Head Coach Jim Schwartz Post-Practice Quote Sheet

Posted Nov 24, 2009

On QB Matthew Stafford’s status
“A lot can happen between now and Thursday. We’ll have to wait and see. If it’s the way it was today, a lot of guys wouldn’t have been able to play, but you don’t want to rule anyone out this time of the week. He’s still sore, but he’s getting better. It’s something we anticipated getting better. Whether it’s something that will be better on Thursday – it’s still too early to tell. If he was the way he is today, he’d be unlikely to play; but things can change so we don’t want to rule anything out.”
On WR Calvin Johnson’s status and whether he aggravated a previously existing injury
“He’s improving, that’s another one we’ll wait until Thursday to see. It’s something that isn’t related. He went down on the one and banged it up a bit.”
On what QB Daunte Culpepper needs to improve on from when he faced the Packers earlier in the season if he plays
“We need to convert third downs. We didn’t do that the first time we played them. We need to help (Culpepper) offensively and defensively. I think that was a game that Calvin (Johnson) didn’t play. We didn’t do a good job of helping our quarterback in that game. There are some other things that Daunte can do better and he knows that. The third down conversions are going to be big. We need to keep drives alive and not go three-and-out. We need to put pressure on the defense. We’ve got to take care of the football and get rid of the ball – we can’t take sacks.”
On the need to build a new Thanksgiving tradition in Detroit
“Well it doesn’t have to be a new tradition; we just have to make it our own. It’s not a new tradition; it’s the longest tradition in the National Football League – since 1934. It’s something that half of our players that were here last year – it might be a higher number now due to injuries and what not – but a lot of guys haven’t played on Thanksgiving here in Detroit, so it’s important that they understand the significance of the game and the urgency of it. This is a great league and a lot of things have happened, a lot of people have come before us in this league. We need to pay respect to them by playing well on Thanksgiving.”
On the importance of this game to the Ford family
“Oh sure, it goes way back to before I even got the job, talking about this. Even this summer when we had open practice (at Ford Field) and the commissioner was here. Just saying it doesn’t make it, but we want the players to understand the significance of this game. This isn’t just another game; this isn’t just one of 16 for us. It’s a tradition and something that we need to embrace and uphold.”
On the significance of playing on national television
“It’s important. Everybody wants to play well in front of a national audience. Everybody wants to play well in front of their peers. There’s a special feeling of playing on Monday night or Sunday night when you know you’re the only game and Thanksgiving is like that. It’s not just everybody watching, it’s everybody with relatives, meeting up with families and they’re all just sitting around the living room waiting for the turkey and the apple pie and they’re going to turn the game on. There’s some urgency to it from the standpoint that you’re on national television and there’s a pride thing. You want to perform well in front of a national audience.”
On how injuries hamper a team on a short week
“Well, it is what it is, to make a bad cliché. There’s a lot of that stuff that goes on in the NFL. A lot of times starters, front-line players, star players, whatever you have, don’t play. There’s a reason that there are 53 on the team, not 22. It’s a 16-game season; it’s a long season. That stuff is going to happen. There are a million incidents that you can look at of guys that have stepped in and played well and not given their job back. That really doesn’t affect our mindset, doesn’t have an effect on our tempo, it doesn’t affect how we go about game-planning. It’s irrelevant when it comes to that. It’s something that people outside the building probably talk about a lot more than inside the building.”
On a timetable for Stafford’s return
“Let’s pass this game first before we start speculating on what’s going to happen in a week and a half. If next Sunday he was feeling the way he was feeling today, he wouldn’t play.”
On whether the final play of the game on Sunday took the staff’s confidence in Stafford to a new level
“Another level? That’s a relative term. He’s had a lot of moments. Georgia played Kentucky last year and it was a shootout, a game a lot like (past Sunday). Whoever had the ball last was going to win the game and they were in shape for a tying field goal. It was a third-and-goal from the 8-yard line and he did a Joe Montana: gave ground, kept himself alive, avoided a couple of guys and found a guy in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. He didn’t come off the deck the way he did (against the Browns) with an injury, but it was a similar situation. He played at a high level of competition. One of the reasons we picked him was because we’ve seen him in those situations before so it wasn’t a big surprise that this happened. As far as another level and everything, let’s let him play more than one year before we start talking about that.”
On whether he’s been encouraged with the play of the other rookies
“I’ve been encouraged, really since the first rookie minicamp that we had. There were very few surprises in there. I’ve been in the NFL I think for 17 years and what happens is, there’s always that guy where you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we made a mistake.’ The very first weekend you’re like, ‘Wow, we missed on that one.’ We didn’t have a whole lot of that; everybody was pretty much what we expected. I thought we drafted well then and thought we drafted well when we got to training camp. Nothing has really changed our mind since then. Some guys have been starters; some guys have been role players. I shudder to think where we’d be right now if we didn’t draft well this year.”
On his memories of watching the Lions play on TV during Thanksgiving
“Yeah, the one thing is everybody always watched the Lions because the family got together and we’d be waiting for the turkey to get done so you always caught the whole Lions game and then you watched maybe a half of the Cowboys game before you fell asleep on the sofa. We always went to my grandmother’s house and the Lions game was on. The (1980) overtime game with the overtime kickoff return, the coin-flip game (laughter); that was a game that was easy to remember.