Detroit Lions News: What They’re Saying About Win Over Jaguars

Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) celebrates with wide receiver Golden Tate (15) during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) celebrates with wide receiver Golden Tate (15) during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /


On how impressed he was with the defense stepping up today: “I think they did a nice job. I don’t know what the stats were. Early in the first half I think they were pretty strong except for maybe a series or so, even the first half. It may not look like it but I think overall they were pretty solid. Wasn’t perfect, obviously a lot of flaws, but winning never is pretty, at least not for us these days. So we’ll take it.”

On what adjustments were made to try to get the run game going: “Really just doing what we do better, we just weren’t doing a very good job. You’ve got to give some credit to them, that’s a talented team. They’ve got some young talent that can run, physical. They did a better job than we did in that stretch there, but then we had to make some plays. I think we came alive, Andre (Roberts) made a big play for us, (Eric) Ebron had a big play, obviously tacked on with the touchdown. Matthew (Stafford) moved it around and made some plays for us, too. Special teams did a nice job, had one miscue and brought one back for a score. There were a lot of ups and downs in this game.”

On what it says about the team when the defense steps up for a struggling offense: “One of the things that, without question, through the years, and I think you guys have covered it long enough to know, that during the course of the season you’re going to have to win a football game a lot of different ways. It can’t just be your offense. Sometimes it’s going to be your defense, sometimes it’s going to be your kicking game combined with it. That’s one of the things, I was proud of these guys. The fact that we found a way to win with some other mechanism other than the fact of the strength of our offense. But when we needed it, the offense – Don’t underscore that eight-minute and whatever drive that was. I think it was 8:19 when we started, we gave the ball back to them with 22 seconds. That’s not typical. That’s a heck of a drive they put together there, so the guys did a nice job. That was really, I think, that was also a very, very key drive.”

On the play where TE Eric Ebron rushed for a touchdown: “We’ve had it a while. Minnesota used it on us before we could use it. We’ve had it a while, been working at it for a few weeks.”

On QB Matthew Stafford drawing the Jaguars offside in the fourth quarter: “Yeah, he did a real nice job with that. He got them to the line and put some pressure on them, certainly used his voice inflection to get it done. Early on, some of our voice inflections got our own guys. We had those two young guys on the left side jump off, they both took turns at one point in time jumping offside. But I think Matthew (Stafford), he’s a veteran player. He does a lot for us, and a lot of things that go unnoticed just in terms of what he does in and out of the huddle. Getting things straightened away and solving problems as he goes along.”

On if he’s accepted that the team will win games this season by close scores: “Yeah, I’m not certain. I just know that we haven’t played and clicked as well as we’d like to in all phases. Some of that has to do with the people we’ve played. They’ve done a little bit better job than we have in some of those areas. The great thing about our guys, our guys have a lot of character. They don’t give up, they don’t fold, they find ways to work it out. We go out there and we’re trying to score 2,000 points if we can. We’re trying to stop them every single time, but it doesn’t work out that way. So our mindset is not that, ‘Keep it close and see if we can win,’ that’s not our mindset. But nevertheless, it’s just the way it’s happening, so you have to accept that and find a way to win. Try to make the best of it. Our guys, they continue to work at it and hopefully we continue to get better.”

On if the Jaguars’ offside play in the fourth quarter was actually designed to be an offensive play: “No, it did exactly what it was designed to do.”

On what he attributes uncharacteristic sloppy plays to: “It’s probably because of the fact you started asking me about it last week, kind of jinxed it. We’ve been good with the ball up to this point, so we’ve got to go back to work and keep working at it, and take care of it a little bit better.”

On what went into the decision to deactivate DT Tyrunn Walker: “Just like anything else we look at who we’re playing, schemes that we’re dealing with and make the best decisions for us.”

On the performance of DT Stefan Charles: “He made a lot of plays for us, really tough in the middle. He’s a powerful man, glad to see he keeps coming along. He and Khyri (Thornton) both are playing well, obviously Haloti (Ngata) made some plays in there. That front is a very active front.”

On what he attributes the defense’s high level of play to: “Other than just doing what they’re supposed to do, I think we kind of went through some of those stages last year. There was a stretch where we weren’t playing as well, and then all of a sudden no one could run the ball on us consistently and we started playing better altogether. I just think that we are moving in that direction, we’re trending in the right direction. I think the guys are getting better, and some of the younger guys we’re playing are moving forward. Miles Killebrew, if you didn’t notice, had a lot of plays for us out there, third-down stops and made a lot of tackles. That was good to see, so some of those guys that have been getting some playing time, now you’re starting to see things show up a little bit more often.”

On what the offense can do to run the ball better: “One of the things that I do think is we’ve just got to keep building patient with it. Oftentimes you guys hear me talking about advances and it’s just a number of rushing attempts. You’d like it to better than it was tonight, for certain, but you’ve got to be patient with it, too. I think 21 times as poorly as we were running it is being pretty patient. We’ve just got to keep doing that. Like I’ve always said about the running game, for us it’s dirty work. Just have to grind it out and try to see if you can find some cracks. We hadn’t found very many. I think when I look at the film, for certain, a lot is going to have to do with their linebackers playing downhill pretty well and that defensive front that they have playing well also.”

On WR Andre Roberts returning a punt for a touchdown after muffing a punt: “Obviously, you love to see a guy bounce back that way. He’s shown he has the ability to do that on a number of occasions. He doesn’t shy away. Some guys will wilt in that situation and continue to make mistakes and compound them one after another, but Andre is able to kind of get over it quickly and then do something big for you later on.”

On if he is pleased with the roster depth on defense: “I think that we are developing some depth. I do believe that. I do think that when (Darius) Slay was out we had a little assistance there. (Johnson) Bademosi got some really, good strong playing time where we got a comfort level with him and a number of guys across the board I think have showed up that way. Our defensive front, like you mentioned, young guys have been playing for us pretty steady. They’re all I think getting better. They’re willing to get better. They work at it consistently, so it’s helping us. Sometimes an injury early in the season kind of helps you later in the season. I think in a couple spots it’s certainly given us a comfort level with a couple guys.”

On the impact of S Rafael Bush: “He’s an unusual guy just in terms of how much ground he can cover. He can really run and he runs well. He’s active, he’s aggressive and once he gets the ball in his hand he can do something with it. I was kind of kidding a little bit. He played at South Carolina State and I told him I have to think about making a comeback. They had a guy there that was 55 years old, a running back that’ll carry the ball for them. I’m just thinking he’s doing pretty well, so I started to ask him if they had a spot for me or something down there. He’s just a guy that’s active. He runs, he plays, he’ smart. He’s tough and brings a lot of passion and energy to the game. He made a lot of real, big plays for us. That tackle you’re talking about was huge and then obviously the (interception) return was outstanding. I’m not certain I’ve seen a better run in a crowd than that one. He did a nice job of finishing it off.”

On if has given any thought to this being his 50th career win as an NFL Head Coach: “No, I haven’t even thought about it and won’t think about it beyond this second. I just think these guys keep playing and what’s important is the next one. We’ve got a really, really good football team coming in here on Thursday. That’s the win that I’m really looking at and I’ve got to get prepared for. That’s the one that’s the most important to us. They’re coming in here hungry and angry and the whole bit, so we’ve got to get ready for them.”

On the magnitude of the division implications heading into the Thanksgiving game against the Vikings: “Yeah, it’s another one in this quarter. That’s kind of how we look at it more so than anything else. I think when you start getting ahead of yourself about all the other stuff, what matters is how you play and whether or not you can get yourself in position to win, plain and simple. There’s not any more drama than that. I think it gives you guys great things to write about and all that kind of stuff and I try to do my best to keep our guys from reading it and focusing on what we have to do because those things don’t matter. It really doesn’t. I think it’s great for the fans and all that kind of stuff, but for our guys we need to focus. We didn’t practice very well last week either. We didn’t practice as well as we were capable. We were just a little bit off. We were like a lot of teams that come out of the Bye that forget about the intensity level and you’re just a little rusty. That’s why some balls I think were coming out and things of that nature. We’ve got to get back to where we were and get ourselves to the point where we’re taking care of the ball and playing better.”

On how much easier the defensive game plan becomes with more players healthy: “I haven’t seen anything that’s become less difficult. I mean, it’s still hard. It’s tough. We’re glad to have those guys back because we’ve got some experienced guys that have been around and understand. They readily grasp information that we’re trying to give them. They’re not young guys, so that’s helpful. They’re really good leaders. You know, all those things. They’re very, very helpful guys, but it doesn’t make the task any easier. It really doesn’t, so we’ve got to keep working.”