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10 December 2017

Detroit Lions Postgame Quotes (12/10/17)

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
 
(On the play of Detroit’s defense)
“We got a lot of turnovers. Guys hit and ran to the ball. We got tipped balls and things of that nature which were good. A lot of great effort. Gave up a few yards along the way, but certainly that’s a team that doesn't give the ball away very often, so commend our defense for that. We hung in there.”
 
(On the play of safety Quandre Diggs)
“He moved around, made some plays. We’re happy to see him do that. It looks like he played pretty well, but until we look at the film we’re not certain.”
 
(On if he has ever seen a ruling like the first quarter incomplete pass to Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard that was eventually challenged and reversed)
“Never. Never in my, I don’t know how many years of coaching these days. You know, back in the early days we didn’t have these challenges. Never have seen anything quite like that. Pretty complex.”
 
(On the decision to challenge the call on the field on that play)
“Yeah, I just made certainly clear exactly what the consequences were, what the benefits were if we challenged it, and they spelled it out well enough for me to know that it was a play that we should challenge.”
 
(On quarterback Matthew Stafford’s performance)
“Yeah, tough guy. Tough guy who heals quickly. Really, it’s always been that way. He's a great leader and did a tremendous job out there for us under some tough circumstances, I should say.”
 
(On if the injury to Stafford seemed to impact his play)
“He threw the ball pretty well. You would probably have to ask him in detail about it. He doesn't complain much about things that still may bother him somewhat. I’m sure it wasn't easy but he did a nice job.”
 
(On tight end Eric Ebron)
“When you look at the stats, he’s been playing decently here in the last three, four weeks or so. We’ve got to keep it going.”
 
(On getting more takeaways)
“Just playing like we know how to play. We played that way early in the first quarter. It’s good that we’re starting to get back but we still have a ways to go yet.”
 
(On the decision for running back Ameer Abdullah being inactive)
“We don't go into details about everything, but obviously he’s still nursing an injury. He’s coming along. I think he’ll be ready to go here shortly.” 
 
(On if Abdullah is still the team’s number one running back)
“We don’t talk about number ones, number twos. That’s you guys’ business. We have a three-man rotation. With the three guys that we have up, all three guys play.”
 
(On the play of running back Theo Riddick)
“It looks like he did some nice things. He certainly did some nice things in the pass game and had a really nice run for a touchdown there. That was impressive.”
 
(On the third-down catch by receiver Kenny Golladay late in the fourth quarter to keep Detroit’s drive alive)
“Yeah. Crucial, crucial catch in a tough situation. The guy [Ryan Smith] was kind of hanging on his back and [Golladay is a] big man. That’s the benefit of being 6-3, 6-4 with long arms. He went up and got that. It was a crucial catch.”
 
(On the media report this morning about the structure of his contract)
“We’ve never, never ever, ever been in the practice of talking about contracts and anything of that nature, and we’re certainly not going to start today.”
 
(On what it means that the report came out today)
“I think my answer, I just gave it to you.”
 
(On how secure he feels in his job)
“There’s no – it’s coaching. That’s the way it is.”
 
(On the importance of today’s win)
“You know, it was key for us. It was key for us to obviously play a team that is hard to beat in this stadium with Jameis [Winston] back there playing. They’ve got weapons. They’ve got people that can run. Overall, it’s a talented team. If you can get one on the road in this league, it’s a good thing.”
 
(On achieving a record over .500 on the road)
“It’s one of those things that typically, it’s usually the other way around. You usually play pretty well at home, so we’ve got a chance this next week. We’ve got a home game coming up, so we’ll see if we can improve upon that.”
 
(On thriving in close games)
“It’s always been kind of a hallmark of ours. We’ve been able to battle at the end. Our guys show great resilience, and they don't get nervous in tough situations at the end of games. They find a way to win it. It might not always be pretty – we’d always been like that – but we lost quite a few this year just the opposite the side of that. Atlanta, Carolina, and a couple others that were close right there at the end. We weren’t able to finish them, so we have been uncharacteristic in the middle portion of the season. So, hopefully we can see if we can continue to do that and be a little bit better this next week.”
 
(On the importance of the first quarter touchdown and getting off to a quicker start)
“Yeah, you guys put more importance than I do. Winning is the most important thing to me. You’d like to be able at least to keep your opponent within striking range and I think our guys did it. I don't think we started great, but that’s kind of how football is in this league.”
 
(On the interceptions by Stafford)
“Yeah, I mean, Matt usually takes care of the ball pretty well. [Brent] Grimes made a great play on the one but he’s always been able to do that. I think most people can remember the one – he went up on [former Carolina wide receiver] Kelvin [Benjamin] down in the right side corner in the front of the end zone and pulled it down. He can play that hole pretty well, but a victory is what counts.”
 
QUARTERBACK MATTHEW STAFFORD
 
(On how much his injured hand affected him preparing for Sunday’s game)
“It was a process throughout the week. I don’t miss any practice reps for something that isn’t bothering me. I love to practice, I love to be out there so it was a little bit of a process. Our guys on the training staff did an unbelievable job helping me out getting this feeling as good as I possibly could. Our guys today did a great job of keeping me up right and they allowed me to come sit in there and throw the ball around and make the game feel pretty good.”
 
(On if fatigue came into play)
“No, not too bad, I felt pretty good throughout the whole game.”
 
(On Kenny Golladay’s third-down catch)
“Yeah it was great, I think he was catching with his legs or something, I don’t know. I thought he caught it the first time, the guy did a good job, it seemed like, at least making it tough on him and then he just secured it on the ground, it was a great catch, huge play in the game. Kind of an audible at the line of scrimmage of seeing a look and letting him go make a play, he did great job with it.”
 
(On importance of Eric Ebron’s improvement)
“Yeah, he had a great game today. Week in and week out, certain teams have strengths and weaknesses and try to take players away, whatever it is, we just go out there and play. Try to spread the ball around. He would’ve had a bigger day if I would’ve hit him on that one third down on the cross. There is still room for improvement on my end helping those guys out but Eric did a great job, man. When we get production out of him like that it’s a big boost for our offense.”
 
(On what happened on his two interceptions)
“Just two bad decisions. Went in the game going ‘I’m not going to let [Brent] Grimes wreck the game,’ I just got too aggressive. I bet you if I check that ball down to Theo [Riddick] we’d get a bunch of yards and we’re still moving. I just got a little bit impatient. Really the same kind of thing on the second one. We got the field goal, we’re in range, just take the three or four yards and get out of bounds and let’s kick it, let [Matt] Prater do his thing. Those were just poor decisions that pissed me off there for a little bit but for the rest of the game our guys did a great job of making plays.”
 
(On rumors about Coach Jim Caldwell’s status)
“Listen man, we go play and he goes and coaches. He understands part of the business, we understand, who knows. I’m not on social media so I don’t know all of that crap but we just go play, man. We go play, he goes and coaches, our job is to win football games, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
 
(On how big today was facing obstacles from previous week)
“It was huge. All of them are big, every time you go out there on a Sunday and play, it’s big. This one is no different. Like you said, we are playing a team in Tampa that is an explosive team, both offense and defense. We did a nice job of coming away with a win, you go on the road in this league and get a win, I don’t care what anybody’s record is, it’s a big one.”
 
(On how big the five takeaways was)
“It was huge. Really, I wish we would have the five and I’d of had none of mine and we would’ve had a really big day so, disappointing on my end to turn the ball over twice and kind of cut into how great of a day our defense had turning the ball over.”
 
(On how approach changes when Gerald McCoy exists the game)
“Maybe a little bit, he is a big-time player, we are going to go out there and trust our guys to be really good players too and go play. Maybe a double team here or there but he’s definitely an impact player for them and I hope he’s okay.”
 
(On how playing a struggling team factors into preparation)
“Yeah, you throw the tape on these guys and they’re talented, they’re extremely talented. They got guys at every level on the defense, 93 [Gerald McCoy, 54 [Lavonte David], 24 [Brent Grimes] – they got guys that can wreck the game and really make big plays and they did some today. And then our defense having to defend that offense, I mean, Jameis [Winston] is as talented as anybody in the league and they’ve got some big-time receivers and tight ends, have a good running game. This is the NFL; we know every time we show up on a Sunday it is going to be a big one.”
 
 
(On being able to make plays in last minutes of the games)
“I just think we have a lot of confidence. I think guys that have been around here have understood that’s kind of sometimes the way the game boils down and we go out there and make plays and when you have success it breeds confidence. Frankly there’s been some times this year where we haven’t been successful in those situations, some really close calls in some other games. It feels good to get back out there and have a two-minute drive, go down there and win the game.”
 
DEFENSIVE BACK QUANDRE DIGGS
 
(On if he sees things develop more from the safety position)
“I think so. You get to play around a little bit back there. You don’t want to do [anything] too crazy. You got to play what you have to play but at the same time you get to have fun, go back there a little bit, roam around a little bit and you see some things. I definitely see what GQ (Glover Quinn) was saying where you see more and you see everything happening. Like I told you guys earlier in the week, I have great mentors that’s kind of helped me with this transition and GQ being one of them. I also have Earl [Thomas] and [Eric] Weddle so you know I have great mentors and they always stay on me about certain things.”
 
(On playing safety)
“It’s fun. Got to have your pads ready when those guys come through there but at the same time I like tackling so it just comes with it.”
 
(On defense causing five turnovers)
“I think we kind of figured out what we need to do and have to do. We just got to continue to force those turnovers and just get ready to make those plays.”
 
(On both defensive teams causing multiple turnovers)
“It’s two good defenses. Those guys (Tampa Bay) have a good defense. Up front they’re good. They have two solid linebackers in Lavonte (Lavonte David) and Kwon (Kwon Alexander). Brent Grimes is always going to be one of the better corners in the league. Those guys, they have a good defense too. They can make turnovers and we just got to keep doing our part and making turnovers.”
 
(On consistently causing turnovers on defense)
“There’s no magic switch, we just make the plays when they’re given to us. We’ve had opportunities in games before, the last two or three games, to get turnovers and we didn’t make the plays. We made them today. That’s what it boils down to.”
 
TIGHT END ERIC EBRON
 
(On coming into game knowing he would be highly targeted)
“I go into every game thinking I’m going to be a factor or thinking I’m going to be a target. Today just happens to be more than any other game that I’ve had.”
 
(On ups and downs throughout the game)
“Yeah, I had a fumble and a very difficult drop on third down that could have easily put away the game, but those are the things I’ll beat myself up about and try to continue to get better at those things and move on to the next opponent.”
 
(On getting involved early)
“Getting involved early, stay involved and good things happen. That’s what they did, that’s what they allowed me to do.”
 
(On forced fumble by Lavonte David)
“He (Lavonte David) made a great play. He caught me in the middle of transition trying to move the ball from him because I knew where I had him. He just made a great play. First fumble, hopefully my last fumble ever. So I mean you live and you learn.”
 
(On offense scoring early)
“Just continuing to believe in ourselves and continuing to come out here and play. Things happen, this is a game of math. They get paid on their sideline, we get paid on ours. We just went out there and executed. Whoever executes better gets the points. That’s what we do, we just executed better.”
 
(On chemistry between him and Matthew Stafford)
“I think our chemistry has been great. We’re just clicking on all cylinders now and allowing ourselves to make plays. He believes in me and I believe in him. We start to think alike and we just go out there and make plays.
 
CORNERBACK DARIUS SLAY
 
(On his interception on the play action pass)
“I saw him rolling out and I thought there was no way he was doing a post. I was in the middle for the safety, so I just used my football IQ and nkew that he was probably going out and just jumped it.”
 
(On how hard was it to stay inbounds after the interception)
“I’m a stay-inbounds kind of guy. I’m good a toe-tapping. That’s what we practice in practice. I do it every day.”
 
(On how important it is to get his hands on the ball)
“That’s what my thing was. I felt like I could’ve been in the Pro Bowl for the past three years, but I didn’t get enough hands on the ball. Now I’m getting my hand on the ball and I’m making a lot of plays and giving the offense a lot of chances, being a game changer.”
 
(On him leading the NFC is Pro Bowl voting for cornerbacks and receiving the recognition he deserves for his play)
“I should’ve been, I feel like. It’s good they’re noticing, but I’ve been balling. I’ve been working, been grinding. I’ve been competing every play against your best and it is what it is.”
 
DEFENSIVE TACKLE AKEEM SPENCE
 
(On if he feels the team needs to win the remaining games of the season to save Head Coach Jim Caldwell’s job)
“I don’t think so, but I would like win out just so I can go to the playoffs. That would be the most important thing. I mean next game, next game. That’s our mentality. Just taking it one game at a time.”
 
(On his reaction when defensive end Ezekiel Ansah sacked Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston to end the game)
“Oh, it’s over. I was so ecstatic, so happy. First, when (kicker) Matt (Prater) made the kick. I was like, ‘Alright, we got it done.’ Now, you know, Jameis can throw the ball God knows how far, but just to see Ziggy get him on the ground, I was like – sigh of relief – got the W now let’s get out of here. I was happy. I can’t even explain it.”
 
(On winning against his former team)
“It was good. I just wanted to make more plays, but they were comboing us upfront, me and (A’Shawn Robinson), doubling us, doing everything. The plays weren’t there that I wanted to make, but the plays that I did make were the plays I was supposed to make. I did a good job being where I was supposed to be and then just defense, man. Guys were making plays all over the field – (cornerback Darius Slay), (safety Glover Quin), (defensive back) Quandre (Diggs), our whole secondary. They did a good job, man. That’s the way we have to play the rest of the year. That’s how we started at the beginning of the season, so why not finish like that.”
 
(On if it gets frustrating when the team forces five turnovers but the game isn’t decided until the final seconds)
“Yeah, but at the same time their defense played well. They were picking (quarterback) Matt (Stafford) off and causing turnovers as well. It’s football. We just want to be plus in the turnover margin, which I think we were and we got the win, which is the most important thing this time of the season.”
 
(On if it feels like the team dodged a bullet pulling out the win today)
“No, it’s the NFL. It’s hard to win. Every game, there’s no slouches in the NFL. I hope we didn’t think we were going to come in here and roll out the red carpet and they were just going to let us come out here and win. We have to fight for everything. It was hard fought, we got the W and then on to next week. Chicago, we had a tough game up there. We know they’re going to bring it, so we just got to keep fighting.”
 

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