Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell spoke to the media Monday, like he does every week, and was asked a number of questions about his offensive line, injuries suffered Saturday, the play of his rookies and more.
Here are the key questions to come from that session:
Have the injuries upfront affected play-calling at all?
The Lions started their ninth different offensive line combination on Saturday with second-year lineman Joe Dahl making his first career start at left guard.
Speaking of Dahl, he was very good in the run game, and gave up one sack and a few hurries in pass protection. Not bad for a player making his first career start.
As for the play-calling, Caldwell did admit teams play to their strengths upfront, and play-calling can change due to personnel.
"I think what you have to try to do is try to make certain you know thy self and then make adjustments accordingly," he said. "There are some guys that pull better than others. So, how many times you pull a guy, that depends on how well he does the job."
Teams are always looking to play to their strengths.
How have some of Detroit's rookies been coming along?
The Lions have gotten a number of contributions from their rookie class. From the beginning of the season by players like linebacker Jarrad Davis and receiver Kenny Golladay, and then more recently from the likes of cornerback Teez Tabor and running back Tion Green.
"It's not common, I can tell you that," Caldwell said of all the contributions the Lions have received from first-year players. "There's a host of them. I think the guys that started out early in the season have gotten better and they've improved. They've played some valuable minutes for us and made valuable contributions for us as well.
"I think the guys that are playing here late in the season are getting more reps, like Teez and Tion, it's the kind of progression you'd anticipate and expect. I think they've been doing a very nice job for us."
It's a difficult learning curve for rookies in the NFL, and it's a nice sign that a number of these players have worked themselves into the lineup early on, and are making contributions for an 8-6 football team.
Specifically, how has Green been progressing?
Green has been active for a couple weeks now, and actually took over the backup spot behind starter Theo Riddick on Saturday. He played 23 snaps to Ameer Abdullah's eight.
With Riddick suffering a wrist injury and missing the second half vs. Chicago, Green's role could increase significantly depending on Riddick's prognosis moving forward.
"He keeps getting better," Caldwell said of Green, who had 35 yards on 10 carries vs. Chicago.
Green is getting a chance to feel out what kind of runner he is. Caldwell defined him as a "big back," and he needs to run like a big back, which means more north and south.
Speaking of injuries, could there be anything more serious than just the normal Wednesday practice report observations?
Caldwell was a bit vague with his response to this.
Riddick left Saturday's game with a wrist injury, which is somewhat concerning considering he had wrist surgery this offseason.
Wide receiver TJ Jones suffered a shoulder injury, and didn't return to the game. Veteran guard T.J. Lang (foot) also left the game and didn't return.
"You'll have to check the report to get a sense of it," Caldwell said. "But there may be one or two here or there."
That's obviously not good news for a Lions team that needs to win their last two games at Cincinnati and vs. Green Bay to keep their playoff hopes alive.
What does Caldwell think of the touchdown celebrations sweeping the league?
The Lions have had some good ones this year, including Sunday's kick line after the TJ Jones 3-yard touchdown.
"I think it's been positive," he said. "We haven't received any fines for anybody doing anything excessive or anything of that nature. I think from that standpoint it's been a positive."
The players really like the celebrations, and seem to be putting in some time getting them together. The fans certainly love them. It was a good move by the powers that be in the NFL to allow them. It's been good for the league.
"They've been fairly creative," Caldwell said.