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Jim Caldwell’s training camp quote sheet: ‘We’re bigger, we’re stronger upfront’

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Jim Caldwell met with the media Sunday afternoon. Here is a transcript of that press conference.

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Following the Detroit Lions’ first padded practice, Jim Caldwell spoke with the media. Caldwell talked about Marvin Jones’ versatility, Stevan Ridley’s role with the team and why he believes the Lions will be more physical this year. (Transcript provided by the Detroit Lions).

On the takeaway from the first padded practice of the season: “You know, I really have to look at the film. But I do think that our pace was good. I think the guys carried the pads pretty well and moved around well. They were crisp and sharp. Not a whole lot of mistakes, but we obviously made too many. But we’ll take a look at the film to see if we—one of the things that’s difficult is going from no pads, from no pads all spring, and then when you put pads on guys are always playing too high initially the first couple days, so we got to get them down.”

On the versatility of WR Marvin Jones: “Well, he’s well-rounded. I mean, there’s not too many things that are going to limit him. He can stretch the field, he can cross the field, he’s a very, very conscientious and good route runner, and obviously he’s got good hands as well.”

On positions that get more of his attention during padded practices when he watches film: “Well, you know, obviously you look at all of them, but what happens when you get pads on, your linemen finally get a chance to get some really good work, other than the technical work that they do on air, and against one another. Now, offense vs. defense, it’s a really important part of controlling the line of scrimmage. So, yeah, we look at that closely, but we look at every guy.”

On any trends he saw on the defensive or offensive line during their first padded practice: “No, not really. Not really. Often times, they typically say the defense is always a little bit ahead of the offense. I think that’s the totality, but that’s not an issue.”

On the matchup between DE Ezekiel Ansah and rookie T Taylor Decker: “You know, I haven’t had a chance to analyze it yet, so that’ll be fun. One of the good things is that, we got a lot of real good matchups inside. That’s a good matchup, and also when you see Khyri (Thornton) inside against Laken Tomlinson as well, I mean that’s two big physical guys. The great thing about them—and when you have some depth up front, both offensively and defensively, (you get) some real good matchups and real good work, and guys can’t help but get better.”

On how going up against Ansah helps Decker develop: “One of the things is he’s a rare individual in terms of his size and speed and ability. Been in the league for a while, so he knows the tricks of the trade. He knows that if he can hang in it with him most of the time, he’s not going to have him every time, but it will bode well for him.”

On RB Theo Riddick not participating in practice today: “He’s got a little bit of an injury but he’ll be OK.”

On his initial impressions of WR Anquan Boldin: “He learns quickly. Matter of fact, on the first day he jumped right in, had a good feel for what was going on. He’s constantly working at it, standing back even when he’s not in the huddle, listening to the call, imagining in his mind and visualizing where he would line up. Also kind of going through the steps in which he would take to run the route. He’s a real student of the game.”

On Riddick being present on the sideline: “Any time you don’t have someone out there, you’d like them to be out there working, but he’ll be all right.”

On the benefit of LB Tahir Whitehead speaking with former Lions LB Chris Spielman: “One of the things, first of all, I think it’s extremely important that our alumni have an opportunity to come back. We have an open door policy with them to come back at any point in time. I do think it’s very, very important for them just in terms of conditioning guys that play here, they have a great feel for the history of the organization. Also, they have some expertise. It’s great for them to kind of exchange ideas and thoughts with some of the guys that are playing currently.”

On S Isaiah Johnson taking a tougher road to get into the NFL: “I agree with you. He’s been constantly getting better, it just seems like every single day he works at it. He’s diligent about everything that he does in the weight room, the classroom work. Certainly he’s got an opportunity here and that’s what he’s fighting for.”

On the progress of DT Tyrunn Walker following last season’s injury: “I’ve seen maturity and growth within the system. Certainly seen maturity and growth that started within the technical side of it, working with Kris (Kocurek), the things that we do up front. Overall, he’s in much better shape. In very, very good condition and I think he’s just a more powerful man at this point. He’s always been able to run, even before he got here he was a pretty versatile guy inside and out. He’s bringing that kind of versatility to us as well, but I think also he has some real athleticism up front for us.”

On the rehab process pushing players into new workout habits: “Sometimes, sometimes it does because if you get them to kind of look at a body part, or whatever it is that’s injured, they come in a different way. Often times I think when you look at statistics that particular part of the body responds. So yeah, sometimes it does give them a little bit of a jump start. He (Walker) was already playing well even before he was injured, but I think now he’s just a more powerful man.”

On what dimension RB Stevan Ridley brings to the running back group: “He’s one of the guys that’s pretty well-rounded in terms of what he’s able to do. He looks to be for us right now, a pretty good inside runner. He can run outside. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, so he’s a good receiver. He’s got hands. So, he can do a little bit of everything. He can pass protect. He’s got the body type to pass protect, over 220 pounds. He’s got some girth to handle big linebackers. So he can add, I think well-rounded dimension for us because you won’t be able to tell exactly what he’s going to do when he’s in there.”

On if he watched the linemen one-on-ones in practice: “I haven’t yet. No, I dealt with the seven-on-sevens.”

On if he sees a different mentality from players once pads come on: “Oh, certainly. You know it ramps up a little bit. There’s a difference between you go out to practice and there may be some contact or when there’s pads on. It’s a little different kind of contact. So yeah, it does kind of spice things up a little bit in terms of the intensity.”

On T Riley Reiff not losing his intensity with the switch to right tackle: “No, he broke two facemasks today out there, so pretty rough day. I know one broke, I’m not certain what happened to the other one. I don’t know if it was a malfunction or not. But I told him, I said, ‘He broke two.’ But yeah, Riley is a warrior. Riley does not care about anything other than wanting to play his position and play it well and he doesn’t care where he plays. He’s a talented guy that’s tough and hard-nosed, the exact kind of guy that you’re looking for to lead your group and obviously that’s why they voted him to the leadership council as well.”

On if it’s too early to predict the offensive line improvement from last year: “Too early. You can tell from a physical standpoint on paper. There’s no question, both sides of the ball we’re bigger, we’re stronger upfront. We have to go through a few battles, but I think overall if we can keep them healthy it’s going to be a pretty good group both sides of the ball.”

On if the offensive and defensive lines are bigger and stronger in numbers or by development: “I think a little bit of both. Obviously, just in terms of some of the young guys are pretty good sized guys. But also the guys that have been here from a maturity standpoint, just have developed. They’re bigger, they’re stronger and more physical, so we’re looking forward to working with them.”

On how DT A’Shawn Robinson has looked so far: “He’s doing pretty well. I’ll take a look at the film and we’ll see how he ends up. He’s doing pretty well.”