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Jim Caldwell's quotes from Monday

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A recap of Jim Caldwell's comments from Monday.

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Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Monday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

Opening Statement: "After the game the guys had a bit of a break. I saw quite a few guys, actually, in and out of the building on the days where they were supposed to be off but I think that certainly talks about the commitment of these guys as well. But, they did get a chance to rest their bodies a bit and so obviously, I think they got that stuff out of our system in terms of the last game. I think the guys played pretty well and we're going to have to improve a lot more before this week's challenges are presented to us. So, our preparation this week is going to be extremely important."

On his assessment of the third quarter of the season: "Anytime that you lose any games, we lost two in that quarter, you're not pleased with it obviously. But, we did show the improvement at the end of it that we needed. We did the best we could do with it before this last game to end up 2-2. But obviously, we have to get better."

On if he watched the Packers vs. Patriots yesterday: "I watched it. I don't have many thoughts on it. I wasn't thinking about it a whole lot. Just kind of watching it and observing. Our focus is on our next game as opposed to those two teams."

On G Larry Warford and DT Nick Fairley and if there is an update on when they'll be back: "Not really, to be honest with you. We'll see with the injury report. It's obvious to say that they're getting better, how rapidly remains to be seen. I think they're on two different levels."

On why he believes QB Matthew Stafford was so effective on Thursday: "Every game's different. Every game's different in terms of what you're presented with from a defensive standpoint, how it matches up with your plan and I just think every game is a little bit different. It's just like anybody else, any other player. Some games they have really good games, some games guys are shooting the lights out in basketball and the next game they may only get 15 where the game before they got 40. Not all the time do you have an exact reason why it happened. If it was easy then they'd be able to repeat it over and over again at that same level. That particular level is a bit uncommon."

On how to get Stafford to repeat at that level: "Like I said, that level is a bit uncommon. That's the thing that I think the realistic side of it is that there are very few people that put them back-to-back-to-back at that level. Now, to be good enough to win, that's the most important thing. I think he'll certainly continue to do that."

On Fairley and Warford being on two different levels: "Yea, I think they're different cases, different injuries and different situations. They're different, they're not the same. One guy I'll expect to be back faster than the other. So, we'll see."

On if he expects to have Fairley back this year: "Not sure. Same thing I said about a few weeks ago, I'm not real certain to be honest with you."

On what he believes were the key contributors to being successful on offense: "You won't want to hear this but, it's a fact, it's fundamentals and it's technique, plain and simple. We threw the ball accurately, we caught it, even when it wasn't quite on the mark we caught it, we pass protected better, we ran the ball a little bit better, all of those phases we were better. It was just basically fundamentals and technique and when you can operate in that realm consistently, that's the thing that usually carries you through, and it's as simple as that."

On if the team can build from this performance: "I would respond by saying I hope so, but the fact of the matter is that every game is different. Probably a way to illustrate it is that you'll see some teams, let's say for example New England, ran for I don't know how many yards before they played us on the ground and didn't throw it nearly as much. Then they played us and they threw the ball literally quite a bit, not almost every down but a significant amount because different games provide a different sort of approach. I think the same thing in our game, the Bears didn't try to run the ball as much in our ball game for whatever reason. As they looked at it they made a determination on how they wanted to approach it and I think that's how we have to look at things. We look at their strengths and we look at their weaknesses, we couple that with what our issues are, some of our issues aren't plain to the naked eye but sometimes we have to deal with whatever our issues are to put us in the best position to win. So, that's why you get the variance in attacks from week to week."

On if the confidence can carry over: "Certainly, but I'm also very realistic in knowing that every game is different. You cannot expect them to go exactly the same way week after week. That's why you have to be able to win games different ways. What teams will do, they'll look at you and say you know what, we're going to make certain that this particular team plays left handed. So, they'll try to take your right hand moves away from you. My old basketball coach would always say, ‘Make them play left handed.' When you're guarding and defending that's what you're thinking about and the same thing holds true in our business. They will do things sometimes to eliminate certain facets of your game so, you have to rely on others to win the game."

On how to start faster on the defensive side of the ball: "We have been a pretty fast starting team defensively. I think if you look at it overall, there will be very few instances where you could actually say that. There's a couple that you could probably point at but it's probably more on the other end of it. Out of the games we've played, off the top of my head, you may be able to find three games that way. But, there were nine others, probably, where the guys got off to a pretty quick start and we just have to get back to that, that's the key. It was fairly consistent there early on. We have to get back to it. How do we do it? We keep doing the things that we've been doing: we practice, we talk about it, we emphasize it, we try to get off to a great start. Our energy level has to be up and then we just have to be able to perform and tackle well, those kinds of things."

On why DE Ezekiel Ansah has been playing so well: "I don't think he's scratched the surface just how good he's going to be. He is some kind of player and he's developing by leaps and bounds. Every week he'll do something that will sort of vault him into a different level when you're evaluating. His strength, his speed at which he runs, the size of man that he is, his awareness, his hustle, and he's made plays all over the field. He's got character and he's got talent. You blend those two things together and you got a pretty strong package and he's been good. Obviously, coaches do a great job with him. I think Jim (Washburn) and Kris (Kocurek) both do a tremendous job in getting those guys ready to play. They look at the opposition in a detail-oriented fashion. They're very fine instructors and that whole unit functions well together. They play off one another and I think as a result what happens is there is a lot of times when people are paying so much attention to (Ndamukong) Suh on the inside it leaves a lot of guys on a one-on-one situation. When you do that somebody has to take advantage of it and Ziggy has probably been doing so more than anyone else at this time."

On if he looked at Ansah as a hit or miss when he was coming out of college: "I had the benefit of seeing the result. I had actually seen him here playing before I got it. I'm assuming you're talking about before I arrived. When he was coming out of college I'd have to be honest with you, I'd have to go back and look at my notes. I just can't remember him or recall looking at him and evaluating him in particular. Obviously the real detailed evaluation of him was done while he's been in this league. In this league you can see what you're seeing today, but now obviously he's kicked it into another level. You can see the power, speed, awareness, tenacity, all those kinds of things, but now he's playing with confidence. I think you're starting to see it, teams are starting to chip him quite a bit because he's pretty disruptive."

On if Ansah's learning curve is different because he had so little football experience prior to joining the NFL: "I think perhaps he may be beyond some of that but I think there is a learning curve within this league. I think he's accelerated beyond the fact that he hadn't played much in college, but what happens in this league is that every week you're kind of faced with different challenges. He's been through a few seasons now where you see different guys who pass set differently. You'll see guys that have different sort of ways in which they approach a quick set on the line of scrimmage, or back off of it. He's seen the chips from different angles. Where he starts to get, understand systems and after a while what happens to these guys that have been around a while, all you have to do is say, ‘Okay, they're using this particular technique, and boom, okay I understand that.' Rather than having to go through and experience it he's getting to the point now where he's seen quite a bit and the game, it's a well-worn phrase, but it starts to slow down for him a little bit because he can anticipate what's going to happen."  

On the most impressive thing he has seen from Ansah on tape: "There's been a bunch of them and most of them have to do with hustle down the field. He may be on one side of the field and they'll throw a screen pass on the other and he gets involved in that play on the other side of the field. Against Minnesota he had a couple reactions off of plays when he was deep in the backfield and he turned and ran and ran a play down. He made several tackles and it's pretty impressive. Particularly when you take into consideration that the guy is 280 pounds, he moves."

On how pleased he is to see the defensive line step up in the absence of DT Nick Fairley: "It's been a real plus for us. It's certainly been a real strong suit for us to this point and not only Ziggy but all across the board. (C.J.) Mosley on the inside, Flue (Andre Fluellen) who obviously had a pretty good game the other day, made some plays for us, and the young guy Caraun Reid going in there some whenever he's up and available. There have been a number of guys, C.J. obviously rotating in there as well, that have been able to keep pace. Jason Jones sliding him in, (Darryl) Tapp when we had to, so there have been a lot of guys that have played a role in that. That's the thing about those guys up front, they've been able to I think fill in wherever we've had some issues or problems with an injury or things of that nature. They're versatile enough where they play multiple positions because their body types are such where their strike and get off kind of nullifies maybe weight. They may not be 320 pounds but some of them can strike with enough force to minimize that kind of damage you usually would get from a guy trying to lean on a 320 pound guard."

On what his evaluation of rookies T Cornelius Lucas and C Travis Swanson: "I think the young guys did pretty well, they hung in there. When you say with offensive linemen in particular pretty well you can go back at the film and look at the film and find several instances where maybe they didn't do as well as you would like, but that's kind of the nature of the position. Overall when you look at them, both guys for young guys hung in there, and did a pretty nice job."

On keeping his players focused as the season winds down and playoff talks heat up: "Well, in my experience I would have to give you maybe a little different answer, but in terms of this team, I can tell you that the focus is keen. I do think that these guys have a real keen focus on just getting the next one done and not looking at what happened previously, or looking ahead too far. And I think that's helped us. So, I think with this particular group it's been good and solid and I hope it continues."

On LB Kyle Van Noy's progression this season: "He's coming. He's making really good, solid progress and it's about like what you would expect. The only difference is he didn't play for the first portion of the season, but I do think that the kind of progression that he's going through, he's been a real factor for us in terms of our kicking game. He's on all of the big four and he's also been coming along in terms of the number of reps that he's getting, increasingly so in terms of our regular scrimmage snaps. He's making good progress."
On if he sees a situation where Van Noy passes LB Ashlee Palmer on the depth chart: "I just know one thing, he's working at it, he's playing well. Ashlee's playing well also, the more the merrier, in that sense. So, it helps you when you've got that kind of depth, when you have that kind of battle going on, I think it's a plus for you, not a negative."

On what he's done specifically to help encourage players to not look ahead: "I can say to you that what we do is, we fight it on a daily basis. It's kind of been the thing that we've done here since the first day that we walked into the building, is to talk about the things that we need to do here and now. Getting better today, what's important now, I think is more so sort of our mantra here. We try to fight to continue that because the thing that happens to you is that the minute you start, it softens you up in terms of your focus. The minute it starts to look beyond the horizon, there are usually some things that catch you by surprise, typically. That's human nature and so what we've tried to do is give them several examples, all of the time, daily basis. Talk about different issues, different realms of sport, whatever it is in terms of keeping that focus. That's really my job and it's difficult. Particularly, nowadays with guys with their phones that gather more information than computers did.

I remember talking to a guy one time, he was telling me about computers. This was way back, probably 1986 or so. I was riding on an airplane and I had in my pocket one of those, I forget what you even call them. It was the first version of the digital sort of address book and so I think it had 256-something, whatever. The guy was telling me, ‘Hey, you know what you have in your pocket right there?' He said, ‘I worked on the first computer.' He said, ‘The first computer almost encompassed a full block.' He was just talking about the machinery and how to cool it and all of those kinds of things. He said, ‘Now you're carrying that around in your pocket.' Well, that's even escalated. That was 1986 or so, somewhere around there. And so, nowadays these guys have those things coming out of their ears with so much information, so many different views. You guys have to write thousands of articles between you and thus, some of that stuff can seep in and begin to affect them. So, that's what we have to battle and that's hard."

On if he has to reinforce and remind the players coming back after the Thanksgiving weekend: "I don't think so, because what happens also is, during that time, you get a lot of that stuff out of your system. They're able to relax and I think most of them spent time just visiting with them, more time with their family maybe than they did than actually watching football or they watched college or some of them went back and checked out their college teams and things of that nature. And I do think that we have a pretty mature bunch. Some of the young guys, you need constant vigilance and even some of the old guys, depending on how long their attention span is, they need a little work. But I don't think that's the case with us."

On what he sees in the Buccaneers that concerns him: "One of the things that you understand about this league is all you do is just start looking back. Every week you'll see a team that supposedly, as everybody else looks at it, doesn't have a great record and they end up beating somebody that everybody else thinks that they shouldn't beat. But the fact of the matter is, it's about that much difference between being 4-8 and 8-4. It really is, it's about just like that because all it takes is a few bounces of the ball, just a couple of different scenarios that pop up and you got the reverse happening. Every team is very close. They're dealing with salary cap, it's done exactly what it's supposed to do. It's made it a very even league in terms of talent level and another well-warned phrase ‘any given Sunday' is absolutely right. Our guys understand that. I think they have a good sense of that. The other thing you have to do is what you guys don't get a chance to do, like these guys do, is we look at that film. I asked a couple of them today, I said, ‘Hey, have you had a chance to look at these guys yet?' and they all said, ‘Yeah, we looked at them.' And just like anything else, they said, ‘They've got a lot of players. That's a good football team.' And so, regardless of what their record indicates, it's a heck of a team."