Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 10

On when he knew K Billy Cundiff had a concussion and why P Sam Koch didn't kick off against Green Bay:"Well, when I saw the whole situation with Billy happen, it was right by our bench, and I saw it happen. In the beginning of the game, it was right by our bench, I saw Billy there, and our medical staff does a tremendous job. They were all over him when he got to the sideline. They went through proper protocol to get him evaluated, and they came to me immediately after that. They said that he was cleared to play, and at that point in time, I started talking with Billy to find out what we needed to do from that point forward. Based on my conversations with Billy and my conversations with the other players, Billy was our best option at that point. We made some tactical adjustments, like we do in all game situations, and we chose to go with Billy and those kickoffs. Had Billy not been cleared by our medical staff then, obviously, the situation would have changed. Bill was our kicker, and we felt like we could get through it with Billy."

On if the pooch kicks were supposed to go deep: "No, they were supposed to be deep. They're supposed to be kicked, and they weren't necessarily kicked perfectly, but they were supposed to be kicked other than a deep fashion."

On the potential that he is realizing in rookie CB/RS Lardarius Webb: "Lardarius is a… The thing that I think has served him well is he has real good vision when he's got the ball in his hands. He's able to see creases. The touchdown he scored earlier in the season, he broke the ball backside because he saw the hole. He did pretty much the same thing this time – he saw the opening and he hit it. He runs aggressively, which I really like about him. On kickoff coverage, he runs in there with speed, and when he sees someone, he hits them. That's been the reason, in my view, why he's had so much success on kickoff return."

On if Webb has been in consideration for punt returns: "As we said previously, we have a number of guys who we think can return the ball. We're confident in Chris [Carr]. Chris had a really good game against Pittsburgh. Lardarius has got a lot of things he can do, but so does Chris. Chris will be an ongoing situation throughout the rest of the season. We're going to use him where we think is best in some kick returns and some certain situations. That will be the same thing this week and the week after."

On if there is a contingency plan if Cundiff couldn't play on Sunday: "Well, if it happens Sunday, it would be a lot different than if it happened on Saturday, obviously."

On what he would do if that were to happen: "I'd walk up to Ozzie's [Newsome] office with John [Harbaugh] and see what he thought."* (laughter)*

On what can be attributed to the offensive numbers and their recent decline:"I think No. 1, there are a lot of areas we need to improve in, but we need to take care of the football in the scoring zone. We've addressed that with our guys. We've had far too many turnovers in the scoring zone area, and when you move the ball up and down the field, and you have nothing to show for it – you don't have three points, you don't have seven points – that's not a good thing. So, we need to get that corrected first and foremost, and then we just need to continue to work together, execute. It's the time of the year, it has been, where people get more familiar with you, and that's why you need to keep improving, keep getting better. And that's what we're going to try to do."

On still putting together a number of long drives: "A lot of people measure their offenses in yards, and we never have. We expect to move the football, but you need to finish drives. You need to finish them with conversions, you need to finish them with touchdowns, and if you slip up, you've got to get away with three points. Momentum – if you get stopped, you need to find a way to kick the ball down inside, put your defense on the field, where the other team's offense has their back against the wall. You know, a lot of flip-field position, a lot of things that correlate to winning. We've had some nice drives. We opened up the other night with a nice drive, and we turned the ball over inside the 20-yard line. So, we've moved the ball at times, but you've got to finish drives with points and/or put your defense in a great position to where their offense has a tough time."

On his assessment of the offensive line's performance at Green Bay: "And that's those guys… We have a prideful group. We have a group that has high expectations, but it was a collective effort. It wasn't just the offensive line. There wasn't anybody coming out of that game that felt like they couldn't have done more to help us win the game. We all saw the opportunities there. You know, when you're playing a team that leads the league in basically, giveaway/takeaway ratio, you've got to go on the road and take care of the football. Our defense was getting turnovers. [If] we come out of there plus-one, two, or three in the takeaway game – then maybe it's a different ball game. But with us, it starts with taking care of the football, and that wasn't the offensive line's fault."

On whether QB Joe Flacco's health can affect the way he calls a game: "I think anybody's health can affect how you call a game. But in my mind – and I think Joe would tell you too – his health has not been a factor. This is December. This is December in the NFL; everybody's got bumps and bruises. If I felt like a guy was really… If something showed up in practice where it was really detrimental – or something in the course of a game – and I'm always in contact and communication with Joe, and at no point in time we felt like we've got to adjust what we're doing."

On whether he saw a lack of urgency at the end of the game Monday night: "Absolutely not. We didn't execute the way we were capable, and we knew we were going against a good defense. And it was funny how people alluded to it last week – [with] that rank, and this – we knew it was a good defense. And we kind of relish that opportunity, and obviously we didn't take care of some of the things we needed to take care of, but the sense of urgency was there. The execution was not where we want it to be, and we've got to get those things corrected going into this week."

On whether RB Willis McGahee made a good read on the goal line, or if he would have scored had he gone inside: "No, we mis-executed the play and let a linebacker come through. You know a linebacker came through the inside, and there are two or three things that could have taken care of that, but it wound up eating up the guard who would be coming around to block the guy who was unblocked in the hole, which was [CB Charles] Woodson. And he did – Willis McGahee – did what I think any back would have done there. And if he can just pull his right foot out of that tackle, we've got a chance. But Woodson made the play. I mean, give him credit, but we let a guy come through the inside. One thing compounded another, and then the bottom line there – as we all know – that's a first-down play. You know, get to second down, and then on second down, you've got to get to third down and give yourself a chance. And then we know you've got to come out of there with points, one way or the other."

On whether that is typical of what has happened on the goal line in some instances this year: "In two cases, for sure. Other than that, we've obviously been pretty good on the goal line over the course of time. But we've had a couple of plays that we mis-executed, and it's not any one guy. And there have been a bunch of times… One thing you know on the goal line, you can't block them all. Unless you're running an option play with the quarterback, you're not going to block them all, so the back has got to be… And we do a pretty good job of that for the most part, but two critical situations, obviously we haven't."

On what he has seen from Detroit's secondary: "Well, it's really a matter of style. They're an eight- and nine-man front, which is going to single up either both the corners or one of the two safeties. And people have hit some big plays on them, but I think it's been hit or miss a little bit lately. So, we're still going to have to execute. You know, we've got to pass protect, and it'll be interesting to see. You know, we played against this scheme twice last year, and they're somewhat familiar with us. [I'm] looking forward to seeing what adjustments they've made."

On whether he moved G Marshal Yanda into the starting role because he's a little more physical than G Chris Chester: "No. Well, the decision was… Yanda started for us at right tackle, and he was our starting right guard a year ago. Chris gives us some flexibility at the tight end position now, and fullback. You've seen him in there in other instances. But Marshal is a good football player, and we wanted to get him in the lineup and see what he could do. In the Pittsburgh game, it worked out well. He's a good football player, and Chris is a good football player, and we're obviously going to need both guys."

On what challenges Lions QB Daunte Culpepper presents:"He's obviously a very, very good quarterback. He's got a great arm, a very strong arm. He will scramble, and when he's scrambling, it's a 6-foot-whatever, 200-and-something-pound guy going. He can still run. We watched a lot of tape on him when he played this year against the Steelers, and every time he's gone in, or most of the times he's been in there, it hasn't been that many. But he's really moved the team. I think he probably, at this age in his career, he has a free-wheeling attitude where he can say, 'Hey!' He's going to go do what he has to do and make plays. We've got to make sure that doesn't happen."

On if the defensive game plan changes much with Culpepper playing instead of QB Matthew Stafford:"It probably does somewhat in that you have to be a little more leery of the scramble, although both quarterbacks will take off running. That's probably why he's [Stafford] hurt. Both of them we knew we had to make sure we got our rush lanes in order, and I think Culpepper will just take off maybe a little bit more than he would."

On how much it hurt him to find out before kickoff that S Ed Reed wasn't going to play:"It obviously didn't hurt me personally. It bothered me because I kid Ed that, 'I don't want to be standing out there when you're not out there.' I was walking down the stairs to go down to see how he did in his warm up beforehand. I met him on the stairs, and he came up. He just didn't feel… He just said, 'I can't go.' One thing that you guys know, Ed Reed will go if he can go. The only thing I can say to him is, 'Well, let's get it taken care of. There's nothing we can do about it.' It didn't affect anything in the calling of the game. It didn't affect anything. That's always been our philosophy: The next guy's got to step up. Tom Zbikowski did a nice job. He came in there and played Raven defense. The thing that you always count on Ed and Ray [Lewis] and some of those guys is they're kind of an ace in the hole. You expect them to make a play. It's what you've been accustomed to. He wasn't there to do that, but the most important thing is him getting healthy and being ready to go full speed."

On the defensive backs commenting on the pass interference calls and how tough it is to balance an aggressive defense with trying to avoid penalties:"They've handled it very well. I think they're just being honest. I think everybody… I think you could ask any player on any team that. I don't think it's just our DBs [defensive backs]. That's the way they're calling it. That's the rules of the game, and if they decide that you had your hands on him, if that was illegal in their mind, they're going to call it. Our DBs are certainly not whining. We've got some tough-minded guys back there. They've been under scrutiny all year, and every time, in my opinion, they go out there and they battle as hard as they can battle and do everything they can do. They certainly aren't whining about it though."

On if he feels that the officials have been consistent in their calls:"I would never… And if you're asking are they doing that more toward us than anyone else, then no. I wouldn't say that. The bottom line is if that's what they saw as a penalty, then that was a penalty in their mind, and that's their job to call it. I would never say, 'Hey, they're out to get the Ravens, and they're doing that against our defensive backs.' I don't believe that."

On if he feels that the officials have been consistent in calling the games throughout the NFL this season:"I think anytime you have different crews, I think the consistency of a crew is the most important thing. It's not the… Each week you have a different crew, so you have to, just like in baseball – the strike zone and everything else – you have to go out there and say, 'OK, this is what they're going to let you do, this is the way they're calling it, this is how you have to play it.'"

On if they run a scouting report on each officiating crew:"Definitely. We call what the percentage of of what they've called. John [Harbaugh] does a tremendous job of that, going through each official of what they have had a tendency of calling and what they don't. I don't know if that affects you. I think when you're out there playing, you're playing. You're playing, and you don't say, 'Oh, I better not put my fingers on this guy because he might call him.' Things are happening pretty fast out there with some pretty great receivers. I think you're just trying to play."

On if Lions WR Calvin Johnson reminds him of any other receivers he's seen:"Yeah. In my first year as a coordinator, I think nearly every team we played. He's a great, great receiver. He's got size, he's got speed. The thing that really impresses me probably the most about him is he goes after every ball as if it's the last one. You see some great, some skilled receivers that will make circus catches, and then the next one they'll drop. This guy's fighting for every one like it's the last rebound. To me, that's in any position where there's a defensive lineman, linebacker. When guys are a great pro and he plays up to the level he shows on film, you've got to respect that. He definitely has my respect."

On if he can take Johnson out of the game plan by rolling coverage to him:"I'd have to kill myself if I told you that. *(laughing) *I can not divulge that. Obviously, we're going to do what's best for our defense, trust me."

On his presentation of the USA Football/NFLPA "All-Fundamentals" Team award to DT Haloti Ngata:"I just want to say one thing: You guys don't know me very well, but the No. 1 thing in 38 years of coaching, the most important thing to me, is fundamentals. You can be as big as Haloti and play as great as he does, but if he doesn't play with fundamentals, that would be high on my list. For a guy to get the All-Fundamentals Team picked out by the USA and the National Football Players Association, to me, that might be one of the highest honors you can [receive], because that means a guy that has tremendous talent, which we all know he has. Haloti has as much talent or more than anybody who plays the game. To be picked out as a guy that plays with great fundamentals says everything. I'm honored to be part of this guy's world right here. He's another one – don't let him walk off that field and stand next to me either. I won't feel very good about it. Congratulations, Haloti."

On receiving the USA Football/NFLPA "All-Fundamentals" Team award: "This is pretty cool. I didn't know I was getting this. This is kind of surprising. It's a great honor to get something like this. Definitely work hard to work on your fundamentals and technique. It's great that I was able to get noticed. It's a good deal."

On how far back fundamentals go: "It basically started in high school and little league, and I just kept on learning things as you go to college, and now here in the NFL."

On if it means he is playing because he is practicing: "I don't know. I'm just trying to feel it out. I don't really want to go [full speed] before it's ready, and it's not ready. I'm trying to see how it feels in game situations. So, I guess we'll just have to wait and see on Sunday."

On if the knee feels better: "It does. It does feel better, but it still has some issues. I'm still not trusting it fully all the way, but who knows? As the week goes on… It's a long way away from Sunday."

On if he thinks he's at a point where he could warm up on Sunday and possibly play: "I'm going to pretty much know Saturday night or Sunday morning when I wake up. However it's feeling, if it's feeling like I can go out there and give it a go, then I'm going to go. But until then, we really don't know until Sunday."

On if he can address the lawsuit that has been filed against him: "I really can't talk about all that right now, but you know I've always been fair. When I can address that, I will. I've always been fair. I really have nothing to hide, and as bad as I want to talk about it right now, I can't. When I'm able to do it, you can ask a million and one questions about it, and I'll be glad to answer them for you. But right now, just to be safe, I really can't answer any questions about that right now."

On if this will be a distraction to him or the team at all: "No. I think we'll be all right. It's just one of those things you've got to deal with. I'm still coming to work. I'm still getting ready for Sunday, and like I said, after everything is handled, you can ask all the questions you want about it."

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