Head Coach Brian Daboll
November 16, 2022
Q: The Lions are a very strange team statistically. What do you see in their offense that’s making it so effective with (Lions quarterback Jared) Goff in particular?
A: They create explosive plays. Goff plays at a high level; he’s a very accurate passer downfield, intermediate, off the play action. And then their two runners have taken it to the distance a few times. They’re both a little bit different but both very good. They’ve scored 30 points four times. In six of their losses, four of them have been four points or less. The other one against the Cowboys it was 10-6 with 3:20 left. Explosive team. Good football team. We’re going to need a good week of practice.
Q: How are (tackle Evan) Neal and (tight end Daniel) Bellinger doing?
A: Belly will still be out today, and Neal will start working.
Q: Where is (guard) Shane Lemieux at?
A: He’ll be practicing. We’ll see how it goes this week, but I think he’s improved from where he was last week. So, we’ll take it one day at a time here. I’m hopeful.
Q: How do you view that left guard position when Shane is back and (guard Ben) Bredeson is back? How has (offensive lineman) Josh (Ezeudu) played? I guess we can start there.
A: Josh is doing a good job. I have confidence in all those guys that play inside there. Like we always do each week, we’ll go all the way up till Friday after practice, we’ll see how it goes for the week and then make our decisions.
Q: When a team has scored at the rate that Detroit has – obviously, you mentioned at least 30 in four games – how do you view that? There’s statistically, but then there’s also the reality of what you see on film. Is there an emphasis that, ‘You know what, we know we got to score to keep up with them?’ Or do you find ways defensively to try to hold them down?
A: Every game is different. Look, they create explosive plays. The other thing they’re really good at is down in the red zone, finishing drives. It’s a team effort every week of how you need to play a game. But they’re an explosive team – no question about it. It kind of all works together with special teams, offense, defense. We’re going to have to do a good job of trying to slow them down and make sure we’re tackling and not giving up 50-yard runs that they break through, taking care of the deep part of the field and things like that on defense. Offensively, do our job in terms of executing and trying to go down and score points and then create field position in the kicking game – another good team. (Detroit head coach) Dan (Campbell) has run a variety of fakes since he’s been there: onside kicks, surprise onside kicks, fake punts. (Detroit special teams coordinator Dave) Fipp does a good job on special teams. We’re going to have to play well.
Q: (Detroit defensive lineman) Aidan Hutchinson is leading the team in sacks and (quarterback) hits. What do you see in him?
A: A good player; that’s why he was selected high. He made a great play against Chicago, too, which led to an interception off of a screen pass to a tight end. He recognized it, and he kind of dropped back, made (Chicago quarterback Justin) Fields throw it over the top, (Detroit cornerback Jeff) Okudah picks it off (and) runs it back. Instinctive, can play a wide variety of spots. Can play inside some, does a good job on his field goal rush with his movement. A good football player.
Q: If you watched Monday night’s game, it seemed (the) Washington (Commanders) was able to take some of the explosiveness out of Philly (the Philadelphia Eagles) by controlling the ball. Is that an option for you?
A: Washington and Philly?
Q: I mean in the sense of you control the ball and you take away some of the explosiveness from the Lions.
A: Yeah, I think there is a way to play every game. That’s what we work towards during the week. Whether that’s control the ball, score points. There’s a lot of things that go into it based on how they play, too. That’s what we’re trying to work through here.
Q: Do you know Dan Campbell at all from your travels?
A; Yeah. As a matter of fact, when I was a coordinator for Tony Sparano – Tony said, ‘Hey, I got this guy that I think would be good. Why don’t we interview him? You take care of the interview.’ So, I interviewed Dan, and it was a great interview. He’s slamming chairs on the ground and hitting walls and going through all these drills. You guys know him; he’s a fantastic person, great family. It was an entertaining interview. (He) knew a lot. Obviously, he was very passionate, tough as nails you could tell. He was out of breath in half that interview with the stuff he was doing. Yeah, great guy.
Q: What do you think of the job he’s doing?
A: He’s a tough guy, very smart. That’s the way his team plays.
Q: There was a play the other day where, I think it was in the fourth quarter, when (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) kind of slid but kind of went body first and ended up taking a hit by it.
A: Yeah, he got the first down.
Q: Do you have a coaching point to that? Are you alright with him going down like that? Do you want him to slide? Do you want him to be careful about taking the hits there?
A: I think the situations are all different based on where we’re at and what he needed. I trust he’s going to take care of himself, but then there’s an element of competitiveness and making sure we get the first down, too. That was a big play for us that he did. He’s done a good job with that. He’s out there with the ball in his hands; you got to react in a split second. You can coach it all you want, but competitive players, athletic quarterbacks – they have to learn how to do that. I think Daniel’s done a good job of it and I’m glad he got the first down there.
Q: On a bigger picture with him, how important is it for his evaluation – he hasn’t done it yet in his career – to stay healthy and last through all 17 games?
A: I’m not worried about that. I’m just focused on getting ready to play the Lions and helping him be the best he can be.
Q: Does the procedure (that) he (Daniel Jones) had in the offseason make a play like that any more concerning when you see it?
Q: When he’s playing as well as he is, is there a temptation to open things up? Obviously, you guys have been a run-heavy team this season. He had a 153 passer rating the other day. He was almost perfect in a lot of ways. Is there a temptation to give him more?
A: (That was) asked after the game or the next day about conservative (play). We just try to do what we think we need to do for that week. Whatever that is, that’s what we’re going to try to do.
Q: Do you think he could win a shootout if he had to?
A: Whatever we need to do, that’s what we’re charged with. Every game’s different. Every situation in games that come up are different. We just try to call it and game plan the way we think we need to.
Q: And as an offensive coach, do you like shootouts?
A: I like winning. So, whether it’s 3-2 or 45-48, our job is to try to find a way to win. However that is, that’s what I like.
Q: Just to clarify, (Dan) Campbell did not get the job?
A: He did. Absolutely. And he was there the next day at 5:30 power cleaning and squatting. I wasn’t there with him. I was watching him. He absolutely did. He’s great. I loved working with him.
Q: Are you comfortable with (defensive linemen) Leo (Leonard Williams) and Dex (Deter Lawrence) playing as much as they are? Do you need to find a way to spell them a little bit more?
A: We just try to do whatever we think we need to do to win the game.
Q: But you don’t have a long term (plan)?
A: Look, those guys are in shape. We’ll give Dex some time off here today. They’re good players for us and when they need spells, we’ll give them spells. But they’ve done a good job so far.
Q: You talked the other day about trying to practice (running back) Saquon (Barkley) smart. What do you try to do with him during the week to make sure he gets to Sunday and is ready?
A: We make sure we give all the running backs reps in there so he’s not taking every single rep. If we have to back off some, we back off some. Again, every player’s a little bit different. You treat them fairly based on what they go through during the week of a game, too. He takes a lot of shots. Him and I have good conversations. If he needs something, I’m more than happy to give it to him.
Q: You guys signed (defensive lineman) Vernon Butler to the practice squad. Was that a product, in part, because you were moving (defensive lineman Henry) Mondeaux up (to the active roster), and you wanted another tackle on the practice squad?
A: Yeah. It’s like the offensive line – you try to get as many of them in there as you can. I know Vernon; (general manager) Joe (Schoen) knows Vernon. He came in (and) had a little bit of a workout. So, I thought he would be a good addition to the practice squad.
Q: Are (offensive lineman Jon) Feliciano and (safety Dane) Belton full go today?
A: Felice is good; Belton will be limited.
Q: He (Dane Belton) had an x-ray the other day. Is that (something to be concerned about)?
A: He’ll be fine. He’s just limited today.
Q: Does (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay need to earn his way back into the lineup for this week, or how do you view his situation?
A: To me, it’s the same every week when we go through practice. We practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Then we sit down Friday and decide exactly what we’re going to do – give everybody reps. (We) go week by week.
Q: He talked about (how) this is sort of the toughest stretch of his professional career, mentally it seems. How do you see him holding up, and do you have to continue to check in there to make sure he’s (holding up)?
A: I’d say Kenny’s a pro. He comes in, works hard, listens in the meetings, goes through the walk throughs (and) practices. He’s been a pro.
Q: How do you then make sense of that? He’s never been a guy who’s had a ton of trouble catching the ball. That’s a play he’s made probably a thousand times before. And (he’s) missing those way more than probably he’s ever done in the past.
A: I don’t know. I just think we take it week by week, go out there in practice and see how it goes at the end of the week.
Q: Why is your defense so good in the red zone?
A: Execution. They execute well. It’s not very complicated in terms of if you do your job, you give yourself a chance to make a play or execute a particular (play). Whether it’s offense, defense – whatever it may be – those guys do a good job each week of honing in on the game plan. Coaches do a good job of installing the game plan, and at the end of the day, the players got to make the plays down there. It’s been important. They’ve done a good job of holding them out (of the end zone).
Q: How about (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux against the run? Can you talk about him, the way he’s playing (against) the run?
A: I think he’s done a good job. I think (outside linebackers coach) Drew (Wilkins) does a really good job with him. He understands the importance of setting the edge and knockback and getting off blocks. We ask him to do a variety of things, (not) just setting the run, but dropping, rushing. I think he’s made progress since he’s been here.