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 if there was a real increase in tempo from the offense: "It wasn't Philadelphia Eagles no huddle, but the players getting on and off the field, the substitutions, getting in and out the huddle, getting up to the line of scrimmage, and down in our stance was all much faster this week."
On why the offense implemented a quicker tempo: "I think we just got better at it. It's been an emphasis all year but we did better and hopefully we can build on that."
On if the increased tempo had anything to do with calls getting in calls quicker: "I hope not. I think it's just the guys just hustling a little bit more."
On if there is a rhythm that comes with an increased tempo: "There's a rhythm that comes when you're gaining yards, but yes it helps with the rhythm for sure."
On how much of a goal it is moving forward to sustain a quicker tempo: "It's just something that you try to build on. I think it's always been something that we've been trying to instill. I think the more familiar guys get with the plays and what their jobs are the faster it'll go."
On if execution plays a role in tempo: "Certainly but I'm kind of talking between the end of the play and the start of the next play. That's what we were trying to do faster."
On what he has seen from Tampa Bay the last six games that has them playing so well defensively: "I think they're getting better at playing this system. Lovie Smith's system is not extremely complicated as far as how many defenses they're running but there's a lot of nuances within how you play that defense. These guys are just getting better at it. You can just see their evolution as you watch the course of the season of just guys knowing all the nuances of the defense. It's allowing them to be more successful."
On what ways the quicker tempo helped QB Matthew Stafford: "I think when you get up to the line of scrimmage with more time on the play clock and you're not bumping up against getting a delay of game penalty things are a little bit more calm. It just helps the quarterback kind of have more time to look at the defense and evaluate what he's seeing."
On how difficult it is to keep up with a quick tempo against a team that plays a lot of zone coverage: "They're not all zone. They play as much man maybe as other people by situational. I just think that getting in and out the huddle and executing well just helps. If a defense is playing well it makes it harder."
On what would having RB Reggie Bush back add to the offense: "He's got that home run threat all the time. His speed and explosiveness is something that we look forward to having back."
On why RB Joique Bell has had success the past few weeks: "I think it's hard to say exactly why. I think just the execution of the running game, just keep chipping away and pretty soon you start breaking off some longer runs, so just sticking with it."
On what it does when Bell can break some tackles or run a defender over: "When you can rely on your running game to be more efficient, successful obviously, it makes everything a lot easier."
On if he is seeing progression from TE Eric Ebron: "Yeah. I think he works hard at it and he's talented. The more reps he gets I think the better he's going to be."
On if Ebron saying he, ‘Earned the trust of Lombardi and Stafford' can go a long way: "I think obviously that's something that you're always building on. That's a vital importance between any receivers, whether he's a tight-end, receiver, running back, and a quarterback. Just that trust of knowing that he's going to be in the right place doing the right thing and that he's going to catch the ball. It certainly helps and that'll just keep building with time."
On if he decreased the playbook last week or left it where it was: "It wasn't significantly different. With the short week you certainly had a limited amount of time to do a bunch of new stuff but it was a normal game plan."
On if there was a significant increase in the amount of times Stafford audibled because of the quick tempo: "No and when we say tempo we weren't going no huddle other than the two minute drives. It was just the tempo in which guys were getting in and out of the huddle and up to the line of scrimmage. Everything was moving faster and it also adds a little more stress to the defense when you're moving faster, especially when you're changing personnel as much as we did."
On if the reduced game plan has had the effect that he thought it would: "Yeah. I mean I think you're just able to narrow down what you're practicing and get it more detailed against the various looks."
On what getting back LT Riley Reiff and RG Larry Warford means for the offense: "It's always good to get starters back. Those guys are starters for a reason. Now that being said I think that Travis (Swanson) and (Cornelius) Lucas did a real good job filling in. Just getting that cohesiveness back of your starting offensive line is obviously going to be helpful."
On what can be done to get the offense going earlier: "There's no easy answer for those things. It's not a formula but it's just coming out and executing a little bit better than what we have. Like I said there's no easy answer, just go out and do well."
On how he was able to correct the issue of drops last week: "I don't know if I corrected it as much as the guys catching it when it was thrown to them. Guys made really good plays on Thursday and I think we'll build on that."
On if he feels that he showed off some of the potential of the offense last week: "Well it certainly felt better on Thursday than it had the previous few weeks. Every week is a new week whether you did poorly or you did well. You have to go out the next week and reprove yourself."
On how good CB Johnthan Banks and CB Alterraun Verner are: "They're good. They're good fits for this system. Banks is long, I think he's I think 6'2 and so when he's coming up and playing cover two he can get his hands on those guys. They do a real good job of funneling those wide receivers outside and then they're capable when they're going single high of covering and staying tight to the receiver. They're playing well."
On if going against DT Ndamukong Suh helps prepare for McCoy: "Yeah. I think anytime that you've got a good sparring partner it helps you when you get to the fight. Obviously Suh is the best so it's helpful for those guys to face him all season."
On how patient does the offense have to be going against a defense such as Tampa's: "I think that's important. Their defense is predicated a little bit on that. They're going to be patient and figure you're not going to nickel and dime them all the way down the field. They're going to be patient and work on those turnovers and that's what has made them so successful over the years. You have to be smart and not think you're going to get 80-yard touchdowns every time because they're not going to let you do that."
On if he invited CB Darius Slay in the office to gain some insight on Banks: "Yeah and we've got a couple of coaches on the staff, Tony Oden, who's familiar with some of the personnel out there, Bill Sheridan obviously, so I'll talk more with those guys."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On how Buccaneers WR Mike Evans and WR Vincent Jackson differ from the Bears big receivers: "Not very much, big guys who can run, who can catch and really make you have to battle for the ball. So, we'll have our work cut out for us, just like we did last week. I hope we get off to a better start than we did last week. We allowed those guys to get some catches and get some yards after catch. We've got to do a better job. I know this, our guys, we know what kind of challenge we have ahead of us and we're just going to have to play our best."
On what makes Evans different than other rookies: "He's got tremendous hands, unbelievable hands. He adjusts to the ball when it's in the air, over the shoulder, behind him. He does some things that you don't coach, the guy has it. So, that's where it's going to be tough because he's got a huge catch radius. You just kind of have to get it in the area. If he gets two hands on it, more than likely, he's going to catch it."
On what has stood out to him about Evans that has exceeded expectations: "Obviously, he was a top-pick, a top-10 pick for good reason. You're seeing the same things you saw from him in college. He's good at getting some separation, if he doesn't have separation, he can make a contested catch. As a receiver, that makes you good. A lot of guys can run when they're open and catch it when nobody's around them, but when guys are draped all over you and you can still make the catch, that makes you a good receiver, and he's a good receiver."
On if the rush was starting to affect the quarterback against Chicago in Week 13: "Yeah, we felt good. I think we got a hit on the very first play of the game and our guys, we were getting good rushes. They did a good job of getting rid of the ball, but once we got a little bit of a lead and they had to throw the ball down the field a little bit further, we knew that we'd have an opportunity to get some hits and possibly some sacks, and our guys did that."
On CB Darius Slay's big developmental jump from year one to two: "I think he's worked at it very hard. He's not afraid to take advice from other guys and the guys who have been in the League. They give you pointers and tips and you have to take what's best for you and use it. Some guys don't like that, they just want to learn on their on their own. But I think he took all of that and he's worked really hard. This league, a lot of it is confidence and I think he got off to a great start this year, this season, and that has done nothing but help him. So, he's playing with a lot of confidence right now and you can see it, and we're glad that he's doing it."
On what Slay can still improve on: "That's like most guys, he knows our defense and what we want and pretty soon, when he really gets good, he'll start to know this is what the offense is trying to do to me every time. He can narrow things down. The thing I like to tell our guys is, you can't play every play all of the time because you won't play fast. And you have to try to narrow it down by formation, by tendencies. And if you do that and you see some things that click, then you're probably going to get two of three things instead of two of 20 things. When guys do that, that's when they really get good."
On why the run defense has ascended to such a high level: "I think it's the guys up front, obviously they're the catalyst. The way we get off the ball, we're very physical. Our linebackers run well and I think the biggest thing of all of it is we tackle well. We've had a few games where we haven't tackled as well as we'd like, but overall, we've been a good tackling team. I think that's overlooked because there are a lot of times guys will have people stopped, but a guy misses a tackle, he breaks out and it becomes a 12, 15-yard run. We haven't missed many tackles. We run so hard to the ball that somebody else is there to clean it up, so I think that's a part of the reason why."
On how much he's seen opponents forgo the run because of the Lions' dominance: "Well, most teams are going to try to run because they want to have balance. I think the last two weeks, I think the Patriots obviously, they (New England) did a heck of a job and they didn't do it until they needed to at the end. Last week, it looked like they tried to simulate or emulate what they did and I don't think that's going to happen. I think this week, they're going to run the ball because they have to. I think people have to run the ball to keep balance. Everybody doesn't have Tom Brady at quarterback, and so you have to have some type of balance within your offense. And so, I think we'll see the run game. I don't think everybody will do what's happened to us the last few weeks."
On if he's okay with giving up short passes, if the defense has to give up anything: "Absolutely. Short passes, if you do it right and you tackle, they don't kill you. It's the ones that go over your head, those are the ones that kill you. We've stressed that from the beginning, make teams go the long, hard way and we'll count on them making a mistake before we do."
On if having depth up front on the defense is a substantial benefit: "Absolutely. I think when you have guys that aren't playing a ton of snaps, they come in there, they're fresh and they give you great energy. Most offensive lines are going to play every snap, if they can, but all of the sudden, they have a fresh body on them every couple of plays. That kind of puts things to our advantage."
On the overall health of the defensive line: "Yeah, we're pretty good."
On how valuable S Glover Quin and S James Ihedigbo are on the backend of the defense: "They're very valuable and in two different ways because Dig's (Ihedigbo) is going to do most of his work closer to the line of scrimmage and he's good there in the box, where Glover has done a great job of knocking down some plays that might have gotten out. I can think of the quick screen over in London against Atlanta when Julio (Jones) got it and it was just he and Glover and Glover makes the tackle. That was a big stop. We ended up stopping them and getting the ball back, but he's done that on numerous occasions. So, they're very tied into how well we play in run defense for different reasons. Glover for knocking down the big ones and Dig when he's up in the box."
On if Quin and Ihedigbo are one of the better safety combinations in the League: "They're good enough for us and that's all I care about. I don't care about what else is happening in the League, I just know they're good enough to help us win and that's really all we care about."
On how accelerated Quin and Ihedigbo's chemistry was during OTA's: "Well, I think what you could tell was that they had talked about a lot of things. Obviously, Glover was limited in the offseason, but Dig had been around, knew what we were doing, so he has kind of an intimate knowledge of maybe how I might present some things. And so, I think that helped and it gave him a head start. But after that, they've just been working and doing things, so those guys have done a good job."
On what the impact is when the defense takes away the run and makes an opponent one-dimensional: "Well, I think it's good. If you eliminate half of your arsenal, then that means we're ahead. That's just kind of how we look at it. If we can stop a team from running and they have to pass, if they beat us in doing one thing, then that's a great job to them. But if we can do that and we have them one-dimensional and we know what is going on and our guys up front can pin their ears back and go. We can really pay attention to the coverage without having to worry too much about a run game and I think that's in our favor."
On the Seattle Seahawks passing the Lions as the No. 1 defense: "I think our guys are more concerned with how many wins we have at the end of the year, and making the playoffs and doing all of the things that give yourself a chance to get into the tournament to win. That's really, I think, our guys' focus and if we don't beat Tampa Bay, all of that other stuff doesn't matter. So, we're just looking for this week, to see how good we can be this week, try to win this week. All of that stuff at the end, we'll figure it out then."