Head Coach Ben McAdoo
December 14, 2016
NFC North-leading Lions coming to town. They're a well-coached team, very resilient. A lot of wins at the end of ballgames. Offensively, Stafford does a nice job dealing the football to all their play makers. He's highly skilled on the perimeter with Golden Tate, Jones, Boldin, and Ebron is playing well. Riddick has a complete skillset at the running back position, has a lot of targets out of the backfield. Their offensive line is gelling with the addition of Decker and Glasgow. Defensively, they're playing well as of late. Last seven ballgames, they've given up about 16 points and have caused 10 turnovers. They have a high-motor operation upfront, led by Ansah, Ngata and Hyder, he's playing well for them. Levy is getting healthy and he's back in the groove as linebacker, and Whitehead is playing at a high level. Slay is coming into his own and Quin really holds it all together back there, he's a communicator. Special teams, they have a dangerous returner in Roberts and a strong kicker/punter combination in Prater and Martin.
Q: What makes them so good in the 4th quarter and late in the games?
A: I remember them always really being that way from my time in Green Bay. Stafford's a guy that can get a play on you and if you play soft coverage, at the end of ball games, he can get some numbers and get the team really moving at the end. They seem to be buying into everything. They're a talented team. They're built to rush the passer upfront on defense and they have solid return teams. That helps them get a quick score if they need one.
Q: How do you approach and look at Stafford's hand being the way it is?
A: Again, we all have to play in the same weather out there. From what I hear, he's a little bit dinged with his finger but we all have to handle the elements on Sunday.
Q: Defensively, they've had five or six interceptions in the last couple of weeks in the 4th quarter...[inaudible].
A: They do a nice job with their two shell coverage. They do a good job making everything look the same with the way they disguise. They'll bring a little bit of pressure there. They're not a big pressure team but they'll try to lull you asleep, make everything look the same and they'll hit it from depth. But they have good ball skills.
Q: Spags spent a little bit of time with Jim Caldwell in Baltimore. Does that give you guys a little bit of an advantage?
A: Their scheme, as long as they've been there, really tailors to the players that they have on offense now. I think the scheme has really changed. It's a combination of what they do in New Orleans, a combination of what they've done in Baltimore and a combination of the old Indy schemes.
Q: On the rush game.
A: It greases your opportunities for attempts at the plate. It moves the chains a little bit more. You don't have to rely as heavily on third down when you complete the ball on first and second and get a lot of rush attempts. It gives you a good opportunity, dating back to my time in Green Bay, to win the ball game.
Q: You mentioned one of the reasons you like rushing a lot is because that makes the Dallas defense have to play a full game. Didn't that not have more to do with your defense playing well and giving you drives than...?
A: It was a combination of three things: our defense playing well, our coverage teams playing well, defense getting off the field, our offense sticking to the rush game and the elements factor.
Q: Did Keenan Robinson get hurt on Sunday?
A: Keenan is working through his shoulder right now.
Q: Is this something he's had in the past, a shoulder injury? Is it the same thing? Connected to that?
A: It's chronic.
Q: Does it surprise you how well the defense is playing?
A: Defense had a good night on Sunday night and we look forward for the opportunity to prepare this week and play a quality team.
Q: Odell had a couple of drops in the game, a couple big plays. Do you look at them and examine what he did wrong or is that overanalyzing?
A: The biggest thing from a drop is you have to be able to rebound from the drop, learn from it, rebound and he did that on Sunday.
Q: Was there a reason for the drops?
A: You’ve got to look into the tuck, fundamentals.
Q Is his thumb bothering him at all or contributing to that?
A: That's a better question for Odell.
Q: On the TV broadcast, Cris Collinsworth said you said the offense has to earn the no-huddle…
A: Earn the no huddle?
Q: Running a no-huddle offense, I think that's what he said.
A: I'm not sure. We have to sit down and talk to Cris.
Q: Brad Wing was given NFC special teams player of the week honors. How does it make you feel to see your special teams unit getting recognized?
A: I think the field position was big in the second half of the ball game. Ball on the 45-yard line for the offense for the starting field position and Dallas on the minus-15. Was big in the ball game. Obviously that last punt factored heavily into it. He downed the ball five times inside the 20 and two inside the five, that's big in the game, especially in the elements.
Q: What would say about him now that he's in his second season with the team?
A: He's a weapon.
Q: Cruz had one catch for four yards. Did that surprise you, the way the game went for him, or was that expected?
A: It was tough to complete the ball all night. That was a product of the environment and Dallas had a good plan, played good defense and we didn't execute at a high level in the pass game.
Q: I saw a number that Eli got rid of the ball on average in 2.25 seconds the other day. Is there a point where you view it as too quick? Is that possible?
A: You play each game as it unfolds.
A: We need to get better separation in the pass game. We need to protect better and we need to make great decisions in the pass game and we need to throw it better.
Q: Eli said several times yesterday that he needs to play better. When you hear your quarterback say that, what's your reaction?
A: I look in the mirror first. I need to call it better and everyone needs to step up their game a little bit.
Q: You used six offensive linemen on a few occasions. Is that something you may use more often?
Q: Do you think that's a package best reserved for specific situations, would you run that every down?
A: You have to be careful what you do every down when you limit yourself as far as the number of receivers you can get out, but maybe you’ve got to get a tackle out, too.
Q: Will Pugh be back this week?
A: He was limited today.
Q: In lieu of what happened with Philadelphia losing a couple longsnappers this weekend and with your injury report with Zak DeOssie, what’s your depth chart at snapper?
A: We have some guys that we trust and we had a couple of reps in practice last week where we used some different players in that position and we're confident in our backups.
Q: After Mark Herzlich and Zak DeOssie, who's the third choice?
A: Weston (Richburg) did a nice job in practice last week.
Q: Chis Christie offered a critique of your haircut, any response to that?
A: Again, Matt Stafford does a nice job and he's someone that we really need to pay attention to, especially late in the ball game. He could get hot on us.
Q: Is Stafford your stylist?
A: They’re playing well on defense. They can get after the quarterback.
Q: With that injury to Stafford, isn’t that a big deal for a quarterback?
A: Yeah, especially the middle finger and index finger, it's tough to spin it that way. The elements can factor, but he's a pro and he's had to play through some hand problems before and he's a tough guy.
Q: Compared to the Lions teams you faced when you were in Green Bay, isn’t it almost addition by subtraction? With no Calvin Johnson, they seem to be spreading the ball around more now.
A: They're similar in a lot of ways. They do spread the ball out a little more than they have. They didn't force feed Calvin when he was there, they gave him so opportunities down the field on some shot plays and some back shoulders. But defensively, they're very similar in the way they deploy their front four, their coverages are little bit different. They are not as corners based as they used to be, but they are similar.
Q: More on the Detroit offense without Calvin Johnson
A: He's one of the best to play to the game. But they have filled in nicely, Marvin Jones has been a great addition for them, Golden Tate's a tough guy and Boldin is tough inside, too. They have plenty of guys to throw the ball to.
Q: What does Darius Slay do to give receivers a hard time?
A: He's really come into his own. I've been impressed with his play, he's very physical, he's competitive and he stays after it. He’s good with his hands.