AUGUST 5, 2019
Opening statement: “Before we get going, I wanted to express my sympathy and condolences for Don Bank’s family. I know there’s a lot of people in the room that worked with him. We didn’t cross paths too much when I was at New England, but I know how tight-knit the media community is, just wanted to make sure we were thinking about his family. We’re very excited to have the Patriots here to practice against us this week. It’s a great opportunity for us as a team, and an organization, to go out and compete against somebody else in a team setting where we think we can get a lot of different aspects of the game practiced. You will see a lot of different movement through the course of the practice. We will utilize the two fields, and a lot of team work, a lot of individual work, a lot of competitive drills, and then also some situational stuff as we go through practice. Should be exciting. Should be a high level of competition, should get some great evaluation and great work done here today.”
On how important joint practices for veterans are: “It’s one of the things we kind of went through when I was at New England a while ago, where we fell through the course of training camp – got to the third week of training camp, guys maybe got tired of hitting each other, got tired of some of those competitions we were doing and bringing in another team kind of revitalized some of that. I think it’s very important for the veterans, and really the entire team, where we get a good opportunity to go out and run some different things that we might not run in some preseason games and get a chance to take a look at some different packages and some different things that we might do that not necessarily we are working for the season that wouldn’t be prevalent in the game. Just in general it’s good just to have fresh competition to go out and work against somebody new.”
On what he wants to accomplish this week: “Biggest thing for us is to have a good practice. I think it’s no different than when we practice against ourselves. I think both teams understand how important it is for us to get work in, good work. That’s really what it’s about. It’s nothing more than improving on our fundamentals, working our techniques. It’s good to see a little bit different scheme back and forth so that we can focus on the fundamentals that we’re trying to improve on and see how they work against other schemes at that standpoint, but it’s still going to be all about evaluation. From a coaching staff standpoint, it’s the same for us. We need it too. We need to be able to go out and recognize certain things that an opponent’s doing without having a lot of chances to scout or analyze what they’re doing – react to it out on the field and hopefully be able to make corrections and produce. It’s a good practice for us too.
On how he chooses what part of practice to watch: “You kind of get torn in a lot of different directions. The sweet part about it is there’s a lot of cameras out there. We’ll go back, we’ll watch a lot of tape tonight and through the course of the week. I’ll move from different drills to drills based on different things I want to see from players.”
On if him and New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick were on the same page when making the practice script: “As simple as it could be. These are things that he and I have done for a lot of years together. Not against each other, but obviously together. Really just going back through some different formats that we used and kind of agreeing both sides, based on where our teams were right now and just trying to get the best evaluation for what we need for the players that we currently have. Pretty easy conversation all the way through the spring, through the summer, and up until last night.”
On what he learned about Patriots QB Tom Brady while coaching for the Patriots: “Obviously a great player. A lot of familiar faces, which is great. It’s always great to see everybody. It will be no different when we go on the field. For me, it’s about the Lions. It’s about what we’re trying to do and what we have to accomplish. Certainly, in regard to Tom, he is an unbelievable player. He is a great person. He’s an even better friend, but when you step on that field it’s about competition. There is no one more competitive than him. That makes me more competitive too. That’s what’s great, but we just want to have a good clean practice. It’s not about anything other than that. It’s about practice right now and that’s what’s got to be the focus.”
On if the familiarity with the players makes this joint practice different than others: “Probably, there is so much movement through the course of the league right now. You’re always going to run into guys that have worked with other players on other teams. There’s probably a little bit more crossover with some of the players here, but not really all of them from that standpoint. It will still be new. Even when you go against guys through the course of the season that you’re familiar with that you’ve seen before. There’s always something different, something new, something that you have to respond to or react to. It’s just good in that manner. It really just brings out the best of everybody.”
On how much Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has influenced his coaching career: “I’ve talked at length about my relationship with Coach Belichick and how important that is and how private that is. I really appreciate him, not only someone that helped me develop my career and coaching along with the other coaches I worked for, but as a friend, from that standpoint. He’s a great person and really good to me. I’m the head coach of the Lions, he’s the head coach of the Patriots. We are in a very competitive business and he’s running his organization, and we’re trying to do the best we can here. We just try to focus on our teams.”
On how important former New England Patriots players, now current Detroit Lions players, have been to the culture he is trying to promote: “It’s always good when you bring guys in that you’re familiar with and kind of already have a background from that standpoint. They understand what – for me as a head coach, what I expect and what we’re trying to do. The culture here is strictly Lions culture. We’re trying to build our own culture here, and we’re just trying to bring in the right guys. Doesn’t matter if it’s Jesse James or Justin Coleman, who spent time at Seattle in a totally different system or Oday Aboushi. All those guys are brought in from a veteran stand point to help us get better – Mike Daniels is another guy. Just trying to bring in the guys that we think are going to understand what we’re trying to do and get on board and go in that direction. For us it’s about building the Lions.
On how he thinks the Detroit Lions will perform against the New England Patriots in practice: “We’re interested to see us compete against all the position groups. The great thing about football is everybody starts over every year. Wherever they’re at, they’re at, and wherever we’re at, hopefully we find out how we compete against that through the course of a couple days and through the game. Certainty it’s all a part of the process of us building toward the season. Both organizations and both teams – head coaches know that neither of us are in peak form. We have a long way to go. No one’s even gained a first down in the NFL this season, on our two teams anyway. I think we’re just trying to make sure we go out and practice at a high level and a competitive level. We’re going to have to go in and correct it, and fix it, and see how it goes. But it’s always great to get great competition, which is certainly what the Patriots provide.”
On if these joint practices with the Patriots help scout future player transactions: “We’re just staying in the moment. It’s going to be about our guys and what we can do to make them better. That’s got to be our focus as coaches. How do we just continually try to make our players better as we go through the course of training camp? We’ve got a long haul here, we’ve just barely started. We’ll have a couple great weeks of practice, and four great games in front of us to try to do that. That’s where our main focus is.”
On how much it helps the Lions defense to go against New England Patriots QB Tom Brady: “It’s good in general just to go against a different scheme, different offense, different quarterback. Through the course of training camp and the different teams that we play, we’ll face distinctively different quarterbacks, which is good because that’s what it’s going to be during the season. Week in week out, we’re going to need to adjust to that. We’re going to need to get out of our mode where again, we’re a couple weeks into training camp, you get into that grind, but you get into that groove of that same familiarity every single day. This is a huge change up to that, which is really what is important. Obviously, the quarterback is a big part of that.
On if he got to watch the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement: “I love the history of the game and love all that stuff. I didn’t watch any of it live. I was trying to skim through some of the highlights of it. Obviously very excited for Ty (Law) – being such a great friend and a great player and being around him. I just love all of it. I think it’s the pinnacle of those guys’ career and everybody that was inducted and what they were able to accomplish. I think that’s what we’re all striving to be apart of. Just continually trying to be great and better and all the rest of it. I think that’s just a great way to kick off the season and a reminder for all of us that are kind of in the middle of it right now, grinding through, that there’s definitely different goals at the end of this for everybody, and we all just have to keep pushing for it.”
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