Postgame Quotes: Detroit Lions

Posted Nov 15, 2009


On the turnaround of the game after the fumble
“Well, it was coming out at halftime, we’re down seven, we just had a good drive on offense and turn around and, like you said, fumble. Very similar to the way we started the second half of the first game that we played. We put the ball on the ground way too much today and we got our quarterback killed way too much today.”
On how QB Matthew Stafford handled the duress
“As a team we handled it poorly. We weren’t able to protect him, he wasn’t able to make throws. We tried to throw quick, we tried to throw screens and we handled it poorly as a team. I’m not worried about Matt. Good gracious, we don’t need to sit there and worry about him every single time. It’s about this team and we didn’t handle their pressure very well, we didn’t handle their four-man pass rush very well and that was a significant, significant part in this game. It’s a tough place to play, the crowd’s loud, they’re getting off on the ball, there’s no snap count, but that’s no excuse. We played poorly in protecting our quarterback.”
On if Stafford’s accuracy declined as the pressure mounted
“There were a couple on the outside part of the field, the balls were low. One ball was tipped – I don’t know if you’re referring to that one – but I don’t think it was an accuracy problem, it was a protection problem. I mean, good gracious, he was taking a bunch of hits. We had problems protecting the quarterback and I don’t think issues were a couple inaccurate passes.”
On if, despite the numbers not being good, the defense made good plays to keep the team in it
“We were hanging in and we were putting bad plays behind us and finding a way to make a play. We continue to be plagued by the giant play, the big play. Even the one play that Phillip Buchanon made; that’s a great hustle play, a great effort play to punch that ball out, that’s another big gain and most of our plays were either missed assignment or a missed tackle. The quarterback just throws the ball up against Cover 2 and they complete a 60-yard pass down the field. That’s on us. That’s on us as players and we need to make those plays.”
On the injuries and if any are significant
“I don’t think there’s anything that’s definite right now, but we’re going to look really hard and there’s going to be a lot of guys getting tests as we get home and tomorrow there’s a lot of guys that may end up being significant.”
On if it was a surprise that S Louis Delmas couldn’t play
“It was obviously a surprise because we put him on the active 45. He had an infected tooth and we thought that he would be able to go; he thought he would be able to go and we didn’t think it would be an issue. We put him on the active 45 and he was never able to get rid of the pain. The adrenaline never overcame it. I mean, Louis is a tough, tough guy, but that was a debilitating thing. When you have a really, really bad toothache you can’t hit anybody, you can’t run, you can’t talk – and you get a safety that can’t talk and a safety that can’t hit anybody; a safety that can’t run. In hindsight, it would have been better to know that beforehand, but Louis is a tough guy. He thought he would be able to answer to bell and he wasn’t able to and left us a little bit shorthanded. That’s just something we need to do a little better job of communicating before the game, but Louis is a tough guy. If he could have gone, he would have gone. He was distraught that he couldn’t play today.”
On if the lack protection went beyond the talent of Minnesota’s defensive front
“Yeah, I mean, there were a couple times where we kept guys free, but for the most part it was individual match-ups.”
On if losing one-on-one match-ups has been the issue all along
“Some games we’ve protected well. Let’s tip our hats where it warrants. That’s a good defensive front, but we’ve got to give our quarterback time. When we’re getting hit on three-step drops, that’s a problem.”
On if team-wide breakdowns in one-on-one match-ups have been a problem
“As a coaching staff, when you look at a game and you look at a game plan, you say, ‘Did you get guys in the right position?’ At that point, players need to play. Coaches coach and players play and they need to be able to execute those plays. Are we where we need to be personnel-wise? No, but we have NFL players. We’ve got to find a way to get that done; they have to make the plays that come to him.”
On if there was something wrong with CB Phillip Buchanon after halftime
“He had a knee that he ended up not being able to finish the game with. They were working on it, they were taping it, and we were up on offense, so they thought they had a little bit more time. Little did they know, we were going to fumble the first play of the second half. Phillip was out right after that, but that one play was the play that Jack (Williams) got hurt on.”
On DE Cliff Avril, DT Landon Cohen and RB Aaron Brown all being inactive
“First thing is, we kept up Marvin White, we kept up Vinny Circiu. We had an eye toward covering kicks. We didn’t want to be shorthanded in covering kicks, so we went with seven defensive linemen. They were game plan decisions.”
On why those two linemen were inactive
“Coach’s decision. It was my decision. They weren’t injury situations – any one of the three. We haven’t been getting production out of Aaron’s role and we needed to do something about it. We couldn’t continue in the same way that we’ve been going.”
On if Avril hasn’t been playing the run well
“I’m not going to critique his play. We made him inactive today; I don’t anticipate that being an every-week thing, but Cliff’s made plays for us. He played tough against Green Bay; we had different match-ups today. Coach’s decision – my decision – as not part of our 45 active. We’re not down on him as a player. We’re not down on any of those guys as players. But we’ve got to try to put our 45 that give us the best chance to win that particular game on the field.”
On if WR Sidney Rice’s production was a surprise
“I mean, they threw the ball into one coverage; the other one we were in Cover 2 and the quarterback just launches a javelin toss and just throws it to him. They’re a talented bunch. (Bernard) Berrian and (Percy) Harvin and Sidney Rice; the tight end, the running back. They spread you thin on defense. There was nobody that was a surprise. We obviously knew those guys coming in. We didn’t do a very good job of playing them, but it wasn’t like they were a surprise.”


On if this was the roughest pounding he’s taken in quite awhile
“I don’t know, maybe. It was a tough game. They’re good up front; brought some good dogs and blitzes, got to us. Just got to play better.”
On how big the fumble was to start the second half
“It was big, but we’ve still got to come out and make plays. We have to take it one play at a time and we pick up the third down on that next drive and maybe we go down and score and it doesn’t really hurt us too bad. If we make mistakes like that, we’ve got to be able to pick each other up and try to get it going the right way.”
On if his accuracy was good until a certain point and if that was because of pressure
“I don’t know. I didn’t play as well as I probably could have.”
On if drops were difficult again today
“Yeah. You know, it’s going to happen. I’m going to miss guys, they’re going to drop some – I understand that. It’s one of those things where we’ve just got to keep working with each other. All the guys on our team have great hands and are capable of making every catch that maybe they didn’t come up with today. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in those guys. It’s not going to make me not want to throw it to them or anything. I’m throwing it to the open guy and they’re doing a good job of catching.”
On if low-to-medium passes low are because he is rushing
“I don’t know. I just threw a bad ball.”
On him never wanting to talk about bad passes and why
“It’s different every time. We could sit down and watch film together and I’ll break it down – every one of them. But it’s different. It’s not just one thing. I’ll just say I could have made a better pass.”
On how tough it was to handle the pressure he was under
“it was tough. We tried to do a good job of calling some quick passes and getting the ball out. We moved the ball well on the two-minute drive at the end of the half and just couldn’t get anything going. They were good up front and were getting back there pretty good.”
On if Vikings QB Brett Favre came over and talked to him after the game
“Yeah we just said ‘Hey’ and said, ‘Stay healthy, keep going, keep battling’ – all that kind of stuff. Just the normal QB talk.”
On if his knee is okay
On there being one sequence he avoided a sack and then was out of breath the next play and if he remembers that
“Yeah, that third down I scrambled? Chad Greenway made a great play on that. Knew I was trying to throw the slant behind him and faked like he was buzzing in the flat and stopped and I was about to rip the slant. He stopped in the middle and then I had some guy I had to try to flick it out to the flat. He made a great play.”
On if his head was spinning on that sequence because they were chasing him a little bit
On if he feels like he and WR Calvin Johnson were on the same page
“Yeah, he made some good catches today. Got dinged a little bit on that one over the middle – I didn’t get to see it, but he’s battling out there too. That guy’s a tough guy and we tried to give him the ball a little bit more today, they tried to take him away again. It’s just what they’re going to do. When you’ve got a guy that talented, teams are going to try and take him away and we’ve just got to keep working.”


On the frustration of not coming out with a win
“When we’re losing as much as we are, individual battles, it’s hard to feel good about your performance. The bottom line is the loss.”
On the offense’s troubles
“We’re not a consistent offense. We are not taking care of the details. Everybody feels good about our game plan, understands our game plan and what they’re supposed to do. There are a couple of things that we have to clean up and protect the quarterback better. Until we do those, we’re going to be inconsistent and that’s our challenge.”


On the Vikings' defense being relentless
"Yeah we didn't protect them good enough and I don't think we took advantage of our opportunities. We had great opportunities early. The defense played great - held them to field goals, created turnovers. We need to score. We can't come out and fumble. We have to keep them upright, can't get them hit. So, as an offense, it's pretty disappointing. You have to move on."
On whether they just changed up the defense a lot
"They have a great front, I think the best in football. You have three Pro Bowlers up front and I think some of the best in football. I mean they tie their shoes the same way we tie our shoes, so we knew what we were up against and we just have to go and a few plays we didn't, he got hit and we just have to get that right."
On the mentality of the team
"I don't think anyone is dropping off this ship. I think there's too much at stake. There's too much at stake. This team is too young, we're still growing; there are too many young guys - this draft class. Everybody's playing and I think there's too much at stake for anybody to jump off the boat quite yet."


On suffering another tough loss
“We definitely have to give credit to the Vikings. They’re definitely a talented team, a veteran team. They have great athletes. Definitely with a quarterback like Brett Favre you always have to watch out for the unexpected.”
On getting pressure on Vikings QB Brett Favre
“It just wasn’t me. You have to credit to the other three defensive linemen. At certain points, we were playing extremely well as a unit, but sometimes we didn’t come together as we should and the way that we know how.”
On how tough a loss this is
“It’s not only a tough loss for me, it’s a tough loss for the team and everyone. We prepared so hard for it and I believe that we should have won that game, but we just have to go back to the drawing board and start over.”
On how you bounce back for Cleveland
“We basically have to put this one behind us. We will watch film on Monday and after that we’ll start work on Cleveland.”


On whether there are one or two plays that he looks to
"All the deep plays. If it's a run or a pass, that's going to be highlighted tomorrow. If you want to win in this league you have to limit the amount of big plays. I don't care what kind of offense you're playing against, you have to make them beat you the hard way."
On whether he was trying to time the snap count on the offsides call
"Yeah, I was trying to time it. I was looking at the play clock and I guess he was going to go down to the very last second, so I was offsides."
On him looking like he realized it but wasn't able to stop his momentum
"I don't know if I crossed it, I hope I didn't, but I'm going to see it tomorrow."
On whether he can see improvement in the team
"Yeah, but we're at a point right now where we just can't get over the hump. I don't know if you want to call that improvement, we're just kind of stuck right there and we have to make the decision to go there and cross that mountain. We're still fighting and we're not going backwards, no doubt about that. You have to get over that hump."
On RB Adrian Peterson having a couple of big runs
"I mean, that happened in the first game. That's the type of running back he is. You can bottle him up and try to contain him then, boom, he can hit the home run on you. He's one of the best in the league and when you play against him all 11 have to be ready. I don't care if you're on the wide side or the short side, you have to be ready to make a tackle."


On whether he felt like they had the game in control in the first half
"I feel like there were opportunities out there. We made a couple of big plays, had a couple of balls roll our way, had a couple of things work in our favor. They came out in the second half. I think in the first play they recovered a fumble, next play they scored a touchdown. Even from there we battled, but the big plays continue to hurt us. It's hard to get the momentum in a place like this against a team like that when you give up big plays."
On the play where a Vikings' player bounced off of him and sprung outside
"Yeah, that was me, that was me. I shot through, didn't wrap up good enough. You can't do that. That's something I'm definitely going to work to improve. I feel like I let my teammates down. Fortunately I think we got a fumble on that play, but you can't always rely on stuff like that, the guy fumbling on the goal line. That's just something I'm going to take personally this week regardless of whether Ernie's (Sims) up, I'm up or whatever. I just feel like you let your teammates down on missed tackles like that."
On the toughest thing about defending the Vikings' offense
"They did a good job of mixing it up. They kept us off balance. I think we came in, obviously, with the first goal to stop Adrian Peterson, but with Brett Favre landing bombs like that it's kind of hard. He throws off the D-line, to the linebackers, to the DBs. We have to get in our zones and put pressure on him."


On the forced fumble
"The first thing I was thinking was chase, tackle, strip and that's what I did."
On whether it was easier than he thought
"Personally I've been doing that ever since little league football, Riverdale Wildcats, so it's definitely nothing new to me. I did it in High School and I did it in college a couple of times, I did it in little league football, so I learned it at a young age. I've been doing it for a long time. In that situation, when he was in front of me, that was the first thing that flashed in my head: strip the ball."
On whether it's frustrating that they can make big plays and the Vikings were still able to get big chunks
"Oh yeah, it's definitely frustrating because I know that we're a better team, things just aren't going our way. Right now we just have to keep fighting and try to make it through it. Just try to take it one game at a time, one play at a time and hopefully the ball will start bouncing our way more often."