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Transcript - Practice (Sept. 11, 2019)


Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening statement:

"Well, you guys have heard about [TE] Hunter Henry. I don't have anything else for you on that one. [K] Michael Badgley, he's getting some work in today. He's working back in slowly. [WR] Geremy Davis is going to work his way back in slowly. [CB] Trevor Williams, we put him on IR. [S] Roderic Teamer is not quite ready yet, but he's getting there. [LB] Jatavis Brown, he may get a light load today in practice. [CB] Michael Davis, he's out with a hamstring. [WR] Mike Williams is dealing with a sore knee. He probably won't get much work today. [DE] Isaac Rochell was diagnosed with a concussion on Monday. If I left anyone out, please don't remind me. We did sign a couple of guys to the practice squad — [CB] Tevaughn Campbell, a defensive back, and [WR] Anthony Johnson. We signed [CB] Dontae Johnson to the active roster as a [defensive back]."

On CB Trevor Williams:

"That's why you don't put timetables on people's injuries because you don't know how long it's going to take. His injury is just slower.

"Not really. He's injured. He's out. He's not practicing. He's not playing. We have to get somebody in here that can."

On Henry:

"We spoke this morning. He's taking it tough, but he's doing fine. Hunter wants to be here with his teammates. He wants to play. Not being out there with them, he feels like he's letting people down, but he's not. You can't control these things. You can only control what you can control. He will be back, though. He'll be okay."

On Henry's toughness:

"He came back in and you never knew he was hurt. That says a lot about his toughness as a player, no doubt about it."

On Henry's injury:

"We knew after the game that something was wrong, but we didn't know to what extent."

On possibly signing a tight end:

"[TE] Matt Sokol, he's on our practice squad. We're bringing in a young man to evaluate him today. We'll see. One of those guys will probably be up on Sunday."

On former TE Antonio Gates:

"I haven't been in contact with Antonio. I'm not sure what his situation is."

On CB Dontae Johnson:

"Johnson was with San Francisco with one of [Defensive Coordinator] Gus' [Bradley] disciples — [49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh] — familiar terminology, similar scheme. It should not be hard for him to pick up and play right away."

On WR Mike Williams:

"We signed a wide receiver [to the practice squad] just in case. You just don't know."

On the starting cornerback:

"[CB Brandon] Facyson is the starter, no doubt."

On dealing with injuries:

"You know, it's all over the league. From week-to-week sometimes, you never know what roster you're going to have. As coaches, it's our job to figure out how to win with the personnel that we have."

On being successful despite injuries in the past:

"I give the guys a lot of credit. It has been a next man up mentality all along. There is no complaining and no excuses — just go get it done."

On building depth throughout the preseason:

"You get to see those guys. You get a good evaluation of those guys in preseason because they played a lot. You know what they can do and what they can't do. It's pretty important."

On the Lions:

"I'll tell you, it's a well-coached football team. That defense is looking very stout. They had control of that game last week. They let the Cardinals back in the fourth quarter, but that team, to me, looked like they've definitely taken the next step. They have a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously, they have a franchise quarterback, two stud receivers, a committee in the backfield with [Lions RBs Kerryon Johnson and] C.J. Anderson. [Lions QB] Matthew [Stafford] has done a good job with that group. Their run-action pass right now is as good as anybody that I've seen in a long time. That front seven on defense is pretty salty. Plus, we're playing in their home opener. It's going to be loud. It's going to be crazy. It's going to be exciting. We're going to have our hands full and we're getting ready for it, right now."

On Detroit's front seven defenders:

"Well, they brought [DE Trey] Flowers in from New England. I think he led that team in sacks the last couple of years. He's a pretty salty player. They brought in [Lions DT Damon] Snacks [Harrison Sr.]. I had Snacks in New York. He's one of the best run-stuffers in this league, period. He had the most tackles by any defensive lineman last year. They were giving up 5.4 yards-per-carry before they traded for him last year. When he got there, it went down to 3.1 for a reason. He's pretty good. They have good personnel. I think [Lions Head Coach] Matt [Patricia] is building a defense just like the one that he built in New England."

On playing a team with a defensive head coach:

"Well, I've known Matt [Patricia] for a while. I was in that division. I have a pretty good idea — his defensive coordinator is Paul Pasqualoni, a good friend of mine. I coached with Paul as well. I know both of those guys. They're really good defensive minds and good coaches technique and fundamental-wise. You just don't know what you're going to get sometimes because they can be game-plan specific. It's a really good staff."

On Lions TE T.J. Hockenson:

"That's why they took him [in the first round] of the draft last year. He's from Iowa. They do a good job of producing tight ends at that university. I think he set a record last week for most yards by a first-year tight end. He had 130 receiving [yards]. He's a good football player. He also is a good blocker on the line of scrimmage."

On Lions QB Matthew Stafford:

"He's an accurate quarterback. He's a franchise guy, no doubt about it. He'll have Hall of Fame numbers when all is said and done. I like what [Lions Offensive Coordinator] Darrell [Bevell] is doing with him. Darrell has opened that offense up a little bit. Matthew, he kept a zone-read last week and went for 15 yards. Now you have to account for that. He's definitely the strength of their football team, no doubt about it."

On Lions WR Danny Amendola:

"He's a typical slot guy. He's quick, he has good hands. He's tough. He'll block, he'll catch. He does a nice job of reading coverages and getting open on those option routes. He's a good player. Of course he is, he's from Texas Tech."

On replicating road success from last season:

"I like last year's team. This year's team, I don't know yet. We're going to find out really soon with the bonding and how well we play on the road because this is going to be a heck of a challenge at Ford Field.

"That's why you try to keep your group together because you hope to carry that over, but you just don't know until you do it.

"I just think that this is a tough football team. We moved up here, that was a tough move for everyone. Being in temporary facilities and all that we went through, I think these guys approached it with the right attitude and I think it made them more resilient and made them tougher. When we went on the road, at least last year, it was an, 'Us against the world,' mentality. That's kind of what you want. You like that from your guys. Hopefully, we can carry that over."

On his familiarity with the opposing staff:

"The more you know about the guys and the more that you may have to prepare for, you end up with a jack-of-all-trades but a master of nothing on Sunday. It can backfire on you because you know those guys very well. Usually, you just wait and see what you're going to get. By the second quarter, you know exactly what you're going to get and you just have to make those adjustments."

On September 11, 2001:

"I remember that very well. We were blindsided by it like everyone else was. The feeling that someone had attacked our country the way that we did and the people that we lost — at that time, football wasn't really that important to be honest with you. There was a lot of emotion. We didn't want to play that weekend. There was a lot of praying and reaching out to family members. It was a tough time, but I think getting back on the football field kind of helped heal the spirits. Hopefully, we can do that this weekend."

On if Henry's injury could be season-ending:

"We're not putting him on IR, so we're hopeful to get him back."


On TE Hunter Henry:

"It's obviously disappointing, but you hate it for him without excited it was. What a tough year it was for him last year and how hard he worked to get back — just how excited he was to be out there. You know he's down. Obviously, from our offensive standpoint you saw what a big part he is [with what he did] last week and what he was going to be here as the season got going. Hopefully, we're getting all of these out of the way early in the year and we'll get some of these guys that have been out, healthy for the back half of the year."

On playing in Detroit:

"Gosh, if I remember right, [the last time we played there] was right around Christmas in 2011 I guess it was — 2011 or '12. It wasn't our best day. It's a neat place to play. It will be cranked up, I'm sure, noise-wise with it being their home opener. That's a good team. It will be a challenge, kind of our first test together on the road, handling the noise, the silent count and all of those things. We'll get some good work at that all week and be ready for it."

On Detroit's game last week:

"I'll tell you what, defensively they played really well. Really, the whole game [they played well]. [Cardinals WR Larry] Fitzgerald made two huge catches in that game — the third-and-14, I think it was, down the boundary was an unbelievable play by him — that really got [Arizona] going. If not for that play, I don't know that Arizona gets close. It's early in the year. It's a good defense. They change it up with their fronts. Front-wise — first of all, they have a stout front — but they mix it as far as how they line up and then they have guys on the back end that can cover you. It will be a good challenge and they're a team that, again, we're not as familiar with. We don't see these guys very often."

On Detroit's front seven defenders:

"I mean, they're stout against the run and they also get after the passer. They really push the pocket. Obviously, they signed [Lions DE Trey] Flowers from New England, who we played against last year in the postseason — he had a good game against us there. It's a stout group. They make you earn every yard you get. It will be a good test for us."

On last season's road success:

"We need to [replicate it]. We were, as you said, great on the road last year. There's something about that last year. We grew to where we embraced it. There's something about going into somebody else's place, rallying together, playing well and finding a way to win. We were able to do that in different ways last year. Most of them were close games, but a couple of them we were able to kind of control them the whole way. I thought the one thing this past week that we did a nice job of was that we didn't really have many penalties — either team. Handling that stuff, false starts and some of those things — not hurting ourselves and managing that, the noise, the environment and it's the first time doing it together this season."

On planning for an infrequent opponent:

"It is different, then you throw in the fact that it's different than it was four years ago — the whole staff and everything. The scheme is different and when four years pass, a lot of times it's not even the same players anyway. There are a couple of the guys that are there from when we played them 2015 in our home opener. It's different, so you're not as familiar, I think, with the personnel. Scheme-wise they're a little similar to New England, being that [Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia] was there for a long time. Then again, they do some things totally different as well. It does take you a little bit longer. This is really our first, true game week of preparation — in my mind. We had a long time to prepare for that Colts game. We were looking at them. Any spare moment I had, I was watching a Colts game from last year. It's a little different when it starts on a Monday morning. It's been good so far."

On Lions QB Matthew Stafford:

"Matt is a really good player. He's tough, he's going to compete until the end. His team is never out of a game. He's going to keep letting it rip, no matter what the score is — whether they're ahead or behind. I know those guys, how they feel about him and how hard they play being led by him. I have their defense to worry about, but certainly knowing that he's on the other side, you know they're in every game."

On accomplishing milestones:

"Really, in the last couple of years, there have been a few things that you don't even know about that get brought to your attention when they come up. I have, with a few of those, to kind of take a second, pause and just be thankful that I've been able to be out there that many and be fairly consistent over the years. All of those guys that you've mentioned — you mentioned [Hall of Fame QB Dan] Marino — those are guys that, shoot, I had posters of them on my wall when I was little. I always dreamed of playing quarterback in this league. The fact that I've been able to do it — in some ways you're mentioned up there with those guys. I'm certainly far off in many other ways, but to say it's not special or you don't appreciate it would be lying. It is pretty cool any time any of those things come up."

On Henry's injury:

"I think I'm mainly just sick for Hunter [Henry]. Shoot, it's one of those where — you know as a quarterback that you never want to put your guys in any position [to get injured]. I don't think I put him in a bad spot. I think I would throw that ball again. I felt the nickel. He was able to carry on there through overtime and make some plays. You wish there was something that you could have done throw-wise to maybe protect him a little bit. Hopefully, he heals up quickly and we get him back out there."

On injuries:

"They are part of the game. There are certain years where you're more banged up than other years. I certainly think that your ability to handle it when you have some guys down is key. You hope in many cases that they aren't season-ending and that you get some guys back, and you're able to weather the storm, per se, while you're missing some guys. Thankfully, we have a deep group. We have a lot of guys. Like we've said, it's not only the next guy that's in there, I think the guys believe in the next guy that's going to be in there in all of these situations. We just will figure out how to try to win one game at a time. We don't look at it in the big picture. Just figure out how we're going to find a way to beat Detroit."

On September 11, 2001:

"I was a sophomore [at North Carolina State]. It's crazy that it's been 18 years. You know it's a tough day for the country, but certainly for all of those that were directly affected, lost family members and friends — people that were directly touched by that. Like all of us across the country, but certainly those directly [affected]. I had a slow morning that morning. I remember kind of seeing some of it live, the second plane, I think. First, it's crazy that it has been 18 years. Certainly, it's a tough day looking back for our country and many of those that were directly affected."

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