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 why Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson is so successful and how does he anticipate the matchup against WR Calvin Johnson: "I think you always trust Calvin. Certainly he's got certain traits that help him in that matchup. He's big so he's got a little bit more size than maybe some other corners. He's one of the top athletes in the game so it's really going to be a fun matchup to watch. The other guy (Antonio Cromartie) has got some of those same traits. It's not like they've got a weak corner on the field. Both guys I think are top corners, probably one of the top corner tandems in the NFL."
On why the Cardinals seem to give up a lot of passing yards: "I think you made a good point, that they're so good against the run that sometimes they force teams into passing. More attempts should be more yards and they put those guys, because they're so good, they trust them, and so a lot of times they're by themselves. There's not a lot of safety over the top double team help. That's probably the reason you why see that."
On how the offense changes now that the tight ends are starting to get healthy: "I think the receiving abilities that Eric (Ebron) and Joe (Fauria) have getting them back opens up some things in the offense. Those guys have looked healthy this week so more players that can do some things. All that being said we're real proud of what Kellen Davis has done and what Brandon (Pettigrew) has done fighting through some nicks. Those guys have played well for us but Joe obviously has the size that we've been missing and Eric has some speed. Those things should help us."
On if Sunday is the closest to what he thought the offense would look like: "Yeah, I hope so. It should."
On how much he revisits previous games where Johnson and Peterson were matched up: "We obviously watched last year's game, the Lions vs. the Cardinals. So you see how they did and you wonder just how is it going to change because they do have a new corner there that they didn't have last year. You watch it and you kind of plan for what they've done in the past but always ready to be flexible if they're doing something different."
On WR Golden Tate and Cromartie being the secondary matchup on Sunday: "That's right. I think it's going to be good players on good players which I always think is fun for fans. If they were down to their fourth corners I wouldn't be complaining, but I think it'll be a fun day."
On how concerned he is with how the offensive line will handle the Cardinal blitzes: "The fact that Travis (Swanson) had to go in so early last week and kind of got his first extended work and I thought he played really well. We got a lot of trust in what he's going to be able to do. They do a lot of exotic things and regardless of the experience of your o-line it causes you some concerns. I think those guys are so well coached that I feel confident in their ability to handle it."
On if Miami tested them more with their blitzes when Swanson came into the game: "That may be. It didn't jump out at me but could be."
On how much having veteran leadership on the offensive line helps: "Dom (Dominic Raiola) is really unbelievable in his knowledge of the game, his ability to anticipate things and make calls. He can see the blitzes coming before anyone else so he can make those calls and let those guys know it's happening. Rob (Sims) obviously has a bunch of experience too so that is a good point. It does give you some comfort that those guys get everybody on the same page."
On if QB Matthew Stafford is doing what he wants him to do: "Yeah, I wouldn't mind if collectively we did some of that fourth quarter stuff in the first quarter a little bit more. At the end of the day when you're winning football games you're happy. Would we like to score more points? Yeah. Do we expect to? Yeah. At 7-2 we're pleased where we are as a team and we think our best football is ahead of us."
On what's been different working under Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell as opposed to working under other coaches: "He's certainly got a different style than Sean Payton. As far as the things that make you successful are communication and fundamentals and those things are always consistent. Some guys are more boisterous. Some guys are more emotional. There are certain fundamental things that help you become a successful coach and both those guys have."
On what RB Theo Riddick has to do to get more opportunities within the offense: "What does he have to do to get more opportunities? I don't know if he can do anything more. We've been excited about the player since OTA's. So just keep making plays when he's in position to do it, which he's done and I expect he'll continue to do."
On if cornerbacks have to actually account for Riddick in the passing game: "He played receiver for a little bit at Notre Dame so he definitely has those kinds of abilities. Anytime there's a linebacker or a safety on him you feel pretty good about your matchup. It's the same with Reggie (Bush), those guys all have really good receiving skills which is an asset for an offense to have."
On what he thought of Riddick's game-winning touchdown catch: "It was great. He kind of laid out and it was just good players making plays when we needed it."
On Stafford playing within the offense at the beginning and the end of games: "I think it's just part of being a smart quarterback. A lot of it is when your defense is as dominate as ours has been I think it gives you some comfort to be a little bit more careful. Hey let's not put us in a bad situation. Could I fit this throw in? Maybe but, I'm going to be a little bit more careful on it. I think it's just smart football. Knowing when do I take chances and when don't I and I think he's been excellent. I've been very pleased with him."
On if he feels better about the offense after reviewing the film against the Dolphins: "It felt better during the game. We had some explosive plays but we need to do better on third down than we did this past Sunday. We need to convert more red zone opportunities into touchdowns. I think we hurt ourselves with some penalties that put us in some tough situations. I think everybody watches film and says, ‘We could have been better,' it's just a matter of getting the consistency where you're not having as many of those plays where you're not saying, ‘What if'."
On if RB Joique Bell's success running the ball will lend to more opportunities for him: "Yeah. I think anytime you're successful running it you just keep running it. When I looked at the statistics after the game I thought, ‘Man is that all that we ran', meaning number of carries. There were a number of called runs that we have these, ‘Hey if the run doesn't look good' or there's an easy throw out to the perimeter. We probably had five run calls that Matt ended up throwing it on and those were very successful for us. The guys that play in the run game kind of take credit for those yards which they should, it was very encouraging. I thought Reggie was running it real well before he got nicked up and then Joique obviously had some big runs for us. It was encouraging and hopefully we can keep building."
On what the game plan is for Reggie this week: "It's a day to day thing. I think he's feeling a little bit better today but we'll see how practice goes."
On how much he will put Reggie in the plan this week: "There's nothing that Joique does or Theo does that Reggie can't do. It's a little bit different maybe than Calvin, where you'd say, ‘Hey this is Calvin's play, if he's not up we're not running it.' I think you have your plan and Reggie's good at anything that we might be doing with those other two guys. If he's ready to go we know where he'll fit in."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On what he's learned about DT Ndamukong Suh that he didn't know before: "Not much. Obviously, you get a chance to work with him instead of seeing him from afar, but he prepares well, plays hard, physical and makes a lot of plays. He's a great player."
On what he's learned about Head Coach Jim Caldwell: "I haven't learned much about Jim because this is the fourth time I've had an opportunity to work with him. I kind of knew this is the type of team, what he wanted to build with his mindset on how we were going to construct the team, what the mental makeup was going to be. And so, it doesn't surprise me at all because he's always very consistent in what he does. There's no gray area. You know exactly where you stand in all the things he does and what we're trying to get accomplished. So there's no, ‘I thought we were doing this.' You never get that with Jim. You know exactly where you are."
On if Caldwell has changed at all: "I think there's always some change or a little bit of change that you have to go through in this business. You can't be the same guy you were 20 years ago when you were coaching. You always have to change and adapt and do things that are good for you, but his core values and his core principles don't change."
On the biggest thing he's seen Caldwell change: "Well, I think the thing that may be the most is you just get to see a little bit more of a sense of urgency, in the sense that he knows, like all of us, we have a short window of opportunity in this league. So, I think he pushes that to the players a little bit and I think you see that in him a little bit as well."
On how he expects the Cardinals to be different with QB Drew Stanton at quarterback: "I don't think they'll be much different at all. I think Bruce (Arians) is going to call the games like he wants them, which he's going to be aggressive and he's going to try to make the defense be on their heels. He doesn't ever want the defense to be able to just come in and attack them, so I think he's going to keep his game plan the same. Their best players are all of their skill position players and so, if he tried to tame down the game plan, I think he'd be taking his best players out of the game. So, I don't think that's going to happen at all. I think their whole playbook is going to be open and it'll be up to Stanton to execute."
On if the Cardinals receivers are the toughest part to game plan for: "Yeah, they have a lot of different playmakers. All of the receivers are different from when I was there, except for Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald), and I know what a great player he is. But what they've really added is they've got some speed outside, the young guys have been outstanding, and they have size, they've got speed and they've got guys all over. Their running back (Andre Ellington) out of the backfield is obviously a problem because he can catch it and go. So, they make you prepare. It makes it a little bit difficult because they don't just leave them sitting over there and this guy backs up another guy. They'll get into four receiver or five receiver, four receivers and a tight end, so they're going to give you multiple looks and make you defend all of them. I think that makes it difficult, so we have a huge challenge ahead of us and we have to be at our absolute best."
On if he has an appreciation for what Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles has accomplished: "Absolutely. I've known Todd a long time as well and Todd is a heck of a coach. It's no surprise that the guys play the way they play for him and for him doing the things he's done. He's been a good coach in this league for a long time."
On the value of DE Jason Jones being able to slide inside and play defensive tackle: "We've said this from the beginning that J.J. (Jones) was really a guy that may not be getting a lot of headlines or a lot of play, but he's really valuable to what we do because in our base defense, he can play defensive end and give you some rush and he's hard for tight ends to block. But then also on third down, now you move him inside, you have a defensive end rushing on a guard, which makes a little bit better matchup for us. So, he's been invaluable. I love the way he prepares, he plays the game hard and physical, the way you're supposed to. So, we love Jason. We love what he's doing for us right now."
On DE Ezekiel Ansah's future: "His future, I think he's got a ton of upside still, as he continues to learn the position. But what you see from him now is you see him learning a few more rush moves, a way to counter in different ways. He's kind of seeing, ‘Okay, here's a protection coming at me. I know who's going to block me and how he's going to block me.' So, he's been a lot more effective, I think, as we've gotten into the season. I still think he's going to be an outstanding rusher because he's got unbelievable physical tools."
On the good and the bad for his defense when facing close games week after week: "Well, we've won them, so right now there's no bad. The good part is the guys learn how to play calm under pressure. They know that no matter what happens, they have to believe that you can still win the ball game if we just take care of our business. Case in point, last week thought we were playing a heck of a game and all of the sudden we're down and we needed a four minute stop to get the ball back to our offense for them to have an opportunity to win the game, and we got a three and out. And so, all of those things you can build on and those are invaluable because you can talk about situations all of the time and you can walk through situations all the time, but until you experience them and know that you can actually perform in that type of situation, it means nothing. So, we've had an opportunity to do it and it's great."
On what has stood out about Cardinals WR John Brown: "He's a big play threat. You talk about a fast guy. He can adjust to the ball and what you see, and this is how you know that the guy is pretty good is, the quarterback has no problem going to him in crunch time. If you have a rookie that the quarterback has no problem going to in the crunch time, you know he's pretty good. He's probably done that over and over in practice for them and he's done it in games as well."
On how much the team has to prepare for CB Patrick Peterson and what he may do on offense: "I haven't seen him."
On Peterson throwing a pass and catching a pass against the Lions last season: "That's last year. I look at this year. Last year means nothing to me, so until they throw him out there, they throw him out there. Right now, I'm not even worried about it. They've got five other options right now, which is why they don't have to use him over there."
On if he will prepare for him at all: "No, that's chasing ghosts. Like to me, you can go on the body of work that they have this year and you can go around because it's like anything. If you go back a couple of years, you can find all kinds of stuff. I'd rather prepare our guys on what we think we're going to see, the majority of what we're going to see and if something else comes out of the blue, our rules and our techniques and everything that were supposed to be taught should take care of it."
On what makes Ellington so dangerous: "He's really fast and for a running back, what he does is he can actually run routes like a receiver. So, you see him split out quite a bit and he's not just a running back. A lot of times teams will put running backs out there and hope you put a corner on them and they just kind of sit him down over the corner. Really, he's not a factor. What he's doing is occupying your guy, but he is a legitimate pass threat and a pass route runner when he comes out. So, when he goes out, we have to treat him like a receiver and make sure we guard him accordingly."
On what's special about playing Arizona: "I get to sleep in my bed Saturday night. I get to see my wife and kids and sleep in my bed Saturday night."
On why the Cardinals are so good on third and intermediate and third and long: "Like I said, because they give you multiple groupings, their best weapons are all of their skill guys. You get into those situations, you spread the field and one of those guys is going to be open. Usually it's up to the quarterback to find them. So, they've done a great job of moving the ball and getting the ball to the play makers and that's why they're effective that way."
On how long his family has lived in Arizona: "We moved back out there in '13. This is will be our second year back out, we were out of there for a couple years when we moved, but then we moved back out there. So, that's home."
On how long it has been since he's seen his family: "They come back and forth, but it's just been a few weeks."
On what he learned while coaching with the Cardinals: "The one thing when we went there with Ken (Whisenhunt), because I was in the NFC West when we went down there and we got a team that was talented, but probably a little bit underachieving. And we were able to get it pieced together and guys that were playing did a great job of buying into what we were talking about. It was really rewarding that we were able to go to a Super Bowl in our second year and do something that had never been done there. I think that's really the biggest memory I have and what I learned is that, if you get a bunch of guys and you can get them committed to the same thing, you can win. So, it was great. I thought it was great for the organization. It was good for me personally. You always feel satisfied when you have an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. You'd like to win them all, but you don't. I think it was great and I have good memories from out there."
On the similarities between his Cardinals teams and this Lions team: "I'm sure there's probably similarities because I think that the one thing that Wiz (Whisenhunt) did there that Jim did here was a clear plan of what we want to do. We're not going to sugar coat it or baby you or do this, but this is kind of treating you like adults. Here's our plan, here's what we want to get done and the guys have done a great job of buying in. I think the guys here do a great job and we'll see where that takes us, but I think in any team, if all of the guys know exactly what's expected of them at all times and we stick to our plan and we're upfront with them and teach them and coach them like men, I think they appreciate it and consequently, they play hard for us."