Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan
Q: How do you think Lamarr's [Houston] done this year and Rolando [McClain] in their second years in the NFL?
Coach Bresnahan: You know what – I think they're progressing. They'll probably tell you that they're not where they want to be as of yet, but they approach it like professionals and again, is it anywhere near perfect yet? No, but that's as a unit as well. But, I think that they've come into their own a little bit. The maturity level with the way they prepare, the way they practice and again, it's an ongoing thing. I've seen them mature throughout the season myself since I've been here, so I think it's a work in progress but it's going in the right direction.
Q: How big of a loss was [Matt] Shaughnessy? We didn't really talk much about him. It's been a long time, but he looked like he was really poised to have a big year.
Coach Bresnahan: When you lose a guy like Matt, there's a guy that plays 1,000 miles an hour. I've talked to you guys about Tyvon Branch showing up in every game and making plays, impact plays, in the game just because of the way he plays. That's the way Matt plays, so you definitely miss that energy, that impact hits, the things that he did that just naturally he does every day in practice and every game he showed up that way. So, that's been a big loss but I think our guys have stepped up and continued to try to improve each and every week, and we'd love to have him back though. He'd be a very integral part of our unit.
Q: What do the Lions like to do on offense?
Coach Bresnahan: You know what - this is a team that everybody thinks the Packers, the Colts back when they were throwing the ball a little bit, New England. This is the highest pass percentage team in the NFL, so they do like to throw the football but they are still very dangerous in the run and I forget who it was who asked last week do you give up the run a little bit to stop the pass, and the second play of the game tells you, 'no, you don't do that,' because it kind of puts you on your heels right from the get-go. So they're going to mix in their run, they're going to mix in their screen-game. Very good screen team, they'll run screens to the backs, they'll run screens to the tight ends, to the wide receivers, so you've got your hands full. Then of course, they want to go down field. They're going to throw it to big number 81 and little number 16 down the field, so you've got to be ready at all times.
Q: They've had some injuries at the running back position. How do you see that they've compensated for that?
Coach Bresnahan: Again, I think that goes into a little bit of the west coast philosophy that they use the short, control passing game as an extension of the run and you watch in our four-game breakdown where [Matthew] Stafford is throwing the ball right now, he's still taking his shots down the field, but there's a lot more controlled passing game to try to keep you spread out and make that an extension of the run game.
Q: How frustrating is this run defense issue for you?
Coach Bresnahan: You know what – it's very frustrating. Not just for me, for our coaching staff, for the players in general because we talked about consistency and not riding that roller coaster. Until we get over the hump and do that each and every week, and I tie that right in with the penalties…we have a game where we have one penalty and then you go maybe the next game, you have two and then the next game you have nine and we've got to play at a consistent level and that's been a real emphasis point for us throughout the season. But each and every week now because these games are more and more important because of the playoff atmosphere and the playoff consequences. So we've got to get that taken care of, but it's been very frustrating.
Q: Have you had the problem since it's been a common thing or does something different crop up each time?
Coach Bresnahan: It is different because for awhile, we were setting the edge. The other day, if you take out – and you can't do this; as a coach, you don't ever say this, but you take away the 47-yard run on the second play of the game and now you've got him at 90 yards on the rest of the day, and you've got a manageable average per carry. But also when you pop in a touchdown like that, you can't do it because of a hit in the wrong gap or an eight-man front; we've talked about that. If you do that, the next guy to make the play is the safety and we didn't get that done so the ball goes to the end zone. So, it's different each time but it's easily corrected seeing it on tape. Doing it on the field's a whole different story. So that's been again, an emphasis point this week even though it's a passing team.
Q: Getting back to the long run there – when a guy hits the wrong gap, is he guessing or does he just see something?
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah, understand – sometimes a blocking scheme or even if they mess up something can kind of confuse you for a second. So if you've got that one little hesitation or you read it as somebody clearly going into a gap and you pop into somebody else's gap and all of a sudden, he hasn't been there and he pops, you have to be disciplined. Above and beyond that if it does clear the first line of defense, our safety has to make that tackle. So, it's a whole tie in there so it's not one person. I don't ever put a finger on one person. It's a unit out there, so all 11 guys have to do their responsibility and all 11 guys have to finish the play, but it is tough. When it breaks through, that puts a big emphasis on that safety making an open-field tackle.
Q: How often are the runs against you where everybody does everything right and it's just blocked well or the play is called right?
Coach Bresnahan: You don't see 47- or the 20-yard runs in that case. You may see a four or five-yard run if they just mulch you off the ball where he falls forward on his tackle, but you don't see the 12, 13, 20, 47-yard runs. You don't see that when you play it proper.
Q: In the long-term, you've got to trust your 10 other guys on the run defense. Is that…?
Coach Bresnahan: Huge, huge. Defense is a reaction game so you can line up, you can give them all the responsibilities in the world but then as soon as you get different blocking schemes, you've got to know how to react to that and how to fit. So it is total trust on the guy next to you, the guy in front of you, the guy behind you reading it the same way and fitting properly. So, it's huge with the trust.
Q: Chuck, falling behind 34-0 in consecutive games, how do you keep those guys from checking out?
Coach Bresnahan: They're professionals. I never, ever worry about that and the one thing, if you go back and watch on the tape, I didn't see one guy quit. I didn't see one guy loaf, I didn't see anybody tap out; that's to their credit because it has been a tough two weeks and what we try to preach again in that consistency level, and we just showed them on the tape on Wednesday when they came back in. We pulled out plays, kind of a highlight series of plays, for San Diego, Minnesota and Chicago. We're flying around, everybody's going good and we got 10 turnovers in three weeks, we're tied for the first spot in the NFL over that period of time and everything's going hunky dory. We've got all kinds of sacks, well now, you've got to get through the doldrums. You've got to be able to overcome that, step up, and rise to the occasion and that's the challenge to this unit right now is step back up and let's go, and that really is the team also.
Q: Do you see the guys flying around now like they were in that three-game win streak?
Coach Bresnahan: It is – and you hate to say, 'What was it? What's the difference?' Well, it is. We're out here and the rejuvenated effort, the energy, the enthusiasm. Not just on the field, but in the meeting room. It is exactly like it was three weeks ago, but you've got to be able to do that all the time and that's the consistency level.
Q: I asked Hue this earlier. Richard Seymour in the past five games has one tackle, one sack. Is something going on with him whether they've scheming against him or the knee is bothering him or are stats overrated?
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah, I don't ever get into the injury issue. That has to be the player himself or dealing with Hue as far as what comes through the medical staff. I don't ever address that, but Richard is a professional and the one thing that you judge Richard on is the high standard he set for himself throughout his career, and he's a professional. He'll respond and I'm not down on Richard one bit. I think he's going to step up and have a heck of a game this week, and sometimes that happens. It's like your top batter getting into a slump. I mean he's got to come out of it, but it's a unit. It's not just Richard Seymour. It's the defensive unit that has to be held accountable.
Q: Is some of the attention that teams are paying to Richard leading to opportunities for other players?
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah, that's part of it. I mean that's always a little bit of the case when you've got somebody that's played as well as he has, but as a unit, we have to play better. I don't like to single any one person out or point one person out.
Q: Is he doubled often or how often is he double-teamed during the games?
Coach Bresnahan: I wouldn't even go there because I don't think it's necessarily them saying, 'Okay, Richard Seymour's here. We're taking him out of the game.' It's been what the run blocking scheme is or what the pass protection is called for. He just hasn't had the opportunities that he's had, but he'll step up.
Q: You guys had trouble with the hard count last week…
Coach Bresnahan: Oh, I'm going to tell you he's [Aaron Rodgers] as good as there is in the league but that's something that again when you watch, he does it at home. He got Detroit in Detroit five times with the crowd. I mean, I'm telling you, the guy is a master at it but if you watch Detroit, they mirror so much of what Green Bay does because they're in the same division. So the hard counts, they do the exact same things. If you do jump offsides just like Green Bay did against us, they're taking a shot. You've got to finish every play because they're taking every offsides or when think they've got you offsides, they're taking a shot deep. They have adjustments in their routes, everything. So you've got to be disciplined and not jump offsides, but you've got to be prepared if something does happen.