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Jim Caldwell's quotes from Thursday

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A recap of Jim Caldwell's comments from Thursday.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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

On what has stood out about rookie WR Mike Evans: "Obviously, he's scored a bunch and been extremely effective. He has size, speed, range and he's a handful to handle in terms of coverage. He really creates a lot of mismatches. He's done a nice job."

On how much the team looked at Evans during the Draft: "Like everybody else in the Draft, we look at particularly the top performers and then we did an extensive study on all of them, him included."

On the importance of relationships with players off the field and if that's something he brought with his experience: "We certainly didn't invent it. We do think it's important. It's not like you can't win without it but I do think it helps guys get a real good sense and feel for one another. I think it's an important part. Often times, you've seen teams that have played very, very well at the end of the season. They talk about why they've played well and everybody refers it to family. Well, it doesn't always equate to exactly that, but I do believe there's a closeness and interactions that happen between them that I think are very important. I think in the long run it does give you a little help."

On if that's more important for older players or younger players: "Yeah, the mentorship part of it is invaluable. We do something internally where we match guys up with an older player, a younger guy coming in to serve in a mentorship type role that includes not only the things that happen here in the building, but also outside the building and just the way in which they live their lives and things of that nature. I think the transfer of that information is extremely important."

On if rookies get matched up with veterans: "Yes."

On if it's just rookies that are matched up: "Yes."

On who some of the mentors are: "I'm not going to go into that, go down the line and talk about each one that we've matched up, but it does occur."

On when the pairing happens: "For us it's a little bit different because we had to get to know who even the older guys were, so we waited a while. Although, Galen Duncan has been here for quite some time and handles a lot of those things dealing with player development. Dr. Duncan does a tremendous job of giving us some information that maybe we didn't know about each guy. We matched them up accordingly. It was a little bit later than we would ordinarily do it."

On when that ordinarily would occur: "Right after the Draft."

On if that's something he brought in: "I try to shy away from things where people want to assign who did what. It doesn't matter who's right, it's what right. We think it's right for us so we implemented it."

On CB Darius Slay spending Thanksgiving with CB Rashean Mathis and how that mentorship has helped Slay: "I would think that probably the best person to ask would be Darius, although we think it's invaluable and we can see what happens out on the field and then the classroom setting, things of that nature. We know that relationship has been good, but he could probably give you a little bit better sense of that than I could."

On if that helps the older players also: "I think it helps in a couple different ways, exactly what you said, Mike. I think it also holds them a bit accountable as well. Often times if you're in a mentorship role, there's not a whole lot of times you want to step out of line and do something that may cause a bit of embarrassment because of that relationship so, I think it works both ways."

On if WR Ryan Broyles hasn't played as much because WR Golden Tate has been playing so well: "I did not say it that way. What I said was, they asked me why hasn't he played so much and I said because he and Golden play the same position. That's the difficult part of it. That happens sometimes. You get stuck behind a guy sometimes that never comes out of the game, never gets hurt and is durable. I think a lot of quarterbacks in this league that have backed up some of the guys who have been ironmen have found that out. It just so happens that it's just one of those situations. There's no question I think he's a talented player and typically you don't go through an entire season without that particular guy in front of you having an issue or two, a game or two that he might miss. Fortunately, knock on wood, we hope that continues, but unfortunate for Ryan."

On how well he believes the team has done this year at putting games behind them: "Well, up until now, it looks like they've been able to do a decent job of it. We'll see how that goes the rest of the way."

On evaluating WR Jeremy Ross' performance as a returner: "I think he's done a good job. He hasn't broken a whole lot of long ones for touchdowns or anything of that nature, but I think he's been steady. I think often times, it's just like anything else, that good returners also need guys that are doing a great job in terms of the blocking for them as well. But, I do think he's been giving us and getting what's there."

On if he's considered giving Tate opportunities as a returner: "Not much."

On if that's an injury prevention type of thing: "It just depends. Sometimes you may see a change down the road, maybe not, it just depends."

On how much pulling RB Theo Riddick and LB Tahir Whitehead off of special teams hurt their blocking on returns: "Anytime that a guy ends up playing a major role, maybe in some phase you limit it. Tahir still participates in special teams. I think he's still leading our team in (special teams) tackles. It just kind of depends on the situation, it depends. I haven't looked at last year's film and made comparisons in terms of who did what and how well they did it, what contributed to what in terms of a return or two that may have occurred. So, I couldn't answer that from an educated standpoint."

On if Broyles is developing to fit different roles: "You have to look at what we do from week to week. Every week's a little bit different. Sometimes it requires more inside guys or outside guys, how you fit in with the rest of the guys in terms of your skill set. You match those things up and take a look and see where they fit. You also have to look at overall numbers, how many receivers we have up for a game. The crossover part of that is contribution to special teams. There's a lot of factors involved besides the obvious."

On how TE Eric Ebron has improved over the season: "Making slow, steady progress. Some of it may be a little difficult to see, but after he came back from his injury, I think he's been coming along. I think you'll continue to see him get better and better."

On what he sees Ebron getting better with that others may not: "Conceptual understanding of the offense. It's not an easy position one plays, in particular that spot. That position requires that you know pass protection, it requires that you know the inside receiver's routes, as well as the outside receiver's, as well as the tight end position. All of the blocking schemes that are inherent within that position as well. It's not an easy task and for a young guy coming in, with that amount of information, you see them just steadily get a little bit better all of the time. We see it on the practice field, he's more comfortable with things where he's not thinking nearly as much and it'll be more reaction. Sometimes it takes a little while to get to that point where everything is sort of an adjustment that way. But I do think he's climbing. We see it, the improvements in those areas that I just mentioned on a daily basis. I think the more comfortable he becomes, the better you're going to see him perform."

On if Ebron is progressing to where he'll make a leap next season: "There's nothing that tells me that he can't make a big jump here toward the end of the year. I think he's moving in that direction."

On his relationship with Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith: "I've known him for quite some time and certainly admired his work. He was in Tampa just before I arrived. He was leaving as I was coming in, roughly a year or so. I knew more about him from word of mouth than actually working with him, but obviously since that time we've had an opportunity to meet, get to know each other and that kind of thing. He's a quality person, outstanding coach."

On if today's practice is more important when evaluating T Riley Reiff and G Larry Warford: "It is. Obviously, seeing how they function the day after they've gone through pretty extensive work. That'll be an evaluation all through the week. Tomorrow I'll tell you the same thing, we have to see how he comes through on Friday. Then the next thing I'll tell you is how he is on Saturday and we'll still want to wait and see how they do. They handled yesterday's workload pretty well, let's put it that way."

On if RB Reggie Bush will have the same role when he returns to the field: "Every game is different. Every game is a just a little bit different. He's got the skill set where he can do a lot of things. The good thing is he's practicing and he looks good."

On if RB Reggie Bush will be the starting running back when he's cleared to return: "Yeah, today he's not because obviously we haven't played a game yet, but when he gets back, absolutely."

On if RB Theo Riddick will play more special teams when Bush returns: "I'm not going to go through all of that. I'm not going to tell you, we just don't know. The thing about it is, roles they play, it depends on the ballgame, it depends on what we have to do in terms of personnel. It's not that cut and dry, it never is."