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Lions players comment on win over Jaguars

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Quotes from various players after Friday's Detroit Lions preseason game.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Friday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD
On if the first-team offense had the precision he wanted: "Yeah, we definitely did.  I think I could have been more patient early on and just kept us a little bit ahead of the chains.  The offensive line did a great job protecting, which was a positive.  It opened up some good rush lanes, obviously ran the ball pretty well tonight, had some big runs.  We settled in there and had the touchdown drive that Reggie (Bush) had, made a quick one and then got down to the three (yard line).  I think the big thing that kind of hurt us tonight were penalties and turnovers.  You have those that make it tough on yourself. We can't do that."

On RB Reggie Bush's run: "It was great.  He's healthy, he's fresh and you can tell.  He hadn't had a bunch of carries in the preseason (and he) popped a big one.  He checked into a play and the guys up front executed great. He went to the races and it was fun to watch."

On the difference in his game after a slower start: "I think me just being patient.  I felt like the first pass we had, the second play of the game, could have taken CJ (WR Calvin Johnson) for a gain of two and gotten us a first down on a second-and-one.  The guys were blocking so well up front that I just tried to move around and make a play and I shouldn't have done it, you know, just to keep us ahead of the chains.  That defense was dropping deep and I'm not sure we threw many balls over 20 yards downfield tonight. They were making us take the underneath stuff and once we started doing that and staying ahead of the chains we had some good drives going."

On the interception play: "That was a hell of a play. That kid needs to play some tight end. No, it was a good play by him, you know, I obviously would love to have that one back and take it down, maybe.  He drops outside the safety and then circles all the way back around the field and fell right into it. Calvin (Johnson) ran a great route on his guy, got open and the guy made a good play.  We bounced back, moved the ball well after that. Just some of the little stuff that was keeping us from having good drives, getting penalties and turning the ball over."

On if the penalties concern him: "Yeah, you don't want to have them, for sure.  I know there's emphasis on certain things in the preseason and you don't really know how that's going to carry over into the regular season, but anytime the penalties are going in the upward direction, it's not good. We've got to take care of those, play smarter football. They weren't all late in the game.  It was throughout the game and we've got to do a better job."

LIONS WR CALVIN JOHNSON
On what he took away from his first game tonight: "It's good to get back out there with the guys and to get my wind up a little bit. It felt good just to be back on the field and to get some action."

On his chemistry with QB Matthew Stafford tonight: "It was good. I've been practicing with the team. It's not like I haven't been working with the guys. It just feels good to get out there and do some good things out on the field."

On if the team was holding back offensively: "Coach (Caldwell) has a plan and we're going to stick to it. Whatever Coach has us do, we're going to do it. He has a plan and it's for the betterment of this team and to get some wins."

On if there is part of him that wishes he and the offense could have exploded tonight: "I did what Coach (Caldwell) called. I just had to make the plays that were there for me to make."

On if the defense played him any differently than in other games: "You won't get too much of that in the preseason. Defenses are going to do what they've got to do to get themselves ready for their season. There weren't too many special roles or coverages like that. They're just playing for the most part, three high and cover two."

LIONS RB REGGIE BUSH
On tonight's start: "We got off to a good start tonight. The offensive line did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage. I felt like we ran the ball really well early, got into a rhythm, but we still have a lot of things that we can learn from this game. We did some good things and there were a lot of things that we can correct that can obviously hurt us during the season that we have to correct right now."

On getting WR Calvin Johnson back and what he saw from him: "Calvin was Calvin. He looked like his normal self. He was out there making plays and catching balls and was just doing what he does."

On his 86-yard touchdown run: "The guy had a good angle on me and I was just thinking the whole time, ‘don't get caught.' That was the biggest thing."

On TE Eric Ebron's progression: "He has made tremendous strides, I think, from the first time he stepped on the field as a Detroit Lion. He's a great athlete. He's going to be a huge addition for us this year and we're expecting big things out of him."

On the penalties tonight: "That's the first thing we're going to clean up is the penalties and the turnovers. Those are things that will get you beat. During the season against good teams, those kind of games will get you beat. That's something we have to correct and we have to pay attention to because we did win the game, but there are a lot of things that will get us beat during the regular season that we have to correct right now."

LIONS TE ERIC EBRON
On if he gets more and more comfortable with each game: "I get more and more comfortable each day, it's not just the games. It's practice, it's film, it's just working your way into the system and yeah, you get comfortable once you start figuring things out and understanding what to do."

On if the team is starting to tap into its offensive potential: "I think we're pretty good. Potential is kind of an edgy word. It can be up or down because we understand what we can do if we can execute it. I don't really think it's more potential, I think we know what we can do. We just have to go out there and do it. It's all on us really."

On trying to get the run game going tonight: "It's always an emphasis. If you can run the ball, then you can throw the ball. That's just football. If you're a one-dimensional team, you don't have much of a chance of winning. You always have to run the ball before you can throw it."

On if he felt the ball was distributed evenly tonight: "It's always going to be distributed evenly. We don't have much of a choice. We're not the ones distributing the ball. Matt (Stafford) does a great job on picking and choosing who is open, who the play is really designed for and if that person is open. If not, he does a great job of getting back to his other reads. I don't think it's not distributed enough. I think we do a great job of both running and passing the ball."

LIONS LB TAHIR WHITEHEAD
On his performance tonight: "All this week I just prepared really hard, just to try to take advantage of the opportunity. I just came in, did my job and the goal coming into this was simply be there for my teammates and do the best I can do."

On the aggressiveness of the defense: "It shows the character of our defense. We have a lot of hard-working guys. You can really spread the wealth of the defense all over the place. We had guys making plays from the first quarter to the last quarter and that just really showed the great character of the defense."

On if he made a statement to the coaching staff with the way he played: "I don't know. I won't be able to tell until we put on the tape. I've just got to take the coaching and that's when I'll really be able to tell. Until then, I wouldn't know."

LIONS DE GEORGE JOHNSON
On trying to make a name for himself: "That's one thing I'm trying to do. Coaches keep coming up to me and are telling me they're really impressed with me. They said, ‘Keep doing what you're doing. We really like you and we're really liking the things that you're doing.' So, I want to make it hard for them to cut me."

On the defense's play tonight: "It really wasn't me, it was the coaches. They put us in a great position to actually get to these sacks. We work on it all week, try to get off the ball, try to get to the edge, try to beat them inside when they don't give us the edge. We just really focus on that and concentrate on that."

On if he looks at himself as a third-down guy or an all-four-down defensive end: "All four down D-end because you have to play first and second down to get to the third down."

LIONS LB DEANDRE LEVY
On LB Tahir Whitehead's performance tonight: "It's good for him. He worked hard all of camp. I think he tried to really take an extra step this year and learn the defense. He's seeing that SAM (strong side linebacker) spot is an open competition. He took advantage of the opportunity tonight and I think it's good for him."

On the defense's tempo: "I thought it was good. There's a lot things that we have to clean up though, there were too many penalties. We did some things well. We'll continue to grow as a group. Tonight was our first extended action, so I think we got a good idea of where we're at."

On how the team can fix the penalty problem: "There are some things that's in our control that we can clean up and that's all we can do."