Transcriptions from Wednesday's practice
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Opening Statement: Alright, another big challenge this week. Detroit is red-hot, coming off of a big win versus Arizona. They had to come back and win that ball game. Their offense is dynamic, led by [quarterback] Matt Stafford. He's among the finest QBs in the league. Their O-line is a remade unit, they're functioning well together, they're playing well. They have a handful of matchup pieces on the offensive perimeter – [Wide receivers] [Golden] Tate, [Marvin] Jones and [Kenny] Golladay – either with size, speed or quickness. [Eric] Ebron at tight end, he's a fine receiving player. And [Ameer] Abdullah and [Theo] Riddick, both at the running back spot, create matchup problems. Their defense is a multiple unit with good, veteran leadership and youthful talent. They play with strong, deep and physical defensive linemen. [Linebacker] Jarrad Davis is adapting to the pro game well, out of Florida. Their back end is smart, combative in both the run and the pass and they're led by [safety] Glover Quin. Special teams, they have a good of a group of core players as you can find. They're about eight deep at that position. [Safeties] [Don] Carey, [Miles] Killebrew and [linebacker] [Nick] Bellore lead the way there. [Matt] Prater is a tremendous kicker and has a great history behind him and he had to double up in the punting duties last week and did an admirable job there. With that, let's open it up.
Q: What do you see differently in Detroit's defense, compared to last year, to improve on opposing quarterback's pass completions?
A: It starts up front for them. They're a different team at home than they are on the road, but they still get after the quarterback on a fast surface. They play with the wide-nine techniques. They're physical up front, they do a great job of getting off the ball and pushing back into the quarterback and that helps them out there and they're growing there. They had a young group and it was getting better up front. They added [Jarrad] Davis, who helps them in the linebacker unit. He's young, he's athletic, he's learning the pro game, but he is adapting quickly there. And their secondary, they have a couple ball hawks there. They are multiple in their secondary, so they always keep you guessing, but they're a talented group.
Q: What was wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. able to do today?
A: He was limited.
Q: How do you think Beckham ran?
A: He was limited today.
Q: How much more optimistic are you that he can play this week?
A: More than last week. We got him out there.
Q: Did you hear about the report that Beckham was in a dance-off at a club last week and what is your reaction?
A: Yeah, Odell was limited today.
Q: How impressed were you with linebacker B.J. Goodson in his first NFL start?
A: B.J.'s made a lot of progress. Each week is a new challenge for a young player and we look forward to him learning from last week's game and gaining some confidence and being ready for this week.
Q: How impressed are you with the leap that Goodson took from his rookie year to his second year, becoming a leader on the defense?
A: Again, I have a lot of confidence in B.J. He'll have a chance to learn and grow each and every week and this week is no different.
Q: Was Bobby Hart out of practice today?
A: He did not practice.
Q: If Hart can't play in Monday's game, who will be the starting right tackle?
A: We'll roll a couple different guys in there. We'll take a look at it and we'll see how the week goes.
Q: Is Justin Pugh an option at right tackle?
A: They're all an option.
Q: How much did Pugh play tackle this summer and what makes you think he can play there?
A: Yeah, we have a variety of guys who are talented that can go out there and play at the right tackle spot and we'll take a look at a variety of guys this week and see how it plays out.
Q: Would you lean towards less changes, as far as position, or are you okay with scrambling the offensive line around?
A: We'll lean towards who can help us put the best five out there.
Q: Can you talk about the difficulties of calling plays as a head coach versus as a coordinator?
A: I mean, the communication is really the same. The difference is you take a third wheel out of the game, management part of things. So, that's really the case. I have a chance to manage the game and call the plays on offense, I think that's easier than adding a third [part] to the wheel.
Q: What is your message to the fans this week?
A: We're definitely excited to be back home, in primetime. We know the fans are going to be juiced up and ready to go and we're going to need them at our back.
Q: If Beckham can play on Monday night, is there a danger to players thinking, 'He's here to save us'?
A: No, I don't think [so]. I think we took a look in the mirror and we know we have some work to do as a football team and we're addressing it head on.
Q: What changes if Beckham plays on Monday?
A: Odell's a dynamic playmaker, he brings a lot of energy to the football game. One of the best players in the league, regardless of positon.
Q: Are you able to play the game any differently with Beckham there?
A: You play the game as it unfolds.
Q: When you look at Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford on tape, what has been the biggest jump he's made since last season?
A: I think he's healthy, for one thing. He's definitely someone who can – he doesn't get a lot of credit for being a quarterback who can move in the pocket and extend plays and I think that's one of the things that he does best. He takes advantage of matchups. He can make a variety of throws, all the throws from a variety of different body positions. So, he's very accurate that way. He doesn't have to be in a clean pocket because he can get out and he can create.
Q: What is something on offense from last week's game that people can expect to see different this week against Detroit?
A: We sat down, we watched the tape, we addressed it, we realized that coming off of a primetime game on the road that we're blessed with a long week this week. So, we have a full week to practice, we'll be able to get the pads on tomorrow and we're excited to do so.
Q: Do you have to be aware of a possible offense/defense split among the team?
A: We played one football game. One of 16. We learned from it, we flushed it and we've moved on.
Q: After an offseason of saying that the offensive line is improved, what happens now after Week One when there was no improvement?
A: We keep working to get better. But, again, everyone keeps pointing to the offensive line. There was enough to go around. We have to work this week to improve. It's one week.
Q: Where else does the blame lie?
A: No one's blaming anybody. We have a lot of work to do as an offense. It's not just the offensive line.
Q: Does the blame start with the offensive line?
Q: How did you grade out Manning's game?
A: You want me to give you the grade for Eli? You think I'm going to stand up here and give you the grade for a player? No.
Q: The blame doesn't start with the offensive line?
A: We have 11 guys on offense. It takes all 11 to have a successful play and win the down on offense. Not just the center, not just the guards, it takes all 11.
Q: Did the team practice like they had a chip on their shoulder today?
A: We had a good practice with a lot of energy and we got better today.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: How is your ankle?
A: Better than yesterday, for sure. It's been getting better over the past couple days. Probably the best I've felt yet. So, I'm going in the right direction.
Q: What did you do in practice today?
A: Just did routes – stuff like that. Just kind of trying to get back acclimated. Did a lot of the mental reps at the end and not high, high speed, but got some reps at the end of practice.
Q: What percentage would you say you're at?
A: I don't know a percentage yet. Couldn't tell you a number.
Q: How much do you want to get back on the field?
A: I mean, for me, it's like this is what you do it for. I personally don't want to get up at 6:30 every morning to get here for 7 o'clock treatment. The days we have off, you're here at 10 o'clock for treatment. I go home and I do five, six hours of treatment. It's boring. It's not fun. Nobody wants to do that and definitely don't want to work all offseason and everything to get to Dallas and have to sit there and watch. I'm itching to get back on the field. Definitely rather be on the field than the training room, I'll tell you that much. It's definitely not fun.
Q: Do you think you proved more of your value by not playing?
A: I don't really look into that. I really was trying my best at warmups. I was trying to get out there and play and even knowing I wasn't in the best position to play, there was still that temptation. It might have been gross for me to be like, 'You know what, I'm going to actually have to rest up and make a decision' because everything in me was like, 'You know, we're here. Lights on. It's Dallas. I want to get out there bad.' But, you just have to be smart. It's a long season and that's one game. Unfortunately, we lost, but it's one game. You have 15 more to prove yourself.
Q: How realistic was it for you to play entering Sunday?
A: Honestly, I don't really know how realistic it was. As bad as I wanted to play, it just wasn't there. It had been three weeks. The injury hadn't even been a month since it happened. It's a six to eight week thing. Unfortunately, as much as I was trying my hardest to get out there, it just wasn't enough time.
Q: What still needs to happen for you to get the green light to go?
A: I think it's just with the training staff and figuring out – it's like that last step – you can burst. You can do all this, but there's the little rotation and it's the little movements that erk it a little bit and if it's still hurting, the doctors are going to hold you. So, right now, I'm just trying to find a way to get through it. I have another long week going up until Monday. As soon as I get home, three hours, massage, do I need acupuncture coming through, everything just comes to the house and I'm just there. I spend a lot of time on that table, so I'm really ready to get off of that table, get out of the treatment room. It's really not fun getting up every single morning and having to come here and do treatment.
Q: Six to eight weeks sounds like something more than a high ankle sprain.
A: I'm not a doctor, really. I don't know how long it is. I'm just – there's guidelines. It could be four to 12 weeks. You never know. Everybody heals differently.
Q: What makes you think you could get back this week?
A: I don't know. I want to play that bad. It's going to be, again, what are you going to do. I really couldn't tell you at this moment. I'm working my best to get to 100, so once I do get there, there won't be any more problems. At the moment, we don't know. We're just kind of day-by-day. It's getting better. So we're going in the right direction.
Q: What do you make of the fact that everyone is saying that the team doesn't function offensively without you?
A: We had a bad game. We had bad games last year. Dallas lost the first game last year and went (13-3). It's one game. I, for sure, am not panicking. I don't think anybody over here is panicking. We did have a bad game. The good thing about that is, there's a lot of film for you to go watch and correct and bring it into next week. It's one game. It's literally one game and now it's like, 'Wow, you lost the game. OK, move on.'
Q: How do you prepare on offense without knowing where you stand injury-wise?
A: Everybody has to step up. That's what it is. It's next man mentality. Especially in the receiving room. Everybody who goes on that field we have full confidence in that they're going to be able to do their job and do it at a high level. So, right now, it's just trying to find a game plan, find your plays and make sure you make them. But, like I said, we didn't have a good first game. We just came out flat. Dallas – they had more energy. It was home. Maybe we beat them the last couple times – there was an extra chip on their shoulder. They just happened. They beat us and you move on. There's 15 other games. Tom Brady lost to the Chiefs. I'm sure he's not over there freaking out. You stay composed. You keep going. You keep chopping away. You get 1% better each and every day.
Q: Will you play on Monday?
A: I can't tell you that right now, but I'm trying my hardest, that's for sure. It's not fun. It's really not fun. I don't think the people in the training room like me anymore after seeing me every day. It's not a place that you want to be. It's just really not.
Q: Is there a delicate balance with not making the injury worse after everything you've done?
A: Yeah. Pretty much. It's like when I had the hamstring issue and you come back and you don't know if it's too early or not and you get re-injured again. You set yourself back for another five to six weeks. I don't have that luxury right now. So, it's a matter of getting to a point where you know you're confident and it's confident in itself and you can go and you don't have to worry about it. Until that moment comes, we're being smart with it, corrective and staying on top of it.
Q: How much does the extra day for a Monday night game help?
A: It helps a lot. We had Monday and Tuesday. Well, the team had Monday and Tuesday off -- I still had treatment at 10 in the morning -- to be able to get some rest, at least for those two days. You had an easier Wednesday. Come in, get your lifts and you just kind of get back into it. We went into the division, played a physical Cowboys team and they beat up on us. Everybody is recovering this week. This extra day is going to help us. I'm looking forward to it. Monday night football. I'm trying my best. It's a primetime game. You want to be in it.
Q: How do you respond to the report that you were in a dance-off with Russell Westbrook?
A: It was a full on dance battle. We were in there break dancing. I had the little beany with the pad on it, spinning on my head. It was incredible to be able to do something like that with Russell. It was everything for me.
Q: Did you win the dance battle with Russell Westbrook?
A: I don't know. I'm not really the judge of it. I know a dance battle looks good on a title. It's like, hey a dance battle. Everything is good. I know how stuff works now. You can't really take it personally. It doesn't bother me.
Q: Was the dance battle a false report and did they mischaracterize the battle?
A: I don't really know. It happens. It happens all the time. So, it's not really something that bothers me anymore.
Q: How much are you struggling with not making your injury worse?
A: It's a matter of patience and patience is a hard thing at this point in time in my life. You want it so bad and it's like, it's right there in front of you and it's just you have to wait. You have to wait until you're good to go. It's a tough process. Trying to stay a positive as I can about the situation. People in the training room are tired of me.
Q: How did you feel at practice today?
A: It felt good. It felt good just to be back out there. Something about – it's just when you put that helmet on, it's a different mode. When you put the helmet on and go out there and warm up and when we got to individuals, I was running routes. I was feeling pretty good. So, like I said, we're definitely taking major strides in the right direction. It's a matter of time.
DE Olivier Vernon
Q: What stands out the most to you about Matthew Stafford?
A: His ability to make plays downfield and him using his legs, being very mobile, and his awareness game. You saw a lot of it during the film study today and he's able to make plays on the ball. Then, he has great receivers that can make plays as well. They have some nice shifty running backs.
Q: Matthew Stafford is undefeated when he completes 70% or more of his passes. What is it about the system that sets the Lions up to make great plays?
A: I guess basically trusting each other. It's getting that chemistry and you can see it on film that they have really good chemistry. The guys are just – they're there and he expects them to be there. That's why he's making the type of money he's making right now. It's going to be a good game come Monday. I can't wait.
Q: What's the difference between preparing for a quarterback like Matthew Stafford and preparing for a quarterback like Dak Prescott?
A: You have to say just experience. He just has more experience than Dak Prescott. Both of them are mobile. They're mobile. They can make plays with their legs. I can say the edge that he has over Dak is experience. He's been in the league longer. You really have to prepare for both of those guys anyway.
Q: Detroit's running game isn't as strong as what you saw at Dallas, so does a quarterback like Matthew Stafford make up for that?
A: Can't be fooled with that because watching on film, they have some running backs that can make plays, bounce it outside and make something out of nothing. So, they know what their strengths are and they really use them. It'll be interesting to see.
Q: Matthew Stafford had eight come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter last season and people say he has 'it.' What is 'it?'
A: It just has to be composure. When you're backed up against a wall, you have all the pressure on you right now. It's just keeping your composure, trusting in your abilities and making throws. So, I think if that's the 'it' that they're talking about, that's what he has.
Q: You have to make sure you don't let up as a defense because Matthew Stafford could bury you.
A: Yeah. It's just if he shows – we've seen games where he's come back and done the fake spike and scored on game-winning touchdown drives and he has it. It's just something you have to be prepared for and you always have to be out there getting after it.
Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall
*Q: How do you expect this offense to respond this week? *
A: I mean we have no choice but to do better. That's the goal. If you don't, then it's going to be a long season. It's early on in the season, first week. Didn't perform the way we wanted to so this is a bounce back game. Monday night football. Hopefully we can do the right things so, we be where we need to be.
Q: Do you go into this game with a chip on your shoulder?
A: No. Been in the league for twelve years and we have a lot of veterans in this locker room like Eli. Done it for a long time, understand that it's a long season.
Q: Where are you guys on offense? What have you guys worked on the most heading into this game?
A: Nothing. Just put the game plan in. Every game, whether you win or lose, you correct your mistakes and you get back up and you try to be better, whether you win or lose.
Q: What has been the biggest change for the Lions from last year to this year?
A: Coach threw up some stats. We just peaked at Detroit last year versus us. We had a chance to play against them, but really this year is a totally different year. Every year is a new team, new people, so you really can't study too much when it comes to the year before, but it's a great place to start just to get a feel for what they are trying to do, but guys are getting older and younger, faster, and smarter, and wiser, new schemes, new plays. So, it's really important to study the last few games of this year.
Q: Do you expect Detroit to do some similar things to what Dallas did last week?
A: Well, X's and O's? You really got to study the defensive coordinators and coach Marinelli is a guy that plays cover 3, he plays man, he plays some two, tampa two and that's what he's done. That's what he does. There are some coordinators that may throw in a wrinkle here and there, a different blitz, a different front. So, you really have to study the defensive coordinator. This defensive coordinator, every once in a while, he may throw in a different wrinkle here and there, but he is who he is, right? His defense works for him. They are a wide nine defensive front. They have a back four that's smart, led by number 27 [Glover Quin], who's extremely smart and wise, he's always around the ball. So, we are expecting the same thing.
Q: What was it like having Odell [Beckham] next to you today at practice?
A: Yeah it was cool. It's always good to have him out there. He's a phenomenal player and he also brings a lot of energy in the meeting rooms and on the field. So, definitely good to have him out there.
Q: Do you expect to be more involved in the offense next week?
A: I was involved in the offense last week, I just didn't get an opportunity to get touches. You can impact the game in several ways. It doesn't always have to be with the ball in your hands as a receiver.
*Q: Where are you with your relationship with Eli [Manning]? *
A: We are not in marital counseling, so that's good. Our relationship is great. It's not rocky. Usually they say the first 2-3 years of marriage is tough, but so far so good. We are still in that honeymoon phase, so that's good.
Q: Is he still just throwing it at you?
A: No, no, I understand the offense now and the routes and what we are trying to accomplish.
Q: I know you can be involved in more way than catching the ball, but that is what you do. Don't you feel like you have to be more involved with catching the ball?
A: It's Week 1. Ask me that question Week 10, Week 12. Ask coach that question, but it's Week 1. We are alright.
Q: Yesterday Eli [Manning] was talking about how it is only week 1 and everyone has to relax. Was that the tone during practice this week?
A: Not really. I mean, we are pros. It is unique playing in New York. It's so much coverage. There's a lot of outlets and networks covering the team, so we understand it is a little bit different. It's one week, one week at a time. That's all you can do.
Q: What is the difference between playing on Monday night football versus other games.
A: You got to sit in the hotel a little longer, get a little bit more anxious. The perk is the whole world is watching. The negative is you have to sit in a hotel all day. A lot of guys want to get out there and play right away.
CB Eli Apple
Q: (QB Matthew) Stafford again?
A: Oh yeah. He's a great quarterback. Great arm, can keep the play alive, and he's gritty.
Q: Does he have more receivers this year with [Kenny] Golladay?
A: Yeah, Golladay. I actually played against him in college. He went to Northern Illinois and I played against him my last year of college. He's a tall receiver. Great deep threat. So, he's going to be a great challenge for us.
Q: What is the biggest difference to the Lions this year as opposed to your matchup with them last year?
A: I'd say they are more healthy. Their running backs are back. [Ameer] Abdullah and [Theo] Riddick and they are great pass catchers and guys who can make people miss. So, we are going to have to take that into account.
Q: What else do you have to do to slow them down on offense?
A: Just do our job, disrupt their timing. They are a timing offense, so it is important for us to get hands on their receivers and make their job difficult to get open and then get pressure on the quarterback.
Q: Do you like playing against a gunslinger like Matthew Stafford, a guy who is not afraid to take chances?
A: Yeah, I mean for sure he is somebody that is definitely going to challenge you on the outside and on the perimeter and he is going to go deep too. He's got a great arm, so it's going to be a great challenge.
Q: The defense was on the field for 70+ plays, how much does that impact you guys throughout the game?
A: I don't think it wears on us, it is just a matter of just trying to get off the field. It all comes to third down. Our third down defense wasn't up to par and it wasn't up to our standards so, that's something we are definitely trying to fix this week.
Q: How different are their top three receivers and what challenges do each one of them bring?
A: Right, definitely every different receiver they have is a different challenge. They have a guy like Golden Tate who can get yards after the catch and he's their screen guy. Their short yardage kind of. Then you have a Marvin Jones who's like also a deep threat and Golladay like I mentioned before, he also can go deep. So, even Eric Ebron. They have a pretty great receiving core. It's going to be a great matchup I think and we are looking forward to it.