LIONS INSIDER

KEY QUESTIONS: What's the update on Stafford's injury?

Posted Dec 4, 2017

Tim Twentyman covers all the key questions from Jim Caldwell's Monday press conference.

Head coach Jim Caldwell addressed the media Monday following Detroit’s 44-20 loss in Baltimore Sunday afternoon.

Here are the key questions from the media session.

Is there any update on quarterback Matthew Stafford’s health status?

Stafford was forced from the game in the fourth quarter after having his hand stepped on. He said after the game he felt some shooting nerve pain when it happened, but the X-rays were negative.

The X-rays were still negative Monday. Caldwell said Stafford was sore. We'll have to wait and see if the injury affects his throwing at all, but it is good news heading into the last quarter of the season that the injury isn't more serious. This is a final quarter where the Lions will likely have to go 4-0 to keep their shot at a playoff berth alive.

Is there any more clarification on what went wrong when the Lions had only nine defenders on the field during a critical third down in fourth quarter?

No more clarification than Caldwell gave after the game other than confirming it was his fault.

“I don’t need to take you through it,” Caldwell said. “It didn’t take the film to find out what was happening. Completely my fault. Got to get it straightened out. Not acceptable. Horrendous, actually. I have to get that straightened out. I have to be better.”

Caldwell said there are mechanisms in place for players to call timeout in those situations, if they realize the personnel is wrong, but Caldwell said it was his issue, not a player’s issue.

Is a shakeup to the game plan, coaching duties or how they handle certain mechanisms is in order after the bad starts of late?

"We’re always tinkering with things,” Caldwell said. “But also, the season isn’t over yet. You guys are talking like all is lost. That’s the great thing about our game. It’s challenging. It’s going to be tough. It’s not going to be an easy road.”

Caldwell admitted that both his staff and the players have a lot of work to do this last month to turn this thing around and make a run.

What does Caldwell say to Lions fans who say the program isn’t heading in the right direction at this point?

Caldwell has made the playoffs in two of his previous three seasons, and there’s still a lot of football to played this season, but 6-6 is certainly not where this team and these fans expected to be after 13 weeks.

“I really talk to my guys,” Caldwell said. “My guys that play the game. There’s going to be varied opinions outside of this building. There are going to be some that think you’re doing great. There are going to be some that think you’re doing poorly. You’re not going to please everybody."

The only thing that changes opinions is winning. Caldwell knows that. This team has to start practicing better and playing better on Sunday to change some negative opinions.

“Let’s see where we are at the end,” Caldwell cautioned.

How is the lack of a pass rush hampering the defense?

The Lions recorded just two quarterback hits and no sacks in Baltimore Sunday. Overall, they got just seven pressures on quarterback Joe Flacco, per Pro Football Focus stats.

“You always want to get pressure,” Caldwell said.

He admitted that they’ve had to try and get pressure some different ways (blitzing) rather than just relying on the front four. When that’s the case, it puts pressure on the rest of the defense.

“You can see we’ve been trying to make some adjustments to try and get those things fixed,” Caldwell said. "And we’ll continue to do so. But getting pressure on the quarterback to get off the field on third down and close games out is extremely important.”

What about the offensive line play and the injuries and inconsistencies it’s suffering through?

The Lions started their seventh different offensive line combination Sunday in Baltimore, and had to scramble on the fly when right tackle Rick Wagner and right guard T.J. Lang left with injuries.

But Caldwell will never make excuses for injuries, and wasn’t about to do so Monday, either.

“I don’t care what kind of alignment we have to have or who is there or how many times it’s adjusted,” he said. “The name of the game is winning. Nobody is talking about or worried about how many guys we have injured or didn’t start ... our job is to win games.”

Still, the injuries and inconsistent performance from a number of players upfront is having an effect on how well this offense can play.

What kind of mood were the players in Monday?

“I haven’t met with them (team meeting is Monday afternoon), but I don’t anticipate it’s going to be very good,” Caldwell said. “And it shouldn’t be."