Quotes: Tuesday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
RB Arian Foster
RB Justin Forsett
ILB Bradie James
CB Johnathan Joseph
QB Matt Schaub
ILB Darryl Sharpton
DE J.J. Watt

Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz Conference Call
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson Conference Call

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's  health at practice today) "No practice today, (ILB Tim) Dobbins, (RB Ben) Tate, (CB Johnathan) Joseph, and (WR DeVier) Posey, of those four guys, Tate and Dobbins did work with our trainers. I would continue to say that they're still game-time decisions because what we're doing in practice is very light anyway. They'll be game-time decisions. We'll work them out Thursday morning because we'll obviously be very light in the morning before we get on the plane and head to Detroit."

(on erring on the side of caution because of the short week) "I think we're going to make the same decision we'd make as if it's a Sunday. It does make it a little tougher with the quick turnaround with the amount of football that we played last weekend and the type of game we were in. The decision process is going to stay the same."

(on being cautious about workloads during Thursday's game after Sunday's long game) "If you can play, you can play. We can go, nothing different."

(on if he's concerned about CB Johnathan Joseph's situation) "No, (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe's had a few issues, had some soreness in his groin before and worked through that and played. We've been down this road before. One thing about him, we can trust him. If he says 'I can go. I'm fine.' We trust him because when he's told us something it's held true. We'll see where he's at. He's out there moving around today. I actually sent him in about halfway through practice just to get treatment. It's not like we're doing something that he doesn't know what to do. We'll let him go out there early at the stadium on (Thursday) and listen to him."

(on the challenge for CB Kareem Jackson to face WR Calvin Johnson if CB Johnathan Joseph can't play ) "It's going to be a challenge for the whole back end. Anybody can get matched up on the big guy. Obviously, he's as good as there is in the game. That's where they're trying to go with the ball, very explosive offensively. It's going to be a matter of us limiting big plays. We can't let them get way down the field and let them make the big, big plays that he is accustomed to making. If (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe is not there, that burden is going to fall on everybody's shoulders, not one guy."

(on CB Kareem Jackson's game on Sunday and missing some tackles) "That's football. A ball comes your way enough, you're probably going to give up a couple. He was in good position to make some of those plays. I think I said yesterday we were right there to make a lot of those plays. We just didn't make them. Whether or not you make those, that's the difference in winning and losing. The good news is we did make some big plays late in the game that were the difference and it's finding a way to win."

(on RB Arian Foster's success on the road) "The first thing that would jump at me is to win on the road, you've got to run the ball and play good defense from a consistency standpoint. If you've got to go on the road and throw it 55 times like we did this weekend, that's a hell of a lot harder to  do on the road than it is at home. It's just the emphasis isn't in where it goes. The lights go on for him all the time. He loves to play. He's a worker. To watch him bounce back, we actually give him a day off now every week. But to watch him bounce back, watching him move around today, I ask guys to go 10 yards. We're every light today and (RB) Arian (Foster) is still stretching things out 30. That's just the way he is. He's a worker and that's when he's at his best."

(on TE Owen Daniels' influence on TE Garrett Graham) "Well, first off, you have to remember they're very familiar with each other. They went to the same school. When (TE) Garrett (Graham) walked in here, I think it was very easy for Garrett to go lean on (TE) Owen (Daniels). 'How do you do this? How do you make it?' Garrett's a lot like Owen, too. They're, I don't want to say undersized, but they're average-sized tight ends. They're jack-of-all-trade type guys, not just one strength or another. I think from that standpoint Garrett has learned from OD, learned a great deal from (TE) Joel (Dreessen) too, last year, I thought."

(on the Lions' defensive line) "No doubt, it's as good a front as we've played and will play, all year long. Playing at their place on that turf, the way they'll get off the ball on the cadence, it's going to be a big, big factor for us. We've got our work cut out for us up front, protecting our quarterback, which we take a lot of pride in and like I said, just not going to be able to sit back there and hold it long. They can get after the quarterback."

(on the Lions' defensive front bringing pressure) "There's no doubt about that. They don't have to really blitz to get to you because they push the pocket so well. With that being said, it still goes back to our ability to stay on schedule and run the ball. We can't get in the type of game we're in last weekend. We're not going to sit back there and protect (QB) Matt (Schaub) like we did, which I thought was incredible when we got down. We know what we're facing."

(on how TE Owen Daniels came out of the game) "He came out good. He was a little sore going into the game, but it's important to (TE) Owen (Daniels) to go. We trust him. We tried to play him a little bit different in the game thinking we'd go in there and he wouldn't play as many plays. I'll be darned we get in a 92-play game and he plays 60 plays. He came out fine and he's moving better this week."

(on the Lions' similarities and connections to the Titans) "Well what's interesting there is a big makeup of the Tennessee guys on that football team from a coaching standpoint, a playing standpoint, to middle linebackers. Those guys know us well and I think just watching them, I think they're a lot like them from the standpoint of how physical they are and the effort they play with. That's Jim (Schwartz). That's Gunther (Cunningham).  I've known them for many, many years in this league. They're an aggressive football team, very aggressive. I know they're disappointed last week because they had a huge game won in their division and it got away from them. We know we'll get their best shot."

(on if the short week affects the game-time decisions) "It really doesn't because when I think it's time, it's time. The confidence that we have in (RB) Justin (Forsett) keeps going because of the way he's playing. Those decisions they're going to be tough right now when you talk about (RB) Ben (Tate). You talk about (NT Shaun) Cody. You talk about (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe. We want to be as good as we can every week. We want everybody there. I'll keep pushing everybody and I'll sit there and listen to (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick (Smith) as they work those guys out on Sunday morning. We'll make the right decision by them, but if they're ready to go, we got to be at our best to win."

(on RB Ben Tate's progress) "(RB) Ben (Tate) worked harder than the whole team today. I listed him as not practicing, but he works with the trainers and ran his tale off. It was very positive. What we're looking at is how he comes out of the hard work. He did it three days ago came out okay, still a little soreness so we pushed him back today. If he walks in here tomorrow, 'Hey, I feel great. I came out of it good.' Then I think we got much more of a chance of putting him on the field Thursday so we're trying to watch how he comes out of the hard work."

(on NT Shaun Cody's status) "(NT) Shaun (Cody) is listed as limited today I think. I'm not sure. He's a game-time decision, too. Shaun has been practicing for two weeks. It's just we've got five guys that suit if we don't think he's quite ready to go. This is an important game to Shaun. He did play there, I know that. I've talked to him about that. We'll see where he's at Thursday morning."

(on if he's ever been a part of a Thanksgiving game ) "Yeah, I've done it a couple times. Done it in Detroit, done it in Dallas."

(on his experiences in Thanksgiving games) "It was a long, long time ago. It might have been a Christmas Day game we played there. I know I played Dallas a few years back on Thanksgiving Day."

(on playing a half hour earlier) "We start our practice day this time of year. I actually start everything about a half hour earlier once we get to the back half of the season. Our clocks go off about 11:30 every morning here. That's when we go to work so we should be ready to go."

(on if it'll be tough to get RB Justin Forsett carries once RB Ben Tate returns) "It is tough because I always tell players if you get an opportunity and you're on the field and you're doing your job and the team's progression getting better, not just going to take you off the field. The key here is getting (RB) Ben (Tate) back to work first. I think we've got to see him go back in a team environment and practice for a full week, respond for a full week, all those guys. We know what we have in (RB)Justin (Forsett) right now. We've got to get Ben back to Ben. That's the key."

(on if it's a luxury having RB Justin Forsett around until RB Ben Tate is healthy) "I guess people would say that's a luxury, but I don't want to wait. Hell, if a guy's ready to go, let's play. We've got games to win. They're all important so I want them all back."

(on containing WR Calvin Johnson) "He's going to be very difficult, whether you single him, double him. I think the key is making them get rid of the ball quick. If you allow him to get way down the field it doesn't matter if there are three guys there. If he gets a jump ball, he's going to win a lot of those battles. I think you go into a game like this, we faced (WR) Brandon (Marshall) a few weeks ago. You go into a game like this hoping you can somewhat contain him. You're not going to stop them. They're going to make their plays. Like I said, I think the key is making them get rid of the ball quick."

(on if he's surprised that Norm Van Brocklin's record passing record is still intact) "Yeah, to be honest that does surprise me but when you look at the amount of snaps you have in the NFL, the average amount of snaps, even as good as you play. The reason we had it is because we played almost five quarters of football. I think it gets back to the amount of snaps and the clock moving. I don't remember how the clock worked back in those days."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(opening statement) "I know we'll go back to last week some, so the most important stat of all is winning. And I think the next most-important thing with a football team is how you play under pressure. This last game really showed me what kind of team we have. In the fourth quarter, we had 14 first downs on offense and they had one. I mean, the game was on the line. The pressure was on us, we were behind by 14 points and those guys came through. Even defensively, five minutes left in the game, seven points behind, three-and-out. A minute and a half left in the game, the game's tied, three-and-out. We had a chance for a field goal to win the game in regulation. Then, I don't know if there's any more pressure than first down on the 6-yard line and if they score a touchdown, they beat you. Those plays there, throwing them for a loss and making sure they had to kick a field goal. And then, first down on the 47-yard line in overtime, if they make a first down, they beat you. I mean, basically they're going to kick a field goal. I couldn't be more prouder of a group under pressure than we played. The quarterback, they burned us, certainly, if you want to say throughout the game but actually, he hit two out of his last 13 passes against us and the last five third downs they did not make. And it was the overtime victory (at home) in the history of the Houston Texans. There are some things that we worked on. We don't usually give up big plays but we did in that ballgame. But I saw a team, obviously both sides of the ball, our offense did a tremendous job but I thought our defense really came through at the end. With the pressure on you, the game's on the line, you find out a lot about people and I thought we found out a lot of good things."

(on the quick turnaround with a Thursday game) "It used to be, certainly, with only two games on Thanksgiving Day, Dallas and Detroit, it was maybe a little advantage for the home team because of the travel. But now that everybody's playing Thursday night games, Thursday games, it's evened out a little more but it's still a little bit harder to travel, just preparation-wise. I mean, they're getting prepared at home. We've got to travel on Wednesday, although we'll get some preparation in tomorrow morning. But that's what you have to be able to overcome. In my experience, the best team usually wins. The team that plays the best, no matter if they're on the road or Thursday or Monday night or Sunday night, or whatever. It's the team that plays the best."

(on if he talked to Head Coach Gary Kubiak about preparing for a Thursday game because of his experiences coaching in Thursday games) "Not really. We didn't discuss it a whole lot. He had it set up pretty much the way we would set it up to travel, certainly. We have to get in everything in a couple days that you would normally get in, in a week. A whole week of preparation. The preparation and we kept them off their feet good and we're not going full-speed in practice. I know we're going to be fresh for the game. I think that's important."

(on the challenges Detroit QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson present his defense) "Well, they're the number one pass offense in the league and we had a bad game pass defense last game. It's obviously a big challenge. The quarterback can really throw the ball well. He wouldn't be leading the league (if he couldn't). And the big receiver, obviously, I mean, he's averaging 119 yards per game in 10 games. So that's pretty amazing."

(on the importance of getting pressure on QB Matthew Stafford to slow down the passing game) "Pressure and coverage are both a key. That's a constant throughout the league and every ballgame but probably more so in this case. The guy is such a big, strong target. We're going to have to have good coverage on him but we need to pressure the quarterback enough where he can't set and throw it too him deep all the time, certainly, because he's so big. He can go up and get it, even if you have two people on him."

(on how concerned his about CB Johnathan Joseph) "(CB) Johnathan (Joseph) didn't practice today, so that's kind of where we are. Now, we've had him in weeks where he hadn't practiced but this is obviously a shorter week, so it's a concern."

(on CB Alan Ball) "(CB) Alan Ball came in in that stretch, again, where we had to make plays. He made a big play on third down. Knocked the ball out and took them to fourth down. And actually, on the fourth-down play, he was the guy that had the guy covered when he overthrew it. He came up with two really big plays in the ball game for us. That's why we have him here. That's why we have Alan in the first place. I think Alan's improved, because he hadn't played corner in a while, I think he's improved as the season's gone along. We don't hesitate to put him in there if we have to."

(on the defense making plays in overtime against Jacksonville) "Our guys stepped up, I thought, big-time, played tremendously hard. We've got to tell them this week we're 14 points behind starting the game. You know, it's the same deal. Like I said, there couldn't have been any more pressure than that on a football team and on a defense in that situation and they came through."

(on the if he made any scheme adjustments against Jacksonville) "There was some adjustment. Honestly, we went into the game, (QB Blaine) Gabbert (threw) a lot of quick passes, short passing game. They would throw it deep but they didn't throw a whole lot. The guy came in, who is a good quarterback. I mean, we saw (QB Chad) Henne at Miami. He had 450 yards passing against New England before we played him last year. He's a little more deep thrower and maybe I called the wrong things or whatever. Things happen to you in ball games that you don't expect sometimes and that was certainly unexpected. I did think we adjusted. Like I said, he hit two out of his last 13 passes. I thought we did a good job of just playing what we play and playing it better."

(on the play of ILB Darryl Sharpton against Jacksonville) "I thought (ILB Darryl) Sharpton played well. He made a couple of big plays, several big hits. I know he's sore this week. He hadn't played in a year and a half. But I thought he played well. He's going to start this game. So I think he played well enough to start."

(on what he likes about ILB Darryl Sharpton) "The good thing about (ILB Darryl) Sharpton, he stayed with it the whole time. Sometimes, you've had an injury, especially a lingering one like he's had, he was PUP, didn't know if he was going to play this year but he knew every defense, he's been at every meeting, he's paid attention on the field, although he hadn't practiced much. He didn't make many mistakes out there. He's a very instinctive player, which helps. He's a real hard hitter, which helps, also. But I just thought he was ready to play when he played. A lot of guys would get distracted and not be able to do that."

(on if the Jacksonville game was the best he's seen ILB Bradie James play as a Texan) "I thought (ILB) Bradie (James) played really well, too. I thought we played really well up front. Bradie and (ILB Darryl) Sharpton played real well inside for us."

(on if ILB Darryl Sharpton will start Thursday) "Well, (ILB Tim) Dobbins is banged up."

(on if he's comfortable with ILB Darryl Sharpton starting) "Yeah, if it works out that way, which it very well could because (ILB Tim) Dobbins didn't practice today, either. So we're looking at (CB Alan) Ball, maybe, and (ILB Darryl) Sharpton, maybe (starting). But we have confidence in both of them."

(on how impressive it was for ILB Darryl Sharpton to come back and earn his way into the lineup so early) "Absolutely amazing, it was. A guy that's out that long, to play as well as he did, I think that's probably the key. To be such a strong tackler that he was in the game and be instinctive enough to go in. I mean, he hadn't played, so usually a guy goes in and he's rusty and hadn't played in a long time. This guy played good. You could see it. He made several outstanding plays in the game. It's a credit to him."

(on how important it would be to get a win for NT Shaun Cody, a former Detroit Lion, on Thanksgiving) "I think for the Texans, overall. We've had a lot of 'never-done-this-before-season' and we'd like to win on Thanksgiving, as everybody would."

(on NT Shaun Cody being ready to play in Detroit) "Yeah, he's got to be ready to play, just like those other guys. They've got to be ready to play. We make the right decision medically on all of them and we have other guys that will come in and play and have done it for us."

RB Justin Forsett
(on his strong play and trying to earn more playing time) "That's the goal for me to go out and just play hard and show the coaches and my teammates that I can be productive when I'm in there. Always trying to earn a role for myself on the offensive side of the ball, that's what I love to do. I'm excited."

(on if he thinks he adds a burst of speed to the offense) "I think so. I like to play with a lot of emotion and I like to fight for the extra yards. I like to go out and kind of be a spark for the team. I think the more opportunity I get the more I can do that."

(on the offense continuing to add weapons) "Definitely, this team is probably the most talented team I've ever been on. So many guys that are backups that could start on other teams, the depth is key. Throughout the season, a long season like that, going into the playoffs, it's going to be key for us to keep stepping up."

(on what he sees from the Lions' front) "They're a ferocious bunch. No pun intended, Lions. They're not really a blitz team, but their d-line, they're able to get a lot of pressure. They've got high-motor guys there. (DT) Ndamukong Suh is a beast up front. They do a lot things that can get us twisted up, so it's key right now just taking those mental reps and getting in the film room so we'll be ready for everything."

RB Arian Foster
(on getting some extra rest from Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "Yeah. They execute a plan very well and they know what they're doing. They've had workhorses before and they know what they're doing. My body feels good. It's actually the best it's felt on a Tuesday. I'm looking forward to the game."

(on if there is extra incentive to play in front of a national audience on Thursday) "Anytime you step between those white lines in the National Football League, you're going to try to do your best. These Thanksgiving games, you grew up watching these. You watched the Barry Sanders. You watched Brett Favre. This is what really got you into the game. My dad's work used to have potlucks and they used to gather on Thanksgiving. I fell in love with the game very early watching games like this."

(on his favorite Thanksgiving food) "It's not really Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is delicious."

ILB Bradie James
(on playing on Thanksgiving) "It's just one of those games where it comes around real quick. The whole country is watching and you want to be on the winning side of that game. You've got to prepare hard. I guess during that week you're almost like walking zombies. Everything is cramming. It's kind of like college when you got that big test and you procrastinated and hadn't really studied until the last minute."

(on having to travel to Detroit) "Nobody really cares about how it happens, all people care about is wins and losses. We care about winning. We have to travel. That's part of the game. You've got to go and prepare and get ready to win."

(on how he feels) "It's real mental. That's one thing that I've learned playing this game every year of my career is it's how you prepare mentally. Of course, physically we're all sore right now, but you can't feel sorry for yourself because you've got a quick turnaround. You've got to be ready to go. Like I said, the whole country is watching so you better bring you're 'A' game."

(on the national stage and looking forward to the days off following the Thanksgiving game) "Yeah, and then the thought of knowing that you have a couple days off, it's how you utilize this time. You want to win so you can actually have enough days where it's almost like a bye week. It's really mental. We talk about mental toughness way in the summertime. This is where it shows."

(on what he does to celebrate Thanksgiving) "Yeah, when we get back, it worked out again this year. Even when I was at LSU we played on Thanksgiving, well the day after Thanksgiving. It's something that I'm used to. We have a lot to be thankful for, so when I get back we usually have dinner and celebrate at that time."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on how he feels) "It's still day-to-day with me, taking it a day at a time. Hopefully, come in here and it feels better and try to give it a chance to see where it's at Thursday."

(on if he's made progress) "I've made some progress, but still haven't had a chance to go out and run to see where I'm actually at with on-the-field stuff. Right now, I'm just resting up and getting as close to Thursday as we can."

(on what he's looking for to let him know if he can play or not) "Just being smart about it overall, am I helping or hurting the team? For me, just going out there and making sure that I can hold up to the task of doing my job completely at a top level where there wouldn't be any drop off in level in play."

(on how disappointed he would be to not be able to go against the Lions passing attack) "Anytime you're not out there with your teammates, the guys you put in the work with throughout the week and throughout the course of the year, it's another disappointment. For me, obviously, I'm one of those guys that want to be out there each and every Sunday competing and battling with my guys. To have a chance to not go out there and play on a special day like Thanksgiving, it'd just be really disappointing to me."

ILB Darryl Sharpton
(on how it was to wait a year to play another game) "It was tremendously hard. Playing football my whole life since I was eight and just pretty much playing year-round all the time, not playing for a year seemed like an eternity. I appreciate every single snap I get. It makes me appreciate everything that much more knowing that I didn't expect to go down that one play. You just can't take anything for granted so I really appreciated everything."

(on if he thinks he's a better player now) "Yeah, I think I'm a better player, better person. I try to take all the positives away from it. It definitely taught me about perseverance and patience. After that long road, like I said, I just appreciated every snap I get every day at practice. I'm just loving being able to be back to play and contribute again."

(on not losing focus during his rehab) "I went to every single meeting, literally every meeting. I went to every single practice, every OTA, every day of training camp I was here even though I was going crazy not being able to play. I still managed to pay attention and take my notes and stay on top of all the changes and corrections, so now when I go out on the field it's like I've pretty much been there mentally."

(on what it means to him to start on Thursday and to have his coaches' confidence) "It means a lot to me and I'm going to go out there and give it my all. Make sure my body is ready to play and I'm going to bring home another victory."

(on if he feels like he's died and gone to heaven right now) "Yeah it's pretty good now. After that long break and now I'm back, I feel like I came back to life. It feels good. I'm just trying to stay healthy and keep contributing."

QB Matt Schaub
(on how his arm feels) "My arm feels fine. My arm feels great, good to go."

(on if he's ever thrown that much in a game) "Well if that's what it takes to win, whatever we need to do as a football team that's what we're going to do. That's what I'm going to do. If it equals winning in the end, so be it."

(on the short week) "Yeah, it is. It's more mental, especially for me and the rest of the guys. Coach (Gary Kubiak) is doing a great job of taking care of us physically and on the practice field. A lot of mental work going through the reps in our mind, we're getting a lot of them jogging through on the field, but just physically getting your body back ready to go after really three days of rest to go out and play well and cut it loose on Thursday."

(on if he was impressed with how the team rallied back on Sunday) "Yeah, it took everybody, no matter what happened in the first half through the first three quarters, we had to find a way to win. Whether it was offensively getting into our no-huddle stuff, moving the football, putting points on the board when we were down 14. Then the defense still had to go out there and stop them after we scored the first touchdown. They got us right back on the field. We were able to score again. They got us back on the field with an opportunity at the end of regulation to score. Then no better time than after I threw the interception in overtime, they stood up and stopped them on four plays and we got the ball back. It just shows you that when a team needed to be at its best we were at our best."

(on playing on Thanksgiving) "Well just the opportunity to go out and play makes it easier for a short transition, just an opportunity to go out and find our tenth win. That's motivation enough for us. Just knowing that it is Thanksgiving, I think that just says something itself. To go out and play on Thanksgiving Day, that's a pretty cool deal. Everyone growing up on Thanksgiving that's what you did. You watched football and you ate turkey. That's kind of what it was all about."

(on if playing on national television adds to the Thanksgiving excitement) "Exactly, you got a chance. All eyes are going to be on you. That's what that day is all about. Everyone is going to be watching to see what your team is made of, so it's exciting."

(on the Lions' defensive line) "They're just relentless. They're physical. They're relentless through the football whether it's run or pass they're just going to go nonstop until someone blows the whistle. That's really what stands out to you."

(on TE Garrett Graham's play ) "We knew what (TE) Garrett (Graham) was all about the past few years, but he's really coming into his own. He's taking advantage of the opportunity that he's earned. He's very consistent, always in the right place. You know that group of tight ends as a whole, they're very smart, very good football players. They just make the plays when they are there and he's coming into his own and really stepping up for this football team."

(on his record-setting day on Sunday and if he received a lot of congratulatory messages ) "Was it only two days ago? I don't even know because it's such a short turnaround. It was, 'Enjoy it for 20 minutes and let's go on to Detroit.' It's in the past."

(on if he enjoys airing it out and throwing a lot more in games) "Being ahead by 20 in the fourth quarter isn't too bad either, but it's fun to go out every now and then to throw it around as a quarterback and spread guys and use all the weapons at your disposal. Our team is built a certain way and we don't want to get to that if we don't have to. It just shows that we can do it and that we can win in many different ways."

(on taking care of business one week at a time) "All that other stuff, that's down the road. We just want to keep handling our business week in and week out. However, we need to do that. We were faced with some adversity the past couple weeks both in a tight ballgame on the road in adverse conditions and then at home here against a good football team in their own right. They gave us everything we could handle. We found a way to win and that's what this business is about at the end of the day, finding a way to get a W."

(on the Lions' defensive front and DT Ndamukong Suh) "Everyone on their defensive front is very good. He's a good football player. Our guys up front are ready for the challenge and just means we've got to get the football out. We can't hold it. We've just got to get it gone and get it to our receivers. We just got to go play ball."

(on the Lions' physicality) "They bring some pressure, but their front four, they're very physical. They're up the field and you try not to get too many one on ones with them because they are very good at those matchups, but we're confident in what our group can do as a whole being able to work our protections."

DE J.J. Watt
(on possibly clinching a playoff spot this Thursday) "Nothing happens unless we win. That means we've got to win. That's my thought."

(on what it'd mean to clinch a playoff spot) "That would be awesome. That would be great. That's, obviously, one of our main goals. It's our first goal to clinch a playoff spot, so hopefully all those other things happen, but I know all we can control is a win so that's what we're going to try and do."

(on what changed for the defense at the end of the game on Sunday) "We started playing better. We weren't playing very good, obviously, as a defense. Our offense moved the heck out of the ball. They were playing great. Obviously right near the end, too. But near the end we started getting more pressure on the passer and I think that was a big key for us."

(on if the defense tried harder at the end of the game) "No, we were trying hard the whole game. We just weren't having much success. Keep trying and trying things and trying things and trying, eventually something starts to work, near the end we just got rolling. When plays needed to be made, we made them. I think that's obviously the sign of a very good team."

(on playing on Thanksgiving) "Really excited, I'm really excited about it. Every Thanksgiving back home I eat with my family, my extended family. We watch the game together, go out on the front yard, play Turkey Bowl, so really excited to be actually playing in the game and knowing that all my family back home is going to be watching. It's going to be really cool. I'm really excited about it and looking forward to the chance."

(on the challenges presented by the Lions' offense) "Obviously they have one of the best receivers in the game in (WR) Calvin Johnson. As a defensive lineman, my mentality is if they can't get the ball to him then he's not going to make too many plays. That's my goal is to make it tough on their quarterback. We always need to stop the run first. They have a very good quarterback and a very good receiver. We need to make sure we try and slow them down."

(on pressuring the quarterback) "I think if you put enough pressure on any quarterback and you attack any quarterback you can make them do things they don't want to do. That's our goal. We want to go in there and like I said stop the run, but then we want to put a lot of pressure on him, make him hopefully throw the ball to our guys."

(on DE Antonio Smith joining the Swatt Team) "We're excited to have (DE) Antonio (Smith) on the Swatt Team. It's been awhile. We're really excited to have him as a member. He was a member in a big way. I think he had two in three plays. That was huge and they came in a crucial time for us so that was awesome."

(on what he learned about the team after Sunday's comeback win) "We learned we can overcome adversity. There were, I think, three or four huge plays that we gave up to them, but nobody on our sideline, nobody on our defense hung their head. Nobody got down and out. Everybody just rallied and near the end of the game we needed to make some big plays and when a lot of other teams might have packed it in we had guys stepping up and making huge plays. (DE) Antonio (Smith) with the batted balls, guys in the back end making plays. It's a sign of a great football team when you can do things like that even when the day is not going your way."

(on if Thursday's nationally-televised game is an opportunity for him to further establish himself to a broad audience) "I think anytime you can get the nation's eyes on you it's a huge chance to show everybody what you're about, what your team is about. Obviously, those guys have stepped up big, (OLB) Aldon (Smith) in the Monday night game. Hopefully it's about more than just sacks, but I'm going to try and get my share of sacks, too."

Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz Conference Call
(on if he's disappointed in the season so far) "Yeah, we're certainly disappointed in the record. We're a team that's 4-6 and we're looking for a win and we have a very tough Houston team coming to town here on a big stage, nationally-televised stage. It gives us good incentive to come. This has been a resilient team. You've got to be able to get through some highs and lows in the NFL. We've had a few more lows than highs this year. We need to just be able to get back on track."

(on if the short turnaround is better after losing a tough game to Green Bay) "I don't know. There are plus sides to both of that. There's something to be said if you win for momentum, sort of, just not having much time and it just sort of carries over. But it also, it does shift your focus very quickly because there's such an urgency to have to focus on the next opponent. The only time I've played a Thanksgiving game, before I was the head coach of the Lions, I was with the Titans in 2008. We had had our first loss of the year. I think we were 11-0 and had our first loss of the year at home to the Jets. Then we had to come to Detroit, and it was good for us then to be able to get that first loss, get that taste out of our mouth and immediately concentrate on the Lions. It helped in that case. But professional football players are used to dealing with a lot of stuff whether it's Sunday night games, Monday night games, short weeks, bye weeks. You take whatever comes to you in this league."

(on the advantage of playing Thursday's game at home) "Well anytime we're playing at home in Ford Field, it's an advantage. Our fans are a big supporters for us and they affect the game. We've had some big prime time games at home where our crowd has forced a lot of offsides penalties and things like that. That certainly means a lot, but it also means a lot to the tradition of the Lions organization, the tradition of the NFL. This is one of the longest traditions in the history of the National Football League. I grew up waking up on Thanksgiving morning to the smell of turkey cooking, watching the parades on TV and then watching the Lions play football. It's just great to be part of that tradition. It's something that Detroit had before anybody wanted it. We've kept it for a long time. We certainly embrace it. It's good for our city. It's good for our fans and hopefully it will be good for our team this Thursday."

(on if he has a deeper appreciation for the Thanksgiving tradition now than when he was a young fan) "There's no question. We stay downtown the night before games. It's not just the Thanksgiving game. It's the Thanksgiving parade. It's the turkey trot. The whole day of Thanksgiving there is the whole parade company that puts everything together. It means a lot. It's not just people from Detroit. We draw from all over the Midwest. Our hotel will be filled with people that travel just to have Thanksgiving in Detroit. It's more than just a game. We're part of a Thanksgiving tradition here. We're not the only piece of it."

(on if he was surprised by Texans QB Matt Schaub's huge game last Sunday) "No, I'm very familiar with (QB Matt) Schaub because coaching with the Titans, had plenty of opportunity to go against him and (WR) Andre Johnson and Gary Kubiak and everything else. We have a lot of respect for Schaub and the way that he can move an offense. He's got good playmakers. They've had consistency. I know they lost (TE) Owen Daniels I guess it was last year with the ACL. It seems like (WR) Andre Johnson has been there for 20 years. It seems like (WR) Kevin Walter's been there for 20 years, Owen Daniels. The passing game has been pretty consistent for him for a long time. He can get as hot as anybody in the NFL. I know that last year he was when he got injured. The Texans were certainly set back even though (QB T.J.) Yates did a great job getting them to the playoffs. He's had a hot hand before. We just got done facing a really good quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. This is going to be a similar challenge this week against the Texans."

(on Texans RB Arian Foster's season and the challenges he presents) "I think one of the biggest things with a guy like (RB) Arian Foster, a guy that carries the ball a lot generally doesn't have as high a rushing average. Guys that get the ball sparingly and the offensive coordinator is sort of picking and choosing spots, getting them a draw on 2nd and 10, getting them a trap on third and long and things like that. You see a lot of those guys with five yards per carry or six yards per carry, but the Arian Foster's, the Eddie George's, the Jerome Bettis's, those guys are handling the ball and they don't care if there is eight-man up or nine-man up or whatever it is. They're not going to have real high averages. What their strength is, is consistency and reliability and the ability to get tough yards and I think those stats that you brought up reflect that. When the games are big, when the times are tough, when you're on the road, he's been able to grind it out and gets yards, regardless of who the opponent is, regardless of them being stacked in the front to take advantage of it or trying to play for the pass and take (WR) Andre Johnson away. He's been consistent and that's what you expect from those kind of running backs and that kind of run game. The Texans are committed to the run game. They always have been under Gary Kubiak."

(on if he' surprised that teams are throwing as much as they do and there are still teams around like the Texans) "Well however you do it, you need to score. If you can control the clock, that's only good if you score at the end of those drives. There are so many high-powered offenses now. Even look at the game that the Texans played against Jacksonville a couple days ago or even Green Bay early, neither of those games they were winning by controlling the clock for 40 minutes and scoring nine points or 16 points. They run up the score in those games. You need to be built for everything and whether you throw it or run it, the main thing is getting the ball in the end zone. There are a lot of good run teams that do that. We did that against Jacksonville a couple weeks ago. We ran for four touchdowns and a fairly easy win over Jacksonville at Jacksonville. However you do it, that would have been nowhere near as effective if we had been held to field goals in those situations. If you go back and you look at some of those Titan teams that you know so well, when you do play ball control and stuff like that, if you're being held to field goals you're keeping the other team in the game. It just takes one kick return or one big play and all of a sudden that score is flipped real quick. The emphasis is scoring touchdowns, getting the ball in the end zone, not just rushing yards, but rushing touchdowns or scoring touchdowns. I think those are the most important things."

(on the Lions' tough schedule this season) "It's the NFL. We also played six of our first nine on the road including two prime time games, two night games on the road. We don't make the schedule. We just play it. All our losses, we've been in every single game late in the fourth quarter. There is no badge of honor in that, but like I said, this team has a lot of fight, has a lot of resiliency. In a lot of our games we're just one play from getting the win. You could say that probably about 75 percent of the NFL games. We've had injuries. Other teams have had injuries. We've had to manage them. We've had to try to find a way to be successful. We haven't always hit on all cylinders this year. We're certainly capable of doing that. There have been times this year we can get hot as any team in the NFL. We're going to need to do that against the Texans this week."

(on if he's surprised that with the way teams are throwing so much that Norm Van Brocklin's record is still intact) "How many does he have? 535 or something? 554, good gracious. I would not be surprised at all if that got broken as wide open as the game can be now and the weapons that offenses have. It's not just about one wide receiver. We just got done playing Green Bay and Green Bay has lost (WR) Greg Jennings for most of this year. All they did was put in (WR) Randall Cobb at the slot and his production has been every bit as good, if not better. Teams don't take a step back. They have a lot of depth. They have a lot of different playmakers. To watch the way that the New England Patriots can work a game plan with weapons, the New Orleans or the Green Bay Packers. We've had some games like that also, where we've thrown for a bunch of yards. I think part of the thing is that it surprises me that that record has stood so long because back in his day the offensive linemen couldn't protect the way that they do now. It was just against the rules. Defensive backs got away with a lot more contact. The pass rushers got away with a lot more extra hits on a quarterback that dropped back to pass. Now, we've had a lot more player safety things with the quarterbacks more protected in the pocket. They've liberalized the offensive line blocking rules, minimized the defensive ability to contact or hold and things like that. Also, hits on defenseless receivers, those guys that used to sort of make sure nobody threw the ball down the middle or made them pay if they did. Now, that's become less of a thing now in the NFL with the player safety. It's opened up the passing game for sure. I think it's probably just a matter of time before somebody breaks that."

(on Lions WR Calvin Johnson's play compared to that of Texans WR Andre Johnson) "They're similar in a lot of ways. They're different in a lot of ways. I don't know (WR) Andre (Johnson) real well, but everything that I've heard about him is that he's such an outstanding person. He's such a hard worker and he's a good team player. (WR) Calvin (Johnson) is the same way. Everybody knows how great a player those guys are. You just turn a game on and you can see. What people don't know about Calvin is as good a player he is, he's even a better person. He's even a better teammate. With all the stereotypical diva wide receiver and things like that, I think these two guys are old-school guys. They go out and they do their job. Both of them block very well. Both of them can make you pay down the field with deep balls, but they both also catch short passes and run after the catch. They're different guys. They have little different strengths on the field, but I think the thing that's more similar about them other than the size and their production is the fact that they're team-first guys. They're willing to do all the little things that maybe get unnoticed when you're getting 117 yards a game."

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson Conference Call
(on what it means to hear of Texans WR Andre Johnson's admiration for him) "It means a lot because especially since you feel the same way about that guy, definitely been looking up to what he's been doing for 10-11 years. He's been doing it for a long time. Definitely, been watching him ever since even before I was in the league."

(on what he likes about WR Andre Johnson's game) "I like the physicality he brings to the game. That's one thing that whenever I see there's something about being physical out there and making your presence known. He does that."

(on what the Jaguars' offense did against the Texans defense and what WR Justin Blackmon did to make plays) "He was just making plays when they came to him. He was making catches and winning the one on ones. Even when he wasn't one on one he still made some plays. That's what we're going to have to do and we look forward to the challenge."

(on if he sees opportunities against the Texans defense) "Yeah from watching film we see things that we can go at them with so definitely. There is going to be some opportunities there."

(on if the Lions are licking their chops to face the Texans' secondary) "Of course they're going to come back especially being on Thanksgiving and sharpen up what they, especially do better than they did last time out. We expect them to have a little chippiness about them, but at the same time, still got to play the game."

(on what he thinks about the Texans' defensive front and DE J.J. Watt) "We're going to have to get in and out our routes and the line is going to have to protect. It's going to be a challenge. He's a heck of a player. He's having a heck of year. I saw some of his stat lines. It's ridiculous. He's got stats for like a guy that the season's over with. It's been fun watching him."

(on if it matters to him if CB Johnathan Joseph plays or not) "No, it don't matter if he does or not. Whether he does or not, we're still going to do what we do. It is what it is."

(on how much difference it makes that WR Titus Young isn't playing) "It shouldn't. The next guy should be able to come in and step and do their thing. It's going to be an opportunity. We got some guys that are looking forward to it and I'm looking forward to seeing them get their chance to get out there."

(on the opportunity to face the Texans) "No doubt about it. We know we can play. We've been in every game we've been in this year. We just didn't finish them out whether it be penalties or something else throughout the game that held us out. We definitely look forward to the opportunity to face this team at the time we are."
(on the mindset in the Detroit offense with him in the red zone) "Well if they're going to vice and brings two guys over top of me that means somebody has a good matchup. We got too many playmakers out here to let that go by the wayside. We still been producing down there at the same time. It's just finding the open man. If there is a way for us to beat you in double coverage, we'll beat it. We're going to make it easy on ourselves if they want to take one guy away from the coverage."

(on if the Texans will double cover him quite a bit) "I can't call it. It's a different story every game. You think you know something then something else happens in the game. You got to wait and play it out and see how it goes."

(on how he feels health wise) "It's definitely coming back. I was banged up there for a little while, but it's coming back. Everybody is banged up around now, but getting better."

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