Detroit Lions: Jim Caldwell’s Quotes from Practice

Aug 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. Detroit won the game, 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. Detroit won the game, 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports /

A look at what Detroit Lions head coach had to say at practice as the team prepares for the Baltimore Ravens in week three of the 2016 preseason.

The Detroit Lions had the pads on at today’s practice as they prepare for their third preseason game. The team has had a couple off days recently but must gear up for what is traditionally the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.

Eric Ebron and Golden Tate returned to practice, although their status for the Ravens game remains in doubt. Here is what Jim Caldwell had to say at practice today.

On what he needs to see from the running back competition to determine who earns a roster spot: “The most important thing is obviously the production. That’s what you look at in all phases, whether it’s pass protecting, carrying the ball, or involvement in special teams. Because all of those things are extremely important and so we’ll take a look at those guys and evaluate them accordingly.”

On the value of preseason Week 3 in terms of evaluating the offense: “I think we still are in an evaluation stage for us, so often times you may not get exactly the same group working. We want to see a guy or two here or there, so we’ve got some mixture going on in certain spots. It’s still important for us to continue to, we’ll probably rep some guys a few more times than they have in other portions of this preseason. All of those increases I think are extremely important, exposures are important for the young guys. We’ll just continue to evaluate and move forward.”

On what he’s seen from DE Brandon Copeland on defense and special teams: “One of the things about him is the fact that he’s versatile. Obviously that’s what’s allowed him to adjust from a stand-up position to one where he’s got his hand in the dirt a little bit more often. He’s a guy that can run, he’s got strength, he’s smart. Also obviously he’s a valuable member on the special teams as well, he covers well for a big guy. You need those kind of body types to certainly protect and cover. This is not an easy game, it’s hard, it’s tough, it’s a fast moving game that you have to consistently work to get better, and I think he’s doing that.”

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On why a no-huddle offense suits QB Matthew Stafford: “I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, that’s not all we’re going to do. It’s part of what we do. It depends on the team that you’re facing, depends on the game, depends on your personality, health of it. It depends on how much the young guys can grasp. How much you want to utilize it, there’s a lot of factors. It’s just one part of what we do from an offensive standpoint that we’ve been working on, because of the fact that we haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to do so. So we’ve been working on it pretty consistently, but that’s not all we do. That’s not all we’re going to do. It’s a part of it, it’s a part of it that hopefully-going fast and not being effective is just going fast. We want to be effective as well. You’ve got to have pass completions, you’ve got to have runs that have positive yardage and things of that nature to go along with it. We’re more interested in effectiveness than anything else, but we have different ways to certainly go about that.”

On the progress and preparation of QB Jake Rudock: “Jake has been working diligently since he’s been here. We had a chance to evaluate him thoroughly during the draft process, so we visited with him, Cally (Quarterbacks Coach Brian Callahan) went down and talked with him, so we’ve had a pretty thorough evaluation of his work going along. He is exactly what we thought he would be. He’s a guy that’s very smart, very determined, doesn’t get rattled, got composure. He keeps getting better, and I think that’s certainly very, very important. Part of what he’s doing, I mean, every day he gets a little bit better. He does something a little bit better, he’s a little bit more comfortable with some things. I think he’s coming along.”

On the likelihood TE Brandon Pettigrew will be ready by Week 1 and his expected role: “What can you expect in terms of when he’ll be ready, we’ll see. What do you expect in terms of what he can do, he’s big, strong, he’s proven he can block you on the run game. He can catch passes for you. He’s caught a number of passes around here. He’s effective in that area and he’s a very good pass protector, so there’s certainly a lot of things he can do for us.”

On if he expects Pettigrew to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List: “We’ll see.”

On what CB Brandon McGee can do to make the roster: “Just like anybody else, he’s going to get an opportunity. It’s late, but he’s got an opportunity to learn. Most of the guys that you’ve seen that’s been in multiple systems can adjust pretty quickly, pretty rapidly. Where they can get in and be a part of what you’re doing, they just kind of have to translate the verbiage. There’s no huge defensive secrets or things that we’re doing that are so far from the norm that one that has been around as much as he has, can’t come in and catch on fairly quickly. So, I think it won’t take long to get him up to speed and then we’ll get him in there as much as we possibly can.”

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On if he’s ever played Madden and looked into his coaching rating: “The answer would be no and I know it’s a pretty popular game. My grandsons play it. I do know one thing, that they have a great feel for the league. They know every player because of that, but one’s into what’s the basketball thing called, ‘basketball 2k?’ (NBA 2k). Joshua is into ‘basketball 2k.’ He’s six years old, I’ll match him up with most teenagers because he’s pretty effective on that. He cheats once in a while. He cheated me over the summer. He says he didn’t, but he did on vacation. But nevertheless, the other games I have no familiarity with. That one only because of the fact he made me play blacktop with him, which I didn’t understand until I got on it and played with him.

On the new locker room layout and how it benefits the team: “I think any little bit helps, you know. I think overall, the décor changes just in terms of inside. It’s cosmetic, but I think sometimes cosmetic has an effect. They like it. They think it’s better for them and we just kind of rearranged some things, which I think are helpful. I’m sure there’s more to come.”

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On if there are early benefits of the weight room and nutrition program changes: “Yeah, someone asked me that question the other day. I said, ‘It takes a little bit of time, from a nutrition standpoint, not in terms of the strength training,’ because you know Harold’s (Nash) had a significant impact on the guys. He’s done a great job from a strength standpoint, from a conditioning standpoint, he and Dom (Raiola) and Josh (Schuler) and they continue to do so. There’s been a lot of positive benefits in that regard. From a nutritional standpoint, like I said, it takes a little bit of time for you to really assess the positive nature of it, but certainly we understand it and know that it’s scientific. It’s a fact that it will help you and I think most of our guys are buying into it, which is good.”