Below is a look at what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to say on Friday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
Opening statement: "Practice yesterday was pretty close to as good as Wednesday. We've had two really good days in a row and it's important for us to stack another one on top of that one and get a third one. I think our guys, like you would anticipate they'd be this time of the year, they're focused and eager to go, and do understand the great challenge that we have in front of us as well. Opportunities like this don't come around very often, so we better take advantage of it and that's what we're preparing to do. I'll open up for any questions."
On what he has to see from DT Nick Fairley between now and Sunday for him tom play: "You know, he's in a practice process to play protocol, see if he meets it."
On if Fairley has the ability to make 5-10 splash plays coming off injury: "I think that you have to look at every player for the type of value they can add to it. You also have to look at your overall numbers and kind of weigh that balance. Four or five plays are a little different than obviously a guy that's capable of playing a significant number more. I think that we have to look at every situation a little differently and make a decision based upon that. We'll look at his a little differently than others."
On if he anticipates ramping up Fairley's activity today: "I'm not certain, we'll see. See how he's coming out and see what happens and make an assessment after practice."
On how Fairley came out of practice yesterday: "I'm not certain yet. We haven't moved around with him yet so we'll see."
On if Fairley has been upgraded from ‘miracle' as far as playing: "I said that last year didn't I? It still is going to take, you didn't quite get that did you, wait until you catch up. We'll see, you know, he's coming along a lot faster. He hadn't been on the practice field at that time, we saw him on the practice field, and things look a little different. We're going to continue to assess that and see where he is."
On what the team does best: "Two things I said, is that we got to do what we do better, that more so than anything else, and we got to do what we do, and that's been what you've seen along. It's trying to make certain that what we do from a defensive standpoint, which we do some things well, some things not so well. We have to do better in all those areas, stopping the run, making tackles, and defending the pass. Offensively we got to run the ball better, we've been trending upward, but we have to be more precise in our passing game. We got to make certain that we just don't turn the ball over and give a potent offense more opportunity. All of those things I think we have to do better."
On if he agrees with G Rob Sims when he said they have to play as close to perfect as possible: "I think often times, I think sometimes that's a mindset that you have to get into. There's no such thing as a perfect game in this business, it just isn't. You don't have to play perfect but you have to play well. Now that's Rob's description of near perfect might be within that realm, but he didn't say you have to play a perfect game, because I haven't seen one yet. I've been on a number of different teams that have won but every single one of them has ups and downs, to-and-fro, highlights and lowlights, and I think that's just the way our game is. It's very difficult to have one of those days where you go out on the links and you shoot lights out and you're under par in this game. One person, yes. When you're dealing with 11, 22 on the field at the same time, too many things occur. Also you find that, in particular from an offensive standpoint, that a guy could miss a block on the backside and a back could make somebody miss, and you end up getting a great play, that guy didn't play very well. I think I did give you those numbers before, when you look at them from a statistical standpoint, I think the number is that only 10% of the plays that are actually run in the game were everybody does exactly what they're supposed to do. That's a very small percentage, so yeah, I know we don't have to play perfectly but we have to play extremely well."
On if he likes that mindset: "Yes, particularly where he's playing up front, which is extremely important for us."
On why DE Darryl Tapp missed practice yesterday: "Yes I can. His wife had a baby."
On if it was a boy or a girl: "Boy."
On what he's seen from DT Ndamukong Suh since he's been back: "No different than he's been: tough, hard worker, smart, dedicated. No different."
On if he will bench Suh for his actions in the last game: "We don't believe in double jeopardy. I don't think there's any law in the land that does believe in it. We certainly don't."
On if he identified the dropped passes in the past as an issue when arriving here: "We looked at everything. That was one of those things. That's why when you guys asked the question when I think I first arrived, ‘Why is everybody throwing so many balls during seven on seven and why are all the balls flying around?' The reason being is because there's a method to our madness. We feel that the more you catch, I think I mentioned this before, we felt if they could catch 100 balls a day that we'd see improvement in that area and that's what we strive for. You see guys catching balls in between drills, you see guys on the machine that are working. There's a dedicated sort of routine that we try and make certain that our guys catch a lot of balls. Typically when that happens, you see those drops go down and fortunately ours has been trending in the right direction. We're not perfect yet, but we've dropped significantly. That area and in turnovers, the fewest amount that we've had in obviously a while, are two areas that really jump out at you. I think the guys did buy in and we have seen some improvement."
On when they do these drills: "During the season, pregame, you see it during that time, it's no different. We continue that."
On what he needs to see from QB Matthew Stafford in order for him to have success in the playoffs: "He's got the work habits, he's got the ability and not only that, he's shown flashes of playing extremely well. Quarterbacks always kind of get these labels: ‘Is he elite? Is he this? Is he that?' He's a playoff quarterback. So, that means he has an opportunity to move forward and he has an opportunity to play great. We're hoping that he plays well. The thing is too, it doesn't take him playing great for us to win. He just has to play well. There's a lot of other people on that football team that have to do their job. It's absolutely not just a one man show. I will tell you, there's certainly things I think I've told you. When we came here we wanted to win and win now, there's no three year, four year plan or anything of that nature and I think we're moving in that direction. The other thing I'm going to tell you is this, there will be a time when you will say that Matthew Stafford is one heck of a quarterback. He's moving in that direction and that could be come Sunday."
On captains this week: "Isa (Abdul-Quddus) on special teams, Ziggy (Ezekiel Ansah) on defense and offensively, (Riley) Reiff."