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03 December 2014

Week 14 Conference Call Transcripts: at Detroit (12/7/14)

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
 
(On how the season has gone for him in his first year in Detroit)
“Just in terms of how things have gone, obviously we’re an 8-4 football team and nobody is satisfied with that. We’ve got to keep improving and this is the time of year where – November and December – are months where you’ve got to get in position where you have to win and you have to win consistently and it’s gets equally tough because of the nature of this league. It’s just that every single team has players – they’re good, they’re talented and you better certainly be operating on all cylinders extremely well in order to get yourself into position and to get a win.”
 
(On if talks to the team about last season)
“I know nothing about that, I wasn’t here. For me to comment on it, talk about it or evaluate it, I should say that I am not in a position to do so nor is it a concern of mine. That’s last year.”
 
(On Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson)
He’s a consummate professional, works extremely hard at his craft, is the humblest individual that I know in terms of a guy that has done so much in this league, but yet at any point in time has not thrown his wait around. He does everything that you ask him to do and in most cases you have to protect him from himself because he would work himself to death, but he’s everything that you look for in professional athlete.”
 
(On Detroit wide receiver Golden Tate)
“He’s played extremely well for us. In particular, he just came up huge when Calvin was out for that stretch and to be able to carry the load like he was able to do, to be highly productive in a difficult stretch, it goes without saying that he’s a pretty special guy. Looking at him, this was one of the things that most of the local media has heard me say this before around here, but I probably knew as much about him as I did any receiver because Bill Polian’s son was working for Notre Dame – at the time Brian [Polian] – and Bill would go up there often times, not only in support of his son, but he just so happened to see several games and every time he would come back, he would talk about Golden Tate and what kind of player he was. We all know that Bill is a very astute judge of talent and maybe one of the best ever and he would come back just be raving about this young guy. I had that somewhat stuck in my head a little bit and then when you go back and watch the film and see what he was able to do in his pro career, although he didn’t get the ball as much as he’s getting it now. There’s no question about it, he’s a quality player.”
 
(On his relationship Tampa Bay Head Coach Lovie Smith and if Smith can improve the Buccaneers)
“I think that goes without saying, he’s really a fine, fine football coach and one of the best. He does a tremendous job of getting his team ready. It’s not one of those things that you have to look very far to see what he was able to do. Just take a look in Chicago and how well they played under him and how much the players responded to his direction. He’s tremendous and a great football mind and then he has a staff there too. Leslie Frazier who I worked with in Indianapolis … Kevin O’Dea we worked together there in Tampa early on and it’s a whole bunch of guys that know how to coach football and do a tremendous job.”
 
(On if on film Tampa Bay looks like a 2-10 team)
“It happens every week because what we try and do number one: we throw the record out, we don’t even talk about it. We talk about the players that are on the field, we talk about their abilities and there’s no question about it, there’s a lot of players that play extremely well obviously on Tampa’s team – offensively, defensively and kicking game. They’ve been so close, I think they’ve lost six games by a touchdown or less and they’re right in the middle of it. These guys are a talented bunch. You don’t get any finer defensive lineman then the big fella who destroys people and disruptive in [Gerald] McCoy, he’s all over the place. [Michael] Johnson, I saw up close and personal when we were at Baltimore and we would play him in the same division. [Jacquies] Smith is a fine pass rusher, [Clinton] McDonald is a big physical guy and they rotate enough guys to give you enough problems. The linebacking core, [Lavonte] David is having a Pro Bowl year, how do you get any better than that guy? He’s leading the team in tackles. He runs, he plays and the whole core is a good core. The secondary led by [Johnthan] Banks on the corner, he’s a talented guy and a talented safety [Dashon Goldson] – so across the board you can go back and do the exact same thing from an offensive standpoint. You look at them on offense and [Vincent] Jackson and [Mike] Evans do a tremendous job on the flanks, they’re hard to handle, they’re physical guys, they can jump and catch, can run, they love to play the position, they have passion for it. You have fine offensive lineman and a running back in [Doug] Martin who has vision and power. I know Bobby Rainey well because we had him at Baltimore as well and I know he’s got talent. Josh [McCown] has played well over the years and proved that he can win a bunch of games in this league. All across the board, this is a heck of a football team.”
 
(On how his previous head coaching experience in Indianapolis has helped him in Detroit)
“Systemically we’ve probably done a great majority of things in terms of how we practice, the mannerisms in which we go about our week and how all those things are the same things we did in Indy for the most part. You make small tweaks here and there because it is a different place, it has a little different ethos, you’re dealing with different athletes. There’s not a cookie-cutter sort of operation, but that experience in particular, we were fortunate enough to win a number of games year after year and we had very, very fine talent and that kind of thing and I think we have fine talent here as well. There are a lot of things that were transferable and so we’ve used those and then we’ve adjusted some things. There are a couple of things I saw in Baltimore that I thought would fit and we adjusted a little bit that John Harbaugh had done and just the way he organized a couple of things. We’ve adjusted a little bit and then there are some guys on the staff that also had some insight and ideas, but that experience for me was invaluable as well as my experience when I was a head coach in college at Wake Forrest. All of those things come into play I think when you’re trying to put together an operation that wins.”
 
(On what he wants people to know about Tony Dungy)
“I think number one – and I think it’s probably what they base everything on – is performance and when you look at what he was able to accomplish in the amount of time that he was a head coach in the league, then I think it’s worthy of a Hall of Fame induction. He won quickly, he won often, he turned around a franchise there that had not won consistently and then he took his operation and went to Indianapolis and was able to duplicate that with win after win after win. I think we were seven years in a row where we had 12-plus wins and then won a Super Bowl as well. I just think that when you look at the facts about what he was able to accomplish – and let’s not even talk about the other part of it, the fact that he’s really transcended the position of coaching. He’s an author, a father, a great role model, public speaker and he’s just done so many things that have enhanced the game of football that we certainly love.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER CALVIN JOHNSON
 
(On how he feels injury-wise)
“I’m feeling pretty good right now, definitely compared to weeks past, I can definitely say that. That time off after last Thursday’s game definitely did some benefit.”
 
(On if he gets frustrated with a lack of attention compared to other receivers)
“No, not really. I’ve got a job to do. I’ve been doing it ever since and I just let everything fall as it may.”
 
(On if he voices his opinion on the sideline if he does not think he has enough catches in a game)
“It all depends. If I haven’t gotten a look, that’s a different story. There are times where – didn’t throw great and then there’s times where you get the ball thrown great and you just can’t complete everything, based on timing – I’m not going to go try to bash or yell at anybody on the sideline.”
 
(On the improved Tampa Bay defense)
“Very similar to Lovie Smith’s Chicago defense of old. They’re going to make you march down the field – a little bit here, a little bit there. You try not to mess it up; as long as you don’t turn the ball over, get penalties, you’re good. But that’s the thing about that defense: they make you work for it.”
 
(On what helped him become the fastest receiver in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards)
“So many variables. From great coaching to great play – not just by myself, but my teammates around me. [I’m] one of 11 – if everybody doesn’t do their job or at least do it to the best of their ability, a lot of that wouldn’t be possible. So a lot of that goes out to my teammates.”
 
(On the team running an up-tempo no-huddle offense last week against Chicago)
“I think it kept us flowing – we were pretty anxious on getting back to the huddle, breaking, getting to the line of scrimmage. It’s simple as that – just trying to speed up our operation. I think it helps out. It helps [Matthew Stafford], it helps out the whole offense.”
 
(On how important their remaining games are to stay in the playoff hunt)
“Very important, but our big thing, we’re going to start right here with what we have against the Bucs this week, so we’re all focused on that one. [We will] keep doing that each week.”
 
(On Tampa Bay cornerback Johnthan Banks)
“Good corner, man. Rangy – he definitely has super long arms when he puts his hands on you. That’s one thing. He has some picks this year, so he’s played the ball well. He’s a second-year guy – he’s getting better.”
 
(On why the offense has struggled to score)
“Whether we kill ourselves with penalties or a turnover every now and then, those things derails drives – holding penalty or whoever gets a penalty in the middle of the drive when you just crossed over the 50 [yard-line] and then you get that 10-yard penalty that throws you back and then you’ve got extra yards to gain and you’re in a bad situation, then you try to make up those yards on the next play, but you can’t put yourself in that situation. You understand that you need to keep yourself in manageable down-and-distance.”
 
(On Detroit wide receiver Golden Tate)
“He’s been great, especially after the catch and making a play. He’s very explosive and gets up the field. If he just keeps on doing that, it’s going to help us out a ton down the road.”
 
(On Detroit Head Coach Jim Caldwell)
“He finds a way to get guys to play for him. He keeps it real with everybody, he talks to everybody on this team, he let us know what his standards are from the jump and therefor there’s no need for all of the yelling and cursing because guys are held to a high standard and he keeps that high standard throughout the season and he just raises the bar. He keeps guys working hard trying to do their best.”
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