LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET
On what he saw in C Travis Swanson today in practice: "It was good. It's not the first time Matt's (Stafford) taken a snap from him. Every week you try to get some reps certainly in center-quarterback exchange, so if anything happened during the game it wouldn't be the first time. We're excited to watch him play. He's a young player that we think a lot of, we're obviously going to miss Dom (Dominic Raiola) and all the leadership he brings, but I think Travis will do a good job."
On what he has seen in Swanson since the start of the season: "No problems today. It's something that, if this was Week 3 or 4, I might have had some concerns, but like you've heard he's gotten a lot more consistent. The big concern might have been the shotgun snaps but he's been error free certainly since the Bye. It's been a long time since there's been a bad snap from Travis."
On what he has seen from the Packers pass rush that has made it so successful in recent weeks: "Good players, you know. They rush hard and there are just no soft spots in their rush. They've got four good rushers and they can bring guys off the bench that rush well. It's just the depth of their pass rush gives you some concerns. You have to block all four, sometimes it's, ‘Hey we have to worry about these two,' but they've got four really good rushers."
On what it means to be playing in Green Bay with the division title on the line and the Lombardi connection: "That was way before my time. Certainly, I grew up with some of the mementos and what not around. It's cool, it's fun to walk out and see your grandfathers' name on the ring of fame, but it'll be business as usual I think for the most part."
On what were some of the mementos he had growing up: "My dad's got his Super Bowl rings and a few pictures around the house. I mean, it wasn't like a museum or anything but just something that was always in view."
On if there is anything that Swanson could do in this game that could make him a starter: "Oh boy, it would be hard. It would be hard to imagine."
On what's been the Packers' recipe for improving their pass rush: "I don't know. They've changed their personnel up a little bit. In the nickel they've moved (Clay) Matthews kind of behind the ball linebacker which gets another really good pass rusher on the field. It takes him out of the pass rush, which you don't always mind, but I think maybe that's got something to do with it. A lot of the times it's just execution and like I said they're playing really well."
On if he has any favorite memories from Lambeau: "No. By the time I was born, my dad didn't really live there after high school. I've been up there a few times. This is not a great story so I hesitate to tell you, but I just remember going up there once with some buddies, right out of college, and we went to the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. I had this lifetime pass, this metal card that I got sent when I was eight years old or something, and somehow I kept it around. I was kind of goofing around like, ‘Hey watch this we'll be MVP's,' and walked in there and they were like, ‘Go ahead.' It wasn't a big deal, my friends made fun of me all week. No one paid any attention."
On if waiters in Green Bay notice his name when he goes out to eat there: "We'll probably go to Lombardi's Steak House up there, which my dad's helped them with some of the memorabilia and stuff, so I'm sure he'll call ahead and get a staff room. Get the offensive staff a room to go eat in or something, but listen, there's been a lot of big names that have gone through Green Bay since my grandpa. They're not interested in Joe Lombardi, they're interested in Vince Lombardi and all the famous people that have come since then."
On if he is surprised at how limited the tight end production has been this season: "Yeah, I think you would have maybe expected more, but there's a lot of reasons why those things happen. So listen, if you said, ‘Hey you're going to go into the last game of the year 11-4 playing for the division championship, we would have signed up however it fell out. So, we're excited."
On if he would like to see more production from the tight ends going forward: "You know, listen, you want to score points however it happens. Those guys have been blocking well and they've been contributing to the offense. It may not be the big numbers that they probably hoped for, maybe that we thought would happen, but there's been injuries, there's been a lot of things that have kept them from getting oiled up and being a big part of the offense or in the passing game. Obviously, they're a big part of the offense. So, you know, they may go out and have 100 yards receiving this game. You just don't know how it's going to fall out, so we're happy with the ways those guys are helping the offense."
On if RB Joique Bell will miss time with the Achilles injury: "Boy, I don't think so. I think he'll be alright."
On when Bell's injury happened: "I don't think it happened today."
On what Christmas is like at his house: "With six kids? You know, it's funny because our oldest was born today, so it's our oldest's birthday. We've got six kids opening presents and then my wife and I got married December 29th. Our fourth child was born December 29th and then our fifth was born January 2nd, so we kind of just tell them, ‘Hey, don't worry about your birthday, we're celebrating Christmas.' We just try to limit it. I don't even know if we remember that our anniversary pops up until halfway through the day. Then usually, you know, I've been lucky enough to be involved in playoff races for the most part, so it's catch-as-catch-can this time of year."
On if his family travels to games with him: "No, they haven't. Maybe as they get older, but yeah it would be tough to get that whole crew mobilized."
On how the tight ends have accepted their role this season: "They've all been pros, and they know they're helping the team. So, they've been good. Good attitudes, they come to work every day and it's been good."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On how the defense replicates their first game against Green Bay: "I don't know if you replicate anything because each game is its own individual entity. What we're going to try to do is keep those same principles that we had the first game. Try to stop the running game, try to make sure they don't throw the ball over our heads. I think we did that the first game and that's why we had some success."
On why he thinks Packers RB Eddie Lacy has had so much success recently: "Well, I think that they're blocking really well upfront, their offensive line works really well together. They have two outstanding guards, the rookie center's gotten better every week and the left tackle has gotten better every week. They're able to open some holes for him and he's a good downhill runner. What you see is, he's patient and when he sees it he goes, gets his pads downhill and he's a hard tackle."
On what makes Packers QB Aaron Rodgers so unique: "He obviously has tremendous arm strength, he gets rid of the ball as quickly as anybody that we'll see. He's able to buy time in the pocket and guys do a great job of uncovering and he has uncanny accuracy. He's tough and that's what makes him so good. He's got all the things you want in a quarterback. He's tough as nails."
On Rodgers not having an interception at Lambeau the last two years: "Again, I don't know what bearing that would have on us. We're just going to go in and try to play our game. If the interceptions come that's great, but we're more concerned about not letting the ball go over our head and playing sound defense and tackling them when they do catch it."
On why stopping Lacy is key to stopping Rodgers: "Well, because they do an excellent job with their play-action game. If you don't stop the running back and you start cheating guys up, now you're leaving (Randall) Cobb and (Jordy) Nelson one-on-one on the outside. You'll see those guys are wide open and a lot of it is because the running back is running well and guys are committing to the run fake and then all of the sudden, he looks up and there's Jordy or Randall and they're wide open. That's why people are paying so much attention to the run game because it does open up a lot of passing lanes for him and he doesn't need much of a window anyway."
On the Packers averaging 41 points per game at home and why it's hard to play defense on the road: "Well, the difference between home and away is obviously, when you're home the crowd gets behind you and it's harder for the offense to function at a fast-pace. When you're on the road, they're functioning at their pace, it's nice and quiet. It's harder to disrupt their tempo. So, that's why a lot of time, offenses get in better tempo when they're at home because they don't have to deal with all of the distractions. I'm sure that probably helps them other than the fact that they're all really good. We have our work cut out for us."
On what Nelson does that allows him to get open on deep routes: "I think when you watch him, he's a good route runner, he plays hard all the time. He's not one of those guys when it's a run play that he's kind of jogging off so that you know it's a run play. He's going to run, he's going to block you and do everything really fast. He's a good route runner, he's able to set you up on routes. If you're peaking at the quarterback and you have bad eye discipline, he's going to run right by you. He did that to us last year at Baltimore. We had a play-action fake, we were committing to the run and our corner peaked in the backfield for a second, 60 yards later he was in the end zone. He runs great routes, he plays hard, he knows how to set up a defensive back and the guy that's delivering the ball can get it to him, so that's what makes him tough."
On if Nelson has deceptive speed: "No, he doesn't have deceptive speed to us. He runs. We all think he's pretty fast."
On if DT Nick Fairley is close to returning to practice: "I don't know if he's close. He's getting better and I don't know if we can put a time table on it. He must be making enough progress where we haven't shut him down. That's always a good thing. I think Jim (Caldwell) answered it, he's getting better and we'll just kind of see where it is."
On Rodgers having a potential calf injury and if it will change his style of play: "No, because even when he was hurt last week, they did a couple of things to adjust for him in terms of the handoffs. But in the past game, he was still moving around, he was still trying to slide in the pocket, do the things that he normally does. So, I don't think it will affect him at all. He'll have a whole week to work on it and I think he'll be the guy that we expect to see."
On if the Lions defense will make Rodgers move as much as possible: "That would be a good thing, if we can do it. Part of it is, he does get the ball out of his hands. When they run their quick game, that ball is out fast. And so, sometimes that may be an answer, if he's not as mobile as he wants to be. He'll just do some stuff with the quick game and try to get it out of his hands."
On how CB Darius Slay has played compared to earlier in the season: "I think he's playing well. He had, I believe it was Tampa, the one rough game. But that's to be expected in this league and he's rebounded. He came back and I think he's playing well. He's just what we thought he was going to be at the beginning of the year. His progression is right where we want it. I think he's going to be a fine player for many years."
On why Slay struggled against Tampa Bay: "Just happens. Sometimes, a matchup, a game, whatever. We know all 16 games aren't going to be things of beauty, but the important part was, after that game, he came back the next game and he played well. He competes and all of those things, so we don't let one game like that dampen or put a damper on what he's accomplished so far this year. We think he'll continue to ascend and play well."
On what he attributes to the Packers not having big plays in their four losses and if that's the key to stopping them: "Absolutely, you can't allow them to have the big plays. I think part of it is he (Jordy Nelson) had a drop on one that was wide open, but other than that though, the teams that have done a good job of defending him have kept him in front. They've given up a 15-yard pass and will say, ‘Okay, that's not the end of the world.' And that's how you have to play the game. You can't get so greedy that you get frustrated because he's catching some 12-yarders, 15-yarders here and there, and then you try to go all in and all of the sudden, he's over top of you. You're better off doing that, making him go the long field and seeing if he can make a play within that."
On what has made the defense so good against the run this year: "Well, I think our front, we have good depth. I thought Nick (Fairley) was playing outstanding before he got hurt, but we have good depth up front. Guys understand what we're trying to do within the scheme. We do a good job of really attacking and trying to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage and our linebackers and our defensive line have really done a great job of fitting, along with our safeties. And so, that's why we've been able to stay pretty consistently good in the run game. It's not ever perfect, we know each week we come back and there's some things we can clean up. But I'm really pleased with how we've been doing it and hopefully we'll continue to play really well on run defense."
On if the amount of freedom to move around on the field has allowed LB DeAndre Levy to collect over 100 solo tackles: "Absolutely. The thing is, our guys up front, they're so disruptive that if you try to single block them too much, they're going to ruin your play. We've seen that at times. You'll see (Ndamukong) Suh in the backfield, Nick was in the backfield, C.J. (Mosley) will get in the backfield. All of our guys will get in the backfield, and so, what it does is just what you said. It makes guys have to commit to double-team our guys a little bit longer and because Lev (Levy) is so instinctive and so fast and he keys and diagnoses really fast, he gets there. So, when he sees it, he triggers and if the linemen are trying to hang on our defensive line too long, then he's gone."
On what it would mean to him to finish with the No. 1 defense in the League: "It wouldn't mean much. What would mean more is if we can win our division and have a good playoff run."
A recap of Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin's comments from Wednesday.
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET