HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Is there any update on T Derek Newton’s injury?
“We’re still gathering a bunch of information. He’ll obviously be out for the season. I can’t give you any specifics on the injuries and things like that because we still have doctors’ visits. He stayed overnight in Denver and he’s on his way back now. I feel bad, just a tough injury, but I know he’s going to work hard to come back.”
The offensive line was able to keep QB Brock Osweiler upright in the game. Was that something you specifically game planned for knowing how good Denver is?
“I thought the line did a decent job all night, I really did. We rushed for 140 yards. I thought they battled hard. They competed. Overall, I think there obviously has to be a lot more consistency on offense and a lot better production, obviously. Stating the obvious there. I thought the line battled hard.”
What’s happened to your run defense?
“Yeah, it’s not very good. We gave up 190 yards rushing. I think we all have to do a better job. We’ve got to coach it better. We’ve got to get off blocks better. We’ve got to tackle better. At times, we stop it and it looks pretty good, but it’s too inconsistent. We have to do a much better job.”
Does it force you to change things you want to play as far as defenses because you have to focus so much on stopping the run?
“Well, I think any time an offense is able to run the football, it makes it very difficult on a defense. It does. It does affect your game plan and we have to – people use the phrase, ‘Go back to the drawing board’ – I don’t know if that’s what it is. I think every team is different. The way that Detroit runs the ball is a lot different than the way that Denver runs the ball. We’re going to have to really study hard here on Detroit and figure out what we need to do to stop the run because it has to get a lot better.”
What have you seen from Lions QB Matthew Stafford this season?
“Well, you know, we just started working on them a little bit a couple days ago. Just from what I’ve seen so far, obviously very talented guy, very competitive, never thinks the play is over. The game is never over with this guy. No lead is safe. Tough, scrambler, got a lot of respect for the way he plays the game. I think he’s a heck of a quarterback.”
You speak about consistency. Why do you think the offense has struggled so much this year when the past two seasons you did not have as much consistency at the quarterback position or key spots?
“That’s a tough one. If I knew the answer to that, I would probably be standing here in a better mood. We are trying to fix it. Coaches and players alike, we are all in it together. It’s not from a lack of effort; it’s not from a lack of preparation. Give Denver a lot of credit. They did a really good job especially against our passing game. Obviously, I think we had 70 yards passing at one point late in the game. It has to get better. It has to get better and we’re working hard to try to improve it. I can’t really pinpoint one thing. I think everybody’s in it together and we all just have to do a better job.”
QB Brock Osweiler has only had seven starts and obviously he’s not a tenured starter. Are you convinced with what you have seen of him in your offense, and you know your offense so well, that he can be a top-level quarterback in this league, with this team in this offense?
“He’s a good player. I think it’s very difficult to come into a new system and a new team and just pick it up right away. I think everybody has to do a better job. Coaches, we all have to do better. I think he can play better. I know that the receivers can run routes better. We can continue to work and continue to go down the same inconsistent road, but eventually we have to find consistency or we aren’t going to be where we want to be. He’s a good football player. He prepares hard. He practices hard. He’s out there every day. He’s in here getting treatment. He’s doing everything that he needs to do to try to be the best quarterback he can be.”
You talk about consistency on both sides of the ball. What do you need to do differently to achieve that? What does that look like in terms of preparation?
“I think in all three phases, I think you’ve seen glimpses, you guys might not agree with this, but we are 4-3. There has been some consistent play. When it is consistent, when it is good, we’ve been able to move the ball on offense, score touchdowns. We’ve been able to stop the run on defense. We’ve been able to cover kicks better, return kicks better. But when it’s bad, it’s bad. We are all trying to work together to get that good part of it and make that even more so, obviously. It’s a very difficult question for me to answer. If I knew the answer, believe me, I would probably be in a better mood. We are all striving for that and we’re trying to get better. It’s not from a lack of effort. We are going to keep working to be more consistent.”
How is RB Lamar Miller doing? Is that just more of a bruise situation with the shoulder?
“Yeah, I think he’s doing better today. He’d definitely be in the day-to-day category, though. With the short week here, we’ll have to see how he is. But I give the guy a lot of credit. He’s a tough guy. He’s a pro football player. He really came back and kept wanting to play, and I think that’s good. And I thought (Alfred) Blue, other than the fumble, I thought Blue ran the ball hard, too.”
It seemed like another game where people tried to go after CB A.J. Bouye and were unable to have success.
“Yeah. He was definitely one of the bright spots last night. He played really well. He played at a very high level. He tackled well, he covered well. He’s playing very well.”
You say that QB Brock Osweiler is doing everything right, he works hard and he’s talented. What do you say to him to help him take those next steps?
“I think his ability to keep his poise is a big part of it. He does a good job of that. He has good communication skills on the sideline between series. Look, we’re going to meet with him tomorrow, watch the tape and talk about what we see and then move on to Detroit. He works very hard. When I say he’s doing things right, I’m talking about his preparation, his showing up to practice every day, the way that he takes care of his body. All those different things, he’s doing very well, but we all have to play better when the lights go on. We have to play better, we have to coach better. That’s what we’re all striving to do.”
You benched quarterbacks the last two years. Have you considered benching QB Brock Osweiler?
When you say you’re doing everything you can do, at what point do you run out of things?
“You never run out of things. No, I think every game is different. This is a long season. These are 16 one-game seasons, like I said before, and we have nine left. We have to approach Detroit as a season unto itself. Look, you can never – in this sport and the way every week goes and how different teams are, there’s always different challenges and things that present to you, ‘hey look, this is how we have to play more consistently, this is what we’re going to have to do to beat this team, we have to improve these things.’ So, there’s always that challenge. That’s sports. That’s football. If there was perfection all the way around then why would we even do it? So, we’re challenged here and we’re going to try to do a better job.”
Teams are pressuring QB Brock Osweiler a lot. Is he struggling to make the reads and run the offense as quickly and as smoothly as you need him to?
“I think different teams present different challenges and I think that Denver did a good job with their third down package and even on first and second down they did some good things. I think that Brock is working very hard to understand our system and how it applies to different defenses. I don’t think it’s easy to just jump right in and quickly be able to apply a brand new system to what a top level defense is doing. I think we all have to do a better job of coaching and teaching it and then obviously all of us as players and coaches when we get to game time we have to do a better job of executing it.”
This was CB Kareem Jackson’s first game back from a hamstring injury. How did you think he did in Monday’s game?
“Kareem battled. Kareem was out there and first game back in a while. I thought he was out there. Had a couple tackles. They’ve got some good receivers, but I thought he was competitive all night.”
What are your thoughts on S Lonnie Ballentine’s play in Monday’s game?
“It was good to get Lonnie back. He’s going to work himself back into football shape and I think he’ll get better and better the more he plays.”
Is the run defense doing poorly because DE J.J. Watt is out or does the defense just have to play better against the run?
“I think that the nature of the league is that everybody deals with injuries. So whenever there’s an injury, the next guy has to step up. It’s the same thing now at right tackle. Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm stepping up when J.J. was injured. There’s no excuses. They don’t cancel the games when there’s injuries, so we have to all do a better job. Again, it probably gets boring listening to me. Coaches and players, we all just need to do a better job of playing and coaching better on Sundays.”