Opening Statement: "This is going into our situational day where we will install our red zone, short yardage, goal line, those kinds of things and go over our two-minutes at the end of practice, as well. We're giving the guys the kind of opportunity to go through that along with the things that we've done this morning in terms of the install. It's a little bit more difficult than the rest of the week. Thursdays are always the longer practice and it's one that's pretty taxing."
On his initial meeting with QB Matthew Stafford before getting the job: "The meeting was rather brief. It wasn't as long or arduous as some had reported. But, it did take place where I had a chance to visit and talk to him a little bit. I think every quarterback for the last 14 years, I've had an opportunity to look at on film and evaluate and as long as Matt has been playing in the league, had a chance to play against him. Certainly, held him in high regard as an observer from a distance. He's a very talented guy. When you look at his production, it had been off the charts in some cases and that's well-documented. You get a chance to get a little bit more in-depth at a person to get a better sense of him. You may have known that he's a bright guy and he is indeed that, extremely bright. He's also very dedicated, he's been a highly disciplined guy from what we've seen. He left this spring with what I think is a real solid understanding of what we're doing from an offensive standpoint and he came back this fall further ahead than when he left. So, that tells me that he studied, that he dedicated himself to getting better and he's moving at a pretty rapid pace, in terms of just doing a lot of the nuances that come along with operating this type of offense. He is a fine leader. Since I've been here you can tell the players gravitate toward him, they have a keen interest in what he has to say. He's vocal, I don't think you can really operate at that position and not be vocal. It doesn't mean you have to be boisterous and loud - it means you have to be a communicator and I think he does a fine job with that. Telling guys where he expects them to be, how deep he wants those routes, the little nuances involved with the passing game. Particularly with attacking spatial awareness areas and things of that nature, how the receivers have to adjust and what he's anticipating and hoping happens. So, all of those things have been very, very positive and I think you can see by his play that all of those things are improving within the system and I look forward to him having a great year."
On if there were any drills during his meeting with Stafford: "No, I did talk to him about what I saw and what I thought because I did look at every one of his throws from the previous year, that's indeed a fact. We just talked about different things at that particular position that we thought may be able to help, but it wasn't like I was giving him drills. I didn't have the job. How can I give him drills? I wasn't that confident nor do I have that kind of ego. I have an ego but I don't have the ego problem. Nevertheless, I think it was a great meeting. I got a good feel for him and I could sense right away that he'd be a great guy to be around and work with. He's what you want in a guy to play that position and lead your team, and he's a quality guy."
On Stafford's improvement: "It's not easy, you have to spend time working at it. He embraced this thing right from the onset. He was trying to find ways all within the rules of trying to learn as much as he could about the offense in a very short period of time. He didn't want to come in, with the situation in the spring, and not be ahead of his teammates. He exhibited the same type of willingness coming into the fall. Obviously, coming in a little bit ahead of the rest of the veterans and he's worked at it extremely hard. A lot of times, guys will look for an excuse of maybe why they weren't as effective in certain phases like, ‘We've got a new system, it's a little tough, it's a learning curve, it's a little difficult.' He's made none of those. He came out, he's worked, he's functioned, he's gotten better as a result of that and I look for him to keep improving."
On the collaboration during roster reductions that happens between coaching and front office: "Certainly, without question, Martin (Mayhew) has the final say on things in that regard. But he is like the rest of the GM's that I've been around, they take everyone's information. We look at it from an assistant coach's standpoint, from the head coach's standpoint, and from all angles you deal with it and how it affects you in so many different areas. We talk about it the day before that we're getting ready to make the reductions. So, we toil over it, we talk about it and discuss it and try to get down to where we think it's best. You know, it's a difficult decision any time that happens. It's not a great day for me personally, because we've got young men whose hopes and dreams are dashed. Often times, we don't think about how those things impact their lives, but I get a chance to see it face-to-face when I talk to them at the end. It doesn't necessarily mean the end everywhere, but the end here at this point in time and that's a difficult time and we don't take it lightly. That's the other thing that I think is important and it's something that we talk about and we discuss. We go back and forth until we get it down to where we think it's workable for us and our situation.
On if the reason for playing WR Calvin Johnson on Friday will be to see how the defense reacts to him: "That's not the goal, but it's something that when you go into a ball game that you certainly have to take into account because there are different things that require a different reaction depending on how they deal with him. Depending on how they deal with him on a coverage standpoint, sometimes it opens things up maybe on your passing game on the opposite side, or inside on the same side, or with your running game. So there are a number of different things that we'll look at, now a lot of them we've had an opportunity to look at and predict and kind of anticipate. The other thing is there are really only so many things you can do with 11 guys on the field and be sound. So we've looked at a lot of those perimeters and have thought about, and certainly implemented things that we would do just in case it indeed does happen. But the most important thing is to give him an opportunity to play. This is the first time this year that he'll be in a contest. I know he's been itching to get in. You guys all know him, maybe the humblest individual that I've ever been around, and not only that but maybe the hardest worker. He's a tremendous person. He's just tireless in terms of his efforts to get out there on the field and help his team. So I'm looking forward to letting him get out there a little bit and see how it goes."
On the kicking decision: "We're going to see about that because it's one that's hard, it's difficult. Both guys are kicking fairly well. Now, what we're going to do this week which is going to be a little different, you're probably going to see at the onset of the game maybe Sam (Martin) kicking off. Probably just to make certain we get a look at Sam and give him an opportunity. Then we're going to rotate the place kicking duties. So it will happen. One will kick maybe the first opportunity, then the next guy will kick the next opportunity and we'll go back and forth. So we can get a little bit of a different evaluation rather than waiting till the second half to give Giorgio (Tavecchio) a shot, we're going to do so early on. So that's going to be a little different."
On the reason for the upcoming kicking rotation: "I think there's some fairness there, so it gives both guys an opportunity, you know, to kick in a portion of the game that is similar. So, you know, we just think we can probably do a little bit better job evaluating if we do it that way. So that's the reason why."
On if Martin will have the kickoff duties for the season: "You know what, that remains to be seen. I think you've seen both guys get it down there fairly well, so we'll see. Whoever gives us the best opportunity to get the best field position we'll utilize."
On if he will do his first round of cuts Saturday or next Tuesday: "There's not a definite timetable. There might be some that make sense early and some that may make sense a little bit later prior to the deadline. It just kind of depends."
On S DeJon Gomes' health status: "I think the doctors have said it's not a long-term injury and I think it's up to them to make that determination. I try to stay in the coaching business and let them handle the medical affairs."
On if a player gets credit for making a terrific play, but a penalty negates it: "Absolutely, because he had nothing to do with the play not counting. You evaluate him on every single snap, even when a penalty occurs. It doesn't matter. Those individuals still get graded and it counts within the scheme. If it's an interception or whatever it might be, it all counts."