2014 Combine

COMBINE NOTEBOOK: Getting the most out of Fairley; Ansah shoulder surgery and more

Posted Feb 21, 2014

Jim Caldwell says it's his responsibility to get the most out of defensive tackle Nick Fairley

Nick FairleyNick Fairley (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Asked about defensive tackle Nick Fairley last month at the Senior Bowl, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said Fairley needed to mature mentally and physically to reach a level of consistency where the team will benefit the most from his talented play.

Fairley has been unbelievably dominant at times during his first three seasons in the league. Other times he's been just average.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell hasn't had a chance to meet Fairley face to face just yet, but the two have talked, and Caldwell knows that maximizing Fairley's talents can go a long way to helping the Lions become a more dominant defense.

"Number one, I have had an opportunity to talk to Nick and he and I have had a real good conversation," Caldwell said. "You know, obviously, I think all of us see and know and understand, like Martin (Mayhew) stated, that this guy has an immeasurable amount of talent."

Fairley was a Pro Bowl alternate this past season after recording 35 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and scoring a touchdown.

Those numbers just scratch the surface of his potential, however. If motivated, Fairley could become a better pass rusher than teammate Ndamukong Suh. He's quick, fast and has terrific hands.

"It's my job to get it out of him and that's the key," Caldwell said. "Then I think he's capable. I also think he's willing, so we'll see how that goes."


Caldwell confirmed that offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi would call plays this fall.

Lombardi said as much at his introductory press conference, but this is the first time Caldwell has confirmed it.

"Certainly feel very, very comfortable with him," Caldwell said. "And the thing you have to understand is that head coaches always put their two cents in here and there. That's why we're here. That's the fun part about the job, right? You can't take all the fun away from us."


Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah underwent shoulder surgery, according to a report by Alex Marvez of Fox Sports.

The surgery isn't considered major and Ansah should be ready for the season.

He injured the shoulder in the Lions' loss at Philadelphia on Dec. 8, but still played the final three games of the season.