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Jim Schwartz Monday Press Conference Recap, Week 4: 2-0 in NFC North, Detroit Lions Look Forward

September 30th, 2013 at 2:52 PM
By Max DeMara

Likely buoyed by some leftover adrenaline from yesterday afternoon, a passionate Jim Schwartz met with the media Monday and spent plenty of time recapping the Detroit Lions' big 40-32 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Schwartz spoke with emotion about "his" players, especially when the discussion shifted to Kris Durham, who contributed a big game but made an even bigger recovery of an onside kick while taking what Schwartz felt was an unnecessary hit. Schwartz also discredited Chicago's idea that Israel Idonije helped the Lions' running game by calling out line plays, passionately responded "no" when asked if his team tackled well, and discussed injuries to the secondary while dissecting Detroit's success with third down defense.

The one thing Schwartz didn't do? Place any higher premium on winning in Green Bay this weekend, which is, of course, the topic du-jour around town this week, considering the Lions haven't done that in two decades. Here's that and much more from inside Monday's press conference.

Injury Update On Rashean Mathis: "He is in the facility today, he has worked out. During the game, we tested him, didn't show many symptoms. Our people decided to err on the side of caution there. But he came in, worked out this morning, didn't show any additional symptoms. We would expect he's ok."

Did The Bears Doctors Have An Impact On Mathis Not Playing? "No, that's always our doctor's decision but our doctors will always take in every bit of information they can. Concussions, we're pretty well documented of being one of the most conservative teams in the league with sending our players back in. We erred on the side of caution there. Mathis was helpful during the game, he worked with Slay on the sideline, and did some things that a person who had a concussion wouldn't do. We feel pretty good about where he is now."

Injury Update On Chris Houston: "He wasn't able to finish the game and that's always an indication (of something significant). We'll just see, he has a leg injury. We'll see where he can get to this week, if he can't go, we'll have next guy up. It doesn't appear though it's more than day to day or week to week, but we'll have to see."

You're Now 21-19 Recently After Plenty Of Trouble Before. Have You Turned Another Corner? "We don't have a banner that says "we're 21-19." Obviously, we're trying to improve. We're in an absolute race right now to see if we can improve, move guys in, move guys out. We're in the quarter pole. I bet you during week 14 people are still talking about filling in for injured guys and limiting mistakes. Our focus is ahead and not the past. It's a lot more immediate than that."

If Houston Can't Play, Will Darius Slay Take Over? "I don't announce any depth chart things. I don't announce that because there's no advantage when it comes to informing an opponent. We'll keep our depth chart stuff to ourselves and see on Sunday."

Were The Secondary Breakdowns At The End A Case Of Prevent Defense Or Bad Play?  "We weren't in prevent mode. I thought Darius (Slay) did some good things in the game. He had a couple bad plays, the two point conversion being one. I thought he did some good things. We had a couple fourth downs, some two point conversions there, some things we can do better. Jonte (Green) kept active in the game, but he was pressed into service. A couple plays he can play better, but he also did some good things. We can improve our pass defense and our pass rush. We can improve turnovers. We're happy with the win, but know there's things we can do better."

Did Brandon Pettigrew Do Extra Work Last Week To Improve? "He hasn't been doing any work that he wasn't doing last offseason. Pettigrew's a good player, he's made a lot of good plays for us. He went through a rough spot. A lot of players do. He's a very prideful player. When his team needed him this week, he answered. I don't think he made those plays because he was ultra concerned. He trusted his technique."

What's The Best Thing About Detroit's Record And Play So Far? "We've gotten off to a 3-1 start. We're 2-0 in division, which is important for us. We didn't have a division win last year. We have some explosive ability not just in our pass game, but in our run game. Our last 12 (games) won't hinge on what happened in the first four (games), though. The teams that remember that will do the best. I think our personality as a team, we've been battle tested as a team, have been some through spots. I like our perseverance."

Is There A Chance For You To Finish Strong Now, Given The Woeful Records Of Teams On Your Schedule? "You never know what's gonna happen. Who knows how all those records will end up. As it all goes forward, all we can worry about is the next team on the schedule. You can never judge anything than the immediate thing last week."

The Players Seem To Think This Could Be The Year To Finally Win In Green Bay. How Big A Win Would That Be? "Honestly, in my career, I don't think we've ever went into a game not thinking we could win. It would certainly be a big win for us. One, it would be our fourth win, number two, we'd be 3-0 and with another chance to put a loss on a divisional opponent. Building confidence is important to a team. I think there is something to the confidence knowing you can pull through things. we've had things this year, playing without Reggie Bush, or playing without Nate Burleson and there's confidence in knowing you can get through that."

Is Green Bay The Toughest Place To Win In The NFL? "They're all tough, but it's the 11 players they're putting on the field which makes it that way. I don't know there's a place you can say isn't a tough road game in the NFL. You don't win because of the name on the field, though, you win because of the 11 you put on the field."

Talk About The Play Of Louis Delmas Sunday. Best Game As A Lion? "I think Delmas is getting back in the swing of things. We tried to be prudent with the way we prepared him during camp and the preseason. He had the two interceptions, but also had the open field tackles. I think that's one of Lou's best assets. He's got a new safety (Glover Quin) and a new corner (Rashean Mathis) and I like the dynamic between those two guys (Quin and Delmas). I think more experience together certainly will help there."

What Explains Your Success With Defending Third Down? "That's a credit to Gunther Cunningham and our coaching staff. We certainly spend a lot of time on third down. The rate we're going on now (11-47) will be pretty tough to sustain. We have guys who can rush, guys who can get the ball on the back end, I think the combination of the two, and the fact we blitz from time to time has helped us be effective."

Did Israel Idonije Calling Out Defensive Signals (As Accused By Some On The Bears) Impact Your Success Running The Ball? "Yeah, I really think that's ridiculous. I think it takes away from the players on the field. We run blocked well and we opened holes. To say that Reggie Bush, who's 8 yards behind the quarterback, is hearing line calls is ridiculous. I'd also like to point out they signed (former Lion) Landon Cohen last week, and we didn't change our scheme since Landon was here. I like to concentrate on the players on the field."

Is There Anything Wrong With Stealing Signals? Should Teams Change Theirs Up Year To Year? "I can't comment on what anyone else does. We do use different calls. I like to say our guys did a good job staying in position and blocking.  We had a good scheme, and our running backs did a good job when we had the ball."

This Was The Second Time Detroit Has Given Up A Long Touchdown Run This Year. What's Going On There? "The first one was Adrian Peterson doing what he does. I thought we did a good job rallying and coming back from that. Yesterday, one was on a reverse, and the other was a play on the edge that, you know, we were out of position. All three were different though. You don't want to give up long runs."

Why Didn't You Go On Fourth Down Deep In Chicago Territory Early In The Game? "It's 4th down, we're trailing 3-0. You want to get some points early in the game. Each one (fourth down call) is a bit different, but one of the things was important was our field goal team was 100 percent effective Sunday. The guys have worked hard to address the past issues they had. With the way the game ended, that was an advantage for us."

Why Have Your Special Teams Coverage Units Done Better This Year? "They've had some challenges. Patrick Peterson, (Cordarrelle) Patterson, Devin Hester. Kick location and depth are key, especially against Hester. Those guys have worked very hard, Coach Bonamego, core players and some of those other guys who aren't core players. We've mixed some guys in there who've made an impact, like Devin Taylor yesterday. It's not an individual sport, it's a team sport; what the group is able to do. There's things we can correct and more challenges in the future, but we're on the right track."

Though He's Sometimes A Forgotten Man, What Does Kris Durham Bring To The Offense? "Kris Durham has great size, good hands and is a reliable as catcher of the ball. He can get open, get deep. He wasn't a forgotten man as far as our team. He stepped up in some crucial times in that game and made some crucial catches. I think his biggest play was getting the onside kick. He took a shot to his back on that play and he's gonna be sore, but he hung onto the ball."

Speaking Of That Hit, Did You Have Issue With Chicago's Hits Yesterday? Concerned About Some Shots That Your Players Took? "I'm always concerned about my. . . our players. We tend to get scrutinized on every single play and people look with fine toothed combs to get us on plays like that. Our guys played tough, but were able to avoid penalties. We had some hard hits yesterday  Look, I don't think anyone's trying to hit guys in the head. The only hit I had issue with was when Kris (Durham) caught the ball and was curled up, had given himself up and got hit in the back. I thought that was unfortunate."

Was Yesterday One Of Your Better Tackling Performances? "No. I thought we missed way too many tackles on defense. We missed tackles on a couple of the big plays, and tackles at other times. I think we have tackled better and can tackle better."

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

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Tags: Brandon Pettigrew, Chris Houston, Darius Slay, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Israel Idonije, Kris Durham, Louis Delmas, NFL, Rashean Mathis

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