LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE LOMBARDI QUOTE SHEET
On QB Matthew Stafford: "We've been pleased with how he's played, both in practice and in the games. He will be in there a little bit longer, I think, than he has the first two (games). A lot of that is by feel, how the game is going. How many reps he's got and what kind of success we've had as far as when he specifically will come out. So that is still to be seen, but I would anticipate more so than, certainly more than the Cleveland game and probably more than Oakland."
On the offensive pieces coming together with WR Calvin Johnson planned to play Friday: "It will be good. Again, we game planned a little bit more than maybe we would have for the first two games, but it's still not as specific maybe as it will be come Monday Night Football. But, anytime Calvin is out there it's a lot more fun."
On how Johnson will be utilized differently in this offensive scheme than last year: "I don't specifically want to talk about what happened last year, but I think he's going to move around a lot. You'll see more motion from him. You will see him lined up at different spots inside and outside."
On how he looks at the progress of the offense: "It's hard to say in practice because a lot of it is non-padded. ‘Was that a sack, was it not a sack?' So for me it's always been like, ‘How are we executing? Are guys lining up in the right spots and are they doing the right things?' You know, it was nice in Oakland that we had a couple good drives, but if we hadn't, I don't know if I would feel a whole lot different. I think that helps with the confidence of the whole team, but it's really just execution."
On how it benefits the offense to have Johnson so mobile in the offensive scheme: "I think it benefits. One, it's hard for a defense to know to target him. If they want to roll coverage to him or double him, it's harder if he's in multiple spots. And then I think every play you look at, you know, you might want a guy with his skill set. I mean, you'd like four of his skill sets, but the point being you may want Golden Tate inside for a certain play and you may want Golden outside and the same thing would apply for all of the receivers that you might have active. You look at each play individually and say, ‘Where does he fit in best in this specific scheme?' It takes players with some intelligence, and luckily we have that with our receiver group, our running back group and our tight end group. Our coaches are good at getting them able to line up in those different spots."
On where he feels the offense stands going into week three of the preseason: "Where do we stand? I'm encouraged, I'm optimistic. I think as coaches it's always, ‘What does tomorrow bring?' I know in New Orleans we set records in 2011 and we got to the San Francisco game and we were like, ‘Man, I don't know if we'll be able to get a first down this defense is so good.' I'm sure the Broncos felt the same thing last year going into the Super Bowl. So I think you always have, I don't want to use the word insecurity, but you always feel this urgency. If we had scored 80 points a game in these first two games I would still feel the same way I feel now like, "Hey, we've got to do it tomorrow and the next day and the next day.' So, I'm encouraged, I'm optimistic, but I've always got a little bit of that nervous tension."
On how many RBs and WRs they need to keep: "Need - I'm not sure. Like - I'd like them all. Both rooms have players with unique skill sets and I would like to have access to all those skill sets. It's going to be some tough decisions because there's going to be some players that I would really like to keep that just numbers-wise we probably won't be able to. I don't know exactly who they are yet. We're still having those discussions and there's still practice and games to play out. But they've done a really good job around here of getting good skill level."
On TE Joseph Fauria: "I'm really impressed with his blocking. I kind of knew. I knew what I was getting a little bit as a receiver, and maybe he's even a little bit better than I anticipated as far as running routes. I knew he had a great catching radius and all those things and he can run routes, but it's the blocking. You know, a guy that tall that kind of had a reputation of not being a blocker, he's really embraced it. I think a lot of that Coach Ron Prince, the tight end coach, does a phenomenal job of teaching blocking techniques to those guys. I think you can see it with all three that they've really improved. They've embraced that role, which is half the battle. They are enthusiastic about taking on and doing some of the dirty work and I think the whole group has been impressive from that standpoint."
On the continuity of the offensive line: "It's very comforting. I think that that's a group that the leadership from the center, Dominic (Raiola), is phenomenal. He helps bring an attitude and a toughness that to me is almost first and foremost. The attitude of an offensive line permeates the whole team, the offense and even the defense, although we have some tough guys over there too. That's a good thing. I think that whatever that they've had to learn that's new with this offense, they've done a great job. I think the coaching over there is phenomenal. I like the continuity like you said, I like the skill sets of those players, I like their attitude and I'm very confident in that group."
On if it is a tough balancing act to make sure all of the offensive weapons are utilized: "It's the best problem you can have. But, it is something you have to burn some calories on to make sure that you're using all your tools. I'm never going to complain about that problem, I promise. It is something that you've got to look at and say, ‘Gosh, we've got these good players. We can't just only give the ball to one guy.' And certainly that's not a recipe for success either."
On if there is a specific number of times they want to get Johnson the ball: "No, I don't think so. I mean as much as possible. He obviously is a phenomenal talent, a phenomenal player, a phenomenal person. So, if they are letting you throw the ball to him, you want to throw the ball to him, for sure. I think one of the good things of maybe him not playing in the preseason is I think you have seen some distribution with the football. That I think is going to help a player like him, that you can't just say, ‘He's not catching the ball, what else are you going to do?' I think, hopefully, the players have gained some confidence that that ball can be distributed and it doesn't have to be just a one-man show."
On FB Jed Collins: "I think he's a great teammate. He's got a good sense of humor, hard worker, everyone likes him. He's very popular in the weight room. In New Orleans, something I didn't know, someone said he was one of the defense's favorite guys. He's a great guy to have around. One of my personal favorites. As a player he's one of those guys that does all the dirty work, very dependable, you can give him a job and you know he's going to do it the right way. Will throw it up in there and bang away at some defenses. He's got good hands. If you ask him, he's going to make a lot of yards after the catch. He's just one of those dependable pieces that fits a lot of things we're doing."
On how the Lions offense is different than the New Orleans Saints offense he ran: "The passes and the protections, the running game is a lot different. We've got a lot of different concepts that we've thrown out passing-wise and brought in. Certainly, there are a lot of similarities as well."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN QUOTE SHEET
On the battle at linebacker: "It's still an ongoing battle. We've got three guys really working in there trying to figure out who's going to give us the best opportunity to win. You'll get a chance to see them play Friday and we'll just keep evaluating it at that point. I don't think anybody has distinguished themselves in terms of really standing out. We just have a good competition and we'll just have to see how it shakes out."
On his philosophy on mixing the linebackers on the field: "I think in the preseason what we want to do is give them an equal amount of reps so that you can have a fair evaluation. I don't think you can have a fair evaluation if one guy gets 50 plays and one guy gets 10. We try to keep those reps even so we can evaluate them on an equal amount of reps and their production in that amount of reps."
On the decision to demote DT Nick Fairley and what he has seen from him thus far: "What went into the decision was the fact that C.J. (Mosley) was playing really well and at the time, (Fairley) wasn't. Since that time, Nick has done a good job. He's gotten better, he's practiced better and we still need Nick to play well for us this year. At this point we're still pushing Nick and he's starting to push and he's doing some better things. I would expect that he's going to play better."
On the process of telling a player that they're moving down the depth chart: "I think like we do with all of our guys. We talk to them, we tell them exactly where they stand so there's no gray area and they don't feel like they're being blindsided. It'll be understood and since that time (Fairley) has been working really hard to try to get back to being a starter, because that's what he's used to."
On what the team needs next to DT Ndamukong Suh to balance the defensive line: "What we do is when we get into third downs and Jason (Jones) goes inside, our goal is to get our four best pass rushers in the game. We know that Jason is one of those guys who are really valuable inside. Wash (Jim Washburn) had him down in Tennessee and really thought he was one of the best inside and that's why we moved him in there. Obviously, in a base package you have to have a bigger guy in there, so that's what we'll do. We'll keep moving guys and get our best guys in there."
On if his play calling changes in certain situations because of the way officials call contact: "We're just going to keep coaching it and play within the rules. We're going to play our defense."
On what he's seen from CB Nevin Lawson: "He's a typical young guy. He's going to make some mistakes, but he has really good football sense. He's tough, competitive, he has all the things you want in a football player. It's probably going to take him a while to catch up to the speed of the schemes and the way things happen in this league. He's got some upside and really plays bigger than his size. He's not a big guy, but when you watch him compete with the big guys, he can."
On if the rule changes will impact Lawson more than a typical rookie because of his physical play: "No. It impacts all of the rookies because they come from college where you can hit and hold all of the time. You always go through this adjustment with them, so this is no different for the rookies. Really where there's an adjustment is for our older guys. Sometimes they would ride a guy, not really obstructing him, but now that's called. So, we have to work within those rules and try to get our older guys there. You always have to break the rookies because they love to grab and hold and they don't care where it is on the field."
On DT Caraun Reid's adjustment from the Ivy League to the NFL: "He's smart, he's doing well. He's an explosive guy, he's getting there. Playing inside, he's learning that it's a little different than playing in the Ivy League. He's got the ability, the talent and what we're trying to get him to do is, as a player, let it go. I think that'll come once he knows all the blocking schemes a little better, how he's being attacked. He's got some maturing and growing up to do in that regard in terms of learning how to play defensive line in the NFL, but he does have the ability. We expect him to be a good player."
On what DE Ezekiel Ansah needs to do become a double-digit sack player: "We've only had him back for a week or so, but I think when you look at him, he's extremely talented. He's explosive, big, fast. I think for him it's just going to be a matter of technique. Continuing to work on his technique because he's still pretty young as a football player and knowing how to apply that to offensive tackles and the guy he's going to attack and being able to use that in a game. He's got a chance to be an outstanding rusher."
On how much he needs to see Ansah play in the preseason: "We'd love to see him in game situations, but I think the most important thing is to get him to the regular season. We have him in some more practice situations this week, so we were able to ramp him up a little bit and we'll just keep evaluating to see when it's best to get him out there and get him going."
On DE Larry Webster and his progression: "He's caught on. He's really athletic, he can really bend for a big guy and he can run. You can see that when you see him coming off the corner and turning it and making some plays. Again, the biggest thing for him is his play strength right now and playing against such bigger guys, stronger guys, smarter guys that have been in the league. He does have some upside as a rusher because of those unique traits. He's long and he can run and he can bend. Those are some things that not all pass rushers have."