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Jim Caldwell comments on Lions' win over Giants

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

Gregory Shamus

Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say after Monday's win over the New York Giants. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

Opening Statement: "I thought the guys played pretty well. Certainly not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that we were a factor in all three phases. I thought the offense did a nice job of moving the ball in position to score. We might not have gotten the touchdowns or as many as we wanted once we entered the red zone, but they were efficient. There was some very steady play by Matthew (Stafford). Calvin (Johnson) did the thing he usually does, our offensive line did a nice job as well. I think we had about 417 yards of offense, which is a pretty good night. One of the things I think when you look at our offense, the signature drive was when (the Giants) closed the gap a bit and we needed a big drive to eat up some clock with about 11 minutes and something to go. They drove the ball for seven minutes down the field, a 12-play drive for 80-yards for the score. The great majority of it was running and our offensive line did a nice job of taking over the line of scrimmage at that point. On the other side of the ball when you look at our defense, they were stingy all night long. The issues that we had in the first half, most of the time were self-inflicted. But once we got that straightened out, I think you could really see that our line did a nice job in terms of stopping the run and forced them to pass a little bit more than they'd like to, even though I thought they were patient in that area running the ball. Our guys did a nice job of holding them to a minimum and then we got turnovers, which was key. The guys were tenacious. Some of our young guys stepped up and played, and then (DeAndre) Levy obviously had a big night. He did a tremendous job in terms of tackling and running to the ball and also getting a turnover for us. Our kicking game, it was solid all night long. We did a good job in terms of our kickoffs. Most of those were not returned, which gives you great field position. We don't ever take those for granted. Also, the blocked punt was key. Tahir (Whitehead) got his hands on one in there. We missed one field goal, but Nate (Freese) came back and did the job on his remaining kicks, so we were pleased about that. We've got a lot of work to do. We certainly haven't arrived. It was our first game, it's a great start. The fans were tremendous. The noise level out there was difficult even for us sometimes with our headsets to communicate upstairs. We like that. It was a lot of great energy and it was a good finish tonight."

On giving Mrs. Ford the post-game game ball: "We just felt it was to honor Mr. (William Clay) Ford and his passing. The guys certainly wanted to go out and do a great job for the family, so we presented a game ball to Mrs. Ford and her children because of the way in which they support us. Obviously, they do a tremendous job operating this organization."

On how much his team keeps playing without getting distracted: "I think that's the important thing, is that we have to make certain we embrace the grind because in the National Football League, that's what it is. It's a grind every single week and it's difficult. It's about three and a half hours of agony and you just have to hang in there and keep fighting and do your job. I think our guys did a nice job. They didn't get flustered, they didn't panic, they kept their poise and performed."

On the team's high number of penalties in the first half: "Often times, I think nowadays people get a notion as if there was fire and brimstone or something going on at halftime, but those don't happen in this league. We just talk about what our issues are, we talk about what we have to get straightened out. I think our coaches did a great job. Teryl Austin did a great job putting together a defensive game plan that certainly gave them some issues and problems, and Joe Lombardi did a nice job as well in terms of calling plays. Often times, you have two young guys who have a lot of ability and did a tremendous job getting the group ready. All down the line all of our coaches did a great job."

On WR Calvin Johnson not playing every offensive snap: "Well, you know, nothing happens by happenstance. We go into the game with a plan and how we want things to work. Often times, something happens that may get you out of that mode. If we would have had to throw the ball a little bit more or something of that nature, you would have had to adjust and change. The main point is to try to win the game, so whatever we have to do to win it. We can keep our balance. The way we were able to keep our balance and rotate people in and out, use our different personnel groupings, I think that plays to our advantage because we don't necessarily have to wear him down. He can make the plays that he made for us this evening. When we needed him, he converted quite a few third downs for us and a couple of touchdown passes. (Sitting him out) is by design, but we'll see. Every game is a little different. Next game, you may have a different question for me. You may ask me why he's out there so much, because it kind of depends each and every week."

On QB Matthew Stafford's play tonight: "Obviously, Jim Bob Cooter and Joe Lombardi, those guys get the credit. Matthew did the job, so he gets most of the credit and the other guys certainly do help him on a daily basis. It's something they work on consistently. He's got a natural feel for the pocket. He certainly slid away from pressure and got himself in position where he can make some throws for us outside of the pocket. Matthew's got talent, obviously, as we all know, inside of the pocket and outside of the pocket. I think that's what makes him dangerous. He can run the ball a little bit. That touchdown run was pretty good. He bounced off a few people, but it still counts."

On how much playing outside of the pocket raises his ceiling: "Well, every game is going to be a little different because of the fact that New York has a really fine front. That's a good football team up front. They do a tremendous job in terms of putting pressure on you and stopping the run. It required that he move a little bit. They got him off of his spot in terms of the rush and so he was able to slide and create some options for himself outside of the pocket. But the great thing about it is, I think he was about 65-percent completion percentage. That's kind of what we like to see. Anything over 62-percent, you're moving in the right direction. Some games it may be different. It may be 58-percent and he throws five touchdown passes, but we'd like to be able to keep it up over 62. It's kind of our goal."

On T LaAdrian Waddle and CB Bill Bentley leaving the game tonight: "Bentley has a knee issue that we're taking a good look at and Waddle had a bit of a sprain also, I guess with his calf. Both of those guys, we'll have to take a look at and get them evaluated and see what happens after that."

On if there's concern that either Waddle or Bentley have long-term injuries: "There's always concern until we find out exactly what the issues are."

On if Bentley tore his ACL: "That hasn't been confirmed yet."

On his impressions of LB DeAndre Levy: "He is quiet. He talks, but he talks to certain individuals and at certain times. He's one of those guys that the guys in the locker room love. He's not as quiet as one might think, but he's a really solid leader. He does a tremendous job in terms of preparation. He loves to play the game, has great passion and has great skill level. He had an outstanding year last year, I think with six interceptions, which led the league in terms of linebackers. So, it's not uncommon for him to play the kind of game that he played, the kind of game that he played this evening."

On Stafford and Johnson's chemistry: "I think through the years and the number of reps those guys have had together, you do establish a pretty strong rapport. When you're throwing the ball accurately and you have a guy that can run and get it and stretch and get it the way that Calvin can, it allows Matthew to put the ball in a position where it's our ball and nobody else's ball. Most of the time 81 (Johnson) can get his hands on it in those situations. They do have great synergy."

On how the experience was for him being back on the sidelines: "Well, it was an exciting time first of all. When you have an opportunity for the first time to play on this kind of a stage, on national television, with a crowd that was extremely excited. It was noisy, which was good. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of times even when our communication from sideline to the press box were challenged because of the great energy that the crowd brought. It was a factor and we certainly appreciate that. It was obviously one of those nights where we were able to enjoy most of what happened out there, which in this League, that's not always the case. Even when you win sometimes, it's a struggle. But it was fun at home in front of the crowd and to win it was even more exciting."

On his initial impression of the way CB Nevin Lawson played: "The young fella stepped in and I thought moved around well. He made some plays and I thought he played like a young fella at this point, but he'll get better."