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Lions training camp: Joe Lombardi's quotes from Tuesday

On Tuesday, Joe Lombardi spoke about Matthew Stafford, his hopes for the running game, the offensive line and much more.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a look at what Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi had to say on Tuesday. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

On QB Matthew Stafford's progression during Training Camp: "He just keeps working hard to get better every day. You can feel the improvement, even in the spring. When I say improvement, we're talking just half a count quicker, recognizing where he wants to go with the ball, and that's everything in this game. I thought he picked up things quickly last year, but he's brought it to another level where I'm excited where he's at. But again, you just have to keep coming out here every day and improving."

On how he expects the offense to be different this year: "I think it's not going to be a huge scheme difference. It's going to be players that are a lot more comfortable doing what they're doing. So I think we're going to have better tempo. We'll probably have the ability to mix some personnel even more than we did last year. In a walk-thru, we get through 30 plays eight minutes faster than we did at this time last year. So it's just a comfort level with these guys, which for us as coaches makes us more comfortable doing things. You don't feel like you have to dumb it down, so to speak."

On if the players' comfort level has allowed him to install more plays and formations: "It's not necessarily more, but more varied formations and do new things out of different personnel groupings. So it's not necessarily where guys are learning something brand new. It's just new to the defense, not new to us."

On what he learned about himself and his play-calling from last year to now: "You know, looking back at it, and seeing how we're operating now and the comfort level, you probably could've had a little simpler install than we did a year ago and maybe made the guys a little bit more comfortable so we weren't moving as fast and as surely as our veterans are moving now. So I probably would've been a little more simple, but I'm happy where we are now."
On if the complexities in the offense caused problems last year: "It's just players being comfortable. You want players not to be thinking out there, and I think maybe the way we did it caused them to have to think too much last year. And I think certainly the older guys are getting over that."

On his goals for the offense this season: "Well, we want to win games, so we weren't pleased necessarily with our overall production. But the fact that we didn't turn the ball over and we had a good time of possession to help a dominant defense, so we want to play complementary football again. And if our defense is holding the other team to 10 points, and maybe we're playing it a little bit safer. So I think we want to do what we have to do to win is always our goal. And if that means one week that we have to score 30 or 40, then that's what we'll try to do. If one week 17 does it, but that's what we have to do in order to win, than that's what we want to do."

On his hopes for the running game Thursday night: "Well, you hope you're a lot better. Again, the first preseason game is more about evaluating players than evaluating how your overall run game is going to be. And we all know the starters won't be in there for a really long time, and you're not game planning very hard for it. I think we want to see how the individuals are doing, get a look at what we're getting out of our running backs and see some of these new offensive linemen. So I think once you see how the individuals are doing it will tell you a lot about how it's going to be overall."

On the issues he saw in the offense last season: "I think we're in a good spot. Like I said, we've got to keep coming out and getting better every day. Would I have done it a little different? Maybe, but right now we're in a good spot. And we're looking ahead, not looking behind us. You guys ask the questions and I answer them, but it's not something that I sit there and think about every day. You know, I wish we would've done better, but here we go, let's have a good year now."

On when he realized the offense was coming together: "You can just feel it. Like I said, the tempo of practice, the number of plays we get through, the comfort level that when you call a play, you pretty much know it's going to get out of the huddle and lined up correctly, and guys are going to do the right thing. You can just feel it after a number of reps that we don't have to babysit as much."

On if he expects more consistency out of himself along with his players: "Sure. Yeah, I think that if you're not better than you were a year before, you ought to be embarrassed. Regardless of whether you're the best in the world or the worst in the world. So I think we'll all be better."

On what he has seen with the offensive line after the roster losses and additions: "Yeah, I think there's a lot of good things we're seeing. We miss Dom (Raiola), we miss Rob (Sims). They were great leaders and obviously had great careers here. They were good football players, but the young guys, we're happy with. I think Travis Swanson is doing an outstanding job. We're excited to see how he does this preseason. Manny Ramirez has been an excellent addition. He's not necessarily one of the young guys that you were asking about, but he's stepped in nicely and he's got a nice veteran presence. We're excited about what we're seeing out of Laken (Tomlinson). Cornelius Lucas has really stepped it up. Not every day is perfect, but he's a lot improved from where he was a year ago. So I think all those guys are getting coached well and they're working hard. And I think we're excited about two things. One, the first five are going to play regardless of who it is, and then we're going to have depth behind them too."

On T Michael Williams' chances of starting at right tackle: "I think that's still left to be seen. He's really been playing well. If I was going to pick a most improved, maybe he's the guy that I would pick. But there's a lot of preseason left."

On how Williams has improved: "Everything. The way he sets, the quickness he's getting off the ball, the urgency with which he gets to his landmarks, you know, a lot of technical things."

On what he's seen from RB George Winn in RB Joique Bell's absence: "You love George when the full pads come on. When we went to the stadium and it was the first day when we weren't just in shorts, all of a sudden you're like, ‘Oh yeah, George, here he is.' He's really got a killer instinct when he runs the ball. He picks up protections. If you're a linebacker, you better know when he's coming to block you. You know, we've got depth there, so you don't know how it's going to shake up. But he's definitely a guy who can help this ball club offensively and also in special teams, so I love George."

On the differences he's seen in QB Kellen Moore from a year ago to now: "I don't know if I've seen anything different, just a lot of things that you like. He's a guy that, if you come out here in shorts and you watch him, you kind of wonder what's going on. But when you get into real football, good things seem to happen. He was 50-3 as a college player. Kellen is a great problem solver, if that makes sense. When a play is happening, if things aren't the way it's drawn up, he finds a way to get out of trouble. So it's a lot of the same stuff you saw last year, which is all good."

On if QB Garrett Gilbert will see playing time in the preseason: "I would think he would get some reps at some point. I don't want to talk out of turn because those are organizational decisions and we haven't really gone down that road. But he really has mentally done an outstanding job for somebody who has just gotten here. He's picked things up extremely quick where we're very comfortable giving him reps."

On the back-to-back botched snaps in practice today: "Oh boy. That's frustrating. There's something to it, for sure. They were a little off-center and a little hot, and the quarterback needs to catch them anyway. Today we did a lot of good things, but it was maybe our worst day when it came to penalties on offense. Pre-snap penalties, unforced errors, which we hate, and those botched snaps are something that we hate too. Those are unacceptable, unsatisfactory and we'll get them fixed."

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