Opening statement: "Injury update first - Shawn Bryson's got a (knee) that'll probably require surgery; Ernie Sims, (left elbow), we're getting an MRI on him today to see where he's at; Kevin Jones has got a hip pointer and that's day-to-day; Cory Schlesinger's got a (hamstring) and we'll just kind of see where we're at with that tomorrow; Dan Campbell has some (ribs) and we're going to do a little more tests today and then hopefully see how (Rex) Tucker, (Ross) Verba, Alexis Lewis, Kenoy Kennedy (are doing) - they may all start to get some work this week, but we'll see how they look as the week goes on. Teddy Lehman and Scottie Vines both can start practice this week. So we'll get some looks, kind of see where were at with those guys.
"Just some general notes after (watching) the film. The run defense was something I was really curious to see. It was a very good running team and for the most part we really played the run very well. We lost a couple of gaps, and that's the only concern to me, we just got to be 100% in that area. The rush-to-cover I felt worked together really well. Obviously we had some good rushes with James Hall and Shaun (Rogers), and Cory Redding did a nice job getting good push and consistent rush, but that works right with the coverage. Coverage was in good shape and they pumped the ball out, I thought. I felt we did a much better job breaking on the ball in this game and once they trust each other, once the rush trusts the coverage and the coverage trusts the rush and works together good things start to happen.
"Offensively - similar key players I thought really played well. Kevin Jones and Roy (Williams) and Mike Furrey - I thought they performed well. The key here was the offensive line. They're banged up a little bit up front, but somehow they keep working together, guys that are stepping in are doing a solid job and they're getting opportunities, and when men get opportunities and we're going to watch that tape and they got a chance to develop and improve. So, that was important. The other piece of this thing is our quarterback; the guy really provides leadership and that's been important. He's a productive guy and he can step away from pressure really well, but the poise and the leadership he gives this team is special. We're going to keep leaning on him.
"We still need to work on the field position and the special teams. That's got to get better for us and that's something we've got to keep emphasizing. Overall, it's a team - I've said week in and week out - I really like the team. It's going to be a good team this year. We've got to constantly push on the fundamentals, our discipline has got to continue to get better, and it's just something I've got to get back on. This week, again, just defined discipline, show it on the tape, and make sure we improve in those areas. We take this last performance and we just put it over here and now we've got to go - really start improving. Offer no excuses and we just have got to keep going."
On whether injuries will force them to sign another running back: "I think we will. Right now we'll probably have to look at that tomorrow; we got some guys we want to look at. We've got to see how far Cory is, that might be slight - we just got to see how he responds a little bit."
On the injury to LB Ernie Sims and if there is a chance he might not play on Sunday: "It's hard to say. I think once we get that MRI - I think he feels pretty good, but you know, that's him. He'd drag his body out there and say he feels good. The guy just likes to play football. He really enjoys it. That guy likes playing football a lot, so we'll see."
On what the key was to the offensive line playing so well: "I've kind of said that the unit thing is important, the continuity becomes important and all those things. I think 'Beck' (Larry Beightol) does a heck of a job; I think Coach Martz does a nice job of moving people around and then they just go in to practice. But, I think the biggest thing is that every guy that comes up you look to him as a starter. If you step up and I treat you as a starter you have a tendency to prepare, to prepare and play like a starter. If I look at you as a backup - I got an injured guy and this guy is the backup - he'll play like a backup. That's why we coach every guy like a starter, from day one I do that, so, when he steps in the expectations are that you play like a starter, not a backup. Then hopefully, over a period of time, they'll play like a starter."
On if he's sensing Bryson's injury is season-ending: "We've got to see the whole - we'll wait and see. I'll let you know probably on Tuesday (or) Wednesday exactly where we're at with him."
On how he previously stated that he felt this team was going to be good and if that means in terms of developing or having more wins: "Both. I just think we're going to win. I believe in that. If we can continue to work on the discipline, if our fundamentals keep growing and understanding our gap controls and we're going to get some guys back - offer no excuses though - but, these guys start getting back and we learn to go on the road and win a game. I just believe in the team very strongly."
On if he's seen much discipline in terms of jumping offsides and false starts: "We knew this guy was a hard-counter and we've got eliminate the penalties - that's all discipline. When you're playing gap control discipline defense, it's discipline. Play to your gap, your responsibility, what the technique I want and then the run gets completely stuffed. Coverages: play your zones, nobody elses zones - play the zone you're supposed to be in. Block the man you're supposed to (block). I try to make it that simple. I put it now on coaches, No 1, when I say don't do it. That's our responsibility first: instill the discipline that I want. So, I go right back to it again when it's not happening, just show them, clean it up and show the expectations that I want - and they are doing that, that's why I believe that we're going to be a good team."
On the three decisions he had to make early on (the 4th and goal at the 1-yard line, the 56-yard field goal and another fourth down): "On the 4th and 1, like I told them, and I'll be very honest what I told them - I believe in the team. I believe that we're going to be a good team and I had to show that belief in them - that we could go in and make that play. I believe in Jason Hanson and that he's going to make those kicks for us. That's where I stood with that and that's the same thing I told them. I believe we're going to be a good team and there are times that I'm going to lean on them. I expect them to come out and make those plays. If we don't, we move on and do it again."
On if he knows he's going against the so called 'book': "I know. But the book doesn't tell me what my feelings are about those players."
On if the defensive line finally played the way he wanted: "They're getting closer, they're getting closer; we're getting closer. We left some out there - we left three or four sacks out there. When we get them all, then I'll be happy, but we left them out there and we cannot be satisfied when you leave them out there."
On how he's not afraid of his players failing and he expects them to succeed: "I'm hoping that - I have unbelievable confidence. The confidence I have in them is how they come out every week and work. They come back to practice and they keep working; they take the corrections - tough meetings. I put stuff up on the film for them - this is what I want. I just hope they understand how much I believe in them."
On how certain situations didn't work out in his favor and if that limits him from doing them again: "Well, we'll see as we go. There are certain times I felt right at that point that we could go in and get that. I just felt we could get that. Jason Hanson - I'd do that again. I feel good about him."
On if it's true that he received the first game ball: "I know it's my first win (laughing). All of it's good."
On if WR Roy Williams is becoming an elite receiver: "At one time he was perceived to be an elite receiver - I think now he is. You know what I'm saying? He's showing that production - his tape and his consistency now. It's coming week after week after week. When I was really impressed with him, he took major league hits the week before - boy, he dusted himself off (and) came back up and just performed, he didn't have a lot of practice this week. He went in and saw the trainer, got himself healed up and went out and played tough - not just well, he was tough. He made some really tough, key catches. That to me - it's not so much how many yards and how many catches - it's making the plays when they count, and he's doing that. That's impressive."
On why he made the move with DE Cory Redding to the UT position and move DT Shaun Rogers over to NT: "I thought that gave us a really strong end. Shaun can do either one, right? He can play a three (technique) or a one (technique) - he is a load at the one now I'm just telling you, he is special. I just think Cory has a chance to really be an explosive three technique and that gives us a little bit more mass in there, but still really good movement. With the guys that we have up right now available I thought that was the best move for us to give us the run and pass rush that we need. I think Cory is going to get better and better inside as a pass rusher."
On if he'll stick with that formation this week against the Jets: "Yes, yes."
Whether forcing the team to make clutch plays will help them become aggressive: "Yeah. You're hitting it right on the head; and a team that's got to convert in the fourth quarter. This whole league is about (being this close) - this whole league. Five of the six games that are just all the same. The team that can have poise in the fourth quarter and can make the big plays; and that big play might have been just a six-, seven-yard run that Kevin (Jones) made right at the end of the game on that catch and get us a first down - that's a big play. That's a fourth-quarter, crunch-time play. Make a guy miss, stay inbounds and get the first down. Those are the plays I'm talking about; it's not a 50-yard catch or something like that or an interception; it's making a crunch-time play. James Hall made one on that sack-fumble. They got into our territory,Â that was on a base run. Those are the plays that we have to make. That's what championship teams do. It comes back to good fundamentals, good basics, under pressure (and) performing under duress. I saw that a little bit, I'm excited about that, but now we've just got to go back to work and just let this go. See if we can get better this week and improve."
On how many more options he has on offense with a player excelling in both the passing and running games: "You could see when Roy went out in the Minnesota game they were able to pack the box on us, right? One is out, pack the other. So here when you've got guys like that, it's tough. All of a sudden you've got eight in the box to stop the running game and you got a heck of a receiver outside. They're playing a lot of seven-man front, now we've got a chance to make them pay there, also. But we've got to get the blocks, too, it's not just like it's a gimme. They've still got seven guys up front; you've still got to block them."
On QB Jon Kitna stating that teams would cover WR Roy Williams differently because of his recent success and how the Lions would now defeat that: "Well, that's when opportunities like â€¦ the best way to say that would be like when you've got a James Hall who had a nice day, you're maybe not going to have as many single (match-ups) this week. So you get a chip or a slide that way so the other guy on the other side has got to come up with big numbers. It's the same thing. It all works that way: one guy's producing, that offense or defensive team is going to try to stifle them with a scheme, but it's also going to create weaknesses on the other side and those guys have got to step up now. That's where each man has got to step up and do their job and be productive."
On what QB Jon Kitna does leadership-wise for the team: "That position to me is everything about leadership, not numbers or anything, it's all about leadership. Those guys are going to look at â€¦ that team looks at him. A guy that has poise, he's got to have character, he's got to have leadership; that's what that position's about. And then he's accurate and he's intelligent. I think he's constantly during the week so upbeat. I mean, he's upbeat, he's positive and he believes we're going to win every snap every game. He carries himself that way, but the key is he prepares himself that way - his preparation is tremendous. He's like having Mike Martz playing quarterback on the field. I mean, that's the way he is."
Whether he made any defensive adjustments since the Lions did better against the middle hook area: "No. Here's the adjustment: the rush came faster and the guys believed; they watched the quarterback a little bit better. Remember I said a couple weeks ago, 'the way to add to your playbook is what - delete.' Delete. So they really understand what they're doing. What we did, we broke on the ball as good as we have all year. We're seeing it; the ball comes out, we come out. It's just confidence and they've got to trust the rush. If he (drops back and gets one look in one direction) and then (is allowed another look the other direction), as a pass-defender, you don't look real good. But if you can just (allow him to drop back) and the rush makes him push it out, now those guys get trust and they start breaking on the ball and now you see it - it starts to become what it is. You don't make things up, you don't add anything new, you don't try to adjust it. You just develop the fundamentals. The fundamentals - day-in and day-out. It starts up front and it works together. When we get that and everybody keeps understanding that then it works. And that goes back to the coaches; we've got to teach it correctly."
Whether that was LB Paris Lenon's best game of the year: "Oh yeah. I thought he - I couldn't say his best, but he was breaking on the ball now. I mean, he was all over; he was really breaking, hustling, being on their keys - and when you're on your keys you can really play fast."
Whether Lenon is his best nickel-backer now: "I mean, he's a very good pass-defender. He's very good. I think Boss (Bailey) is getting better; better and better. Boss played I thought a pretty good ball game."
On Lenon being probably the slowest of the linebackers but having him out there the most on nickel and dime formations: "Well, I think his instincts are really good and sometimes speed isn't everything. It's who can react to a stimulus faster and who can react (to stimuli) quicker. And he seems to really be doing that well right now."
On it not being a foregone conclusion that Lenon will be out of a job once other linebackers come back: "Oh no. Guys just keep competing. Now you've got to fight to get into uniform."
On the mindset of not being satisfied with one win but going out and getting better: "The faster we can put a win or a loss behind us (the better). My goal is that: I want to improve. Every week I just want to keep getting better. I want get better every week: better discipline, better understanding of the system, I want to hustle better, I want to do all these things better. So one of these things that came out that was really good - I might have talked to you a lot about playing one snap at a time, right? The one thing that was good: we put back-to-back sacks together. That means you're not over-celebrating. We made a sack; oh big deal, move on. Do it again. Move on. Do it again. That's the mindset I'm trying to get and I'm just going to keep doing it until we get this thing right."
On the team not doing well in the fourth quarter and whether there are some things Jon Kitna can improve on: "Oh, heck yeah. This whole thing, but there are things that sometimes you'll see in the fourth quarter, sometimes it's not (the quarterback) - it may look like it's on him and it's not on him. You know what I'm saying? It may be a route that's run incorrectly and some of those things, but yes, all of them have to improve. I like the direction he's going and the intangibles he brings, but there's no question. We had a lot of yardage, we need more points. I think we had 253 yards or something in the first half. We've got to get more points out of that. And field position plays a big part in that, too; I keep talking about our special teams. We've got to create the field position better."
COURTESY OF THE LIONS