Detroit Lions: What Bob Quinn Had to Say at End of Season Press Conference


Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn held his end of season press conference this afternoon. Here is a look at what he had to say.

Opening statement: “Thanks for being here today. I want to start off with a few comments. I want to say thanks to all the fans out there, you know. I took this job about a year ago. I think a year ago yesterday was my first day here and the passion that our fans have for this team is impressive. As an organization, Coach (Jim) Caldwell, myself, the players, the staff, you know, we see it home and away every week and really want to say thank you to those people out there that attend the games, they watch the games, because you know, without them we don’t have a job. You guys don’t have a job, so it’s really great to see these people come out and support our team.

Thanks to you guys, the media, for covering our team. I know you guys have a really hard job to do. Appreciate the professionalism that you guys brought to this building during this year. You guys are the conduit to our fans, so I appreciate what you guys do.

I want to say thanks to the coaches, the scouts, everyone in football operations. This is a hard business that we’re in. Coaches, they spend long hours, the scouts are on the road, the football operation staff put in long hours. A lot of time away from their families, as well as you guys do, so I want to say thank you to everyone that works here.

Thanks to the ownership group. Mrs. Ford and her family are tremendous people to work for, give us all the resources we could ever ask for in terms of what we need to make the team better.

You know, going back to about a year ago yesterday, thinking back over the last 12 months, I thought we had a really productive year of building the team, building the culture that Coach Caldwell and I want to create in this building. I think there’s still a lot of work to do. You know, nine wins is a good season, it’s not nearly good enough for what we want. We have one goal and I think Jim said it and I can’t put it in better words than what Jim said earlier in the week, you know, there’s only on team that’s happy at the end of the season. I mean that’s the bottom line. Whether you don’t make the playoffs and it’s Week 17 and you go home or you make the Wild Card weekend like we did and go home, it’s still the same feeling at the end of the day, that the season wasn’t good enough and that’s the bottom line. So our goals are higher and we’re going to work hard to achieve those goals.

More from Detroit Lions

I’m really proud of the players. I mean this group of players worked extremely hard. You know, our training camp was one of the hardest that I’ve ever seen in an NFL team. I think our practices with Pittsburgh were productive. I think our preseason games were a good learning tool for the players and the coaches and the staff to kind of see what team we wanted to put together. The regular season, you know, listen, we won nine games, so I think that’s good. I think our goal is to win a lot more games in the regular season. It was up and down, we faced some adversity, we had some injuries like every other team does. I think our staff did a good job. My staff, finding new players, the coaches, implementing those new players and helping us win enough games to make the playoffs. Now, you know, the season did not end the way we wanted it, obviously, and it’s my job to build this roster for the 2017 Lions and that process is off the ground and running and looking forward to all the events that are upcoming in the next few months to build this team.
I think one thing that we’re really going to work on is focusing on the details. I think we’re in a much better spot this year going into the pre-draft and the pre-free agency time of year. I’ve had my staff in place here for close to a year now, so we feel like we’re in a much better place in terms of the preparation. Now, a lot of the heavy lifting is still to come, but I feel like we’re in a good spot in getting ready for the offseason. So with that, I’ll open it up to any questions.”

On how he plans to address the contracts of Head Coach Jim Caldwell and QB Matthew Stafford: “Yeah, any contract talks with a player, a coach, the ball boys, all that stuff is the same for me. Those are private conversations that I’m going to have with that employee and that’s just the way we’re going to approach that. You know, I’m sure we’re going to get more questions that everyone wants to ask the same thing about Coach Caldwell and the players, that’s going to be my answer. Those are really private conversations and we’re going to keep them that way.”

“He’s not a micro-manager. He does a great job implementing what he thinks will work for the team that week and his coaches coach, he oversees and I think that’s a really great way to run a football team.” -Bob Quinn on head coach Jim Caldwell

On why he decided to bring Caldwell back: “You know, I didn’t know Coach Caldwell a year ago. You know, I sat down with him for a while and we talked for a couple of days back last January and every day Jim is really very consistent and I really enjoyed working with him. I really enjoy the day-to-day interactions that we have, which are multiple. I mean the rug between my office and his office gets worn out between the two of us, so it’s a really great working relationship and I really have a great feel in being able to see him deal with the team. Starting back with the OTA’s, into the season, training camp and it’s a consistent message, and I really think that’s what you need as a head coach. You know, you can’t have a head coach that’s too high or too low. I really believe in his approach of managing the team, how he practices the team, how he maintains the health of the team. So listen, winning nine games is good, it’s not good enough, but I felt really comfortable with the way things went this year and I’m looking forward to 2017 with Jim.”

On when he made the decision to retain Caldwell: “You know, I don’t know what the exact date was, but I think I confirmed it two weeks ago.”

On if his decision to retain Caldwell was made before the postseason: “Yes, it was before the postseason. Yes.”

On if he feels comfortable with his decision to bring Caldwell back for next season: “Absolutely.”

On why not extend Caldwell’s contract if he believes he is the man for the job: “I never said we weren’t extending him.”

On if he plans to extend Caldwell’s contract: “All of the conversations that I will have with an employee are confidential between me and the employee.”

On why he believes Caldwell can take the Lions to the Super Bowl: “Jim has a tremendous amount of experience. You know, he was a Super Bowl winning coach in Indianapolis, he has a great feel for the team, you know, he’s very well-rounded. You know, you watch Jim at practice, I know you guys are only there for the first 15-20 minutes, but I mean he can coach any position on the team. And the other good thing, he lets his coaches coach. He’s not a micro-manager. He does a great job implementing what he thinks will work for the team that week and his coaches coach, he oversees and I think that’s a really great way to run a football team.”

Related Story: Top 5 Detroit Lions Games Over Last 20 Years

On how close he thinks this team is to winning a Super Bowl: “We have a lot of work to do. I mean we won nine games and lost eight, so we have a lot of work to do. I think the team that wins the Super Bowl this year, they’re probably going to have upwards to 12, 13, 14 wins. We have a long way to go.”

On how he would describe his free agency philosophy for this offseason: “Yeah, I mean, I’m not opposed to free agency. I think you have to pick and choose your spots. Last year we did a few things in free agency, some of those guys worked out, some of the guys didn’t. That’s kind of how free agency goes. You’re never going to bat .1000 in free agency. Ideally, I think I said this a year ago, that I believe in building the team through the draft and then you supplement through free agency. We’ve looked at a lot of the free agents, I’ve looked at a number of them myself. If we feel there’s a good fit there we’ll go ahead and do that.”

On QB Matthew Stafford’s performance this season: “Matthew had a good year. Matthew, it’s his second season with Coach (Jim Bob) Cooter as the coordinator, so I think that relationship grew. I think Matthew got better over the first eight to 10 weeks, then he suffered the injury with the finger, which maybe affected him to a degree. But I think he had a really good year. Happy that he’s our quarterback.”

More from Detroit Jock City

On what he sees as the biggest position need going forward: “Still kind of going through that process. We have a number of things we do in the offseason starting this week and into the next couple weeks. We sit down and do a full evaluation of every position, every member of the team whether it’s the starting quarterback or the last offensive lineman on the practice squad. That’s still kind of a work in progress. I think our needs will – I have a few ideas of what the top ones are, but I think I’ll keep those to myself. But I think they’re ever-changing though because there’s injury situations, there’s contract situations. There’s a lot of different factors that go into assessing our needs. As we get into the early parts of March I’ll kind of have those finalized.”

On how he views the run game and how he plans to get more production in that area: “Yeah, I view the running game as the entire offense. Offensive line? Yes. Running backs? Yes. Fullbacks? Yes. Tight end? Yes. Wide receivers blocking in the running game? Absolutely. This isn’t you pick one running back at the top of the draft and your running game is fixed, that’s not how this league works. I think you can go back to the Cowboys, and everyone writes about their great offensive line and they have a great running back. Well, they also have a really good blocking tight end and they also have a pretty good fullback when he’s in there. I think it takes 11 guys on the offensive side of the ball to run the football.”

On why he thinks the team fell short in the playoffs: “You look at the stats, you can go right to the league stats and say, ‘Where did we finish in running?’ I think it was what, 30th in the league in rushing? That’s not good enough. Third down on defense I think wasn’t at the top of the league, red zone. All those areas we have to improve on. Like, it’s frustrating when you sit in my seat that you build a team and then you have your starting running back go down in the second week of the season. At the end of the season you look back and you say, ‘Why didn’t we run the ball?’ We tried to improve the offensive line, which I think we did to a degree. It’s hard to replace one guy that you think is going to carry the ball for a couple hundred times a year when he’s gone. We did our best, and that’s not an excuse because every team goes through injuries. My job is to replace those players if they go out and we have to do a better job.”

On if he thinks when RB Ameer Abdullah and RB Theo Riddick are healthy they can be productive players: “I do, yeah. Listen, I’m always looking to upgrade. That’s what my job is, I think the players understand that. I think the number of new players that we brought in this year and the number of guys we tried out and worked out, I think it was eye-opening to a lot of people. My eyes are always open. If we can get somebody better, then great. But do I believe in Ameer and Theo and Zach (Zenner) and Dwayne Washington and Mike James? I do.”

On how he prepares for the possibility of a player’s season-long injury such as Abdullah’s: “The injuries in this league happen to every position and I’d say running back is probably at the top of that list. We have to get durable guys. Ameer’s injuries have been legit injuries. These aren’t just like little ticky-tack injuries that he ends up missing more time than we expect. It’s hard to predict, but it’s also my job to create the depth behind them.”

On what he knows about being a general manager that he didn’t know a year ago: “A lot. I’d say the biggest thing is just how many different people in the organization that I have to know what their jobs are. It’s easy to say, ‘All right, you’re in charge of picking players.’ Great, it’s really difficult and I put a lot of time and energy into it. But there’s a lot of different things that come across my desk that you can’t really prepare for. Whether it’s a media thing, whether it’s an injury thing, whether it’s a weather-related thing. We left a day early for the Giants game, how many hours we put into that whole situation. It takes time out of your day, that you really have to budget your time. That’s something that I definitely learned over the course of the last 12 months, to really budget my time better. I’m looking forward to doing that.”

On what changed with his zero tolerance stance on bringing in players with checkered off-the-field pasts: “I knew you were going to ask that question. Looking back I thought about that, I honestly did. I think every incident and every situation is different. I said that, it’s in black and white. Looking back I probably should not have said that because the more you do research on each individual incident, what you read in the newspaper and on the internet is actually sometimes not accurate. I felt really comfortable in both those situations that we did more research than we needed to, and felt comfortable in both those situations. If there’s a situation like that that I need to investigate to try to help this football team, I’m going to do that.”

On how he describes the culture of the organization since taking the job: “It’s a myriad of different things. It’s getting the right kind of players in here that believe in winning, they put football first. It’s how you structure the days of the week with players, the coaches. It’s the offseason training. It’s the strength. It’s the conditioning. It’s the improvements that we made to the facility. But at the end of the day culture is about winning and winning cures everything. We won more games than we lost this year, so I think the culture is improving in that way. But I think we’re not nearly where we want to be.”

On if he is confident LB DeAndre Levy still wants to play football: “Yeah, every indication is he does. I think when he came back from the injury at the end of the season he looked like he was healthy and ready to go.”

Related Story: Most Underrated Detroit Lions in Team History

On if he looks at the other NFC North teams as his competition when constructing a roster: “That’s definitely something I look at because the quickest way to the playoffs is win your division. So that’s our competition, including the Bears. Despite what their record is, they have a lot of young talent as well. So I think that’s definitely something that we study and look at in the offseason and during the season about how can we beat our division opponents. I mean I’d be naïve not to look at that.”

On Levy’s future as an impact player on the roster: “I think he can be the same player he was a couple years ago. It looks like to me he was getting healthier and healthier as the weeks went on when he came back. That’s what we envision.”

On if Levy needs more surgery in the offseason: “I’m not talking about any injuries.”

On if there were concerns with Levy playing after he expressed public concerns over concussions suffered in the NFL: “There were no concerns on our end. Once he got cleared medically, we put him right back on the field.”

On if Levy ever discussed his concerns over concussions with the front office: “He’s never talked to me about that. You know DeAndre. He’s a pretty quiet guy. He goes out there, he comes to work every day, works hard, really put in a lot of time and energy into his rehab and I commend him on how fast he came back from a decent injury.”

On what he plans to do with G Larry Warford and T Riley Reiff as free agents this offseason: “Nothing has been decided on either one of those guys. As I said a couple minutes ago, we’re working through our postseason evaluations as we go here. One thing that we do, we try not to make rash decisions on guys like that that are just coming into their free agent year. Our season just ended four days ago. I think those decisions are in the months and weeks to come.”

On if his process of constantly adding new players to the roster during the regular season was due more to his philosophy or the personnel he inherited: “I think it’s both. I think it’s the way the roster was when we cut the team to 53. Listen, just because you get the team to 53 doesn’t mean it’s good enough. There’s always better and more players to look at, whether it’s guys on waivers, whether it’s guys on other teams’ practice squads, and I’d say the second part is what you said. It’s always looking for better. I think to try to improve the last 10 roster spots is one of the most important jobs that myself and my staff have during the regular season. We spend our time looking at draft picks and upcoming free agents, but we study that personnel notice every night to see if there’s someone there that might be better than one of the guys on the bottom, I’d say, 10 on our roster.”

On if he has made a decision on TE Eric Ebron’s contract: “No, I mean that doesn’t have to come until I think May 2 is the day on my radar, but way down.”

On the significance of losing four straight games to finish the season: “Hey, our record is what it is and we lost four games to four of the better teams in the NFC. That’s our competition going forward. I mean the Dallas Cowboys aren’t going to get all of a sudden worse. The Green Bay Packers aren’t going to be any worse. Every team strives to get better and it was eye opening. It was like, ‘OK, well, listen. We lost to those four teams.’ Next year, hopefully we’re playing meaningful games against them again and things are different.”

On how he evaluates his first draft class: “It’s hard for me to judge. I think a lot of the guys made strides. We had a lot of contributors from the rookie class. We’re happy with how things ended up with most of them, but I think like any rookie player, the rookie player’s biggest jump is from year one to year two. So if the guys that are on the team now that were our draft picks, they come back better than they were this year, then I’ll be happy. If they regress I won’t be happy, but I’d say overall it was a solid class. I talked to a lot of those guys before they left the building and they know how much work is ahead of them. Being a rookie in the NFL is hard. It’s a long season. The one thing I’ll give all those guys credit, I never saw them hit that rookie wall that everyone talks about and I think that’s something that is a credit to those guys and the conditioning and the energy they put into the season. I’m happy with the class, but I want to see them improve this offseason.”

Related Story: 30 Best Draft Picks in Detroit Lions History

On his evaluation of WR Marvin Jones Jr.’s season after Jones called it a disappointment: “We have high expectations for all our players. I think Marvin had a good year. I’m kind of happy that he said that, that he’s not satisfied with, what did he have, 55 catches? So I’m happy that Marvin said that because I know what kind of guy he is and I know what kind of worker that he is and I’m sure – He’s already been in here a little bit week, so I know he’s going to be better than he was last year.”

On how he would assess Ebron’s season: “Eric had a productive year. He battled through the preseason injury that he had, I think it was at the mock game at Ford Field. Then he had a couple other things that he worked through. I think Eric was probably his healthiest the last month of the season and that’s the kind of player that Eric can be if he can be out there.”

On where he saw the most progress in the team this season: “I think the consistency through the first part of the season. I know at the end of the season it wasn’t quite as up to par as anyone would want, but I think the progress in terms of not turning the ball over was important. Defensively, we got off the field on third down pretty good through the first, I’d say eight to 10 games of the season. That was good. Overall, I just felt like we were more competitive. We were a deeper team. I think that showed up when we had some injuries. Now, in the end we had some guys that we brought in off the street that contributed, but the season is a battle of attrition. I think we need to do a better job of creating even more depth and more competition throughout the whole roster.”

On what problems might occur by not having a coach under a long-term contract: “It’s nothing that we need to avoid. Everyone’s contract has a different number of years left on it and everyone plays out their contract just like you guys do.”

Next: Detroit Lions' Season a Mix of Good and Bad

*All quotes provided by the Detroit Lions. You can watch a video replay of Quinn’s press conference on