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Detroit Lions Conference Calls

Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Do you see anything different about Nick Fairley up here?

"I think he has 4.5 sacks or something like that. He's playing extremely well. He's always been a talented guy. He's always been effective."

Can you talk about the contributions Kerry Hyder has made and what he's done to make himself in a solid NFL player?

"He's one of those guys that last year he was playing a little different position for us on the interior of the defensive line and every week at practice when he was on the practice squad, he kept showing up. He would create problems for the guys that would try to block him. He was relentless in terms of his work ethic, so we just felt that end was probably the best fit for him because we didn't know if he could get quite big enough to play inside consistently. We suggested he lose some weight, which he did. Most guys that are determined to do so can get it done. (He) transformed his body and he's a very, very effective guy for us. He's one of those guys that just has relentless pursuit and (is) very, very determined."

Do you attribute for someone like that on the roster to being motivation and determination?

"I think it's one of the things that makes a difference. Oftentimes you find guys that have an equivalent talent level, but it's the guy that has the will, desire to work on his craft and give himself an edge. I think that's oftentimes what will separate those guys from the pack."

Sean Payton said he believes Matthew Stafford is playing the best he has in his career. How much do you agree with that assessment?

"I just know that he's been improving consistently. Even before I came here and we (myself and my staff), he was playing well and had some notable years. I think he's been real consistent in terms of his play and he's looking to get better and that's the key with him. He never settles for the level of proficiency that he's at right now and he's trying to find a way to get a little better"

Given the way he's played in the fourth quarter, what does that say about his mental toughness? You should be able to compare since you have tutored some mentally tough guys like Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco.

"Not to use any comparisons because I think that's unfair when you compare Peyton to someone or Joe to someone else, I'm making these statements in regards to Matthew. He's extremely tough mentally. He also doesn't flinch in situations, does not back down and is not afraid to go out and have the ball in his hands to make a difference in the ballgame. I think those are unusual (special) traits."

On the subject of quarterbacks, Drew Brees has completed around 80% percent of his passes this year and has a shot at breaking his own NFL record? Do you see better blocking or receiving this year or do you attribute it to something else?

"I see outstanding play, excellent play as he's always certainly been able to produce. He was 32-of-39 against us (Colts) in the Super Bowl and he's still obviously performing great. Every single game he's going to put numbers up. He's going to play well. He's as good as they come."

You were a part of a long-running, potent offense in Indianapolis, do you see similarities of what has been done in New Orleans similarly?

"I think you can't make comparisons in that regard. I can just tell you in watching the Saints and what they've done it's incredible with the .combination of Sean (Payton) and Drew together. They've been prolific and they've done it with a number of different receiving corps and different backs. Year after year, after year, the proficiency is incredible. They do a great job."

What have you seen from the Saints pass rush in recent weeks? It seems like they've found some consistency.

"They have people that can obviously rush the passer, I think everybody has seen the numbers that (Cameron) Jordan has put up, but also what (Nick) Fairley has as well. (Paul) Kruger can rush the passer. We worked with him in Baltimore. He certainly has ability and I also see that they are using (Dannell) Ellerbe (to rush the passer), he has three sacks. They are taking Ellerbe and moving him outside. We had Dannell in Baltimore. All those guys can rush the passer. They can create some problems for you. It's a scheme that has answers for everything that you do, so they know how to put pressure on the quarterback"

What has Rafael Bush, a former Saint contributed to the defense?

"You actually have two, you have (Tyrunn) Walker as well. But nevertheless, he's done a nice job for us. He's smart, he's tough and we're glad we have him."

You mentioned Dannell Ellerbe and he's added a lot to the Saints defense. Could a return by DeAndre Levy be possible?

"We'll see."

How excited are you to see Nick Fairley or Darryl Tapp?

"It's always good to see guys that were once on your team or that type of thing, but it's also one of those things where you are out trying to win ballgames. There won't be a whole lot of chit-chatting, but nevertheless both of those guys know that I wish them well."

Detroit Lions Safety Glover Quin

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What do you think the key to your team's success late in games this year can be attributed to?

"I think the biggest thing has been there was been so many of them and (we're) making plays and finding ways to win. I think it's hard to practice those for real unless you get them in the game when they really count and you have to make those plays in the game. Early in the season we didn't make some of those plays and we lost some of those games. But having been in those situations over and over and over again and refocusing on how to make some of those plays offensively or defensively, your execution in those situations has to be at an all-time high and then once we made a couple plays, then our confidence grew a little bit. We've been in those situations in nearly every game we've played in this season. After 11 games, you win some you lose some. Fortunately for us, we've won more than we've lost."

What is the most challenging thing about this Saints offense?

"Probably Drew Brees. He's a big-time quarterback. He's probably one of my favorites in the NFL actually, but he makes it all go and they have a running game with Mark Ingram and (Tim) Hightower and if you can't stop the run game, it's going to be a real long day for you. Last week they rushed for over 200 yards, so we definitely can't allow for that to happen. With most teams, you want to make it one-dimensional, take away the run game and force it into the quarterback's hands, make him beat you. This week they have a quarterback that can, but we still have to force it into his hands because if we allow them to run the ball and throw the ball, it's going to be a real long day."

Have you payed attention to what Nick Fairley's done down here this season?

"Not particularly. I'm not a defensive lineman, so I don't line up to watch the defensive linemen play or for teams. If I have watched the Saints, I'll probably watch more of the secondary, watching Kenny (Vaccaro) play, Jairus (Byrd) and those guys. I haven't watched Nick that much, but I remember seeing one game, I can't remember I think it was a Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers where I saw him come off the ball and make a couple plays in the backfield. That's Nick though. He's an explosive guy, big time D-lineman, made a lot of plays here and a lot of plays in college as well. We know what Nick can do and I'm pretty sure the guys on the offensive line will be preparing and be ready for the challenge"

Drew Brees has a very high completion percentage. When you see the film, do you see that being reads or mechanics or do you see him getting a lot of help from the blocking units or receivers?

"I think when you look at a quarterback's (completion) percentage, when it's that high, I think there are a lot of things that go into it. For one, if you're running the ball well, then you're probably going to have a lot of wide open throws. So last weekend, even the whole season, they've been able to run the ball pretty well and so that leads to a bunch of open throws. When you get the ball out of your hand quickly, like Drew who gets the ball out of his hand very quickly, quick release, a lot of times the guys are going to be open underneath and things like that, but also the receivers have to catch the ball, the running backs have to catch the ball, the tight ends have to catch the ball and the o-line has to block for when they do decide to hold it and take a shot down the field. You need to have time to get it off and complete those passes. It's a lot that goes into completion percentage, the coverage the defense is playing, but I'm pretty sure if you really look at it, I don't know many guys who can have a high completion percentage when for one you can't run the ball and for two, you're just dropping back and trying to take shots down the field the whole game, because the d-line's going to get there and the DBs in this league can cover enough. You can mix in quick screens. You can mix in things like that. When you're running the ball well, you can mix in play action, mix in quick screens, you  can mix in quick (outs) because they guys are so concentrated on stopping the run, you can mix in a max protect and take a shot down the field, then if the guys are catching the ball the completion percentage is probably going to be high."

When you made a late pick against Brees in 2014, you were probably in robber, why is that such a tough coverage for quarterbacks to attack?

"I don't know. I can't say that it's particularly hard. I just felt like that moment, what we did, was something different throughout the whole game and that one play, maybe we gave them a look that he hadn't saw. He went to one of his go-to receivers, Marques Colston down the middle, he's been doing it for yards, Marques Colston in key clutch situations to get key first downs. It just timed up to be a perfect call and a perfect execution in that moment, but I can't particularly say that one coverage gives quarterbacks a lot of problems. I'm pretty sure they see robber coverage and single high and low all the time, it's just if you can disguise it and show it in a different way where maybe they don't pick up who the dropper is. It's a little different when you have a safety that's dropping in as opposed to maybe a linebacker. That's what we did on that play."

Looking at snap counts, is it fair to say that you guys have played a lot of three-safety looks this year?

"Yes, we have. Our coaches do a great job of putting guys in position to make plays. When you can do a good job of stopping the run, teams throw the ball a lot. We want to have our best cover guys, best playmakers on the field. We do a run a lot of three-safety stuff. Hopefully this game can be the same way. If we can stop the run and get into a passing game, I'm pretty sure that would be what it is. It's out there on film. People scout us and get the snap counts. Even you can figure that out. We run a lot of three-safety."

The reason I ask is that the Saints play in that. Is that a trend or do you think it's personnel-based team to team?

"I think if you look at the way the league is going, but I'm pretty sure if you look at it, a lot of teams probably run a lot of three-safety, because it's such a passing league and nowadays you can have safeties that can hold up in the run game for as much that teams try to run it but also give you better coverage underneath as a pass dropper than maybe a linebacker. Some linebackers are very good against the run but not very good against the pass. If you have a safety in there, you might lose a little in the run game with size and that type of stuff but teams don't run the ball as much in those situations and so you can have a safety in there that understands the run fits, he can hold up in the run game and it will serve you better in pass coverage. That's why I think across the league you will see a lot of teams that are running three-safety packages, especially in this down passing situations which the league is going to almost majority pass situations. You see teams in 11 personnel almost the whole game. There's a little 21, some 12 personnel. That's what you're seeing, so it's not just us, everybody."

What's been the key to Kerry Hyder's season so far

"I think he's hungry. He came into the season on fire. The last preseason game I think he had three sacks and then he took that momentum right in Week One and had two sacks on opening day against Andrew Luck and then Ziggy (Ansah) went out Week Two and Kerry was the pass rusher for three or four weeks, how many weeks Ziggy was out. He's made plays. He made plays coming off the edge. He's a very athletic guy, strong, quick and so when you can rush the passer and be explosive, quick, have moves and different things like that, you get opportunities to get to the quarterback. Once Ziggy came back, then obviously now you can't double team him or slide coverage his way because you have the other monster coming off the other side in Ziggy, so it's just a good situation. He's taken advantage of it and made a lot of big plays for us"

The Saints run game was struggling early in the season, what has changed?

"I don't know (on tape). I don't know. I think with the run game sometimes you have to stick with it. Sometimes it's like that for us. We've run the ball well some games early in the season and then some games we didn't run the ball well. So I think it's like that for everybody. You go through lulls. You just stick with it. You can't abandon it and you stick with it and put an emphasis on it in practice and games. Sometimes you bust runs out of there. Anytime you have two big running backs like Mark (Ingram) and Tim (Hightower), those guys will eventually bust some runs. You just have to stick with it and not give up on it. I think that's what they've done. They've had success recently, especially last week. Mark came back and Tim, they both busted up some big runs against L.A. Like you see, when you can't stop the run and you let them put up over 200 yards rushing, it's going to be really hard to stop Drew (Brees)."

When you look at the Saints and study them on film, are you surprised they are 5-6 or when you look at mistakes and injuries are they where they should be?

"I can't really say. I haven't really studied their whole game as far as their defense, plays they're giving up, their special teams, and so I remember seeing the Denver game and how they lost that one. They played a close game, probably should have won that one. So I haven't really seen a lot of their total games. I'm just watching their offense and looking at the numbers they're tops in a lot of the categories, so offensively they've played really well. Some games they've turned the ball over, some games they've protected it, but I don't know why they've lost six game. I don't know. But the thing I know is it's Drew Brees. It's the New Orleans Saints. They're in the Superdome. They're going to be fired up and we have to match the intensity."

What have you seen from Matthew Stafford this year that you think is helping him perform at a higher level than before?

"I just think it's confidence and maturity in the offense. I think last year we saw some signs of it at the end of the season with Jim Bob (Cooter) and how he started to move the ball around and pick things up. Then he's having a full offseason and being older, more mature, understanding the system, getting into training camp and having some continuity, I think that definitely helps. At any position when you can lock into an offense, key into the details and dive deep down into it, the more comfortable you get the more you do it and the better you're probably going to play."

Can you discuss how Rafael Bush has played for you guys this year?

"He's done well. He's an extremely good athlete, good ball skills, strong tackler, very, very athletic. He's definitely come in and made some big plays for us, had two big interceptions, one to the house, some big tackles. He gives us some versatility. He does a lot of things well for us and is a very, very good pickup for us."

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