December 29, 2022
On what has been going right with the deep passing game and how sustainable it is: “Yeah, deep ball – I think a lot has to do with (Lions WR) DJ (Chark)’s back. He’s healthy. He’s making some big play for us. I mean shoot, that first third down of the game last week, third-and-10, comes down with that. That’s a hard catch, and that’s something that we highlighted about him from his time in Jacksonville that really attracted us to him, and so we saw it in training camp, and then we got derailed a little bit when he got dinged up and now, he’s back. He’s healthy, and so he adds that dynamic to us. We’ve got (Lions WR Jameson Williams) Jamo’s been able to get over the top of defense a couple of time, and we’re able to hit him once, and we haven’t hit him another time, so we feel good about our ability to throw it deep when presented with those opportunities. (Lions QB) Jared (Goff)’s done a nice job. It’s chemistry with those guys, and really, it’s trust in them that, give them a chance, they’ll come down and make a play. So, I think you’re seeing that come to life over the last couple games, and we’ll see if we can continue that trend.”On if Lions QB Jared Goff has had more consistency with the deep ball currently than he has had earlier in his career with the Rams: “It’s hard for me to compare him back to his days in LA, but I felt like he’s been capable of making any throw, second level or deep, and like I said, it really comes down to us getting past the guys. Do we like the matchup on the outside or we feel confident we’re going to get over the top of safeties? And then, like I said, the more reps we get with these wideouts, and see them come down and make a contested catch, the more trust he has to go ahead and pull that trigger. I would say he probably could have done it a little bit more last game too. There were a couple other opportunities, so we’re continuing to encourage him to do that, and really start some practice for us where we’re getting in that groove.”On if the Bears backfield is aggressive in trying to force takeaways: “You can tell that they’re being coached to get the ball out. They’re punching at the ball, whether it’s a run play or a run after catch, and then they’ve had some really good positions in terms of these interceptions where they’re playing a little bit more zone coverage, so they’ve got vision on the football, and if you’re not precise with your accuracy, then they’re able to make you pay. It certainly has helped them – they play hard. Shoot, they’re all over the place. Same thing we saw the first time we saw them still shows up. I mean Buffalo, that game was close until really late in game. They’ve had a few of those where it comes down the fourth quarter, one-score games or really comes down to the fourth quarter, teams pulling away from them, but we’re expecting a dog fight here this week. And just like every week, as long as we take care of the football on offense, we’ll have a chance. You saw that last week against Carolina. That second drive, that fumble that really took a lot of air out of us offensively, and as a team too.”On if he talks to Lions QB Jared Goff about his streak of throwing 261 passes without an interception: “No, no. Like I said earlier this year, there’s some things we highlighted for him, the pocket presence, the taking care of the football, and those are things we harp on every week, and he’s aware of it. No one wants to throw interceptions. Hopefully, we’ll go another 261 without one, so we’ll see.”On if he is worried frustration is mounting for Lions WR Jameson Williams due to his lack of touches: “I mean we try to work in all of our playmakers. He’s certainly in that group, but I think (Lions WR) DJ (Chark)’s shown that he’s going to make big play for us. (Lions WR Amon-Ra) St. Brown has been our most consistent player over the course of the season. We’d be getting a lot of criticism if we’re not giving him the touches. Our backs are really good players when the ball’s in their hands, so I mean we have a lot of talent spread out. Each week, guys have plays in the gameplan, and it’s a matter of whether the situation, the defense allows us to get it to our primary receiver or not. So, no, I don’t think we’re pressing to force the ball to anybody. We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing, and if that means he gets a 100-yard game this week, then great, but I’d like all of our skill players to have that because really, honestly, they’re dangerous like that. All of them are. It’s just hard to dictate that, especially with how the game went last week. Earlier in that second half, we had to get off our gameplan. We left a lot of our good plays on the sheet just because we’re down by multiple scores, and it really forced our hand to start chucking the ball a little bit.”On if Lions WR Jameson Williams’ route tree has grown since he started playing: “It’s growing every week. It’s growing every week and so, yeah, we know that he can run, but we’re getting a feel for – we’re introducing, we’re having (Lions QB) Jared (Goff) see the breaks, so that he can anticipate the throws. So, it takes a little bit of time. And he’s been great. He’s been great, he’s working his tail off. Every special teams period, those two are getting extra reps, so like we said a few weeks ago, it’s a race right now, to see how far we can push it over the next few weeks.”On what Lions RB Justin Jackson brings to the running back room and the offense as a whole: “Yeah, no he’s a – I’d say with all three of those backs right now that have been active for us over the last few weeks, they all play a key part. I know (Lions Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs) Duce (Staley) does a heck of a job coaching them up. A lot of trust in all three no matter what the situation is, but he brings a little bit different dynamic because he’s shifty like (Lions RB D’Andre) Swift, but he can still do some of the things that (Lions RB) Jamaal (Williams)’s really good at too. So, he’s a good blend between the two. And trust with him in pass protection, trust with him route running, he’s done some really nice things in the run game as well. So, we feel really good about his role for us right now and we’ll continue to push that along.”On the production from the tight end group this season: “Yeah, it’s one of those things, the more tight ends we get in the game will kind of dictate what personnel they’re going to be in. So, what you saw last week is we – we’re encouraging a little bit more base defense at times. Or like, believe it was his second touchdown, third touchdown maybe, we got them in the goal-line defense and got them in less DBs out there. And so, we get good matchups like that. (Lions TE) Shane (Zylstra) did a nice job executing the plays and shoot, one of them was off script and he just kept it alive and found a soft spot in their endzone and (Lions QB) Jared (Goff) was able to find him. So, have a lot of confidence in those guys that when their number’s called, when we feel good about the matchup, that they’ll come down and make a play.”On how he has seen fakes with offensive blocking from the skill players evolve throughout the League: “Yeah, it’s hard to say. It’s really more based on the opponent probably more than anything, how quickly their forced players are triggering. That’s something we gauge over the course of the week, not to get into too much detail, but some weeks it’s more effective than others. But our tight ends have done a heck of a job in the run game holding up, so that creates that illusion and helps those plays open up for us.”On if there is a moment where he has to go back to the basics when the inconsistencies in the run game start piling up: “Yeah, and I think that’s been (Lions Head) Coach (Dan Campbell)’s motto all week is we have to as a team get back to the basics and for us on offense that really speaks more for our running game. Less so schematics, more so technique, fundamentals, our core values, who we talked about in the springtime, in training camp, our identity, what we want it to look like on tape. And so, we’re placing – we always place a high emphasis on our run game, that’s where our gameplan always starts. But certainly over the last couple of weeks, I think I had the numbers for the guys on – yesterday was the last two games we’ve had as many negative runs, minus yardage runs, as we’ve had the first five games of the season. So, we’re not even getting our guys back to the line scrimmage and allowing our backs to potentially break tackles or get on the post safety and that’s where early in the year those guys were so dangerous because they were making guys miss at the second and third levels and getting these 50 yard runs. And it takes everybody, it’s not just the O-line, tight ends play a big role in it, our receivers got to continue to do some dirty work and us as coaches we’ve got to look in the mirror as well and making sure we’re putting our guys in the right positions because I can tell you right now there’s a few times over the last couple of weeks we’re not putting our guys in good spots. So, we’re addressing that and we’ll make sure that we are sound and giving them a chance.”On what it means to scheme for an athletic tackle like Lions T Penei Sewell: “Yeah, probably more so early in the season we were doing probably a little bit more of that, but his ability to move, he can run as well as anybody we have on offense, not just the linemen. Get him out in space and he’s a dangerous man, so that’s probably what (Lions C) Frank (Ragnow) is talking about more than anything is he can pull, he can get on the perimeter, we love him on our screen game because he’s a – he’s able to redirect with the quickness and block little guys that way. So, there’s certainly – every week there’s things we have in that are specifically one-way plays just to highlight what he does.” 
December 29, 2022
Opening Statement: “Obviously, not a good week for us defensively, and I’m talking about defensively overall. That’s in the run game and the pass game, but most noticeably in the run game and execution, technique, assignment, just a number of things involved in that situation, and we talked about them. We had a really good practice yesterday. We’re going to have a good practice today, and we’re going to move forward because that’s the one thing that we’ve been pretty good at is playing run defense dating back to the Giants game. So, this was very uncharacteristic of our players to have a game like this, and I don’t expect a game like this to ever happen again.”On how he can remind the defense of how well they can play to ensure they do not repeat the performance from the Panthers game: “Well, you just actually said it, you remind them of who we are and what we’ve been doing. And you know what? It happened. And this is the NFL, and things like this happen. Do you want it to happen? No. No, but we have a bunch of young guys that they have to understand – they’ve got to keep their confidence exactly where it was as far as playing really good defense, and we’ve got to continue to move in that direction, so I can easily sit here or in the meeting room and yell and rant about this one game. The thing is we have to move past it and understand exactly what we’ve been doing and go in that direction.”On if there is anything he regrets doing schematically against the Panthers: “Not at all. Not at all. Obviously, as a coach, the first thing you look at is yourself, but when you’re just playing down-safety defense, when that’s been the talk the whole week as far as stopping the run because we know exactly who they are. As a coach, we’re always going to look at ourselves, and we’re always going to be in the fight with the players. We’re never going to separate ourselves as far as, ‘Players, it’s on you, and coaches, we’re out of it.’ So, obviously, we have some issues with that as far as what we want to do, but man, the technique and execution and just assignment has got to be better.”On how much he incorporates what other teams have done successfully on defense against the Bears’ rushing offense: “You do that to a certain extent because everybody has different players too. So, sometimes on the outside world, people say that, but they don’t take everything into consideration and as a coach, as a player, you understand that. No one else understands that, but you do really do that. I think that’s a smart thing to do, see how other teams have attacked them. And you try to fit your players and your scheme to be able to do some of those things, but you can’t go so far out of what you do to try to emulate another team.”On the strain an inexperienced safety group can put on the defense: “You know what, that’s – injuries are a part of this League, and it’s the biggest equalizer in this League. And the one thing that we try to do, and you guys heard me say this before is, everybody practices, everybody’s in the meeting and everybody’s expected to step up when your time is called. So, is it a strain? Yeah, absolutely it is because those guys don’t really get all the reps that should get, and that’s just how the NFL is, so in the meeting, we’ve got to be ready. (Lions S) C.J. (Moore)’s got to be ready. (Lions S Ifeatu Melifonwu) Iffy’s got to be ready. If we call on those guys to have to get ready to play for us, they’ve got to get ready to play, but absolutely it’s a strain.”On if he has thought about moving Lions CB Will Harris back to safety due to his experience playing the position: “Once you start moving these pieces around, now it puts a strain somewhere else. So again, that’s another deal that people don’t really understand. They think it’s just, fit people all over the place, and that’s not the way it works because now you have another guy that hasn’t played, and he has to do the same thing. But that’s a good point, and those are things that we look at, but again, we don’t want to take a strain somewhere else when a guy’s been in the meetings, he’s been doing that for the most part, and Will’s been playing our nickel for the most part, so we want to try to keep him in that spot as much as we can.”On Lions CBs Jerry Jacobs and Jeff Okudah struggling to set the edge against the Panthers: “It was tough. It was tough because again those guys have been really, really stout when it comes to that, and again I will say this, we’re not going to beat those guys up over this one game that happened because you already said it, consistently those guys have been really good at doing it. So, we want to keep their confidence as much as we can to show them games before, ‘My guys, you’ve done this for the most part for the past six weeks,’ so we want to continue to move in that direction, and they will do that.”On if he sat down and had a conversation with Lions CB Jeff Okudah after his performance against the Panthers: “I sit down with all our players. I sit down with the whole defense, especially with the situation we just had. So, I have a conversation with all of them.”On if he had a conversation individually with Lions CB Jeff Okudah after the Panthers game: “I have a conversation with all those guys individually.”On what Lions CB Jeff Okudah’s focus this week will be: “Consistency for the most part. Consistency, and he’s been pretty good with that. In the game, he was struggling a little bit. The thing that we want to make sure we do is, we want to make sure we save the player, and instead of letting that game continuously go down, we want to end up putting (Lions CB) Mike (Hughes) in, because Mike deserves to play also because Mike’s been playing pretty good for us too. And I’ve said this every week, guys earn their right to play, and Mike has earned his right to play, and at that time, I thought it was a good idea for him to go in and play.”On how the Bears’ offense has evolved over the course of the season: “Well, I will say this, I remember the first time we played those guys. Man, they were on a roll as far as scoring like – they were like 30 points a game or something like that. It tailed off a little bit because again, this is the NFL, and things like that happen. The outside world doesn’t understand why, but teams start to scheme against them and start to take some of those things away. But the elements are still there. They have some injuries also that they’re dealing with at the receiver spot, but the elements of what they do and how they operate is still there. Especially, when you have that quarterback who’s able to make plays with his feet and has the arm talent to get the ball down the field. Man, we’ve got to be on our P’s and Q’s, and we cannot be undisciplined as far as our alignments, our assignments. I mean especially the technique on how we played that guy from the first time.”On the importance of the defensive tackle position in zone read defense: “That’s an important position because now, if you’re stout, if you can hold your position, like it limits the amount of space that the defensive end has got to be able to play as far as taking the gap away and being able to play the quarterback. So anytime you see that play, and you see a lot of movement, man, that’s going to be an issue because most of those guys – I mean there are not a lot of (Saints DE) Cam Jordans or what that’s playing defensive end that’s uber athletic, that’s 280 pounds that can do that. So, it all fits together. It all fits together. D-tackle, you can’t watching the D-end. Man, you’ve got to do a good job of surfing, maybe be able to take the gap away, and then being able to play on the quarterback.”On which obvious reads the defensive tackle should look out for: “They feel as far as the blocking concepts. If the guard’s going away from him, how he’s playing back into the tackle. If the guards are hitting him, how he’s hipping into the tackles, so all of those things come into it as far as playing that technique.”On which he learned from facing Bears QB Justin Fields in the first matchup this season and how much of an X-factor he is: “He is the X-factor for that team, and it shows all over the tape. The number one thing that we’ve learned is how strong this player is, and we had him wrapped up a couple times in that game. We missed a tackle on him, and listen, he’s an athletic player. He’s going to make some plays. I mean, that’s just the crux. He’s going to do that. The things that we have to do is be able to eliminate the big plays that he’s able to make, and he made a couple of plays against us. So, we have to do everything in our power to be able to stop those plays, and I’m not just talking about him running. I’m talking about him passing the ball also.”On what Bears TE Cole Kmet did that was effective in the first matchup: “Well, we had a bust in the backend on one of them, so that was just us. That had nothing to do with him, and then the other play that he had, he just beat (Lions S) Kerby (Joseph) one-on-one. He beat our rookie.”On the respect he has for Lions DL Michael Brockers and his leadership despite being on the bench: “Just Brock in general, how is he – listen, when it comes to that defensive line room and all of those guys will tell you this, that he is the ultimate, ultimate leader. He’s very unselfish, he’s a team guy, he’s the first guy that’s up on scout team to give the guys a look, and I’ll talk to guys how important it is for scout teams of giving looks, and he understands that. And I think he shows that on the field to let the young guys know how important it is. So, his words of encouragement, his leadership as far as being there, done that and understand it, we don’t have too many guys like that, and he’s the one guy that’s been there. He’s won a lot of games in his career, has played that position for a long time, so for him to be able to talk to (Lions DL Josh) Paschal, for him to be able to talk to (Lions DL Isaiah) Buggs, (Lions DL Alim McNeill) Mac, all those guys, I mean it’s important to have that guy in the room for us.” 
December 29, 2022
On creating more opportunities for Lions WR Kalif Raymond to return punts: “Yeah, I mean I think there’s probably a number of factors in it. Number one, how many times is the opponent punting? That number’s not super high for us. That’s a lower number, so that would give us more opportunities. Then, the next part of it’s where are they punting on the field? I mean, if they’re punting around midfield it’s hard to get a return. It doesn’t really matter who you have back there. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking away the fake and you’ve also got to try to make sure the ball’s punted first and then set the return. So, a lot of it’s the situation, but no I think he’s done a great job of keeping the ball off the ground and making the most of the opportunities he can get. Obviously, we know he’s explosive. We try to get him the ball as much as we can, but there’s only so much he can do.”On why the NFL uses return qualifiers to calculate return average rankings: “Did you say I am a stats guy? Or – it’s funny because I would say like I’m totally against all that stuff, but I’m also really into all that stuff. Talking out of both sides of my mouth. Yeah, I would say – yeah, I guess it is weird. I mean, it is and it’s not because you could look at it the other way and say there’s like some guy out there who has one return for 30 yards and he’d be one of the top guys. And it’s like, ‘Well, it’s not really the same.’ So, yeah, I get the question. Yeah, I didn’t know that (Lions WR Kalif Raymond) he wasn’t counted in (kickoff return average) as of right now. But yeah, I guess they’ve got to cut it off somewhere. I can’t help you more on that, sorry.”On what he is most proud of from this season as whole from the special teams unit: “Yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t know, there’s – I don’t know. There’s a lot to the question. There’s things that I like. There’s things I don’t like. But I think for the most part we play it fairly consistently throughout the course of the season, really for throughout the course of two years. I think that’s important, but yeah I don’t know. There’s a million different things to look at. It’s good, somebody handed me some other sheet. I can expect the points thing that was done by somebody and we were high on that. But yeah, I have my own opinions on all that. I’m going to keep them to myself for now. When we build the website we’ll fix the punt return count and we’ll do the – we’ll make sure only the pertinent ones are out there.”On what Lions Special Assistant Football Operations Don Muhlbach provides to the team in his role: “Yeah, he helps us out. He obviously has helped (Lions LS Scott) Daly out some. He’s been good for that and then on gameday he sits up in the box and he makes sure we have 11 guys out there on the field. So, he kind of helps us with the count, some stuff like that. And then, during the week in practice he’s kind of helping out with some of the look teams, and the scout looks and the cards. So, obviously he does some of that. But (Lions Assistant Special Teams) Jett Modkins really does the bulk of all that stuff. So, Muhl’s kind of in a role where he’s helping out with the front office stuff, but he a little bit of stuff for us too.”