Jim Caldwell, Head Coach
JC:This is one of the few times that I stand up in front of you and didn't have at least some bright spots to talk about. [We] didn't have many in this game. [We] didn't play well in terms of our kicking game and overall defense and also offense as well. We sputtered. We were not as sharp as we are capable of being and that's a good football team. They played extremely well, they don't give you much. They don't make many mistakes and we just were not sharp today, even our kicking game. We had a couple obviously long returns that certainly hurt us as well. What we've got to do is, we have a short week, and sometimes a short week is needed and I think this is one, to kind of get this one behind us and move ahead. So we will give them a chance to sulk and lick their wounds a bit and then we have got to get back to work. Open up for any questions.
Q: **How do you explain why things went so bad, so often, today?
JC:You know, sometimes until you look at the film and see all the details involved, but I can tell you right now, we didn't play well. I mean you don't play well, that's what happens. You don't play well defensively, at the start. We didn't play well offensively. We had our shots and didn't come up with a couple plays. We had an opportunity to make [plays]. Kicking field goals, like I mentioned there; they were scoring touchdowns. It is going to make it a tough night.
Q:How alarming is it right now considering you guys shrank the play call sheet this week to try to jump start the offense a little bit. What's the alarm concern?
JC:There's no alarm. I mean, obviously we are disappointed in the way we played all the way across the board. Not just offense, I am talking about defense, and in the kicking game. All the way across the board, we've got to get to work and get it rolling and, you know, it is just one of those games. We just didn't play well, in any phase.
Q:How do you explain those continued struggles on offense?
JC:You know, well, one of the things you see on offense is that over time I think we moved the ball pretty well. And we had opportunities to catch balls in the end zone. We didn't make plays and when you don't make plays, it obviously looks like you are inept in that regard. So, you know, we were in position, I think, to make some of those, but just didn't come up with them.
Q:When you talk about the offense, you are talking about the quarterback, the receivers, dropped balls, blocking…
JC:I didn't say dropped balls, I said, make plays. Right? So, make plays. Obviously I think that happened in a couple areas: interception on the other side, made a play here and there. [We] missed some tackles that could have stopped them; penalties that I think we had a series of penalties on the first two drives defensively that kind of gave them some momentum. I think we may have had four or five penalties during that stretch where I think we had one in the first half. Things like that, we were just out of sync, just didn't function well.
Q:But in the offense, it starts with the quarterback. [Matthew] Stafford looked inaccurate, whether or not the receivers were running the wrong routes or whatever, he looked especially inaccurate today.
JC:Well, that's your opinion on it until we get a chance to look at the film and see exactly what happened. There could have been a couple miscues. I know there were a couple miscues there. But you know, I think everyone wants to focus on the quarterback and it's not all his issues.
Q: **But you have to look at the offense Jim, when you don't score touchdowns.
JC:Absolutely, and I think I said that. You know, we are not functioning extremely well on offense and we are disappointed in how we are playing.
Q:So what do you think has to change between now and the next couple games, offensively?
JC:You know, we will take a look at it and we'll see. We'll see exactly what happened. I think, in this particular ballgame, it gets skewed a little bit because we did have some opportunity to make some plays. [If] we make those plays, we have a little bit different conversation. It's a little bit different game, so we've got a figure out a way to get those done.
Q:Everybody has struggled to score against you. The Packers scored seven points. Are the Patriots that good offensively?
JC:Well, that's a good football team. Obviously that's what I meant when I said usually there's a bright spot we can talk about at least when you come into the room. We weren't able to do so today. They were able to move the ball, score touchdowns on us and we got a little settled down there for a while right after the half, but they still were able to handle us pretty well.
Q:From a coaching standpoint, it has to be impressive.
JC:I mean, that's a good football team. They do everything well. They are a team that can run the ball, they are a team that throws it extremely well, and I mean, you can see they can do it a number of different ways. I mean, you have to operate on all cylinders, which we weren't today, in order to beat a team like that.
Q:Knowing what their offense is capable of, and how it was rolling, why were you so conservative in the first half? Punting on a fourth-and-three in New England territory and kicking that 53-yard field goal.
JC:You have to take each situation, you know, the way it bears out. Early on in the game, you know, go for it on fourth down in that situation they put us in. What was it? 7-6 or 7-to-nothing at that time or something? You know, you've got to take the points in that situation. You know, I think that's a non-story. Second half, obviously, we ended up going for it a couple times. One time we kicked a field goal because we were fourth-and-14 and that's pretty obvious. And then the other times we felt like we better go for it because of the fact that we were running out of time, [out] of possessions, and you may not get it back. So that's kind of how those things play out. So, conservative, I wouldn't say that.
Q:If you kick on fourth down, that would have cut you down to…
Q:Yeah, two scores…
JC:I understand that. But did you see what happened subsequently? The clock ran down, the time of possession, the opportunities to get it back, you know, you have to take that gamble. So that's kind of the way we look at it. You might be able to judge it differently, but that's how we saw it.
Q:The back to back losses your team has sustained this season, what extent do you kind of look at shaking things up, what kind of changes might need to make, if there are any kinds of drastic changes with the offense, or is it just stay the course? What is your mentality?
JC:I'm not sure on drastic changes. I'm not one of those that will make rash decisions right after a game when everybody's disappointed. Yeah, sometimes you make some huge mistakes that way. We will take a look at it and see where we are. We will take a look at it on the way back on the plane and by the time we land, we will have some direction and focus on what we want to get done this week.
Q:[Riley] Reiff has been such a mainstay for you guys the past couple years on the offensive line. How difficult was it accounting for his absence for most of this game and do you have an update on his status?
JC:Yeah, obviously, he has been a workman in terms of always being out there for us. I don't have an update on his status, but we will in a couple days or so. But never the less, the young fella got in there and held his own. He had a couple tough spots, but other than that, I thought he was OK.
Q:What was the root of the confusion on defense on that drive before halftime? [Rob Gronkowski] was open a couple times and Tim Wright, on the touchdowns, seemed like he was wide open. Was that the pace and Tom Brady? What was the root of the confusion?
JC:Yeah, that was just, you know, just a little bit of…a couple of times in there we just got a little out of whack, is probably [the] way to explain it. Just in a couple of those coverage situations and one in particular, probably the one that was obvious, there was nobody around him, and you know, that's not normal.
Q:You said that you'd have to look at the film, but just from watching him today, what did you think of how [Matthew] Stafford performed?
JC:You know, I'll have to take a look and see. I think it's hard to judge. Nobody played extremely well on our team. I mean, I'm just talking about everybody. And there's not anybody that I can tell you "Hey, this guy played really well." We'll take a look at the film and see.
Q:You said early this week that you wouldn't make a change with [offensive coordinator] Joe Lombardi calling the plays, but is that even a possibility at this point after you sit down, after you watch it? Or is that still not a possibility?
Q:Can you talk about…you went at [Darrelle] Revis a lot, not with a lot of success. There were drops, but obviously Revis is a great player, can you talk about what you saw in your plan going at Revis today?
JC:Yeah, you know, there are not a whole lot of people we shy away from, to be honest with you. We have players that can play on our side of the ball as well. You know, whether it's covering Calvin [Johnson] or it's covering Golden [Tate], I mean, we've still got to go at it. We know he's a fine player, outstanding talent, but we think our players are fine players as well.
Q:You guys are second place in the NFC North right now with five games to go. The big picture, what does this loss mean to you?
JC:Yeah, I'm not worried about big picture, to be honest with you. You know, I'm worried about our next game, and we'll deal with the big picture later on. You know, get out there and play, and we'll add them up at the end.
Q:What do you think this says about your team now that you had a game last week against the top team in the NFC, top team in the AFC this week…how do you feel like your team is ready for the big stage?
JC:What does it say about our team? That we're 7-4. That's all it says, right? That's all it says, plain and simple, and we've just got to get better.
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback
Q:It seems like we ask about the offense every week, so what were the issues today? Not reaching the end zone again, why'd you guys struggle so much on offense?
MS:I think we missed some opportunities to make some big plays, got behind the chains a couple times, some untimely penalties, a couple sacks, a couple negative plays. So, [we] threw the ball a decent amount in the first half, didn't come away with touchdowns. That's big when you play a team like that.
Q:Do you feel like you've hit a skid right now at the wrong time and you have to find a way to get out of it?
MS:We've just got to put this one behind us and move on to next week. I think it's kind of good we have a short week, honestly… a chance to get back out there and play again on Thursday.
Q:This is the first time that you've lost back-to-back games, when things were really trending upwards with this team and kind of the new mentality, will this be, probably, one of the biggest challenges of the season to kind of bounce back after these two performances?
MS: **I think any time you lose a game it's a challenge. You've got to figure out what you did well, figure out what you didn't do well enough and take it into the next game and make sure the mistakes don't continue to happen and build off the positives.
Q:What seems to be the biggest issue in your mind? Obviously some plays and some protection, dropped balls… How tough is it when you guys can't get any kind of consistency on offense for this team to go?
MS:We've just got to find a way to catch some momentum, like you said. We moved the ball good on the first drive and didn't get a conversion on that third down and kicked a field goal. Had a chance, I don't know if it was the second or the third drive, first-and-goal and don't get it in, had some missed opportunities there as well, you know. And then we kicked the ball off and they return it back down to the ten or whatever it was and, you know, you play a good team like New England, the whole team has to play well, you know, and we didn't.
Q:How about the drops? There was an issue today, a couple in the end zone that could have been touchdowns. How frustrating is that for an offense?
MS:You know, any time you have mistakes, doesn't matter what they are, they're going to cost you. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, you have to have everybody keyed in, playing good football together. And, you know, that's something at times we had a whole lot of today and moved the ball great and had some big plays, and then other times a thing here or there may have derailed us.
Q: **And on your end, on the fourth-and-10 slide…
MS:I got to get that.
Q:Were you looking at the sticks, or…
MS:Yeah, I was looking at the sticks and I just thought, I believe it was [safety Patrick] Chung over there or somebody was over there, but I got to get that.
Q:The last two weeks against two good teams you guys didn't score a touchdown. The last two weeks has been a little bit of an eye opener for you guys going up against the highest competition there is?
MS:I don't think so. You know, I think any time you lose a game it's disappointing. You got to learn from it and move on and that's what we'll do this week.
Q:Riley [Reiff]'s been big for you guys up front, how challenging was it losing him and some of the duress you faced the rest of the game?
MS:That's challenging anytime you lose your left tackle, especially a guy that's played and started in so many games and who was playing actually some of his best ball in the last couple weeks. So we'll see what the issue is there. I thought [Cornelius] Lucas, for a rookie, came in and battled, faced some good pass rushers over there. But as a team we just have to play better.
Q: You guys have played the best team in each conference the last two weeks on the road, lost. What does that say about you guys and where you are right now and how much further you have to go?
The New England Patriots take on the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 23, 2014.
MS: **You know, I think we'll figure that out at the end of the year.
Q:It seemed like your accuracy was a little off, more than normal. Can you explain what was going on there?
MS:I don't know. I thought we had some chances to make some plays. Obviously, that's a good defense we play, good secondary. They had a good plan, [Brandon] Browner on Calvin [Johnson] with safety help over the top the entire game, and then [Darrelle] Revis on [number] 15 [Golden Tate]. So, we get some shots, we miss some shots. You play a team that plays that much man coverage, bump and run, and it's probably going to be a lower completion percentage game with some big plays.
Q:Talking about taking positives out of a game, were there really any in this game or do you just move on?
MS:I thought we ran the ball really well in the first half, and I thought that was good. We were efficient at running the ball, had some good drives, but we got to get better on third downs in the red zone.
Corey Fuller, Wide Receiver
(On the team's offensive struggles)
"A lot it was missed opportunities. We got down into the red zone a lot and we only came away with field goals. There were a lot of points still on the field."
(On how critical the mistakes were against the Patriots)
"You said it best. I dropped one right in the end zone. At the end of the day, we didn't have enough points on the board."
(On whether the Patriots did anything special or they just beat themselves)
"They're a great team, they just executed a little better."
Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver
(On the game and the Patriots secondary)
"They did well in all three phases and when it was our turn, we didn't do the same. They had a good performance today all around and we didn't bring our 'A' game. Obviously they have [Darelle] Revis and they have [Brandon] Browner and they are a good team overall."
(On the Lions performance today and going forward)
"We didn't score any touchdowns and it definitely wasn't our best. I am not concerned we have five or six games to go in the regular season. We still have time to get things going. We are still in the driver's seat and we have to turn things around."
George Johnson, Defensive End
(On the loss)
"We'll have to go back and find out what we did wrong, find out where we can do better. We've got a short week like you said; we've got to get this taste out of our mouth as fast as we can. So, that is the only thing we can really do. That was a really good team to play against, we've got to play better and they played great."
DeAndre Levy, Linebacker
(On the Lions defensive game)
"We blew a lot of coverage. They sped up the tempo a bit and I think we lost our composure. The pace is something we worked on this week. We narrowed down some of the calls and some of the language. We just lost our composure for a good stretch and they scored three straight times on us."
(On fatigue playing a factor)
"I don't think it was any fatigue factor, I just think it was just miscommunication. We got over excited because of the pace and the tempo and got ourselves out of whack. We blew coverage on simple things, myself included. We just have to do a better job of being composed."
(On tightening things up in the second half)
"This past month it has kind of been out story. There was a stretch where we play great games and we are putting up 21 points and we haven't done that in the last three or four games. We need to find a way to start games faster and come out with a better tempo."
Glover Quin, Safety
(On starting off the game in the slot)
"We were thinking they were going to run the ball, then they passed it, so we wanted to try to get some match ups and not allow them to mismatch us all day, so that was the thinking behind that, to try to hold up [passes] and the run game."
(On the Lions defense and Tom Brady finding open space)
"I don't know what exactly was going on. We have to look at the film to see exactly what was going on, but they do a great job of scheming and Tom Brady does a great job of finding mismatches in whatever the coverage dictates. He does a great job of getting guys in great routes that are hard to cover based on the coverage that you're in, so you've got to tip your hat to him."
(On second half adjustments and the interception)
"I think we just kind of settled down a little bit. We just went right at them and just stopped [them]. A lot of stuff we were doing in the first half was just – I think we ran a few calls in the second half just to make them beat us and not [let] us beat ourselves with some miscommunication or anything like that. We just got outplayed today and they beat us."
Dominic Raiola, Center
(On what he thinks is missing from the team)
"We just didn't finish and they were scoring touchdowns. It just comes down to making plays."
(On how he felt after losing to another top team in the league)
"I don't know how you can call yourself a competitor if you are going to chalk it up and say we just aren't good enough. You shouldn't be in this game if you think like that. I don't look at it like that. There is stuff we could have done better, period."
Golden Tate, Wide Receiver
(On what went wrong)
"We didn't finish drives, I don't know if I knew the answer to that we would have fixed it."
(On Darrelle Revis)
"He is a good player, still very talented, still in my mind one of the best to play the game. Obviously, he and his team got the better of us. I think he did a good job; they had a great game plan to limit myself and CJ [Calvin Johnson]. Thankfully we have a short week, and we're going to have a chance to get this one out of our system quickly. This was embarrassing, we've got to chalk it up and have a short-term memory. That's kind of the most important thing, not to lose our swagger, not to lose our confidence. We have to come out on a mission to come out and take it out on our next opponent which happens to be Chicago who is also another good team."
(On turning the offense around)
"As a receiver I have to be accountable. I need to do what I need to do to get better. Some way or another we all have to do better. We just have to find a way. We don't know what it is, but we've got to figure it out real soon. We're not discouraged."
Devin Taylor, Defensive End
(On the Patriots game plan)
"They just had a great game plan. I think that's part of a good game style, get the ball out quick and let the players make good plays."
(On the Patriots running game)
"They are a good team; we just didn't come out of the gates on all cylinders."