November 10, 2020

On what stands out about Washington’s defense: “I think the thing that stands out immediately is their front four. I think you can go five deep in terms of first-round draft picks. They’ve done a great job of getting their defensive fronts to be the strength of their team. Great pass rushers on the edge, but really good pass rushers on the inside, run stuffers on the inside, (Ryan) Kerrigan is still playing at a high level. So they’re deep, and they’re really good up front.”
On why there have been more dropped passes this season: “It’s something that we’re working on obviously each and every day. But we do a lot of drills to continue to focus on that. A lot of times it does come down to concentration and focusing all the way through. We had a couple there at the end of the game that were kind of uncharacteristic – and even a couple other ones during the season. Something that we’re focusing on each and every day.”
On the game week preparation for Minnesota not knowing if QB Matthew Stafford being on the Reserve/COVID-19 List: “It just makes for a challenging week, really, in terms of there’s just so many unknowns. So we proceeded as if Matthew was going to play, but obviously had a huge contingency if he wasn’t going to play – even had two different cards that we would take out to the game depending on how the factors went. Matthew did a great job in the preparations that he had and things that were available to him. Fortunately, we have the new technology and things that we become pretty adept at using – so he’s in all the meetings, every install meeting, every practice review, all of that. But then Chase (Daniel) and Dave (Blough) did a great job as well, just in terms of their preparation, preparing to play, their practice reps and holding practice down. So I thought for the week that we had and unknowns that we had, everyone functioned pretty well and handled it in a good way.”
On what makes a head coach successful: “The easiest thing is, you know, winning. All of us, that’s what we’re all judged on, is how much we win. There are other things to me that’s going to go into that, in terms of the relationship that he has with his players, the discipline that he has, those types of things. But ultimately, we’re all judged by winning.” 
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR CORY UNDLIN CONFERENCE CALL QUOTE SHEET (VIA ZOOM)On the philosophy of end-of-half defensive schemes and why the team has had breakdowns in those situations: “Good question. The philosophy is to stop them, obviously. That situation there – whatever – anything is – obviously there’s a lot of discussion before we get out there. Is it really a two-minute drive? How many timeouts do they have? How much time is left on the clock? There’s a ton of scenarios that can come up, and we play the scenario based on what we watch on tape and their philosophy in those situations. Just because there’s two minutes left on the clock doesn’t mean it’s a two-minute situation. Not that I need to get into all that discussion – could do that for a long time here. Obviously the goal is to stop them – doesn’t matter what the situation is. Sometimes you can give up some catches and some completions and let the clock run, other times you want to get off three-and-out, but (it) depends on the situation. We just haven’t executed, so that would be that for me. I don’t know if you’re looking for more than that or not, but we don’t want to give up any points at the end of the half. Different scenarios you don’t want the ball to go over your head, you don’t want to give them another touchdown, and depending on where the drive starts, all that. (At) the end of the day, we have to be better – starting with me.”
On how to avoid putting only 10 players out on the field: “It’s embarrassing, is what it is. I would say this: It’s just poor, poor coaching is what it is. I mean, you guys know how the situation works. I get the personnel from in the box, then based on the personnel – we don’t really do anything until we know what the offense has out there. If we get confused or if our guys upstairs can’t see it, or if – I know a lot of times I can just look over there and see who’s coming in and who’s coming out. Sometimes depending on where the ball is at, I have to rely on the guys that are upstairs, and they tell me, and then I call the personnel on defense, and they go out there. Each position coach is responsible for getting his guys on the field, and that’s how it goes down. I make the call and that’s how it goes down.
“So when you have 10 guys out there that – obviously there were some miscommunication at some point on somewhere down the line and that’s it. It’s poor coaching. I met with the whole defense yesterday, and I told them exactly the same thing. We’re trying to be critical of these guys, put a lot of pressure on these guys all the time. Then when we as coaches can’t get 11 guys out there – that’s on us. So the remedy is (that) we have to do a better job. I heard some comments about Duron (Harmon) trying to stand up and say, ‘Hey man, I have to do a better job counting.’ Duron has enough stuff on his plate. He doesn’t need to be counting how many guys are on the field. Now, does it happen some times when a guy gets injured and all of a sudden you’re trying to scramble and someone is trying to get out there, that could be a scenario where you could use some help and make sure that we’re good. But that’s not on him, that’s not on him. So the remedy is not to let it happen it again. I know I said that last week. I failed you guys at that. I failed the players at that.  But ultimately, it comes back to me. But that’s how it goes down. Coaches have to get their guys out there. We have to be on the same page. We have to make sure that we communicate to him on the sideline before the series starts so everybody knows. It’s bad coaching.”
 LIONS SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR BRAYDEN COOMBS CONFERENCE CALL QUOTE SHEET (VIA ZOOM)On his evaluation of K Matt Prater: “I would say Prater is probably his own harshest critic. He’s – I guess upset with himself would be the best way to say it. But at the same time, it’s not something we’re going to dwell on. Like I said last week, you don’t get to go back and get a do-over. It’s really just kind of (like) move on and get on to the next day and onto the next week’s work and preparation, and just get back to work. I certainly don’t feel any differently about Prater than I did two weeks ago, six weeks ago, whatever. He knows that he’s got to get it fixed, and I know it’s my job to do whatever I can to help him get it fixed. So, we’ll get to work on it this week and just looking forward to him getting some more opportunities here in the near future.”
On the loss of CB Tony McRae: “That’s a tough one. I would say, first and foremost, just for me personally, on the human side, Tony’s like a nephew or a little brother to me. I’ve really kind of seen the entire progression of his career from a guy who was just fighting to get a chance to a guy who really earned his way into a big leadership role for us here and was playing really well. I think, first and foremost, my heart just hurts for him because it sucks. It’s the worst part of this game, is when that happens to guys. I’m kind of trying to encourage him right now and remind him that he’s not the first guy who’s had a significant injury and won’t be the last. He’s just got to work hard to come back from it. But for us as a team, it’s definitely a huge blow. He’s probably one of our most impactful players, one of our best leaders, one of our smartest players, for sure, in terms of just locking in game-plans and opponent study, his preparation – all those things. It’s hard to replace. We’re fortunate here that we have a really deep group, especially in the DB room. A lot of guys are going to get an opportunity to come in and contribute that I have a lot of confidence in, so I wouldn’t say I’m worried. There are guys who are ready to step up, but certainly, Tony was a proven guy, and we’ll have to turn to some guys who are less proven and just look forward to them seizing the opportunity and those guys starting to write  their stories. So, that’s kind of where we’re at with that one.”
On if K Matt Prater’s miss on Sunday was similar to the bad contact he made last week: “It’s honestly almost an identical hit. I think that’s probably the first thing he said to me when we talked about it. He hit it the same as the one last week. I’d say the frustrating thing with his misses over the last two weeks is a lot of times when guys are struggling at that position, it’s a trend or a mental issue or it’s the same reoccurring thing that’s happening in practice, warmups, games, and it’s trying to get over that hurdle. He’s honestly been kicking the ball as well as he has since I’ve been here over the last three or four weeks in practice and in pregame. So, I think that gives me a little bit of confidence that it’s not some sort of significant issue that he’s going to struggle with as much as he’s just got to really focus in the moment, be present in the moment and go execute the same way that he is throughout the course of the week.”

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