Post-Practice Quote Sheet: Jim Schwartz, 08-17-10

Posted Aug 17, 2010

On injuries being an issue when it comes to practicing
“Yeah, it’s definitely an issue. We cut that last period short. We did that one group of no huddle rather than two. We’ve stay a lot of base; we haven’t been able to work our nickel package very much. It’s helped our linebackers be out of coverage a little bit more and cut our safeties on coverage a little more, but we’ve got to get some of those corners back out there. Our numbers are down there. You’re starting to see that chain reaction stuff. I thought we managed practice well to be able to make it through with those guys. “
On DE Jason Hunter being released
“Jason played a nice role for us last year. I saw his reps get cut into and some other guys had passed him on our depth chart – so sort of out of fairness to him. He’s a veteran player and when he dropped out of our plans, rather than leaving him another two or three weeks to be out of our plans and to get mop-up duty and things like that, we decided to give him his release and let him try and catch on with another team. He’s a good, hard worker; he’s a really tough guy. He did a nice job for us last year, but our defensive line is in a little different position than we were in than last year.”
On DE Willie Young’s first preseason game performance
“Willie hadn’t been practicing well, quite honestly. His brain was slowing his body down, so to speak. He sort of got paralyzed by all of the different things – special team and blitz packages – that we’re in and he wasn’t able to show his athletic ability. But in the game, that sort of flipped. He cut it loose in the game. He made a couple of really nice plays that was really good to see. He had been struggling through some practices; he had a hard time getting a rep in without getting yelled at and without sort of slowing him down. But, in the game he cut it loose and he affected the game. Willie did a really nice job.”
On TE Tony Scheffler
“Tony’s a guy that can play tight end position, he can play the H-back position, he can line as a wide receiver or in the slot, and he can do a lot of things. He’s 6-5 and he’s got great ball skills and reach. The quarterback can just throw the ball up and he can make a play. I really like the multi-dimensional stuff that he brings. He’s got outstanding ball skills and just a really innate feel for the passing game.

“That was a really key acquisition for us as to where we want to go offensively and the way we want to dictate and the pressure that we want to take off of Calvin (Johnson). He’s a big part of that. People want to try and take the wide receivers away, we need the tight ends that can split the seam and cover-two and tight ends that can run after the catch and those kinds of things, and he can do it. The thing about Tony that has probably been the most pleasant surprise – I think we all knew that Tony was a gifted receiver – he’s a very combative blocker as well. That’s a tough crowd against Pittsburgh and he did a really nice job in that game of handling their outside linebackers and being competitive in the run game and all of those different things. He’s having a really nice camp and he’s a big part of what we do.”

On TE Brandon Pettigrew’s playing time this weekend
“I think he’s right on track; you saw him out at practice yesterday. He’s a big target; he’s got great wing span – the quarterback just has to put the ball in his zip code and he’s gonna catch it. He’s good down the field; he caught that same route yesterday down the field. He’s always been a really good blocker. The biggest thing with him, last year he missed a lot of time during training camp. He had the quad; he had some muscle, soft tissue type stuff. It took him awhile to get started – it took him awhile to find his feet in the regular season and once he did – he was outstanding. He went through a three game stretch where he was as good as any tight end in the league and unfortunately he got hurt so the big thing we want to do is not put him in a situation where we’re setting him back – where he’s going to miss extended periods of time. You just have to live with (that fact that) he’s only going to be on the field once a day. Every couple of days we might shut him down and things like that but he’s right on track.

“Like Tony (Scheffler), Brandon’s going to be a big part of our offense. It still depends right now. All those guys, we’d like to get those guys in; it might be a cameo, it might be a little bit more. We’d like to get them all in but again that is all going to depend on how they’re doing. Like last week, we are going to make some of those decisions Thursday night and see where they are Friday and some guys we even workout and see how they warm up.”

On how LB DeAndre Levy did in his first practice back
“He’s doing good; we actually held him back. He was ready to go back in and we just put him through individuals today and let him put the shoulder pads on and do that. He will be out this afternoon and probably take a lot more reps. He is in that wait and see category, but he’s doing really well. He hasn’t had any setbacks and I think that’s the whole objective with those guys. They’ve got to shake the rust off; Louis (Delmas), Levy, particularly those guys, they have a little bit more rust than Kevin (Smith) and Brandon (Pettigrew) because those guys have been out here a little bit more. They will get it back quickly.”
On what he needs to see in Saturday’s game
“A lot of the same things that we saw before – I mean, that we wanted to see before. We want to see us be efficient. (We) want to see us tackle well. (We) want to see us execute schemes and things like that. I think the biggest thing in that game, from a negative standpoint that we need to (address) – the penalties. Some of those penalties you’re going to get – offensive tripping – you’re going to keep your quarterback clean. Our quarterbacks didn’t get hit. You don’t want to have a tripping penalty call back a 25-yard gain, but you also know that’s a physical error. The one illegal formation, the offside, the false start – those kinds of things we need to eliminate. I think that’s a big thing.

“Then on defense, the big plays. We went out there in the first couple series and just stifled their offense because we were rushing with four, we were getting good pressure, and we weren’t giving up big plays. All of a sudden we gave up a 61-yard play, or a 68-yard play, a 51-yard play, a 31-yard play, and those plays equal points in this league. That’s one thing we need to do a better job of. Our first group did a good job, but our second group needs to do a little better job of that.”

On whether the protection is better for Stafford
“I wouldn’t necessarily think that that was it. He also had not a lot of places to go with the football and both of those work hand-in-hand. We had a couple plays where they brought more guys than we could protect and he got rid of the ball so quickly because he had open players. He had open receivers. He’s got a lot more options. We don’t have to protect with seven guys just to get a pass off. We can protect with five; we can protect with six. He understands the timing. All that works together; you want to protect and I think we did a very good job of protecting him.”
On RB Jahvid Best’s blocking ability
“Jahvid is very underrated as a blocker. We ran a drill today where he was really good. In practice he picked up a corner blitz. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. He does a really nice job. He affects it that way, but he also affects it with what he does in the pass. He gets some attention and it opens up some of the other guys a little bit more.”