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Jim Caldwell comments on Lions' win over Jaguars

Quotes from Jim Caldwell's media session after Friday's Detroit Lions preseason game.

Leon Halip

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

Opening statement: "Just a quick recap of the game and obviously, the good thing is that we were able to squeeze it out there at the end. The guys did indeed finish. I think the offense did a decent job toward the end moving the ball, getting us in position to get some scores. The defense did a nice job of closing the door at the end. We've been talking about finishing and indeed we did, but when we look at it there were a lot of good things. We had 178 yards rushing, I believe, 72-percent in terms of completion percentage. I know Matthew (Stafford) probably didn't start the way that we all would like him to start, but came back and was nine-for-nine after that, so he got it rolling pretty well. Had the turnovers which will certainly mar the game a little bit, skew it somewhat. Those three turnovers were big, but we got two, obviously, from them and those are huge as well. Blocked a kick, which I think was extremely important. Had six sacks. We hadn't been getting a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback. We had six sacks, although Tahir (Whitehead) had three of them, but nevertheless a sack is a sack. But, you know, there were some good things, but overall it concerns me a bit, you know, just in terms of the number of penalties. That's an issue and also turning the ball over in scoring territory. Those are the things we have to focus in on. We have to make certain they get tightened up in practice next week and do better against Buffalo."

On if he is concerned about penalties: "I just said it concerns me. I'm concerned about it. Yes, absolutely. Fifteen is too many."

On not scoring in the red zone: "The big thing is when you get in that particular area you probably would have looked at one, we probably would have kicked a field goal down there the one time we went for it. We were trying to obviously put them in some situations that we wanted to see if we could get it. Same thing with the long field goal at the end, as well. A lot of those probably would have been done a little bit differently. But nevertheless we didn't get in, we didn't score touchdowns down there and that's the key. Obviously, that's always a concern for you."

On if the first-team offense was polished enough: "No, no it was not, not in all phases. I think we did a pretty good job when you look at the overall numbers in completion percentage, pass protection. I think it was pretty solid. We ran the ball effectively, I think. But we could have been better in that area as well. So yeah, we weren't as sharp, and primarily because of the fact that they were 1st-and-20s and things like that that we had to overcome on a number of different drives and that makes the game a little bit difficult, makes it harder obviously."

On LB Tahir Whitehead: "You know, he's one of those guys that's been playing well the last couple of weeks. He's really certainly been asserting himself. I think you can see why. He's played well. He was really playing at a level of one of the top three linebackers, so we put him in position to see what he could do, and obviously he took advantage of it."

On the first-team defense: "Yeah, I thought they played well and played tough. But like I said, the thing that happened- We had so many drives that were extended because of the fact we had a penalty here and there which kind of really marred a pretty good performance out of that group. I think they controlled the line of scrimmage, which is something you look for. We were able to get two turnovers, not the number one group but overall. But I think the number one unit ran to the ball well. I think they closed on the ball well. They limited big gains, and I think they were pretty solid except for the penalties."

On if RB George Winn's negative play outweighs his positive play: "Well, it all counts. We look at every single angle, every single detail and there's positives and negatives and we just have to weigh those out."

On if he saw improvement with DT Nick Fairley: "Down in the trenches it's kind of difficult to see and give you a determination tonight, but it appeared that he did a pretty good job in there."

On how he plans to correct the penalties: "It's painful now as a coach and it's one of those things that I think bothers you and you have to get them straightened out because they are preventable. We have officials at practice, give them a chance to see on a daily basis where we're making mistakes if we are making any, and we stress them that way. Then we talk about them consistently, it's an emphasis. There's an old coaching adage, ‘You achieve what you emphasize,' so we just have to keep emphasizing. I don't expect it to go away overnight, but I expect it to improve in a hurry."

On how he distinguishes between mental and physical mistakes in terms of penalties: "You know, for the most part I haven't seen too many of them that were just simply physical that they couldn't do anything about it. I think they all, a great majority of the ones we had were preventable and that's what we'll work on, we'll site, we'll look at them closely and see what the issues are and see if we can get those straightened out."

On if he was surprised by the number of penalties: "I think every practice you're going to have some. This game is not a perfect game, obviously. But the issue is, like I said, we could take about three or so, but you get beyond that and that's an issue that's a concern. No, we haven't seen a rash of 15 in a practice session, but we've certainly seen some, but within our normal limits."

On RB Reggie Bush's touchdown: "It was good to see Reggie get out and be able to take it the distance. It is difficult in this league. As many fast guys as there are in this league, to get a run of that length and distance, those are uncommon. You just do not see them very often, as you all know because you cover the game quite well. And to see him get out and finish it that way is pretty nice to see. He still is who he is, right? A guy with a lot of speed and burst and can still run away from some of the young fellas out there."

On how important it is to secure potential interceptions: "You know, when you let those opportunities slip out of your hands, more often than not when they do typically, quarterbacks and offenses in this league will move the ball. So, when you get those when they do throw it to you and hit you in the hands, you have to be able to pull those in. They work at it, they catch balls after practice and those kinds of things. But we have to keep getting better so we have to be able to take advantage of those."

On the battle at right tackle: "You know, both guys, as you can see we've kind of juggled them back and forth getting a real good look at both LA (LaAdrian Waddle) and Corey (Hilliard), and the guys are doing a nice job. It's close, both guys are pretty effective and both guys have size and speed and ability. So it will be a tight race down the stretch."

On the kicking battle: "It's one of those things we've been constantly evaluating. This is not the first opportunity to evaluate. We've been doing that all along. It's been a close race but we'll see how that goes."