TRANSCRIPT OF LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI AFTER PRACTICE TODAY

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LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On WR Calvin Johnson is not participating in the team portion of practice: "Yeah, we're just being cautious with him. He's fine. You can grab Dean (Kleinschmidt) too (and talk to him)."

On the pride and hunger the defense is showing: "Oh yeah. I just like the mix, the chemistry of the team. You watch the practice - we're on these guys hard now - they're coachable, and it's an extremely competitive environment out there. Nobody is losing their temper, they're working on football. I'm very impressed with this football team."

On getting a feel for how good this team could be: "What I do know is that we won't beat ourselves. The playmakers got to come. But, structurally last week, you could just see the fits were right and exact and they're doing a nice job of it. Now, all of our blitzes got to be on the details, doing things exactly right. Everybody is just coming along."

On the offensive line being sharper today: "Yeah, I thought yesterday at that goal line it was physical. I just sense the physical - I've been trying to say, there's no magic wand to run the ball. If it was easy, everybody would be running it, everybody would be, because you like to. You have to make that physical investment: the pad level, the foot work - it hurts - guys are sore, but you got to come out and do it again and do it again. I think if we just keep doing that we're going to make good progress with it. Just stay the course with it and Jim (Colletto)'s going to call the runs."

On T Gosder Cherilus staying at right tackle even though he was taking left tackle reps: "Oh yeah, you work for depth. Position flexibility is critical in this league because DE (Cliff) Avril is a right end, but he's got to be a left end. If you get a group together on game day and somebody goes down, somebody's got to be able to adjust."

On DT Chuck Darby not taking any snaps in practice: "A couple of those guys - I just kept them down a little bit today and got some individuals with them. It gave me a chance to really get a lot of the younger guys some real heavy work today. I really upped their heavy work. DT (Andre) Fluellen got a ton in there, DT (Landon) Cohen got a ton, 5-0 (DE Ikaika Alama-Francis), DE Cliff (Avril), DT Cory (Redding) needs the work, he's been out a little bit, him and DT (Shaun) Cody got a lot of work in. But, that was my idea."

On the possibilities of Darby being hurt: "No, he's fine, he's fine."

On G Stephen Peterman needing to be more competitive because of the guard situation: "There's a lot of competitive positions on our team right now. We're going to run the ball; I'm going to find guys who can mop them out of there. G Manny (Ramirez) is coming along, he's in there battling. It's very competitive right now. The practices mean a lot, these physical ones. Hopefully we'll carry it to the game, and try to get the right five guys.

On the importance of quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton being able to correct their mistakes in games: "You know what's really amazing? And you know this, you've been following football for so long, the guy will maybe look a little tentative, and then they go out and play and Drew (Stanton) looks different. He played in a game, and now you can see yourself grow - they both have. That's a positive of preseason, you can get these guys work and get them done."

On the possibilities of having two young prospects at the quarterback position: "Off of where we're at, yeah, I really do. They're working, they're getting coached real well and they know what to do with the ball. The key is if we run the ball, we're going to get the attempts, but we got to run it. If we do that, and do it well, the passing game is going to be special."

On the longevity of K Jason Hanson's career: "To me, he's the ultimate player. The absolute ultimate player in preparation. I mean he is so physically tuned in his workouts and the details, and he's got a pattern for everything he does. His preparation is phenomenal. Last year I think he was third or fourth in the league in terms of touchbacks in the kickoffs. During that time we were squibbing too. When we played WR (Devin) Hester we were going all over the place, so we weren't even attempting to get in the end zone. So that part - the leg strength - that takes you back. That means off-season conditioning and preparation."

On whether possible injuries are more serious now because of Hanson's age: "I think with him, to me, this guy knows his body as well as anybody. He seems to recover extremely well. He takes such good care of himself."

On how much running the ball will open things up for some of the underneath receivers: "I think once you establish the run, those guys will benefit. Then all of a sudden the guys that benefit too are the tackles. Instead of that speed gazelle playing about three feet outside the box, he's down tighter, in a nice tight five. Guys don't like that and don't like to rush, so what you try to do is get manageable third downs with your running game: third and threes, third and fours. The running game when you get it going - we just have to do it. We just have to keep working at it. It's going to be a work in progress. It's going to look good; at times it's not going to look good. But we're going to keep pushing it."

On the confident mindset it gives the offense when they can control the game: "When they start feeling it, it's neat. You can feel it. You can just feel chemistry and energy when that starts to happen. It's one thing that when you go on the road, if you can always keep that in your pocket: run offense, run defense and kick the ball well. That keeps you in games. It's got a chance to keep you in games. You don't turn it over and eliminate penalties."

On what he's seen in DE Ikaika Alama-Francis since last year: "I think it's consistency from snap to snap. He'll have a good snap - he knows it - and then sometimes the next snap won't be as (good). I just need that high-energy, consistent - I have to be able to count on that, that uphill pressure every down, every single down."

On the defensive ends working on getting to the quarterback consistently: "I mean they're all on it. Believe me, it's not a pleasant room we go into now. We want a good rush. We're going to rush."

On what to expect from the defensive ends: "We've got talented (players): Cliff (Avril) (is) feeling it. Dewayne White (is) feeling it, Corey (Smith) (is) feeling it. We're going to get a rush. We have to. We've got no alternative. We have a million other things we have to do, but we have to stop the run first. We have to be disciplined and their gaps."

On DE Dewayne White: "He's got that ability to do that as a right end in this system. If you're getting singled all the time, you have to come home. You have to force people to chip you. You start chipping, the coverage starts eating it up."

On what it will take for Alama-Francis to have a good season: "Consistency. That's what I'm looking for right now. There you go."

On enjoying the fans present at open practices: "They have absolutely been phenomenal. It was interesting yesterday for me, I guess there was an incident in the stands, and I try to make this a family day and respect families. That's important to me, that the families come out here and have a great opportunity to respect and have a good day. I had at least 15 to 20 families thank us for removing a guy because it's for the families. That's the type of people I see. I'm seeing grandfathers bringing their kids. I see workers taking the day off to bring their kids here, to have a very nice, enjoyable afternoon watching professional football, and they love football. They love football. I'd love to see this whole thing filled like we did that one Saturday (Black and Blue Fan Day). Hopefully we can get that done some day."