Transcriptions from Friday, September 15
DT Damon Harrison
Q: Is the attitude of the defense that you still have to do more regardless of what the offense is doing?
A:We're just preparing for the Lions. We control what we can control.
Q:When the offense is struggling, does the tone of the defense change?
A:We just worry about what happens on the defensive side of the ball. That's it.
Q:What do you see of QB Matthew Stafford on film?
A:Strong arm. Same thing we've been seeing, the world has been seeing, since he's been in the league. He's a veteran quarterback. Highest paid quarterback in the league now. Much respect to him for getting his due, but he's a slinger. He's a gunslinger. He can make all the throws and he's athletic.
Q:Does QB Matthew Stafford look like the highest paid player in the league now?
A:I mean, it just depends on what you're looking at.
Q:What do you look at when you watch QB Matthew Stafford on film?
A:He's a really good quarterback. He's a really, really good quarterback.
Q:Should you be in the face of your offense?
A:We worry about the Lions this week. I can't talk about last week.
Q:What's the challenge playing the Lions outside zone for you in the middle?
A:To make sure my conditioning during the week is proper because I'll be doing a lot of running. Trying to get involved in some of those plays. It gets frustrating when the teams are running to the outside because for various reasons guys like myself don't like to run much. So, just make sure my conditioning is right.
Q:Do you take pride when LB B.J. Goodson has 18 tackles?
A:Yeah. I'm happy for him. I watched him. I told him coming into this offseason I wasn't a full believer in B.J. Goodson. But I told him even before this game, he made me a believer. I'm a 1,000 percent believer in B.J. Goodson and that was before you guys saw what you saw. We already knew that.
Q:When did you become a full believer in LB B.J. Goodson?
A:During the spring, when I saw him take control of the defense. It's hard for a young guy to come in and know as much as he's expected to know in Spags' (Steve Spagnuolo's) defense.
Q:Is there anything specific with LB B.J. Goodson that you didn't believe in?
A:He's just a young guy. The middle linebacker, they have to know everything. They have to get people in the right spots and it's not going to say I wasn't a believer. He only played about 12 snaps last year, so we didn't get a chance to see him. So, I wouldn't say I wasn't a believer. It was just yet to be seen.
Q:Do you have a good Lions stat for us this week?
A:No. Not really. They won last week.
Q:What did you think of the Lions win last week?
A:That's a credit to their offense as a whole and their defense. They played well together and they were able to come out with a win.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Q:Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford can throw the ball pretty good, right?
A:Definitely. He definitely trusts his arm. You can see on film, he has tight coverage, but somehow he zips it in there. When he's healthy, he's got a real strong arm.
Q:Do you guys have an idea about what Stafford likes to do in his comfort zone, no longer with wide receiver Anquan Boldin?
A:I don't know. You replace Anquan in the middle with Golden Tate. I think they have a similar mindset, not really [similar] as far as body frame, Anquan being a little taller. But, [similar] mindset, as far as just getting those quick throws and making somebody tackle you. Golden Tate's good, too.
Q:What does rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay give the Detroit offense?
A:More of a deep threat. He's outside, he's a taller guy. I think he's one of the tallest on their roster and he can stretch the field and that's what the quarterback wants. He's got the arm to definitely get it to him, so I think it gives him more of a deep threat.
Q:How big of a difference does having running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick make for the Detroit offense?
A:Big difference. Anytime you can run the ball, it makes it hard for [the opposing defense] to game plan, when you can run and throw the ball. So, it just makes it a tougher matchup.
Q:Do you take the mentality of if the defense played better last week against Dallas, then we could have won that game, as Defense Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said?
A:Definitely. We come in, we put together this unit last year and you bring most of the guys back, ready, it should be the same thing. We're not sneaking up on anybody. Expectations should be to go out there and dominate. When we have a chance to get off the field, or to make those plays, I think we should make them.
Q:Can this defense put too much pressure on itself?
A:You can, but if you have a mindset that everybody has around here, of just knowing who's on the field with you and knowing the capabilities of what everybody can do, you've got to think like that. You don't let it affect you, but you've got to have that pressure on yourself and just on the unit.
Q:Is there a risk that the defense may try and force turnovers and press too much?
A:No, you've got to let the game come to you. I think we've got a smart group of guys that are doing that, just letting the game come to them. Not going out there and trying to do that extra. Now, maybe if we get down a couple of scores or something like that, then somebody's got to jump something, that's on the individual. But for the most part, you've just got to let it come to you.
Q:Is third down an area the defense needs to improve?
A:Definitely. We pride ourselves on third down. I think we gave up a few too many [against Dallas] and that's definitely a thing we've got to correct.
RB Orleans Darkwa
Q:Do you hope you get more carries this week than you did last week?
A:Yeah, I hope so. Running backs want to be able to get carries, but we have a lot of talented backs in the room and I think everybody deserves carries and opportunities. So, when we get those opportunities, we've just got to make the most of them.
Q:How difficult is it to deal with all of the different looks that the Detroit defense gives?
A:I think that when you have a lot of different looks, you've got to make sure you're getting in the film room. We've got a lot of smart guys. Offensive line, they've been doing their due diligence and making sure they're ready for anything that they throw at us. We had a good day of practice today, we've just got to continue with it and have like two-three more days and try to make sure we're 100 percent prepared for them.
Q:How much reacting do you have to do to what the fronts are doing, or are you just going to run what you want to run?
A:It's kind of a little bit of both. Obviously, you want to adjust into the best look possible. Obviously, [quarterback] Eli [Manning] is in charge of that and you can't doubt him or anything that he does. He's one of the smartest to do it. So, we've just all got to be in sync as an offense and, like I said, the past two days we've had a great week of practice and just try to build off of it.
Q:Where does the blame lie for the lack of running game against Dallas?
A:There's no blame. I think as an offense, we didn't play well. That's just what it is and we've got to get better as a group. We're not singling out anybody. We've got to run better. All we can worry about is what we control and as the running backs, we've got to run better, that's what it is.
Q:Why do you think the running backs need to be better?
A:I mean, at the end of the day, you look at the numbers. Whatever we averaged, yards-per-carry wise, it's not good enough. We hold our room high, as far as the standard and setting that standard. Even if there's nothing there, making a hole, breaking it and getting four yards a pop.
Q:Do you think that there should be extra opportunities for the running game because so many teams will focus in to stop the pass?
A:Yeah, I mean, as an offense, we're dangerous all around. The tight ends, obviously the wide receivers and who we've got. The running backs we've got in the room, we're dangerous all around. So, everybody wants to scream and cry and panic about last week, I think we'll be fine as an offense and just get it going. It only takes one game.
Q:Was there talk in the running backs room this week about how you all have to be better?
A:Yeah. Like I said, the group that we have in that room, obviously the numbers we put up, we're not satisfied with it. We want to be better as a group and, so we look at it. We're not going to sit here and hold our heads down because of it. We're just going to keep churning and I think it will show on Monday.
Q:Do you feel like there were opportunities to do more last week against Dallas?
A:I mean, yeah, but like I was trying to say before, if there's no hole, make one. I feel like with the guys we've got in this group, I think we'll be able to get it going. And like I said, it's a collected effort, it's not singling out one group. Everybody's got to do better and like I said, we've just got to show it on Monday.
Q:Is it not fair that the offensive line is taking so much heat?
A:Yeah. I don't know why everybody is trying to crucify them, like you said. I don't get that. We're a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I keep emphasizing that. It's not one group's fault. We've all got to do better as a unit.
Q:When you're in the game, is your mindset that you have to take advantage of every chance you get?
A:Yeah. With every back, I think that's kind of how it is. We're a competitive group and we want to go out there and perform. So, you don't get complacent. At the position I'm in, every time I get that ball in my hands, I want to do something with it. Every time I'm out there on the field, I want to make sure I can protect Eli, I can catch the ball. Whatever needs to be done, I've just got to get it done.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q:What did you think of the special teams unit against Dallas?
A:Kickoff – the first one I thought we could've done a better job tackling it inside the 20, instead of letting it get out to the 24. Kickoff return – disappointed with the penalty because that would've given us an opportunity to flip the field position, which we were struggling with all game long. Punt – solid. Got a lot of rush looks, which was nice and [punter] Brad [Wing] did a nice job with the hanging distance, location. And then punt return, it was mostly plus area. Field goal, field goal block was solid.
Q:What did you think of the penalty on one of your kickoff returns?
A:It was a hold. It was on [linebacker Calvin] Munson. Anytime you go down [by pulling the player opposing player down]. He had a poor base, poor football position. So, we'll learn from it and move forward, but that was a critical time, [losing] 6-0, starting the second quarter and we really hadn't done anything. That would have at least given us a chance to flip the field position and play on their side of the field.
Q:Do you anticipate Detroit's issues that they had on special teams last week being corrected this week?
A:I mean, they had a punter that dropped a snap and got his knee blown out, so now you have to have your kicker come in and punt, and I thought the kicker [Matt Prater] did really a nice job. And the backup holder now has got to come in and he did a nice job. He missed on the first one and then got the next one down and [Prater] hit a 58-yarder. So it was really a good job of them overcoming a tough situation and doing well with it.
Q:Did it look like Detroit's returners were coming out uncomfortable last week?
A:Well, one guy just, he panicked a little bit, but he's been really good in preseason. And the punt returner is outstanding, very good quickness and good catch mechanics. So, it's a solid group. I'm very impressed with their core overall. They've got safeties, they've got linebackers, running backs, cornerbacks. So it's a very deep and nice core of players.
Q:What is the book on their new punter, Jeff Locke?
A:He was at Minnesota for the last four years, so we've played him a couple times. Left-footed punter. Really good directional and good hang, good operation, a veteran punter. He competed in Indianapolis and ended up losing out, but very, very solid punter who did really well against us last year when we played them at Minnesota.
Q:Do you feel like you are closer in the return game to being successful?
A:Well, we didn't get any punt return opportunities [last week] because they were all in the plus-area and we had to put eight guys up in the box and defend the fake and defend the field. So, we don't really know there, but we've been making nice progress in practice. Kickoff return, we always feel confident about and just have got to make sure we clean up the holding.
Q:Has wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.'s injury eliminated any prospect of him returning kicks this season?
A:We've got to wait until he plays. It eliminates him right now because he's not playing.