Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
December 15, 2016
Q: Did you know that Janoris Jenkins was this good when you guys brought him in?
A: Well, I had a sense that he was. The best insight that we had and I believe this in this league Ė when you have coaches, personnel people, somebody that can give you insight on a player that has worked with that player and Tim Walton, who is one of our secondary coaches here, was in St. Louis with Janoris, so we had a wealth of information. Tim was convicted about Jackrabbit and he convicted us and away we went.
Q: He even said he has never played at this level, so are you a bit surprised?
A: I always thought he was pretty good. We like aggressive corners that press and fit what we do and thank God that it has worked out pretty good.
Q: When you graded Sundayís game, was that the most complete defensive performance you have had all season?
A: You know, it is funny, Kim. Here is what happens to me Ė the play that I remember is the 31-yard touchdown, that is just my nature. So when you ask me that question, I think more of the mistakes we made. I will say this, when I got in front of the guys on Tuesday, I did say this because I meant it, there was a lot of well executed defense on certain downs. I felt like there were things that were happening in the game that we had done in practice and it went from practice to the game and that is encouraging. It wasnít every play. We werenít perfect. There were things that we can clean up and we will, but there was some really good execution.
Q: What happened on that touchdown play?
A: It was just Ė we had a couple people who lost their eyes a little bit. It was more than one person, but it becomes an eye discipline thing and we talked about that there and it could have been prevented.
Q: What did you see from Romeo Okwara?
A: He did a nice job. Look, the guy came up, the guys had confidence in him, we had confidence in him and he played confident himself, which you just never know when you get thrown in that situation and the guys like Snacks and OV, they were over there encouraging him the whole game. JPP was outstanding. He was over there encouraging him and I think that helped.
Q: Do you think Matthew Stafford is going to be fine?
A: Yeah, and I am planning on seeing the guy that we have seen on tape. He is a good football player.
Q: After that game, how do you avoid a letdown in the next game?
A: Our goal now is to make sure that that game defensively is not our best game this year, so that has kind of been our focus, ĎLetís not let that be the best game.í And that is just all about getting better, so each day we try to get better.
Q: We donít know what Keenan Robinsonís status is going to be on Sunday, but how important has he been for you guys this year?
A: Yeah, he has been important in all those sub packages. He has kind of pieced it and glued it together. But look, if he canít go or something happens, then we just roll with Kelvin or roll with BJ or roll with somebody else going back in there or get a different personnel grouping in, but hopefully we get him back.
Q: Is your confidence in bringing pressure greater than it has ever been because of how well your secondary is playing?
A: There is a lot to that. I think those guys on the back end have done a nice job. But I have never had a problem bringing pressure and relying on guys. To me, when you bring pressure, then you rely on the pressure to do part of the covering, assuming that you have structured the thing right and the guys execute it properly, usually it works out pretty good. But, having said that, those guys back there making plays is encouraging. Janoris made a lot of big plays, but there are a lot of snaps over there where Eli is taking a guy out of the play. Now it doesnít get recognized because they donít throw it over there, but I thought he had a lot of good, productive snaps, too.
Q: You said the last couple weeks that you have to pick your poison. This is another one of those teams.
A: Yeah, another one of those. What is it about these teams that we are playing? Well, the quarterback is the catalyst, he makes it all go. I havenít faced Stafford in a while, but I see a mature quarterback that can do anything and everything all these other great quarterbacks can do. He is managing the game, not managing, that is not a good word. He is controlling everything. He gets them in and out of good plays and bad plays and it is pretty impressive. We know how talented he is. He is a headache with his feet. When he runs the football, he runs like a fullback, so you have to be ready to take on a pretty big, thick quarterback, but I think he has been outstanding.
Q: Are they different? They donít have Calvin Johnson, but they almost seem a little bit more effective.
A: You know, I remember when we played Chicago back a few weeks ago and Cutler didnít have Jeffery, he wasnít going to play. I remember somebody saying to me that had some insight into Chicago was that they thought it would make Jay Cutler a better quarterback because now he wouldnít look for one guy, he would spread it around. I think that is what is happening in Detroit. They have a lot of guys catching the football. They have backs, they have receivers, they have big tight ends. It is a good unit now. It is a really good unit. It is going to be another test for us. If we let down at all, then it is going to be a problem.
Q: Why do you think you guys have been so successful with the blitz this season?
A: Talented guys, good assistant coaches that are getting to those guys and hopefully we are putting things together. We have always believed in attacking protections and if we can get lucky on a few of them and get a couple quarterback hits, especially early Ė I think it can help you as the game goes on and then I think it opens up things when you just bring four people.
Q: Will you really be watching his hand closely?
A: I will have some of the guys upstairs looking. If he is functioning differently, then maybe we will change things. But I am going to assume right now going in there that he can throw it every bit as good as we have seen him.