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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - Oct. 9

Posted Oct 9, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's Wednesday morning press conference.

Opening statement: “Good to get back into a normal game-week routine. We’re looking forward to being able to be at home again against Detroit. As you look at their team, [they’re] leading the NFC North, extremely talented, well coached team. Offensively, loaded with weapons; they’re an explosive group that has gotten a lot and have been able to generate a lot of big plays. They’re very good at running screens, a very good screen team. (Lions QB) Matt Stafford is playing very well, distributing the ball to a lot of different targets. Obviously, (Lions WR) Calvin Johnson is a big part of what they do and the best in the business at his position. (Lions RB) Reggie Bush is a versatile player that does a lot of different things for them and is making a lot of big plays, as well. You can’t forget about that they have two very good tight ends in (Brandon) Pettigrew and (Tony) Scheffler and also a number of running backs as well so skill-wise have a lot of different options and a lot of different guys that have been able to make plays and hurt you. (They have) a solid offensive line. (Detroit C Dominic) Raiola, obviously, he is one of the top centers so it will be a good challenge for our defense. As you look at them defensively, a very good group. You start with their defensive line, outstanding defensive line. Everybody knows about (Lions DT Ndamukong) Suh and (Lions DT Nick) Fairley. Those guys are forces in the middle inside, and (Detroit DE Ezekiel) Ziggy Ansah is having a heck of a year and really coming on as a pass rusher. I think he has 3.5 sacks to date. They have a good group of linebackers, active group of linebackers and a very good secondary. You look at (Lions CB Chris) Houston and you look at (Lions CB Rashean) Mathis at corner, those guys are playing good ball. Their safeties (Lions S Louis) Delmas and (Lions S Glover) Quin are playing good, as well. From an offensive standpoint, we have another test for us. Their special teams is a very good group. (Lions P Sam) Martin is punting as well as anybody, really booming the ball. (Lions K David) Akers is a solid guy. Their core group of special teams players are very, very good, a real good core. This game is going to be a tremendous challenge for us again. We’re going to need to be at our very best.

“As far as today, just from an injury standpoint, we’re going to have (LB Jabaal) Sheard and (LB Quentin) Groves back at practice and we’re going to work them back in to practice. (DL Billy) Winn will be out of practice today.”

On a seamless transition with QB Brandon Weeden starting again: “I expect it to be. It’s our base offense. Whether (QB) Brian (Hoyer) or Brandon have been in, we’re running a lot of the same things and guys will be familiar with the same things that we’re running.”

On change in Weeden since being promoted to starting QB: “I think it’s been a learning experience for him. I think he’s grown from that experience. You look at being the starter, getting injured and having to sit and watch; and then get thrown out into the game, early in the game where he didn’t get a lot of practice time; getting booed; back and forth; and him ultimately making some big plays that helped us win that game. I think that’s growth, and I think that he has a sense of confidence of what he’s been able to do. We’ll get him back out there for another week of practice, and I think that will help him get better and get ready to play even more so.”

On Weeden’s pocket presence: “I think it’s a combination of something that guys have and that develops over time and experience and of comfort of knowing where everyone is going to be and having executed and played and run those plays so many times you can see them in your sleep.”

On if offensive coordinator Norv Turner calls plays differently between Hoyer and Weeden: “I don’t think there’s anything noticeable that he would call differently. The things that we’re doing we’ll do to give Brandon and our whole offense the best possible chance to be successful. That’s always the way that we’ve approached things.”

On why he chose Weeden over QB Jason Campbell as the active quarterback against Buffalo: “It felt like Brandon was ready to do it from a mental standpoint, and I liked where his head was. He did get a couple days of practice, one full speed day of practice; but I thought he was throwing the ball well enough, particularly that next day after he took the glove off and did that. I thought he was ready to roll. I thought his head was in a good place.”

On WR Josh Gordon trade rumors resurfacing: “I’m not going to get into any specifics about rumors and all those type of things. I will say we are not shopping Josh and we have no plans of trading Josh.”

On if Weeden getting booed affected his play: “I thought it was impressive that he dealt with it the way he did. He didn’t listen to it. It didn’t affect him at all whatsoever during the game.”

On if the booing caught him by surprise: “Not really. Again I didn’t really notice it that much. I think he was focused, as well.”

On signing in a third quarterback: “We’ve been looking at our options. Our personnel department has been working hard on that. We’ll go through and we’ll continue to look at them. I feel comfortable from a standpoint of on game day you’re dressing two, anyhow, and that’s what we’ve done. We have an emergency third that would be available so we can take our time and do what’s best for our team at this point.”

On special teams: “I think special teams has made the difference in a few of our games. We’ve been playing very well, and I think a lot of credit goes to (special teams coordinator) Chris Tabor and (special teams assistant) Shawn Mennenga. The job the job they’ve been able to do. It’s not easy when you got new guys coming in. A lot of new guys, new faces coming in and playing in different positions. You’re always constantly shuffling those guys around. You’re watching; he’s a great teacher, Chris is. I think the guys respond and have done an outstanding job. It’s a real team effort on special teams. You look at the return that (WR) Travis (Benjamin) had, I think we had nine guys that had blocks and a lot of key blocks on that.”

On who will return kickoffs and if Benjamin will ever return kicks: “That’s an option. We’ll have (WR) Greg (Little) as the guy right now. We’re going to look at (WR) Fozzy Whittaker. Travis is a possibility there at all times. We have to clean up some of the blocking things, as well. There’s a combination of some things going on that we have to get better at.”

On emphasizing Weeden getting the ball out of his hand quicker: “I think that’s one of the things that Brandon is going to work on and has been working on. I think a week of practice under his belt, going the whole week long. Even the other day, where we got a chance to do some things and work on some situations that we hadn’t before, will be good. I think that will continue to improve.”

On how important it is for a quarterback to get the ball out quickly: “It’s just a point of emphasis. It’s something that he’ll work on and I think he’ll get better at.”

On defenses adjusting their safeties’ play to TE Jordan Cameron: “You see some of that. That’s the good thing when you have some other guys that are able to make plays when the defense focuses on one guy. We talk about balance, you talk about balance between run and pass, but you balance within your passing game, as well. We’ve been able to do that. One guy has a big game one week; the next week it might be somebody else; and different guys are making plays. That’s really what you like to see.”

On if Detroit will punt to Benjamin: “I don’t know. We’ll find out Sunday, obviously, but they’ll probably do what they do.”

On how far away he is from having the inside running game he wants: “I think that’s a work in progress. We want to get better at running the ball. I think we’re making strides in that area. I know it didn’t maybe show up in yards per carry. I think we had a number of carries inside the 3-yard line, and those always throw off the averages quite a bit; but you’re seeing some signs and some progress. You’re seeing (RB) Willis (McGahee) is getting better every week out here. Every time he’s out here practicing, I think he’s getting better and back into it. It’s a big challenge for our offensive line this week.”

On being alarmed McGahee rushed 26 times vs. Buffalo: “I don’t know if alarmed [is the right word]. I didn’t really, at the time, think that he had that many. We ran the ball quite a bit. We were able to get some runs at key times that helped us. We just have to keep working for more consistency.”

On OL Shawn Lauvao helping the offensive line: “Hopefully, that will help us. (OL) Oniel (Cousins) came in and filled in, and I thought did a good job for having to adjust to a new position. Shawn being back, there’s a comfort level with the guys around him that have played with him and that familiarity. I think he’ll be better having the last week under his belt, as well.”

On hosting Hard Knocks or playing a game in London, as possible based on the NFL’s announcements yesterday: “I really haven’t had a chance to think much about those things. I’m not a big fan of the Hard Knocks, but that’s something to think about, and we’ll talk about it in the off season. Right now, I’m really just focused on Detroit.”

On if there is a read that the kick returners have to bring the ball deep out of the end zone: “It’s different from every week. Some of it has to do with the hang-time as well so it’s not just what yard line you catch it at. If it’s a line drive, it’s a lot different than one that hangs up for a while. There’s some judgment in that obviously.”

On if Benjamin was in danger of losing the job of returning punts: “No, we had (WR) Davone (Bess) back in some of the situations that were pooch-punch situations.”

On ranking Benjamin’s speed with his players at Miami: “Right up there. I had been fortunate to be around some guys that were really fast. I know Travis’s nickname is ‘The Rabbit’ so you don’t need to say much more in terms of where he would rank with those guys. But when you grow up chasing rabbits, you’re going to be pretty fast, and he is.”

On if Benjamin lost confidence after a muffed punt in Minnesota: “I didn’t sense anything from a confidence standpoint with Travis. I think just he’s gotten better and improved on it. Hopefully, he can continue to be consistent and that will be the biggest thing. That’s the thing we’re preaching to the team overall is consistency.”

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