, I think that there's been some stretches where it's been very successful. I know that they are good players that if we put them in the right situation, it's going to be successful. It's tough when you have guys that you don't think can get the job done and there's not a lot of hope. But, I know that these guys can get the job done. We'll just keep plugging away."
On if throwing down the field would help the offense: "I think you could always be more aggressive which would give you a chance to get some of those yards through the air."
On his evaluation of T LaAdrian Waddle: "I think he's been real solid. He seems like he's healthy and confident. We're very confident in that player."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On the Bills' success moving the ball in the second half of the game: "We didn't do a great job communicating and some of it's calls. We probably didn't get our guys in the best position, so we'll work on that this week and get it fixed."
On what is the logical counter to the Vikings running a lot of screen plays: "Well, you just got to make sure you read your keys and you're not out leveraged on the thing and then you have to tackle. I think the big thing that they do is get the ball into the hands of their playmakers. 84 (Cordarrelle Patterson) and 17 (Jarius Wright) those guys can really make plays, so we got to do a great job of reading our keys because it's basically a run just fitting up that run play."
On how different the Vikings are without RB Adrian Peterson: "Talk about him, we know what kind of player he is but they're different because now they bring in two different types of backs. They bring in the power back and then they bring in the speed back, so we have to be aware of who's in the game and what each guy can do differently. Whereas 28 (Adrian Peterson) can probably do it all, these guys have a little different skill set and they play to their strengths."
On if the Vikings offense is more balanced: "Yeah, I think when you look at Coach (Norv) Turner's offense his pass game has always included the backs as pass catchers because they get the ball in space and are able to make something happen. They use those guys in the pass game and they use them well."
On if it's hard to learn the tendencies of a team that plays multiple quarterbacks: "What you don't do is get a feel for a quarterback, you have a feel for the scheme, what they like to run, and how they like to attack people. In terms of the actual person we don't really get a great feel. We think we'll have a good enough feel but until you get into a game you won't know."
On if the other players on the Vikings change their play depending on which quarterback is in the game: "No, because I think the bottom line is I think they do a good job of trying to get the ball into the playmakers' hands however they do it and whatever it is that week. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, the whole idea is to get the ball into the guys hands who can do something with it. They do a good job of that."
On how QB Teddy Bridgewater changes what the Vikings do schematically: "He has the ability to scramble and move around. You'll see probably maybe some zone reads stuff where if he gets out on the edge he can do some damage and move the chains that way. You'll see those things but not a whole lot different because the guy can make every throw. He shows remarkable poise for a young guy, he knows when to throw with touch, can throw under pressure, and can avoid pressure and create time and still look down field. Sometimes for a young guy once they avoid the pressure they just want to run, I don't think you see that with him."
On if the play-action Bridgewater runs is a read: "I believe so, as we look at it in terms of he's reading whether he likes the box, likes the count and if he doesn't like it then they have a complementary route outside that he can throw it right now."
On if the play-action that the Vikings run is difficult to defend: "Not if you're reading your keys."
On the challenges that Patterson gives the Lions defense: "Well he's a running back and a receiver. When he gets the ball he's a strong runner. He'll run through tackles, he'll cut back and he's really dynamic with the ball in his hands. I think that's the problem he gives us. Some wide receivers aren't as good with after the catch as he is and he's really good when he gets the ball in his hands."
On who Patterson reminds him of: "I don't know who I would want to compare him to at this point. He's second year guy, I think he would probably want to make his own legacy that way, but I just think he's a very talented guy."
On the biggest challenge that the defense still has in front of them: "We have to be able to close games out, could care less if we're number one if we're not winning games. Last week we had a lead and we didn't hold the lead, so for us in our room that falls on us. We think it doesn't matter what else happens, we have a 14 point lead we should be able to hold that lead no matter how much time is left in the game."
On if CB Cassius Vaughn will play slot or CB Danny Gorrer: "We're going to work around and see how he's doing. We'll evaluate that, he's gotten some reps this week but we'll see how he does when he's moving around. Really today is a big day for him and we'll see where we are at the end of the week and decide. We'll probably decide on Saturday how we are going to move forward with who plays in there. There are plenty of reps for all the guys we want to work inside."
On how successful S Glover Quin has been in the slot when in the big nickel package: "Glover's good, I'm fine with Glover."
On if CB Rashean Mathis is playing like a 34 year old: "No, I tell you I'm happy for him. He's a tremendous pro and he does all the right things. He's a good man and when you see guys like that have success it feels good. It's not for me, it's for him. I feel great for him and he takes great care of himself and there's a reason he's played a lot of football in this league for a lot of years. I think he's playing well."
On what has allowed him to fit all the pieces in through all the adversity the defense has faced this season: "It's not me, it's the guys. They work hard, they believe in each other and they know that if one guy goes down the next guy is going to step up. They've all kind of taken that mantra so when somebody gets hurt, which we know is going to happen in this league, the next guy is ready to go. I think that's a credit to all the guys in the defensive locker room."
On what he has seen from DE Devin Taylor: "I think he's still a young player, still growing and I think his best football is still going to be ahead of him. His reps, just like we've talked about before, are probably decreasing because somebody is playing really well. We really like what Darryl Tapp is doing in the run game which probably takes a few reps off of that. Darryl has been really good for us and it's more about what he's doing than what Devin is not."
On how Tapp has improved after being cut: "He's good. We always knew he was good against the run. I think in those situations it always comes down to numbers and who you can and can't keep. He earned a spot on this team and at the time of the final cut down we just didn't have a place for him. I'm really pleased with Darryl and I really like our defensive line room. They all know, ‘Hey, listen if we can all contribute and we're playing less snaps we're going to be fresher and we're going to play better.'"
On if DE George Johnson's play has an effect on the amount of snaps Taylor gets: "We're talking about taking somebody's snaps, they're not taking anybody's snaps. He's earned his snaps is what's really happened. George has earned his snaps and that's why he's playing. We try to do things and I think Jim (Caldwell) probably put the point out there. Guys earn their play time by their performance. George has earned his play time and if that cuts into somebody else it's because he's earned it and that's just kind of how we do things."
On how nice it is to have surprise production from players: "I think it's awesome. It's kind of what this game is about. You have guys who work hard and prepare and sometimes they're somewhere else and it kind of doesn't work out for them. If they get in some place where they feel good, feel comfortable, and they like what's going on with them and all of a sudden they ascend and become the player they always thought they could be and the players we think they could be. I think it's great."
On how important it is to get to know his players so he can find what motivates them: "Like anybody everybody is different. I wouldn't treat you the same way I treat her and all that stuff. I think that's our job as coaches to figure out what motivates a guy. What makes a guy tick? I think that if we can do that we can get the best out of our guys. I think right now our coaches have a great handle on our guys throughout the locker-room in terms of what's good for them, what's bad for them, what they don't like, what they like, how to motivate them and get them going when they don't feel like going. It happens sometimes and I think our coaches have done a great job with that."
On what he makes of CB Darius Slay's performances the first five weeks of the season: "Very pleased. Just what we thought in the spring and we thought that his game would elevate and he would continue to get better. He's five games really as a starter where he's comfortable and he knows he's a starter. He's not going in and out so he knows if he has a game that may not be up to his standards he knows that hey I'm not going to be on the bench next game, I got a chance to go ahead and get that right. I think it makes a difference for him and I'm really pleased with where he is right now."
On what he thinks about Bridgewater saying that the Lions defensive line can be a nightmare for quarterbacks: "I think it's good."