Thoughts on Adrian (Peterson) and the trade? How things didn’t work out but you were hoping for better?
“I think it’s all for the best, certainly for him. I think it appears he will get a great opportunity there. We basically had two feature backs, with Mark (Ingram) and Adrian. Obviously that was before drafting (Alvin) Kamara and obviously seeing the contributions that he has been able to make and the expanded role (he has taken on). There are only so many balls to go around and obviously I think there was just an odd man out which seemed to be Adrian. I really appreciated the time with him. I feel like he was a great teammate. (I) Really loved his work ethic (during) the time we were able to spend throughout the offseason, through training camp and even in the first few weeks. Obviously it’s frustrating for him to not be able to get the reps that he was accustomed to getting and I think what he had hoped for and planned for. Again, I think this is all for the better. It allows us to move forward. It allows him to move forward with another opportunity where it looks like he’s going to get probably a significant amount of time.”
Do you feel like this is kind of put you guys back in the rhythm for where you’re accustomed to being with Mark and with Alvin and not having to figure out how you have to distribute?
“It does. When you think about the rhythm of the game and the amount of plays that you are trying to run and the balance between pass and run. And even in our passing game, we look at that as an extension of our run game at times. The backs play a big role in that. I would say that obviously those guys have shown what they can do in all situations. I think that they’re two very complete backs. They can be in in any given situation. Whether that’s running in between tackles or outside of tackles, catching balls in the backfield and splitting them out, picking up protection. Those guys can do it all.”
Why do you think you’ve lost to the Lions three years in a row?
“I can remember each one of them too. I think last year was probably one of our more poor performances that we’ve ever had, certainly that I can remember. That’s not the type of team we are. And certainly that’s a bad taste in our mouths right now. We always have a lot to prove. We certainly have a lot to prove now being that I think that we’ve turned the corner this year. We’re done with the first quarter of our season, 2-2. We have won the last two. I feel like we are an ascending team who is continuing to play better. This will be a great test for us because I think that the Lions are a very good football team. Certainly I’d say they’d have some confidence coming in knowing that they beat us the last three times. But we have to put together our best plan in order to beat them.”
How important is it for you guys to get over 500, being on the cusp?
“I’m not thinking about over 500 (or) anything (like that). It’s the next game but it’s a very important game. It would be a very important win just in our maturation process and for our season.”
How personally do you take the sort of quest to get back to the home field advantage that you haven’t had for the last three or four years now?
“We need to play better at home. We haven’t. I don’t know what the exact record is over the last two and a half years. I know that there was a time when I think teams dreaded coming and playing in the Dome and there’s no reason it can’t be like that again.”
With Larry Warford going against his old team, what have you seen from him?
“Larry’s having a great year. He fits in great here. He’s been a great addition. That is such a stout group up front. A great group of leaders too just the way that they work, the way they are in the locker room. I think they set the tone for our offense, both run and pass game. I’m sure there’s added motivation. I remember when I played against the Chargers for the first time. For everybody, I’m sure there’s that added motivation and especially for him.”
What stands out to you about his skillset?
“Larry can do everything. He is as good in the run game as he is in the pass game. (He’s a) Very versatile player, smart, tough. Again, (he) just fits in well with that group. Losing (Zach) Strief for a while’s tough but part of that having Strief on one side and Max (Unger) on the other side, these are a group of veteran guys that played a lot of football. Now, (Ryan) Ramczyk and his versatility. We have a group now that has a chance to be together for a really long time. Obviously he’s been a great addition.”
What’s been the challenges with so many pieces moving around that offensive line and even had some more jumble this week?
“There’s been some challenges but credit to those guys and what they have been able to do. It’s really impressive to have offensive linemen that have that type of versatility. Not just game to game but snap to snap, where all of a sudden you have to go from left guard to left tackle or you have to go from left tackle to right tackle or whatever it might be. That’s not an easy thing to do. Credit to those guys for embracing that. That is something that you work on in the offseason as a just in case scenario. Or as an ‘this might not ever happen but let’s see what it looks like’. Then all of a sudden you’re thrust in that position and it gives you confidence to know that we can do this.”
What will Terron Armstead bring to this offense?
“He brings such a presence and confidence to the group. We know what a good player he can be when he is healthy and obviously he has battled that the last couple years. I think there is just a toughness and presence and a confidence that he brings that will be great to have.”
Do you talk about having no turnovers so far?
“It is a big emphasis. We talk about it every game and it’s the number one key to victory every time we go into a game and that’s if you can take care of the football and end up on the plus side in the turnover ratio you give yourself a much better chance to win. You still dial up the plays and play aggressive, you still take shots when you can, but also I think it’s just understanding when it’s ok to take a chance and maybe when it’s okay to just make sure the ball stays in your hands. You can’t paralyze yourself, but I think it’s just smart football.”
Were you surprised to hear that only three teams in the last 100 years have gone turnover-free through their first four games?
“Yeah, I was surprised, but that’s good company to be in. That’s good when you can be considered amongst that group.”
How much does luck play into that?
“Yeah I mean there is a little bit, but there are plenty of times in my career where I’ve had bad luck so I guess it all equals out in the end.”
What have the Lions done to create turnovers?
“They play extremely aggressive and just fly around and play hard. There are guys around the ball all the time. They have really good pass rush. Obviously that creates turnovers in and of itself, even if they are not actually getting the ball out like a strip sack or something. They’re causing the quarterback to rush the throw or throw it before he’s ready, maybe the play has not developed and that gives guys in the secondary opportunities. They have just been very opportunistic and I think it’s just the energy in which they play.”
Any reaction to Commissioner Goodell’s statement on the anthem?
“You guys know where I stand. I think that we should all stand up and show respect to the flag of the United States of America during the national anthem with our hands over our heart and I will always feel that way. It’s not that I don’t agree with the message, the protest, the cause, but just the method in which guys I think are trying to display that. I think that there’s another time for that and I think during that minute and a half when the national anthem is playing we should all stand up and show respect for the flag.”
Are there specific ways you can take advantage of home field?
“I’d say for example, start fast you know, if you start fast then the crowd’s into it and they’re rocking. We have a smart crowd, they know situations. When the offense is on the field we need it quiet and we’re trying to operate. When the defense is on the field in certain situations we make a big play, third down man we need it rocking. Create havoc for that opposing offense, make communication tough for them and put them on edge a little bit and then all of a sudden you get a lead and you’re playing with that confidence and momentum as well. That does wonders. I think when we’ve been at our best we can probably look at the constants and I’d say fast starts have been a big part of that.”
How has practice with Willie Snead IV been?
“It was good, glad to have him back out there. He brings a great element to the offense. He can do a lot of things for us. We’ll see how that all plays out at the end of the week.”
How hard is it to play hurt like Matthew Stafford will this week?
“I know this, he is a tough guy and I’m sure he’ll play, but I don’t know the extent of his injuries and I’m sure no one knows except for him. That’s stuff that every guy in the locker room goes through no matter what position and there are times when you are battling something and you go through a lot during the course of the week to prepare yourself to play and then obviously what you have to do on Sunday to prepare to play. That is just part of the game.”
Do you look forward to facing the top quarterbacks in the league?
“Bottom line is he is a great player and I know this, (when) you go into a game against a team like this and a quarterback like this you know that the game’s never over. You can be up by three touchdowns with three minutes left and you know they have a chance because they have a guy like that throwing the ball. He can change the game very quickly and he is that type of playmaker and has that type of talent and competitive nature. That’s what you always know when you go against a guy like this.”