**B:** A couple of updates yesterday at practice J.R. (Redmond) and Ted (Johnson) both practiced a little so that was encouraging. Grant Williams didn't do of anything and some guys limping around a little bit from the game, but it looks like we will be okay. Just a couple of quick things on Detroit I think a couple of key elements in this game, first of all our special teams, covering on Desmond Howard in the return game. He has already had some long runs this year against Indianapolis and New Orleans. He is a very explosive runner, a guy that can really get going up the field, breaks tackles and has real good vision. He can ignite their team and that's an area that we will have to do a good job in. Defensively the Lions lead the league in turnovers, they have 32 turnovers already this year. So taking care of the ball and not putting the Lions offense on a short field and not giving the ball up on our end that will be a critical point in the game as well as trying to make plays against them. On the offensive side of the ball the Lions have a good running game. I thought that last week against the Giants who we all know as a defensive football team. (Charlie) Batch had one of his best days of the year throwing the ball and went to a shotgun formation. They did things a little bit differently than they had done in previous weeks and the passing game was very efficient. So that combined with a good, strong running game behind a big back like (James) Stewart they had a real combination against the Giants. They got some turnovers and had the lead 28-7 and really took control of the game. It was probably their best game of the year, a very strong effort. We are just going to try to touch all of the bases out there today and do a quick little review tomorrow before we get on the plan and fly out there, but today is our big day. We will spend a lot of time in terms of meetings and preparation and film work and then just go through enough plays to try top make sure everybody knows what we are trying to do.
Q: You had short weeks like this in the preseason, but it is different in the regular season, how difficult is it in terms of formulating a gameplan?
B: You are just doing a fraction of what you normally do. You have to cut it down. You don't have enough time to analyze the previous three or four games like we usually do. We don't have as much time to practice stuff on the field so we will try to get down to the basic things and make sure that the players are aware of the basic things that are going on and do a gameplan that we think we can execute that we are familiar with and then if it is something new it is not too new and it is not anything that will cause us too much trouble because then we won't execute very well.
Q: How much more difficult does that make it that you are not familiar with this team or is it the time?
B: Both, it's both. I think if you had a short week and you were playing a division game that that would probably be a little easier for both teams, but both teams are in the same situation. We played each other in the preseason and there is certainly some recall and some carryover from that even though it was their first preseason game and our second. It was a long time ago, but we have been in the environment, we have seen the team, there have been a lot of changes on both teams, but we will have to refer back to that and again take a look at their most recent games and try and do the best we can with it.
Q: Has Kevin Faulk's stock dropped because of the fumbles?
B: J.R. (Redmond) and Patrick (Pass) in the last few of weeks have just taken more of the regular snaps on first and second down. That is probably the way it is going to be. They have done a good job and they have capitalized on the opportunities that they've had. They have had more production with them.
Q: Faulk was a starter what happened? Did J.R. come back and outperform him?
B: I think J.R. has outperformed all of our backs in the games. If he is healthy than he will be our starting running back.
Q: In your passing game is it by design that a lot of your stuff to the outside and the sidelines, it doesn't seem that you are using the middle of the field as much in the passing game is that because of what you have at wide receiver and that utilizes their talents best or…?
B: I would say it is pretty obvious that in the passing game most of the balls are going to end up going to Troy (Brown) and Terry (Glenn) and they are the outside receivers. If there was more production at the tight end position and even the running back position in the passing game other than screens and dump-offs and that kind of things then you would seeing more balls inside. Troy plays the slot on a lot of three receiver sets and he catches a lot of balls in the slot area, so it is not all outside, but there is no doubt a lot of it is on the perimeter of the defense. It would be good to be a little more balanced in that we just haven't had that kind of production out of our inside receivers or our third receivers as we have from our first two. Other than Troy and Terry there hasn't been a lot of production in the passing game from the receivers or the tight ends group other than those two players in terms of catches or yards.
Q: With Rod Rutledge first on the depth chart at the tight end position what does he need to do to fully capitalize on his opportunity?
B: Rod is playing a lot and when you are a tight end you are involved in practically every play. You are involved in running the ball, the passing game and pass protection. I think he has improved in all three of those areas and he needs to continue to work hard and make improvements. I think there is still some room for growth there. I think he has done okay and I think we are better at that position then we were in the first half of the season. He's a guy that has quite a bit of talent, he's big, he's smart, he runs fairly well especially for that kind of size. He has a lot of things that you are looking for, he's getting a little more experience, playing with more consistency, using his size and power in both the running game and the passing game because that is a strength of his, but you have to be able to use it to make it a strength.
Q: Where Terry and Troy are getting most of the production and the tight ends and running backs are not is (Drew) Bledsoe leaning on them or are those guys just not available?
B: I think that it is a little bit of a double edge sword. You have got two good receivers who are amongst the league leaders at their position and if they weren't catching as many balls then we would all be sitting here saying, 'Well how come we are not getting the ball to Troy and Terry more they are our best receivers?' So you want to get them the ball you also want to spread it around and keep the defense off-balance so it isn't just the one or two man show, but when those are your best players and they are your most productive players in the passing game then I don't know how wise it would be to not utilize them. I think it is a combination of both there. You want to try to get as much as you can out of those two guys, but at the same time take advantage of the attention they are getting to try to help open it up to somebody else.
Q: Looking to the future to free agency do you ever think let's see if this tight end can be the tight end of the future let's concentrate on him?
B: I mean with players that we have on our team right now we are trying to maximize everybody's production not just any one player. So whatever we can get those players to do productively that benefits them and all of us, I helps everybody. So whether that is our tight end position or our third and fourth receivers, our running backs whoever it is we are definitely, it may not look like it, but we are, we are trying to maximize those opportunities for everybody.
**Q: When Shawn Jefferson left it was an opportunity for a guy like Tony Simmons to step up has he done enough in your opinion?**
B: I don't think that other than Troy and Terry that we have had any other receivers here this year that have been real productive in the passing game. I mean it just hasn't happened. Whoever those players were and whatever opportunities they have had they could have made more out of them.
Q: A lot of people say Simmons is more of a track guy than a football player, physically he looks like a football player he has the speed, he has the size, but yet he has been producing?
B: Right, well look every player has strengths and weaknesses and I think every player, as a coach you try to talk to every player about how to improve his performance and things that he can do better both in season and out of season to improve himself as a football player and then at some point those results show up on the field one way or another. I think that's where every player is. I don't really feel comfortable sitting here talking about each player's weaknesses because every player has weaknesses on the team, on every team. I don't think there is any player that doesn't have weaknesses in their game. All of the things that we try to work on individually and collectively the timing, the precision of the passing game those are some collective things that need to be improved upon and anytime you have a veteran quarterback with veteran receivers there is usually a higher level of efficiency with that group than there is with the younger group regardless of who the receiver is or how skilled he is or anything else. Experience and time work in their favor, but other than Troy and Terry the production of the receiver group hasn't been what we hoped it would be and what it needs to be so we will keep trying to improve it and that's all the way across the board not just the receivers, but a combination of the receivers working with the quarterbacks and the overall route running and the execution of the pattern.
Q: How is Charlie Batch playing and how much?
B: Again I though Charlie played very well against the Giants that was probably his best game of the games I have seen. I have probably seen the last five or six games and he was outstanding in that game. (James) Stewart gives him a good compliment and it helps the play-action passing game which has been good for them, they have done a good job on that. Not having (Germane) Crowell in there has hurt the receiving corp a little bit, but (Herman) Moore and (Johnnie) Morton are still real good receivers and they have got pretty good production out of (David) Sloan in the passing game as well especially on third down. It all starts with Stewart and the running game. When they have been able to run the ball and keep the defense off-balance they have been a lot more efficient offensively then when they haven't had that going for them or they have fallen behind and have had to throw all the time.
Q: Two weeks in a row now you are playing a team that recently went under a coaching change?
B: They played very well last week against the Giants, whatever the reasons were, the Giants are a good team and the Lions had control of the game right from the beginning to the end. They were on top of it in all facets, so give Gary (Moeller) and the Lions credit for whatever it was they did. They played much better than they did the two previous weeks against Miami and Indianapolis.
Q: Two weeks in a row you will be playing on national television does that add any extra motivation?
B: I think anytime that you play on national television it ads a little bit extra into it. I think there is a lot there every week regardless of when or who or where you play or whatever the circumstances are. I think there is a lot to the game and everybody who plays and coaches in it, it means a lot to them. It is our livelihood, it is our profession, it is what we love doing and we look forward to Sundays, but I don't think there is any doubt that when you are in a primetime game, I mean all of the games are televised it is not like that's a big thing, but when you are in a primetime game on Thursday or Monday night or Sunday night or those types of situations there is a little something extra there.
Q: To take it a step further as the coach I know you have to get the team ready, but for the football fan in you being involved in the tradition of playing in Detroit in Thanksgiving any thoughts about that?
B: I think it is great for the game. Ever since I was a kid Thanksgiving has always been a big football day for me and my family. When I played in high school our traditional rival was always the Thanksgiving game in the morning and all of the things that led up to it and then the college weekend. You know that was always a big college football weekend. The Army Navy game usually came the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but that's been moved back another week the last few years, but when I was growing up that was the final end to whatever season I was involved in and then the Army Navy game that followed that. All of the other games in that weekend Texas/Texas A&M, Auburn/Alabama, Nebraska/Oklahoma it just seemed like there was a lot that always happened around that weekend and then the Pro games on Sunday and Thursday afternoon with Detroit. My two years in Detroit, it was my second and third year in the league and from a tradition standpoint that is such a traditional game out there I mean before the schedule even comes out in Detroit you know you are going to be playing at home on Thanksgiving day it is just a question of who it is going to be against. Everybody else that's got Detroit on the schedule has got a one in sixteen chance of getting that game. But in Detroit you know that that's your game and the people on Detroit know that and look forward to it and it is just a part of their routine, a part of their life at that time of year and I think it is great for the game. It is one of the great traditions that is in the NFL. From Joe Schmidt and Alex Karras and Yale Lary and all of those guys all the way through, Charlie Sanders and Barry Sanders and all of the great players that have played in Detroit. Everybody has seen them play and they think of their games and the memorable moments they have had on Thanksgiving Day and that is something that is great for their team.
Q: Are you continually impressed with Drew's toughness?
B: I think Drew's toughness has been exemplary all year and certainly the last couple of weeks playing banged up like he has and still playing at a very high level and a very competitive level of football. That's what he has been about all year. He has been that way since the first day of training camp, preseason, early part of the season that is the way he has gone about it. He has been very professional, very team oriented and put himself secondary to the team. I think everybody admires the way that he has handled himself particularly in the last few weeks battling through an injury that obviously effects the skill he has to perform.
Q: Does a quarterback have to have that?
B: Well I think it is something that you want yes and it definitely helps. We have all seen quarterbacks that, some have more of it that others, but I think it is something that your whole team should be able to draw from because quarterback, center, middle linebacker, safety those positions are all positions of natural leadership. You have to have it because you are in the middle of the offense or the defense, you control the things around you, everybody is depending on you for certain things to happen in the game and those players, that's part of their job. Not that there aren't other leaders on the team, but leadership is inherent in those positions it is like a catcher in baseball you have to have a certain command of the game and whatever positive attributes that position contributes then I think flows into other people on the team and that's positive.
Q: Are you surprised that Bobby Ross walked away from the team?
B: I wasn't really that close to the situation. I mean I have known Bobby for years since Maryland, Georgia Tech, San Diego, but I am not really familiar with his personal situation this year in Detroit. Bobby is a smart guy, he is a good coach, he has had a lot of success and I think he is a pretty rational person so what ever decision he made I am sure that he had a good decision for doing it and it is certainly not for me to question it one way or another.
Q: Does it surprise you that people have been critical of Drew's decision to play and your decision to play him?
B: He has been able to play and I haven't really given it a second thought. If I would looked out there and said, 'Drew really can't play, he can't be effective maybe we should put him out there just to try to make him think that he can throw the ball or he can do something when he really can't' but that hasn't been the case at all. He has been able to show that he can perform at a pretty efficient level. I think he has been able to see that in the game so why wouldn't he play him