LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET
On if he agrees with G Rob Sims' assessment of the offense, that missed assignments are what's holding the offense back : "I think when you look at this last game in particular, we had a couple of failures on third and one, which we've been pretty decent over the course of the year. So, I think that could've made a difference and then the big thing is we found ourselves in like seven third and 11-plus situations. And so, how do you get in those situations? It's like you said, something went wrong. We weren't really on our details this last game and when you miss those details, bad things happen and can kind of put you in the hole. Now, some of those were penalties and we converted one third down and Eric (Ebron) got caught on that pass interference, which kind of put us behind the chains a little bit. But as a coach, you look at that and know that's largely your responsibility, and so we have to be more detailed. Maybe try to do a few less things and so all of those alignments and execution things that maybe we missed out on, we can practice them and be a little more detailed during the week so that we don't find ourselves in those tough situations."
On why he's confident that the execution on offense will improve: "Well, I think we've had spurts where we've shown that we can do it, and so I know that the players are good and I trust in the coaches and what we're doing. And so it's just a matter of keep tweaking and keep working, chopping wood and it'll come around."
On the angst of the offense in general: "Obviously, we wish we were doing better, so there's certainly a sense of urgency to get things going."
On if the offense needs to do fewer things and to do them better: "Yeah, just limiting the number of calls that we have on our call sheet, so that there's not as much to practice during the week."
On how many calls are practiced in a week: "We have probably somewhere upwards of 200 reps a week that we're working on in practice. Then you have some walk through reps and so you just want to make sure. So, you have a certain number of calls and maybe you get this one play repped against one or many two defenses. And so if you have less call and you can kind of show them more situations and you're not just talking about them. So, it's just a matter of practicing fewer plays and then they're able to handle all of the different looks that might come up."
On if QB Matthew Stafford always goes to the line with two play calls: "At times, yeah."
On if Stafford is making the wrong play calls sometimes: "No, I wouldn't say that he's made wrong selections on plays. That hasn't been a problem."
On if his offense is more complicated than others: "In some ways it probably is, in some ways it's not. There are certainly those that are more complicated and those that are less, so it's probably a middle of the road type deal."
On if the fourth down play the offense ran was a single-read design and if he would've done it differently: "I would've done it differently because I think that the way we ran it kind of locked Matt into Calvin (Johnson). And the nickel traveled and made a good play to kind of force the throw a little wide and there were some, I think if it was a static formation, Matt would've read it normally and he would've seen an open receiver. But I think the way that we design that play kind of locked him into Calvin."
On making changes to his play calling style: "Well, I think you're always evaluating that. But just coaching better during the week, making sure these guys are all locked in on their details."
On how dynamic the offense needs to be playing against the Patriots: "I'm not worried about being dynamic. Our mantra this week is kind of focus on us and what we do."
On if TE Brandon Pettigrew's absence has highlighted his value to the offense: "He's a very valuable player. He's one of the better blocking tight ends in the League and having him is certainly an asset."
On why WR Ryan Broyles hasn't had more playing opportunities: "Those are the guys that we've been playing and again, when you have Golden (Tate) and Calvin, when the opportunities come their way, they've been making plays. But obviously there's a couple of other guys that have been getting more looks."
On if Broyles' injuries have slowed him down: "No, I think we're pleased with what he's been doing. It's just, the roles that these guys have, obviously Jeremy (Ross) is a very good special teams player and we like some of the speed and things that Corey (Fuller) brings for us. So, it's nothing that he's doing wrong. If he were playing, I think we'd be very pleased with it, it's just there are only so many jerseys that we get on game day."
On if he's reducing the playbook: "I don't know if you would say the playbook, just the number of calls that we are going to put on the call sheet. You kind of over plan and have more offense than maybe what you need. It's just being prepared for situations, so it's just being a little bit more precise during the week and maybe having a little less insecurities as a coach. Sometimes you'll say, ‘Hey, I want all of these plays in case,' and we don't need them. It's not this huge deal, it's just kind of limiting a little bit somewhere around the perimeter where we're practicing the things we know we're going to do with a little more precision."
On how many less plays will be on the play card: "It's maybe 20-percent less lines, 15-percent less lines than normal."
On where the idea to reduce the number of plays came from: "No, I think just looking at the film and you saw that this play should've been a little bit better, and it's easy to say, ‘Hey, that guy's got to line up in the right spot and that guy's got to block this correctly.' But as a coach, you have to take responsibility and say, ‘Hey, we need to coach it better.'"
On how big of a priority it is to get Tate more touches on Sunday: "I think it's always a priority and I think at the end of the game you were kind of disappointed. When he gets 11 catches, it's not like you called 11 plays for Golden. Sometimes the ball goes to guys, but I should've been more aware during that second half. You can call plays that make it more likely that he'll get the ball. So, that's certainly something after the game that I was aware of."
On what confidence the team being 7-3 with missing pieces gives the offense now that it is mostly healthy: "This would be a lot harder if we were 3-7. Clearly, our defense is playing good and we just have to get a little bit better and I think we're a very dangerous team as it is. Like I said, we've had some good spurts and I think in any competitive industry, when you get knocked in the teeth a little bit, you can't let your confidence go down. You've got to keep your fighting spirit and I think these guys are confident that we can go out and play good football and I think it's coming."
On if he's encouraged with what he's seen from RB Joique Bell in the last two games: "Yeah, absolutely. The overall numbers weren't huge, but I think our running game looked a lot better this last week and that's obviously encouraging. And so, if we can keep getting those big plays and getting a little bit more consistency, that's going to help us."
On how he evaluated the offense's overall performance against Arizona: "Listen, nothing was perfect. We had a couple of negative plays, which puts you behind the chains, which are really the big things that we want to eliminate. But when you look at our average per carry, like we said, we had some short yardage fails, which I'll take some of the responsibility for that. But it's better and it's getting better. I think we're practicing it a little bit different, which has helped us."
On how the offense is practicing differently: "We got an extra little walk through period where we're going over some of the run game details that have been helping."
On what has to be different in order to convert more third and one runs: "It's just like we said, it's the execution of plays and just making sure that we have the right ones that are going to give us a chance for success."
On the fullback dive on third and one vs. Arizona and if the Cardinals were just able to pick up on the play call before the ball was snapped: "Listen, those defenses are all kind of plugged up in the middle. I think Jed (Collins) has had 18 or 19 in a row where he's been successful. So, I don't know the exact number, but it's certainly above 90-percent that he's been successful over the last couple of years on that. So, they played it well and we didn't block it as well and run it as well as we should've."
On if the Patriots' secondary is similar to the Cardinals: "Yeah, I think everyone knows about (Darrelle) Revis and they have the corner from Seattle (Brandon Browner) who's very big and physical. It's hard to get a beat on exactly what they're going to do because every week they kind of come up with a new game plan with how they're going to play a defense. So, we're going have to pay attention to what they're doing early, how they're playing us, how they're matching us and then you can make adjustments off of that."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On if this is one of the most explosive offenses the team has faced up to this point: "Absolutely, when you look at the way they've been playing the last six or seven weeks. They've always been really good on offense. They're able to distribute the ball evenly in the pass game. They're running it well now, which makes them doubly hard to defend. It's a big test."
On how he plans to slow down the Patriots offense: "We're going to go out there and we're going to play our game, try to do the things that we do well, and see if we can get them to hold the ball a little bit to give our defensive line a chance to get there. Try to shut down the running game so they don't have the play action because with the play action game they create big seams down there to throw to (Rob) Gronkowski and (Julian) Edelman. We got to do a really good job overall defensively to slow this offense down."
On why the Colts didn't adjust to the Patriots playing six linemen and running out of it: "You'd have to call Chuck (Pagano) and those guys. All I know is what we're going to try to do to stop it. I don't know what Indy did and I just know as we looked at it we said, ‘Hey, these are some things we have to do to try to help ourselves against that set if that's what they choose to do this week.' The unique thing about New England is you may see that and it happened to be big last week and may not see this week at all if it doesn't fit with what they want to do against us. We'll prepare for it but I'm not counting on that, we may get a big dose of it."
On the Patriots having to respect the Lions defense: "We just want to play our best and what's across form us really in terms of stats and numbers and all those different things really doesn't matter. Our goal is to say, ‘Can we play as well as we can and give our team a chance to win?' That's really our only goal, that we play well enough for us to win the game. If we don't then we haven't done a good enough job regardless of what the stats may say. If we play well enough no matter what happens, yardage, points, and we win this week then that's good. If we don't win then we didn't play good enough."
On how he has addressed some of the slow starts that the defense sometimes gets off to: "We talked about it with our guys, we're going to do everything we can to try and see if we can get started faster and better. It is true we don't ever want to spot anybody a 14 point lead. We settled down and we played good ball after that but it can be unsettling and get you out of your routine. I think our guys know that and understand and they know, ‘Hey listen, that's not the way we want to start games.' I think we'll come out with a good mindset, with the idea that we want to start fast, and play well the entire game."
On if Gronkowski is the type of player that you start your game plan with finding ways to limit him: "You better. He's exceptional. He's an exceptional player. He's a big man and he can do so many things. He's outside, he's inside, he blocks, he runs, he catches the ball well, and he runs after the catch. You have to account for where he is because he is such a dynamic player. We can't change our overall scheme at this point but we can do some things within our scheme to try and limit him, but if you do that what you don't want is leaving open a bunch of other guys. The one thing that (Tom) Brady has done and coaching against Tom a few times, one thing it is if you take away something he's not going to force it in there. He's going to go somewhere else because he knows he has other guys that can make plays for him."
On how important is it to be a master of disguise against Brady: "You do, you're right we have to. In terms of our coverage whether we're playing man, zone, single, spilt, or whatever we're doing if you just line up and give it to him then he's probably going to take it. So we have to do a good job of that without sacrificing our coverage and that's really the hard part. Can you give them a different look and then get to what you really need to cover? Sometimes you can and sometimes you can't. We'll work on that and do the best we can and understand if he does know where to go with the ball, once he does throw it, if they catch it, and then we have to be great tacklers and limit the yards after catch. I think that's important that you limit the yards after catch. You're going to see some down field throws but you're not going to see a ton of them. What you're going to see is a lot of guys in open areas catching the ball, turning up, and running. We've got to make sure that we do a good job of limiting. Once the ball is thrown if he does catch it we got guys vising, tackling, and getting them on the ground afterwards."
On how interested he is in the head coaching position at the University of Florida: "I'm thinking about this game right here, haven't even thought about it. I hate it for all the guys down there. There's a whole bunch of families and people who lost their jobs at stakes and that's that."
On if he expects to be a head coach 10 years from now: "I kind of look just to this week because if you start looking down and start, ‘I'm going to do this' it means nothing. I just try to do the best I can at the job I have and this week we have the Patriots."
On why zone coverage is common in the NFL on third and long plays: "They want to get more guys out which allows your rushers to rush and we want to have more guys in coverage. A lot of times if you get in third and long and you make it simple for the quarterback and it's a good read, he knows right where to go, you don't get your rushers home. We just have to do a better job of mixing and a better job in our coverage. I think overall we have some good things. Last week was more out of the norm. We're usually pretty good in that area whether we're zoning, man, or whatever we decide to do. I would hope we'll get back to that this week and play better if we have third and longs."
On if he remembers anything about Patriots RB Jonas Gray: "Yeah he was on our practice squad last year in Baltimore. He's a good guy and good worker. As far as a runner he's got good strength, he runs with great pad level, lean, and that's what you saw last week. The thing that's impressive about him is he had all the yards last week but he didn't have any negative runs and that's hard to do in this league. Defensively as part of our run defense we've been doing a really good job of negative runs. To me that really stood out, not the fact that he gained almost 200 yards, but the fact that he didn't have any negative runs."
On if anyone has stepped up and filled DT Nick Fairley's spot: "I think we've had a good rotation of guys rotating in and they've all stepped up. I think that's the one great thing about our team in general is the guys work hard, they know it's a role for them on the team, and when they have their opportunity guys have been stepping in. It might not be exactly the same, might not play exactly the same, but in terms of effort and getting out of them production, we're really happy with those guys that have stepped in."
On if he carries a list that has who he would want on his staff if he was a head coach: "I'm different than Jim (Caldwell) in that regard. I kind of just live where I am right now. I can't live anywhere else. I can't look too far forward and I don't look in the back. I just try to live in the present and do the best I can now."
On what he thought about the tackling effort last week against Arizona: "I thought early we missed some tackles. Obviously we didn't play well early, the first two series, and then we settled down. I didn't think our tackling was the biggest issue last week. I thought we gave up too many chunk plays in the pass game. When we looked back at our three loses this year it was really the same thing. They had one shot over the top but then they had a bunch of 20 yard shots and we can't live like that. That's why I said we got to do a better job this week in limiting those things. A 10 yard, 12 yard catch that moves a little bit we can handle those because it still gives them a long field. A 20 yard here, a 25 yarder here, 18 yards here, if you get too many of those then you have a hard time winning."
On things Brady does that are tricky to prepare for: "The thing that he does that's really outstanding is that he's got a great feel in the pocket. You can rush him and we all know Tom is not going to run a 4.3, he's not going to do all that, but he has a great feel in terms of how to slide in the pocket, create space, and create a window to throw down field. That's a hard thing I think for quarterbacks, to just take a slight movement but never lose sight of what's really going on down the field, and that's where he's really good."
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