Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and several players met with the media following last night’s loss to the Packers. Here is what they said.
Last night was tough for all involved with the Detroit Lions, from players and coaches all the way down to fans. As head coach Jim Caldwell and players met with the media following the game, disappointment was a major theme, though so too was the fact that the Lions still have a big opportunity ahead of them as they move into the playoffs.
Here is a look at what was said in the Lions’ postgame media sessions.
On what adjustments need to be made going forward to improve second-half scoring: “We’ve just got to get better, there’s no magic to it. If we play the second half like we’ve been playing the first half we’ll be fine. If we can play the first half that way, we can play the second half that way. We haven’t done it just because of execution more so than anything else.”
On if he still feels the team is right where it needs to be: “All I can tell you is, number one, it’s very difficult to get into the playoffs. Number two, there’s only 12 teams working tomorrow morning and we’re one of those 12. If you’re in, you’ve got a chance. Obviously we’ll have a chance to get better, the things we need to still work on we can improve upon. Excited about our opportunity, that’s for certain.”
On the mood of the locker room after making the playoffs despite losing to Green Bay: “I don’t think – Obviously guys don’t like to lose, they’re competitors. But the fact of the matter is though that we have an opportunity. When you look at the alternative, this is 1,000 times better than that. Guys have got to shake it off a little bit and go to work on Tuesday.”
On if he has ever gone into the playoffs after losing three-straight games: “I think I told you before, we lost four or five at Baltimore and still played fairly well. Lost the last two in 2009, so there’s been a number of different times that we’ve had defeats at the end, but it’s what you do after that that counts. What you do with your opportunity, and we have an opportunity. We’ve got to play better.”
On how he will pick the team back up following tonight’s loss: “It’s not going to be hard because I tell them, ‘It’s a new season.’ The only thing they have to do is once they get through with you guys today, that’s it. That’s all we’re going to talk about that particular ball game. Not going to talk about it anymore, it’s over, it’s a new season. We’re talking about Seattle, very tough team to play out there. We’ve got to get ready to go. You can’t linger on this stuff.”
On the team not having a chance to scout Seattle yet: “Says who? That’s something you shouldn’t say unless you absolutely know. That’s not true.”
On what he knows about Seattle as an opponent so far: “Very talented team. Great quarterback, great defense, great scheme. Traditionally has been a team that’s played extremely well week in and week out. Tough to beat at home.”
On how much credit for Green Bay’s win should be given to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: “He played excellent. He got outside and we just couldn’t get him down there a couple times. With him, when you’re playing with him, it’ll probably be about four or five plays where it’s got to be able to be the difference. Stop it, get an incompletion, get the ball back, go down and score, those kinds of things because of the fact that he’s going to put some points on the board. There’s no question about that. We just couldn’t answer enough times.”
On what he thought of the offensive line’s performance given the injuries to C Travis Swanson and T Riley Reiff: “I haven’t looked at the film yet, but we had a lot of guys that were kind of, you know, Riley (Reiff) wasn’t in. So we had a few guys move around as well as our secondary. That’s what football is, you know. You just never know once the whistle blows exactly what’s going to happen, so you have to be able to adjust. You adjust, you fight, you scratch and try to find a way to win.”
On tonight’s game having a playoff atmosphere and what the team can take from that experience: “Yeah, you know, I think that every opportunity that you have is a learning opportunity, particularly with as many young guys as we have out there. There’s always a lot of teaching to be done for a number of different examples. We’ll take the positive things and we’ll work on those, look at them and try to improve upon our negatives. Like I said, our focus is going to be more so on our opponent coming up than necessarily what’s behind us. Season is over with, regular season is done. It was a regular season, our guys earned the right to be right where they are today. Might not have been pretty, but we’re here. It’s our job to take advantage of it.”
On people saying the Lions ‘backed in’ to the playoffs: “I don’t know what that means. That’s sort of a media-driven phrase. A coach won’t tell you that because they know how hard it is to get in no matter how it happens. If you’re one of those 12, it’s a difficult task. You had to do something right, a lot of things right in order to get there and I believe our guys did that.”
On the unexpected performances from Packers FB Aaron Ripkowski and WR Geronimo Allison: “Yeah, well, one of the things that you do know is that they have a quarterback that certainly can make a lot of guys very, very functional and active. I just think overall they played a nice game.”
On RB Zach Zenner’s performance: “Yeah, I mean he ran the ball well, ran it tough. And you’re right, he does a lot of things for us in the kicking game as well, but he’s a workhorse. He can get his shoulders squared, he finds seams, he can catch the ball for us. He does a lot of things well.”
On Zenner’s improvement from the first half of the season to the second half of the season: “You know, I’m really not certain. He is one of those guys that I think just, he’s very smart, very cerebral and always finds a way to try to work to get better. He has a good sense of self. He knows what’s best for him, in terms of how he runs. He finds seams and, you know, he’s a tough, hardnosed guy that’s active. I mean what’d he gain, 3,000 yards a year in college or something like that? Something ridiculous like that, 2,000? I mean, that doesn’t just happen, you know. The guy has some ability.”
On if seeing Packers CB Quinten Rollins taken off on a stretcher weighs heavily on both teams: “I would think on your own team that those guys love one another. Without question you would think that would be a factor, but when it happens to the opposition our guys still certainly feel some sympathy in that regard. But I don’t think it affected our play.”
On Reiff being unable to play tonight: “We don’t talk about injuries.”
On how the team will defend the mobility of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson next week after struggling against Rodgers tonight: “Better work on our sprinting technique a little bit, keep him contained a little bit better. Here’s one of the things you have to understand, they do that to everybody. You just have to get them down enough times. We just didn’t get him down enough times. You’re not going to completely stop Russell Wilson. No one has at this point throughout his career. So you’ve just got to get him down enough times to be able to stall the drives and be able to answer with points. That’s the real key.”
On the impact of Allison’s touchdown: “Put them up a couple more, made a little different ball game, obviously. Forced us into a little bit different sort of reaction to it, that was tough. We make them kick a field goal, it’s a little different. But that touchdown was a tough one to overcome.”
On what happened on the penalty for too many players on the field: “I haven’t seen it in its totality, but I think that one was as much our fault as it was their preparation. I haven’t looked at it to see it all. I have to see everything that happened in that situation from a vantage point. I think we could have certainly not had that happen to us in that situation.”
On if QB Matthew Stafford’s incompletions were due in part to his finger injury: “I think I’ve said all along, this guy has thrown millions of balls without a glove on his hand or without an apparatus on his finger. It’s naïve for me to think that doesn’t have some kind of an effect, it does. But does it keep us from winning? No. Did he throw a lot of great balls? Absolutely. He moved the ball down the field and did some things nice, but you’ve got to overcome some things. I think that’s just kind of the way the game is. You don’t look for excuses. Excuses are tools of incompetence. They’re used by monuments of nothingness. Those who specialize in them are seldom good at anything else, so we don’t look for any excuses. We’re in the winning business.”
On what he thinks happened on Stafford’s interception: “Just one of those things, just officiating. I voiced my opinion and that was it.”