Head Coach Doug Marrone

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: Injuries?

A: Scott Berchtold: Did not participate: Marcus Easley with the knee, Kyle Williams with the knee, Chris Williams with the back and Nigel (Bradham) with the knee. Limited participation: Randell Johnson with a knee and [Ron] Brooks with a shoulder. Full Participation: Sammy Watkins with the ribs and Marquise Goodwin with a concussion.

Q: It seemed like this quarterback change was you deciding to do things your way. Is that the way it is?

A: I think we all have the same way, meaning that we want to make sure that we’re giving our team the best opportunity to win. At the end of the day, that’s what my responsibility is: to make sure we put this team in a position to win. I did what I thought, from what watching what I’ve seen and in my heart and in my mind, was the best thing for our team to win. Really that’s how the decision was made for me.

Q: How much does what’s going on in the division impact the timing of the change?

A: It really didn’t, as far as anything on the outside. It was more that we just needed more production out of that position.

Q: Where is Kyle [Orton] in the progression of knowing the offense?

A: We have the whole thing for us. It’s the same thing. We always try to put our players in the best position for them to succeed, so we’re working on that as we progress through the week.

Q: Is it natural to assume that he’ll have some rust?

A: For me to sit here and say that, I don’t want to go in that direction. I want to make sure that we’re out there and he’s preparing himself to win a football game. I think that’s the best way to describe it. In other words, the reason why we made the switch is so he can go out there and give us a better chance to win, not for him to brush the rust off and go forward with it.

Q: What gives you the belief that he does give you the best chance to win right now?

A: Just giving us the production of that position and increasing the production there. We took a step back, like I said before, with EJ [Manuel]. He’ll be fine. He’s been doing an outstanding job there. I think it’s the same thing, like I said before. All of the blame isn’t on one position. We all have to increase what we’re doing to put us in a better situation to win.

Q: What has given you this confidence? Is it from what you’ve seen in practice or is it based on his past in the NFL?

A: All of the information was taken in, so everything that you just mentioned is in. I do weigh it a little bit more based on what I see in practice than I do on what I’ve seen in the past.

Q: What were your expectations of Kyle taking his first meaningful practice snaps?

A: The same expectations that I have every week from every position; to go out there and go through it. Take what we’ve done in the classroom on how we want to prepare, how we want to attack, go out there and be aggressive and go for it. Now, are there going to be things we can clean up? Obviously, but that’s the same at every position. My expectation for him is to go out there and play football well enough for us to win. Again, it’s not all on that position.

Q: Are you going to have to change an offense that has been tailored to EJ?

A: We’re always going to play to the strengths of all of our players. If something’s not going well, we’re going to make some adjustments to put ourselves in the best position. We’re not going to keep trying to pound something into the ground that’s not there.

Q: How much have practice reps changed since the season began?

A: We’ve always gotten the quarterbacks reps during practice, so the starter hasn’t taken every single one of them. Even like today, EJ still goes and takes one and we just switched it. He has been taking reps in practice.

Q: Had they increased over the past few weeks?

A: No. In other words, no because the decision wasn’t made.

Q: How do you try to attack a defense like the Lions?

A: It’s challenging now. They’re number one in the league. Really on first down they’re doing an outstanding job. On third down they’re fourth, so they’re very good all around. A lot of the focus is from the guys up front, and they’re outstanding players, but in the back end they’re playing well too. I think it’s going to be a great challenge for us to go in there and play well.

Q: How prepared do you feel he is? How much does experience help him in this situation?

A: I think the experience helps, obviously. Having been there before and having done before helps. The challenge for all of our players when they’re in the role of back up is to make sure they prepare each week like they’re the starter. It’s very difficult for me to say what’s been going on. We make sure that everyone that we dress is ready to play and ready to win.

Q: What have you heard about Kyle Williams’ knee?

A: I just heard that we’re going to see how it progresses. He’s been around. He’s walking around here, so we’re going to see how that progress as we go. Same with Nigel.

Q: Do you have any concern that he could miss more than one game?

A: That’s on the doctors. When they release him, they release him. When they don’t, [they don’t]. I don’t have a feel. All I know is that as it progresses, I’ll know more as the week goes.

Q: Did you get any sense from the veterans in the locker room that the quarterback position was holding the team back?

A: They can probably answer that. I did not feel that. I just knew, again as I said, I just had to do what I thought was right for the team. And when you do that, you know that when you make these decisions that sometimes people may not agree with you, but at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to do that.. They would have a better indication of that than me.

Q: Were you afraid that it would happen eventually?

A: I wasn’t worried about it, but I’d be naïve to say that I didn’t know those situations have happened. Absolutely.

Q: How much input did you have in bringing in Kyle Orton?

A: I backed it 110 percent because we weren’t getting what we need to out of the players in the backup role at that time. I wanted to go out there and get a veteran guy, which we had planned the whole time from the beginning. I wanted to make sure we could get the best veteran in that, if something did happen, whether it be injury, which was more on my mind at the time, that someone could step in there and win a game for us.

Q: Did the need for a veteran backup enter your mind in training camp?

A: Yeah. There was really no one available for us at that time. That’s what happened from the time standpoint. It was more of a wait and see how it all shook out to see who was available.

Q: Our analytics show that your guards are grading poorly. Are you concerned about the interior line play right now?

A: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no doubt that we have to play better inside. Obviously, we put Cyril [Richardson] in there, who is a rookie. I thought that, during the course of the game, he did a better job when you watch the film. It’s going to be an interesting challenge that if Chris [Williams] is not ready to go, how he responds to that going into his second game, which should be much better from a production standpoint. And then Erik [Pears] we’ve moved in there and we’ve had some tough matchups in there, on the inside. We have to play better. That’s what I meant before when I said, ‘It’s not just one position.’ It’s all of those positions. When those positions play better, it’ll help us.

Q: Are you concerned this Chris Williams injury trending toward long-term?

A: I always get concerned about backs, no matter who it is. I’ve had experience before with it with players. I struggle with that because one day it could be great and ready to go and the next day you can be out. You go into a game and play lights out and all of the sudden go. In my past experiences in this league, I had a player that went out in a walk-through. When I was with New York in a walk-through, he went and got into his stance and went down and couldn’t play that week. I was shocked, so that’s an injury I always get concerned about.

Q: Is Nigel in the same boat as Kyle?

A: Yeah, he’s progressing and we’re going to keep seeing as the week goes.

Q: Is Detroit’s defensive line the strength of that unit?

A: They are very, very good up front. Jim Washburn is by far one of the better defensive line coaches in this profession. He’s always done an unbelievable job with all the guys he’s had up there. But, at the same time, I don’t want to take away from the linebacker play and their defensive back play. If you’re the number one defense in the league right now, it’s all 11. There’s not a target. Most teams find a weakness in someone’s defense and, right now, there are not many creases in the Lions defenses.

Q: Is having Jim Schwartz helpful in a game like this?

A: I always say that when you play another team that there’s always some personnel issues that they might have a little bit better insight to what they like or what they don’t like. Schematically though, it changes. That’s the one thing that you’re not really going to get the schematics out of it. Obviously, Joe Lombardi, their offensive coordinator who I was with for some time. I can put the film on and see some things that carry over from what our background was together, but as you’re away and people grow, things start to change and then the talent of your team changes what you do. It’s difficult to look into the schematics of it, but you get a little bit more insight about the personnel.

Q: Would having just seven defensive linemen, without Kyle Williams, spur a roster move later in the week?

A: It could. That would be a better question for Doug [Whaley] right now. Right now, I’m planning on going with what we have and seeing where Kyle is.

Q: What’s been the key for the improvement of your run defense?

A: I just think that you’ve got a front seven that’s been playing extremely well. You know, gap control. People are in position. They’re playing good and disciplined. All of those things, when you see any run defense playing well, that’s what you’re seeing and we’re getting that out of multiple players.

Q: Does it start with Marcell Dareus?

A: It starts with the edge because no one is really getting outside on us, which forces things inside. That’s where it really starts and that’s no different than a 3-4 defense or our defense or anyone’s defense. You want to make sure that you force the play inside.

Q: Who gets the first crack if Kyle Williams can’t play on Sunday?

A: I think we’ll be rotating people in there. Corbin [Bryant] played a bunch. That stuff is already on tape for what happened when he was injured. Corbin’s in there, Marcell’s in there, Stefan Charles is in there. You can do a bunch of different things in nickel. You can make some changes. There are a lot of things going, but right now it’s just an increased amount of reps.

Q: How much does Kyle actually need to practice to be able to play?

A: Kyle is one of those players that doesn’t have to practice and can go in there and play. There’s not many players like that.

Q: Does Jarius Wynn have the ability to flip inside?

A: Sure. Yep.

Q: It seems like Jerry Hughes is losing snaps. What do you deem the reason for that?

A: We’re trying to keep our guys fresh. We’re trying to keep them fresh out there with the rotation.

Q: It has nothing to do with the run defense or anything like that?

A: Jerry Hughes, on tape, has been outstanding. He really has. I even mentioned it to him today. He’s done everything we’ve asked and he’s done it very, very well. That’s not even a thought in my mind.

Q: What have you liked from Marcell in the first month?

A: He’s been to work. We’ve had zero issues. He’s worked hard in the weight room. He’s worked hard on the practice field. All of those things. Not one issue with anything. From that standpoint, I’m proud of him. He’s doing what he should do to be a pro and that’s what you have to do in this league. That’s what’s expected of you.

Q: Why did Corey Graham just get eight snaps?

A: Those guys were playing well at the time, Leodis (McKelvin) and Stephon (Gilmore). It’s a rotation deal and, if someone is hot out there and we feel like they’re covering guys well, we’re going to keep them out there. At the end of the day, we do want to get the snaps equal. We feel that all three of those guys can play.

Q: How long of a leash does Kyle Orton have on Sunday? Is this his game no matter what?

A: Absolutely. I’m going into the game with all the players that we get into there going. The other stuff doesn’t come into play until I get information and evaluate it.

Q: How would you describe the challenges of trying to defend the Lions offense?

A: Stastically, they have 93 yards more differential in what’s going on. They’re staying on the field a lot. He [Stafford] can beat you with all the throws. Obviously, we know what they have on the outside. They have a Hall of Fame wide receiver [Calvin Johnson] and other good wide receivers around. Reggie [Bush] I have a lot of experience with and a lot of respect for, especially at the receiver position. They may get some players back on offense. That should help them. It’s difficult. You’ve got to make sure that you can control it and keep things in front of you and try to get them off rhythm. That’s what you’ve got to try to do against any good offense. You’ve got to try to get them off the darn field.

Q: When it comes to Kyle and the game plan, do you look back to see what he did well with former teams or is it just about fitting him in to what you do?

A: That stuff is evaluated in what we do during practice, more so than what’s been done in the past. Are there discussions of, ‘Hey, what do you like? What are you comfortable with?’ Absolutely.

Q: Is there a reason you went away from the running game on Sunday?

A: I just think that it goes back to the score. We were down two scores and the amount of possessions we have. Obviously, that’s not something that we’d like to do.

QB Kyle Orton

Wednesday, October 1st 2014

Q: How’d it go today?

A: It was a good day at practice.  I thought the offense was sharp.  I thought we were detailed and I thought we had a good day.

Q: Did you have any inclination that this move was going to be made?

A: No.  I prepare myself for every week, you know?  Head coach told me on Monday.  From there on, I’ve been preparing hard and doing what I can do to get the offense where we need to go.

Q: Is there some rust factor at all, Kyle?

A: No.  I’ve been working hard the last four weeks and made a lot of throws with the guys so I don’t think timing is too big of an issue.  Obviously we’re going to grow into this but like I said, today was a great day.

Q: You seem to have spent a lot of time with Paul Hackett while we were out there watching during the stretching and everything like that.  Is that something that you wanted to get a little bit more coaching in? 

A: Paul Hackett?  I don’t know where Paul is at but Nate Hackett, obviously coach and I are going to have a lot of dialogue throughout the week and he’s trying to get a feel for me a little bit.  Obviously, as a quarterback, you’d love to have a great feel for your coordinator and kind of feel what he’s going to call next and just situational stuff.  Really the last 48 hours, we’ve been working hard together.

Q: So a lot of times when people jump in on the fly, usually quarterbacks just have to master the game plan the first couple of weeks.  Where are you?  Are you in a better place now just because a lot guys when they come in on the fly, they’re ready for that game plan. 

A: No, I think we’ve got the full game with plays in and I feel comfortable.  I’ve felt comfortable for the last two to three weeks.  Coaches have done a great job.  Todd Downing has done a great job with me over the four or five weeks that I’ve been here.  I think I feel comfortable with everything in the playbook.

Q: When you look at the offense, what do you like about it?  Being around it, where do you see the ability to have some success there?

A: Well I think we’ve got a lot of good players.  All across the board, we have young talent on the outside.  We’ve got two running backs that can take a lot of pressure off of us.  When you ask the offensive line to do the right thing, I think they can really play hard for you and do a lot of great things.  We’re going up against a good defense on the road.  We’re going to have to play our best football to come out with a win.

Q: How do you try and attack a defense like that?  It just doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses at this point.

A: Not at this point.  We feel like we’re a good offense too, so there will be matchups across the board and we’re going to have to win some of those matchups and when the plays are there to be made, we’ll make the plays.

Q: What was the challenge to come in under these circumstances just being thrown in?

A: I guess I haven’t really thought about it like that.  I just play my game.  I think first and foremost just let the guys who you are in the huddle know how I run the huddle, what I expect from them and we’ll go from there but like I said, we got off to a great start today.

Q: How do you describe that, of how you are in the huddle?  What does that specifically mean to you?

A: That’s for me to know; the huddle.  That huddle’s a prized location.  What goes on there stays in there.

Q: Why will you run this offense better than EJ (Manuel)?

A: I’m not saying that I will.  I mean that’s a loaded question.  That’s a crap question.

Q: What if, anything, have you said to EJ?

A: I’ve been there.  I’ve been there.  EJ’s going to be a great quarterback.  He’s got a long, long time to grow.  I know when it happened to me, early on in my career, I wasn’t happy about it at all but looking back, that time off that I had, I really grew as a player and I’m sure he’ll do the same. 

Q: Can you clear up where you were?  Where your mindset was back in August?

A: That’s so long ago.  I’m happy to be here.  I’m excited for the opportunity that I have and I can’t wait to play on Sunday.

Q: So you can’t say whether you were contemplating retirement?  Or what were you doing?  Your mindset? 

A: I was trying to be a great father for my daughter at home.  That’s really what my mindset was.

Q: Do you see some of the same strengths in this team that you’re a part of now that maybe that ’05 Bears team had?

A:  Similar teams: great defense, run the football.  I think we’ve got some guys outside that can really make plays.  I think this passing team can really get going.  They’re young guys, but they want to do it the right way and they want to make plays.

Q: Is there a noticeable difference in this offense that you feel is going to be tailored for this game? 

A: I don’t know.

Q: Because of the different skill sets?

A: Well obviously we’re different players.  Anything that’s been in the game plan, I’ve been ready to run and I’ll execute this game plan as best I can.

Q: Do you see this as a potential re-launching point for your career?

A: I look as it is we’re going into Detroit to play one of the number one defenses in the league on the road.  We’ve got a great challenge.  We’re looking forward to step up and beat a good team on the road.

Q: This certainly is an opportunity to prove yourself once again?

A:  That’s a bad way to look at it if you’re looking in the future.  We’ve got one game to win and we’re going to go do all that we can to win that one game.

Q: How can changing a quarterback in a season affect the team as a whole?  The locker room as a whole?

A: I guess you’d have to ask everybody else.  I’m focused on doing my job and executing my job and providing veteran leadership and executing my job.

Q: Well you’ve been through it before.  Have you noticed something that changes about a team?

A: Different teams.  You’d have to ask these guys.  I mean, I can’t answer that question.

Q: This defense really likes to make teams march the length of the field and they’re very disciplined so from your standpoint as a quarterback, what are the things to keep in mind on those lengthy downs?
A: They’ve done a great job of winning first downs.  You see a lot of teams in second and eleven and second and twelve and now you’re letting their four guys pass rush two times in a row so we’re going to have to commit to the game plan, commit to the run. Run the ball effectively early.  Find ourselves hopefully in a lot of second and threes, second and fours and then we’ve got the whole playbook to play with.

Q: When you were informed of the decision, what was your initial reaction?

A:  Coach told me I was going to be the starter, I said I appreciate it and I’ll go and give you everything I’ve got to get you a win.

CB Stephon Gilmore

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: I don’t know if Leodis McKelvin has called Calvin Johnson yet, because he played against him in high school but you have a guy on the other side who isn’t too shabby either. Golden Tate had like 8 or 9 catches with Calvin a little hobbled, is it kind of important not to have you guys focus too much attention on that big fella on the one side?

A: It’s whatever. Me and Leodis, we don’t care who we go up against. We are up to the challenge. But both of those guys, they’re good guys. Calvin Johnson is a deep ball guy and Tate likes to catch it short and take it the distance. You really have to focus on both of them.

Q: It’s kind of a matchup where you have to test your vertical because Calvin is as tall as he is and then he can also jump about 40 inches…

A: Me, I like going against guys like that, the bigger guys. I’m a bigger corner and I like to fight with them downfield and go up and get the ball so I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Then when you have a quarterback with the arm strength that Stafford has, how much more do you have to be mindful and technique sound to stay on top knowing that he can just chuck it at any second?

A: First of all, you have to get to him. You have got to distract him and make him make bad decisions. He can extend plays also by moving around in the pocket so you really have to stay with the receiver and make plays on the ball.

RB Fred Jackson

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: Regardless of what was wrong, Coach Marrone made a tough move. Does that gain him a lot of respect in this locker room?

A: Well I think it doesn’t gain him any more respect than he already had.  Guys already respected Coach Marrone a lot. This is just something he feels like he’s doing to give us a better opportunity to win. Guys are just going to try to go out there and do what we need to do to try and help make it the right decision. Make plays for Kyle (Orton) when we get the chance too and take the running game and improve that to make his life a lot easier.

Q: Do you feel like Kyle right now gives you guys a better opportunity to win?

A: That’s not for me to decide. That’s for him to go out there and make plays and see what happens. Obviously Coach Marrone made that decision so that’s what we have to go with.

Q: How big of a disappointment is this for you to know that your switching quarterbacks again for the umpteenth time during your career here?

A: It’s not disappointing for me at all.  For me it’s about going out and doing what I can to help this team. I don’t focus on the changes that are being made, I focus on what I can do to help us win. This is just another step in the process for us, trying to get pieces in the right areas to make plays for us as a team and this is just another step and one that Coach Marrone felt like he had to make.

Q: I’m sorry to hammer this home, but this seems like a distraction…

A: I’m not distracted; I wouldn’t say our team is distracted. What we have to do is continue to find ways to win games and like I said this is just another step in that process. Our coach is trying to fix anything that he can and on offense he feels like this is going to give us a better chance to make plays so we have to do that, we got to go out and make plays when we get that opportunity and Kyle is going to be somebody that tries to do the same.

RB C.J. Spiller

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: How do you guys deal with this?

A: It doesn’t affect us, we just have to go out there and play with them. It’s not all on one position even though that’s a key position. But as an offensive group everybody has to go out there and play better and we understand that. That’s what we’ll do.

Q: Do you feel like it’s a chance for you guys to hit the reset button as an offense?

A: No need to hit the reset button. There are some things that we can change and do better, but we’re a 2-2 team. There’s a lot of football left to be played. Everybody is around here panicking which is crazy. There are just some things that we need to correct to be more efficient on offense.

Q: Was there anything different about today’s practice?

A: There really wasn’t anything different today. Obviously there was a change but everybody was focused and really dialed in on the things that we need to do to be successful on Sunday but there really wasn’t too much of a change to be honest.

Q: Do you guys feel any guilt that you didn’t do enough to keep him in the lineup?

A: Yeah as a running back, and obviously we haven’t done enough in the running game to take the pressure off of him. I will take the blame on that. I can do a better job of just seeing and running and just taking what they give me but this is something that we can all learn from and like we said, it’s not all a one man blame. There are things that could’ve helped him out, people catching the ball and being in a better position. We’ll see how this works out. The biggest thing is that we just have to keep EJ in there mentally, we know this is a tough time for him but we have to make sure he stays strong.

WR Sammy Watkins

Wednesday, October 1St 2014

Q: As you get adjusted to him in the practice setting, how did things go practice wise, execution, things like that?

A: Today went pretty good.  Kyle’s got a different approach to practice.  He demands what he wants out us.  We just have to go out there and get on the same page and practice hard.

Q: How was it different?  You said it was different.  What was different?

A:  He’s more of a veteran guy..  The way he talks, the way he handles business, the way he looks at plays and break down defenses is kind of different than EJ.  He’s really quick.  The ball comes out faster.  That’s just some things that you have to adjust to.

Q: You were brought in to help EJ transition.  When EJ goes to the bench, how tough is that for you?  Do you feel any sort of guilt?  Like you didn’t do enough?
A:  Not at all.  I feel like EJ did what he can do.  He played the game the way he was coached.  He just has to get better as a quarterback.  As a receiver, I have to get better.  The whole group as an offense has to get better and it’s not all on him. We just have to get better.  That’s the simple thing.

WR Mike Williams

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: What are your thoughts on the change at quarterback?

A: It’s not my decision. I’m just doing what they tell me to do. Anything they tell me to do, any guy they tell me to play with. They said that they think this is the best chance for us to win so I’m all aboard for it.

Q: You’ve been through this before in Tampa, how do you get things acclimated with only one week for a new quarterback?

A: You try to act like nothing has changed. You try to go about it with the same game plan, try to forget last week and try to get on to Detroit this week.

Q: How was practice today going with like getting a cadence or anything with Kyle Orton?

A: It’s the same thing. Even when he wasn’t playing, he was back there taking second team reps and even some first team reps. It’s basically the same cadence and things like that, it’s just a new guy in the huddle.

Q: What have you seen Kyle do that maybe EJ doesn’t or wasn’t bringing to the table?

A: Nothing really. I guess they’re giving him a chance and they think this is the best chance to help us win so that’s why they made the decision. I didn’t see anything really stand out like really different so hopefully it shows in the game and it helps us win.

C Eric Wood

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: Were you starting to wonder that guys on the team, the veterans were concerned that the quarterback position was holding this team back?

A: No, we just knew we all needed to play better together.

Q: What about the matchup you’ve got inside there, Ndamukong Suh, the number one defense, I think they’re in the top five in just about every category…

A: They’ve got an excellent defense, we’ve played them in the preseason or the regular season pretty much every year and it’s always a great challenge.

Q: Did you see anything on film that you can take advantage of?

A: Nothing sticks out. They don’t have any glaring weaknesses. We just have to be on our game if we’re going to score points.

WR Robert Woods

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Q: Is there more focus because obviously the quarterback change means win now…

A: We have a lot of talent in this room and even with EJ, we are just young. With Kyle, they made that decision because we lost two tough games and we always have to win. Now they are just putting more emphasis on it with the quarterback and we need to win now pretty much.

Q: With the amount of talent on this offense and the way it has kind of underperformed the last two weeks, did you kind of feel like something might have been on the way?

A: No, not necessarily. We had two tough losses but it was not necessarily the quarterback because we had a lot of factors go into it.  We had some drops this past game, protection, there was just a lot of different factors but this was just one of their decisions.

Q: Do you feel like this was the right move for this offense going forward?

A: Whatever move they make I think is the right move. We just have to play our game and they always tell us that we just have to control what we can. My job is playing wide receiver and catching the ball so that is all that I can do.

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