HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
How did RB Lamar Miller look this week and do you feel good about him for Sunday?
“I would say that will be a game-time decision. I think he did a decent job this week, but I still think that’s going to be something that’ll be made sometime Sunday morning.”
Is S Corey Moore still in the concussion protocol?
“You know what, he practiced today, so I think that if he practiced and didn’t have any symptoms today that he would be good to go and it didn’t look like he had any symptoms. That’s kind of my opinion. Of course, I’m not an M.D. I’m just a coach.”
How much has it helped DE Jadeveon Clowney to have consistent play uninterrupted with injuries?
“Definitely. The fact that he’s out there every day at practice, getting all the reps in practice and then like you said having all the reps in the games. I mean there’s no substitute for that. When you’re young and you’re injured and you’re in and out of the lineup or you’re not in the lineup for a long time, it’s hard. It’s hard to make up that lost ground and I think he’s done a really good job of being out there every day and he’s been one of our most productive players. No doubt about it.”
Do you feel that S Quintin Demps will be able to make a return this Sunday?
“I think that’s definitely in the Lamar Miller category of we’ll have to make a determination on Sunday.”
When you look at the Lions running backs, how much do you have to factor in that you haven’t seen much of RB Justin Forsett?
“As it applies to the whole team, you’re really not as familiar with this team. We’ve had to really do a good job of catching up as far as info on this team as it relates to the running backs. They’ve been very productive with (Theo) Riddick, with (Zach) Zenner, and now Forsett. We’ve studied all those guys. They all have different skillsets obviously. They’ve all been productive, some injured, things like that. In and out of the lineup. I think it’s very important that our guys continue to study that right up till game time because all those guys are a little bit different.”
When it comes to S Lonnie Ballentine, you’ve had a number of injuries and cuts over the years but you’ve kept him on the roster. What did you see in him and why was it important to keep him?
“I would say that first of all, he’s a good guy. He’s a hardworking guy. He’s a smart football player. When he was injured last year, he was playing a lot. You could argue that he was starting for us and then he was helping us on special teams. He’s got good length, good athletic ability. He’s an instinctive player. We felt like the best decision for this football team was to rehab him and get him ready to play because when he could help us, we felt like he could help us.”
After the first training camp that S Lonnie Ballentine had with the team, he felt that he was going to get cut and he didn’t. How much of his family situation affected that decision and how aware were you of his family situation?
“At that time, I don’t think I was as aware of it as I am now. I think that he’s got a lot going on off the field and he’s got a great, great family and, just like everybody else, he’s got things he has to deal with off the field. I think he’s done a really good job of being able to compartmentalize and understand that when he’s here his focus is on, whether it’s rehab or the game plan now. He does a really good of that. I think he’s got a good maturity about him and I think that’s going to help him in his career. As far as being cut, one of the things that these guys all understand is that at any time they could be cut. That’s just the nature of the business. That’s the nature of the NFL. I think that is part of their motivation especially with guys like Lonnie.”
How difficult is it to get ready for Sunday’s game with it being a short week?
“I think when you look at the fact that we got back late and all those things, you would say, ‘yeah that would be difficult,’ but I thought these guys approached the week very well. I thought that they showed up on Thursday ready to go. They had a good practice yesterday. We had a good practice today. They’ve been in early. All these guys have been in by 6:30 in the morning. They’ve stayed late. I’ve been very happy with the way these guys approached the week.”
DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
What are the keys to the defense doing a better job against the run?
“We just have to win one-on-one matchups. We have to do what we have been, just win our one-on-one’s and make plays.”
Can you explain the difference between home and the road?
“You feel better playing in front of your crowd. You have them with you. I guess we feed off it a lot more at home than we do on the road.”
You’re a little banged up. Are you going to be ready to go on Sunday?
“I’m good. I’ll be ready to go Sunday.”
What do you see from Lions QB Matthew Stafford in terms of having that quick release?
“Oh yeah, he’s a good quarterback. He makes all the throws across the field. We have to keep him in the pocket. He’s like the third-leading rusher on the team, so we have to contain him, keep him in the pocket and just try to get after him and help our DBs out in the secondary.”
Can you draw upon some of the things you did against Colts QB Andrew Luck and apply it to Lions QB Matthew Stafford?
“Yeah. We have to do kind of, sort of the same thing: keep him in the pocket and try to win our one-on-ones, get pressure on him as much as possible so he can make some bad decisions with the ball, hopefully.”
The Lions have had a couple late comebacks recently.
“Yeah. You can’t stop playing on them. You have to finish the game until the clock says 00:00. We know that going into this game so we have to be prepared for a four-quarter battle with these guys coming up. So, I’m getting ready for that.”
How good would it be for this team to go into the break at 5-3?
“That would be great. That would be better than we were last year – 2-5 – so that would be a good break.”
How tough is it to prepare for their rushing attack since they’re still trying to figure it out with so many new pieces?
“We just have to figure it out ourselves what we have to do. We’re really focusing on us right now. Because we’ve been having trouble stopping the run, really trying to get everybody to feed on stopping the run this week. Get to the ball, try to get 11 hats to the ball – that’s how you stop the run – everybody get to the ball.”
Is it usually like that? Focused more on you guys?
“Yeah. We want to focus on us, try to get our matchups that we want and come out there and just execute the game plan, try to win.”
How good has it been for you to just keep going out there and not be thinking about anything else?
“It’s great. I mean, I’m getting better each week. I feel like I’m coming along better. So, I’m just trying to get better and better each week, grow as a player and pick it up for my teammates so they can keep buying into it.”
Is that a noticeable thing to you, that you’re getting better each week?
“Yeah, I notice it. I feel like I am.”
Do you think your teammates and coaches notice it?
“Yeah, they’re talking to me about it. They say, ‘Keep coming. You have to keep bringing it.’ So week-by-week, I try to keep bringing it.”
What’s been the key to you being able to lead the league in tackles for loss among defensive ends?
“I don’t know. I just play ball, get off, disruption, anything. I just try to get penetration on the offensive line as much as possible. Since I’m lacking in weight, I try to get off, penetrate. That’s my thing.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
How do you view your situation for Sunday?
“It’s getting better daily. Every morning, I’ve been feeling better. I’m just going to try to go day-by-day with it.”
What happened in the game and what did you feel as the game went on?
“When I was running the ball on the 25 yard line, I was just trying to brace myself, but I got hit in my shoulder. It was like my shoulder felt kind of numb a little bit.”
So, it’s just pain management throughout the game?
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Was it the hit or the fall or the combination of it all?
“I didn’t fall. It was just the hit, more of the impact. It’s part of football.”
How much could it limit you on Sunday?
“I’m not really sure. I’m just going to go day-by-day and hopefully Sunday I’ll be full go. That’s the plan. I’m not really sure how much I will play right now, but hopefully I will be in there.”
So you will be surprised if you don’t play on Sunday?
“Yes. Of course I want to be out there with my teammates. I want to play so I’m going to fight through it.”
Are you close to 100%?
“I’m not really trying to put any percentage on it, but I’m getting better daily, every day.”
To play with it, is it just a certain mindset to deal with the pain?
“I think it’s a mindset. On Monday night, I would try to fight through it, but sometimes when you get hit on it, it’s pain. At the end of the day, pain is only temporary. That’s the mindset I’ve been telling myself.”
Is it frustrating to have this setback after the run game has been playing so well?
“Yes, but that’s part of the game just getting injured. Hopefully, I can be out there with my teammates just to keep things going and keep building, so once we get in our division game, we’ll be good.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien has told us that you will be day-to-day. What do you need to do pregame to determine if you will play?
“To be honest, I’m not really sure. I know I had the same injury like two years ago. It was a game-time decision. When I went out there, I was just running around to see how it felt. All the hitting and stuff, it comes with playing football. That’s something I’m used to, like I said before, I tell myself pain is only temporary.”
Would you call it a stinger?
“Somewhat, I guess.”
“Yeah, I would call it a bruise for the most part.”
You feel better than you did?
“Yeah, I feel way better than the beginning of the week.”
Did you have to have an MRI?
“Yes, they were just checking to make sure all the ligaments are all good.”
How good is the emergence of RB Alfred Blue?
“I think Alfred Blue, he has been doing a great job. Every time he gets his opportunity, he makes plays. He keeps the running game going so I think he’s been doing a great job. I think he will keep it up.”
Why do you think the run game has been better the last two weeks?
“I would just say we are getting comfortable with the scheme and the offensive line. They have been doing a great job the past couple of weeks. I give all the credit to those guys. They have been making my job and the other running backs job easier. We are just feeding off of those guys and just trying to get better.”
Do you think having T Duane Brown has helped with the run game?
“Yes, just having a veteran guy like him, being a Pro Bowl player, it helped the whole offense just to have that leadership and have somebody there in the huddle with you.”