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Jim Caldwell's quotes from Monday

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A recap of Jim Caldwell's comments from Monday.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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

On C Dominic Raiola's stomp: "Obviously, I took a good look at it. I looked at both the coaches copy and also the television copy as well. I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent but I could also see why it's obviously being reviewed by the league and everybody is taking a real good look at it. You can also see the other side of that as well. There's a league protocol to it, it'll be reviewed and taken a look at. We'll deal with the issues after there's been some determination here."

On if he's concerned that he won't have Raiola for Week 17 due to suspension: "Could be a possibility, it could be. And if we don't, we'll adjust."

On if he's ever been in this type of a situation where a player could not be available for a big game: "Injuries happen, all kinds of things happen. I've been in more than I can count (similar situations). Maybe not necessarily a disciplinary issue but several other issues similar."

On what the key is to overcoming those issues: "Just like we've done the rest of the year. We've had significant injuries, had significant setbacks and the guys find a way."

On if C Travis Swanson would replace Raiola: "We have options, obviously he's one of those options. He's the guy that's played, understands it and has some snaps under his belt."

On if he's talked to Raiola and what his state of mind is: "Yes. It'd be tough for me to answer for him. I don't think that's appropriate, but we did have a conversation."

On if he asked Raiola why the situation occurred: "I'm not going to tell you what our conversations were. I think that's private and like any other employer. I don't think if I asked you a question about your boss and the conversation you had about a touchy subject, I don't think you'd want to relay that information and we certainly aren't."

On if there's a difference when looking at the play in real-time versus slow-motion: "That's why you have to look at it both ways, examine it closely. That's what we've been doing."

On if how much would change if they lost Raiola for Week 17: "It's one of those things where, you know, obviously you can't replace experience but nevertheless, youth and vitality, we hope will  be able to offset some of that. You certainly can't offset all of that."

On if he believes they can win games against good teams in the playoffs if they play similar to how they played against the Bears: "All I can tell you is that, one of the things that I think is often discounted, number one, to get 11 victories, I don't care how you get them. At some point in time you have to take the victories for what they are. Certainly you'd like to improve. There's not one game that we've played all year long that I've been satisfied with, for your knowledge. I think that's the way we have to be in our business. But, I can also tell you this, you probably saw some games that people didn't think were going to be close this weekend besides our game, that was really close, that were really close I should say. But, here's what's happening. They're professionals, it's the highest level that are actually competing against one another and in December there's a lot of things on the line. There are jobs on the line, players that are playing for jobs and positioning, there are coaches that are fighting like the dickens to keep their jobs and feed their families and etc., a lot of uncertainty. They're fighting like it's life and death. Then obviously, they're teams that are trying to get in better position for the playoffs and things of that nature, so it is a cauldron of high expectations, fighting against disappointment, just an unbelievably intense situation that's very difficult for you to kind of get a sense of unless you've been on both sides. I've been on both sides of it. Games in December, when you win a December game, you better want to get better because you have to keep getting better, particularly because teams get better here on out. But, you also, you better be able to at least stand up and say, ‘We're glad we got that victory one way or another.' So, there were some bright spots in that game. First half, I mean anytime you turn the ball over that many times you deserve to get beat. We didn't, we were fortunate. Second half I think our guys played well. They were able to come back, they hung in there, they were able to get points on the board, able to get some stops defensively and sort of shore things up."

On having multiple healthy running backs, particularly Reggie Bush and Joique Bell: "Well I think, this game in particular, both guys averaged over five yards a carry. Reggie might have been seven yards a carry, Joique might have been five point something or another. George (Winn) had one carry for five yards I think. Anytime that you have two or three or four healthy guys at that position, which  we do at this point, you feel good about it and particularly, Reggie is an explosive guy as you can see when he can get out with space and he's feeling good. He can make some things happen for you. There's one thing I can tell you this time of the year is that you need a running game because the weather dictates such. I do think that's one area in which we showed some improvement and I think it's because of the fact that he's healthy, Joique's healthy, the line was blocking well, the tight ends and the back that had to do their duties in those areas did a nice job. Matt did a nice job of getting us checked into the proper plays as well."

On having to sit two of his offensive starters in the past three weeks and if he has to remind guys to be focused: "Constantly, every meeting. That's kind of where the high-cost for low-living comes in. We cover the gamete and you have to keep it before them. Hopefully you don't have as many."

On if there's unfairness to there not being a penalty called on Raiola's play but the play still being reviewed by the league: "I don't think so. It's happening in every sport. In golf nowadays people are calling in because the ball moves and things of that nature. That's the way it is. Everything, there's so much transparency in our business that you better get accustomed to it. That's the way it is, deal with it."

On if he'd be tempted to report a questionable call to the league: "We do it all the time, every week, everybody does. That's part of the protocol. You look at a call that should have been made, you send it in. We have ways to review it, they tell you what they thought. That's every week that's in place."

On if the team has had a playoff mentality for the past three to four weeks: "I hear that often used. I don't believe in that only because of the fact that I think you earned your way into the playoffs. And because you say, ‘Hey, we've got a playoff mentality in Week 5.' What does that mean? You're trying to win every opportunity you get. I think when you get into the playoffs, you can talk about a playoff mentality. But up until, obviously for us, up until the weekend that was certainly not a reality."

On if the team is more equipped to succeed in the playoffs given the way they've been able to find different ways to win: "I can't do a forecast. I can only tell you that I hope our experiences have benefitted us in that way. That often times you'll find that when you get into this stage of the season, that it's going to take your ability to do certain things extremely well and you have to understand that the teams that you're playing have very few deficiencies. But, you can also get hot this time of year. I've recounted on a number of occasions, and it's not too bad to go back and do it again, when we were in Indianapolis one year, and we won the Super Bowl. We ended up losing the last couple of games of the season. Really, it was probably much like this particular setting, gloom and doom. We lost two and everybody kind of wrote us off because we were getting ready to play against young (Larry) Johnson, who was a running back for Kansas City who had just ran for 211 yards or something. We were getting ready and I think it was Jacksonville had run for maybe close to 300 yards or over 300 yards against us. So, nobody gave us a chance, but we got hot and didn't lose. It was the same thing at Baltimore. We ended up losing a bunch of games towards the end. We ended up getting hot when it counted and taking it on through, but everybody counted us out. They said we couldn't beat Indianapolis, we couldn't beat Denver in Denver, we couldn't beat New England in New England. But the great thing about this game is the games still have to be played. That's the wonderful thing about it. And so, you give yourself a chance and you never know what's going to happen." 

On how close the team is to getting hot and what the team needs to do to get there: "I don't know that. I can't forecast that and nobody can. I can tell you, a couple of weeks ago I would've felt we were moving in the right direction. Our offense was clicking, our defense has been playing well all year long. But we were clicking offensively and everything was kind of in place for about two games there. Just a little bit of a drop, but we still found a way to win. I think we're close, but we'll have to see."

On if he's disappointed in the production of TE Eric Ebron: "No, did you watch him block this weekend? Did you take a look at the film? He was effective, tough, hardnosed. He did a lot of good things. He might not have caught passes and ran down the field, but no, I'm not disappointed. He's progressing, he's getting better and often times, we can see it and I think you'll be able to see it as well."

On the importance of getting contributions throughout the entire 53-man roster: "Well, I think it's very important. One of the things at the beginning of the year that we tell them is, every single guy on this team has a valuable role. The 53 I think is obvious because of the fact that guys know that if a guy gets injured, you get a chance to move up. It's kind of designated for you, but often times a practice squad guy doesn't realize how many of them become part of that equation as well. Not only from the standpoint that some guys, in which we've done, are brought up from the practice squad and they've played for us and contributed. But then also, just in terms of the role they play in practice every day. Giving our guys a great look to making certain that our preparation is good for our opponent. That's about as important as anything you can do. You have to be able to prepare and prepare well. And so yeah, every guy on the roster, they serve a great purpose and fill an outstanding role that's extremely important."

On the health status of DT Nick Fairley and if there's a deadline for him potentially playing: "No, no deadline or anything of that nature. I keep saying it, but he is getting better. He's coming along, off the crutches, in the strength training on that particular injury and he's making good progress."

On if Fairley could play Sunday: "We'll have to see."

On under what circumstances he would consider the Reserve /Injured list with Fairley: "Everything kind of changes, depending upon your circumstances with your roster and what it looks like. If there's a need, then you have to kind of weigh it out. What's the possibility of his return and so on and so forth? That's always constantly being weighed."

On if he can get a sense of what a game like next Sunday's means to the players: "One of the things that we talk to them about is the fact that this doesn't happen very often. I'm still trying to remember and since I can't quote the story and be accurate, because I can't remember the guys involved in it. A coach told me, and I know I'm somewhere close to the amount of years and I'll give it a roundabout, but there was a guy that coached in this league for 41 years, it was between 35 and 41, it was a long time. He had only been to one playoff game and had never won a division championship. I asked Bobby Johnson down in the locker room this morning, we were down there early, and I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, how many times have you been in the playoffs?' He said, ‘Zero.' And so, I know when we ask a number of our players whether or not they've been in a similar situation as this, the great majority of them are probably going to say no, but there are some guys obviously in the room that have been. There are several coaches, but it's still unusual and it's still great to get an opportunity to be right where we are. We're undefeated in our division. The guys have fought some real battles and have done a tremendous job and we've got a great opportunity ahead of us. I think the guys understand that. And do you expect them to be a little off the ground here in the next couple of days in intensity and focus? Absolutely, because obviously we're playing a great team in a historic place. I'm from Wisconsin, so it's going to be great to go back."

On the challenge of playing a team that has a lot of big-game experience: "Well, I think I just have to let them know what to expect. The big thing is, is it any different than every other game we've played? More often than not, when you go to the Super Bowl, what you hear in the refrain, you guys have covered it enough. You may not have been there, but you've covered it enough to know that everybody talks about trying to make it appear to be exactly the way it is during your regular season's preparation. And this game is no different in that regard."

On how his encounters with fans have been: "Actually they've been great. There's something that probably should be said, I could tell a lot about the fan base when I first arrived here, when I first came. I could tell that it was a fan base that had intensity, had a great love for the team, great sports town, great interest in what was taking place here, and certainly were just starving for a team to be able to play in which the way I think represents this entire area. We sense, sensed it then, and I sense it now. Interactions are always positive. Every one of them I've had has been extremely positive, that's the balance kind of between you guys and out there. It's a nice balance but I also get some suggestions to. I was in the grocery store right around the corner, down the way here, Greenfield I guess? Down this way, I don't know my way around here very well yet as you can see. We spend most of our time over here. I was in the grocery store and a gentleman, he rolled up to me, and he says, ‘Hey', introduces himself to me. He says, ‘Hey you guys are doing a great job but I got a couple suggestions.' He gave me a couple things that we needed to look at and think about implementing. I think that's a good thing. People have an interest in what we do, but they're excited about it I know that. "

On if he gave any consideration to giving the players Christmas off and practicing on Tuesday: "You know, I think you have to allow some flexibility and it's something that we talked with the leadership council about to see what they wanted to do in that regard. We gave them a couple different options, we could take the day off, adjust the practices accordingly, try to get our work done a day earlier, start on Tuesday, whatever it might be, or stay within our rhythm but give the guys that have children. A lot of these guys are a lot younger. Most of us look at it like our families, etc. there, but a lot of them don't have children. They want to keep it the same in terms of our rhythm, so we're going to practice on Christmas, but it'll be a little bit later in the day to give the guys who do have children time to be with their families in the morning. They'll come in and we'll work in the afternoon, we'll be finished in a reasonable time, so they can go home and have dinner with their families. Every other day will be the same"

On if QB Matthew Stafford needs to improve: "First of all I think there is a lack of appreciation for him around here I think at times. Let me just tell you something, he's a man's man, he's a tough guy, he gets hit out there every single ball game, he hangs in there, and there may be one he'd like to have back but then there's a couple others that's probably not all his fault. I think when you look at the numbers and all that kind of stuff, we make assessments based on that, and that's it. He also did a lot of great things for us. I'll tell you what, he progressing, I'm proud of the way that guy is playing, and I think also you're going to see him get better and better." 

On if he ever considers not having a return man at end of the half situations: "No. Is that a good enough answer? The thing that happens in that situation, we had three timeouts left. Anytime you have three timeouts left, if you have one maybe or none obviously that may be a thought, but you have three timeouts left, and we're trying to score. We need points, it's not like we were ahead or anything of that nature but we need some points in that situation. So if we get a decent return out of it or something of that nature. We try to get a return, see what happens, and see if we can kind of go from there, you know. We didn't think about it in that sense."