Lions Matthew Stafford: ‘I appreciate everything coach Caldwell does’

If asked the QB will share his thoughts with GM Bob Quinn

ALLEN PARK — Matthew Stafford certainly has his thoughts about coach Jim Caldwell who is on the hot seat after the Lions did not reach the playoffs this season.

Stafford said if GM Bob Quinn asks he’d be happy to share his thoughts on Caldwell.

“If he asks my opinion I will tell him I appreciate everything coach Caldwell does. I think he’s a really good leader of men, I think he does a great job in our locker room of getting us ready to play football and the rest is up to the players to go out there and make plays and win games,’’ Stafford said on Wednesday. “As far as any major details or anything like that I’ll keep that between Bob and myself. I think he understands what kind of guy coach Caldwell is too, he’s been around long enough to understand what he’s all about.’’

Stafford said he is not “crazy proactive” about working with the front office but is available.

“I think that’s the appropriate approach for a player. It’s not my profession to know what guy on what other team or in college runs a 40. It’s not what I spend my time on. I’m definitely available, dialogue has happened throughout the years and will probably continue to happen. Whether or not my opinion is taken seriously is not up to me I just go out there and play ball if they ask me something, they ask me something,’’ Stafford said.

Caldwell is wrapping up his fourth season with the Lions with a 35-28 regular season record. He’s brought the Lions to the playoffs in two of those four years.

The coach was hired by former GM Martin Mayhew in January 2014. When Quinn was hired in January 2016, his first big decision to keep Caldwell as coach. Both shared similar

Caldwell is the second coach Stafford has played for in Detroit. Jim Schwartz was brought in prior to Stafford’s rookie season to turn around the team that had just finished the 2008 season with a 0-16 record.

The Lions (8-7) host the Packers (7-8)  at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ford Field.

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Lions Jim Caldwell definitive that race not an issue in how he is treated

Being on hot seat part of being a coach

ALLEN PARK — A Michigan sports editor, who is not in regular attendance at the Lions, has written a scathing column criticizing the fans and local media for being racist in their treatment of Lions coach Jim Caldwell.

Caldwell, who is wrapping up his fourth season with the Lions, is the franchise’s winningest coach. He owns a 35-28 record in the regular season and has brought the team to the playoffs in two of his four seasons.

Yet, he is on the hot seat and could be fired next week because the Lions (8-7) failed to reach the playoffs this season. He is not alone, several NFL coaches face the possibility of losing their jobs next week. The NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. Coaches understand this when they are hired.

Caldwell was asked this morning if he felt race was an issue in his dealings with the media who are in attendance on a daily basis.

His answer: “No.”

In fact, he reminded the media that he does not read our coverage.

When pressed on the issue, Caldwell said: “I’m not saying anything, I’m just answering his question. Why do I have to go into any more detail? It’s end of the story. (Fans) can read it and come to their own conclusion, it doesn’t have anything to do with how I respond.

“He asked me a question and I said, ‘No.’ That’s the way I feel. You’ve never heard me blame anything, at any point in time or have any excuses about anything we’ve ever done and I never will. I’ve been around a long time, my father wouldn’t allow me to do it when I was a kid and there’s no difference today.’’

Coaches are hired to be fired and Caldwell understands this. The color of a coach’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Ask any member of the media who is in regular attendance at Caldwell’s press conferences. That includes me. We have gotten to know him in four years. Race has never been an issue with Caldwell or with how he is treated.

He understands if the team doesn’t perform, his job is on the line.

“It’s part of our business, it’s the way it goes,’’ Caldwell said.

 

Lions Jim Caldwell say job status hasn’t changed; focused on playing Packers

No plan to rest starters in game with no playoff implications

ALLEN PARK >> Lions coach Jim Caldwell said today that he hasn’t had discussions about his future with general manager Bob Quinn.

At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, the coach said he and Quinn talk every day but nothing had changed about his job status since the 27-16 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday which eliminated Detroit from the playoffs.

“Everybody gets evaluated at the end of the year — players, coaches, schemes — that’s part of the process,’’ Caldwell said pointing out they have one more game.

The coach, who was hired in January 2014, has a 35-28 regular season record with the Lions. His best season was his first, when the Lions went 11-5 in 2014. Detroit has been to the playoffs in two of his four seasons.

On Sunday, the Lions (8-7) wrap up the season when they face the Green Bay Packers (7-8) at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.

Caldwell said he has no plans to rest starters, including Matthew Stafford, even though there are no playoff implications. He noted that they’ve played many young players throughout the season and he has no intention of taking extended looks at rookies or inexperienced players.

In other words, it’s another game week for Caldwell and he expects the best of his team.

“Just looking at that overall, I’m not concerned about how I feel, it doesn’t matter, the thing is, we’ve got a game to play, it’s an opportunity for our guys to get better. We’ve got 16 opportunities and you can’t take them for granted,’’ Caldwell said. “There’s a phrase in the Bible that says, ‘Lack no zeal in your work.’ Our guys are professionals they’ll go out there with the same kind of attitude they’ve had. There’s a lot of character on our team, there’s been a lot of situations in the course of the year when they’ve been behind they fight and they come back. There’s no quit, no give-up in this group.

“We anticipate that will be exactly the same in this last game. That’s important for us. So you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day or the next year, you have got to give your best and I think our guys will be committed to that,’’ Caldwell added.

The coach stayed away from evaluating the season since it’s not over. But he did say, “We’re just a little bit above average and a little bit above average is not good enough.”

 

 

Five reasons the Lions lost to the Bengals

Detroit showed no fire on offense or defense

So much for the Lions’ season.

All they had to do was beat the Bengals, not a good football team.

They missed tackles, accumulated penalties and never found any kind of offensive rhythm.

The 26-17 loss to the Bengals was a total team effort and dropped the Lions to 8-7 with no chance for the playoffs. It makes next Sunday’s home game against Brett Hundley and the Packers meaningless.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

There is a fine line between playing on an even keel and with passion. The Lions just didn’t look like they had the fire on either side of the ball today. The season was on the line, all they had to do was win.

“We were not sharp in any way, shape or form. We had a few plays here and there but they played better, plain and simple,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said.

The Lions offensive line was missing three starters, but no excuse. Actually that’s what Caldwell said too — he’s never used injuries as an excuse for a loss. And, hey, the Bengals had their share of injuries too.

Five reasons the Lions lost:

1. The Lions defense missed tackle after tackle, sometimes on the same play. The Bengals featured the NFL’s worst offense, averaging 268.9 yards per game before they met the Lions. They finished with 364 yards against the Lions and they had nothing to play for except maybe pride.

2. The Bengals also own the NFL’s worst running game, averaging just 77.0 rushing yards per game. They almost doubled that production thanks to the Lions’ porous rushing defense. Cincinnati finished with 143 rushing yards, with Giovani Bernard rushing for 116 yards. His previous high this season was 77 yards in a game.

3. Penalties were a killer in the second half. Don Barclay, who started at right guard in place of T.J. Lang, had three in the fourth quarter. The Lions were whistled for nine penalties costing 74 yards while the Bengals had just five.

4. The offense never got in rhythm. Matthew Stafford had completed more than 80 percent of his passes in the past three games, but only 54.3 percent against the Bengals. Stafford was 19 of 35 for 195 yards, one touchdown, on interception for a 68.2 rating.

5. The Lions had trouble running the ball with 22 carries for 87 yards. Perhaps you’ve heard this before. Rookie Tion Green had a few good runs and finished with seven carries for 43 yards including a rushing touchdown. (It was the Lions’ first fourth-quarter rushing touchdown by a running back in more than two years, according to FOX. Two years.) Don’t use the banged-up offensive line as an excuse. The Lions have to be better at running the ball. Caldwell has said many times they thought the run game would be fine this season with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick healthy. That was a huge miscalculation by the coaching staff.

 

Lions without 3 starters on O-line in must-win game at Bengals; complete info on inactives for both teams

Running backs Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington are inactive

OK, it’s musical chairs time again on the Lions offensive line as they play a must-win game today against the Bengals at Cincinnati.

It’s the 10th different configuration for the Lions’ offensive line in their 15th game, all due to injuries.

Three typical starters are out.

Center Travis Swanson will miss his second straight game with a concussion. He was declared out on Friday.

Right guard T.J. Lang (foot) will not play after being listed as doubtful on Friday.

Right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) was questionable and indeed will be inactive.

Once again, Graham Glasgow will start at center with Joe Dahl expected to go at left guard just like he did last week. We’ll have to see who will start at right tackle and right guard.

Seriously the Lions are running out of healthy offensive linemen. Tackle Brian Mihalik is active but missed practice all week with an illness. Healthy linemen are Corey Robinson, Don Barclay and Emmett Cleary.

Other Lions inactives: defensive tackle Rodney Coe, wide receiver Bradley Marquez, along with running backs Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington.

Bengals inactives: WR Cody Core, DB KeiVarae Russell, RB Jarveon Williams, DT Josh Tupou, OL Cedric Ogbuehi, OL Justin Murray and DT Andrew Billings.

Five things to watch as the Lions face the Bengals in must-win game

Protecting Matthew Stafford os key

If ever there was a game the LIons should win it’s this matchup on Sunday at Cincinnati.

The Bengals (5-9) have no playoff hopes, so all they’re playing for is pride.

The Lions (8-6) must win to keep their playoff hopes alive, plus they need help.

Cincinnati has been the only focus for the team this week. They seriously do not look ahead.

“We try to encourage them just to focus on what we can control, what we do. And there’s 16 games in the season, you play them out no matter how they fall. You take a look at it at the end and see where you are, and I think that’s where we are at this stage,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

If they finish 10-6 and do not make it to the postseason they can only blame themselves.

Five things to watch against the Bengals:

1. Keep Matthew Stafford from being touched. Two more sacks and he’ll have 45 for the year which ties a career-high which is pathetic. Stafford was sacked zero times by the Tampa Bay Bucs two weeks ago, the only game this season he hasn’t gone down. Stafford is good at avoiding sacks, but he should not be put in so many potential sack situations.

“We have to protect the quarterback better, it starts with me. Could be play calling, could be scheme, could be game plan for the week. But at the end of the day, we do not want our quarterback hit as much as we have been so far this year and that’s a major point of emphasis for us moving forward,’’ offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “We believe in protecting our quarterback and that’s really important in offense football I believe, so we got to do a better job and I’ve got to do a better job.”

2. Pressure Andy Dalton who has had an up-and-down season. Last week in the 34-7 loss to the Vikings, he had two interceptions and zero touchdowns. In the season opener, he was worse with four interceptions and no touchdowns. In-between he’s been so-so. The defense has has issues with pressuring quarterbacks, but no excuse here. Dalton has been sacked 35 times. Of course he does have a top wide receiver in A.J. Green. “I expect he’ll give us all we can handle,’’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said of Green.

3. Run the ball. Seriously.  If Lions can’t find success against the Bengals, who rank 32nd in rushing defense (allowing 131.5 yards per game), then their run game is worse than we thought. Theo Riddick should be back after he left Saturday’s game with a wrist injury. Ameer Abdullah is healthy except for his hurt feelings that his role has diminished. Tion Green appears to be a playmaker but needs to get the chance.

4. Stopping the run should not be much of a challenge for the Lions. The Bengals are the worst team in the NFL in rushing averaging just 77.0 yards per game. Top running back Joe Mixon has been in concussion protocol, but has practiced this week and is expected to play. He has 157 carries for 518 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.

5. It’s so much easier to win with a good start. Look at last week when the LIons had a 13-0 lead in the first half before the Bears kicked a field goal in the waning seconds. Even against a bad team like the Bengals, a good start is essential.

PREDICTION: Lions 31, Bengals 17

Pride will be on the line for Glasgow brothers when Lions play at Bengals

Graham said he’d have no trouble cutting Ryan

ALLEN PARK — Brothers Graham and Ryan Glasgow will face each other — literally — when the Detroit Lions play at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Graham Glasgow will start at center for the Lions while his younger brother, Ryan, will rotate in at defensive end for the Bengals.

It’s not unprecedented that brothers stand on opposite sidelines in an NFL game. But it has to be rare when they stand across from each other on the field.

It’s also something different for the brothers who both played at the University of Michigan. Graham Glasgow was a third-round pick by the Lions in 2016 while Ryan was drafted in the fourth round this year by the Bengals.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

“We were never on different teams it was always like stuff on the driveway of our house or just little things, nothing really like this,’’ Graham Glasgow said on Thursday.

Who was the better basketball player?

“I think I was, he’d say he was. That’s how it is with almost everything,’’ Glasgow said insisting that it really was him.

Their parents will be at the game and he’s not sure how exactly they will divide their support. He’s thinking they might wear a Lions shirt with a Bengals hat or vice-versa.

Who do his parents like best?

“I think I’m the favorite, he actually might say that too,’’ Glasgow deadpanned.

The older brother said he will have no trouble treating his younger brother like he treats any NFL opponent. Even a cut-block?

“Yeah I’d cut Ryan,’’ Glasgow said.

The brothers talk every day, even this week.

“You see what everybody does on film. I know what Ryan did in college. The last time I played against him at all was two years ago (in practice at Michigan). He’s gotten better since then and I’ve gotten better since he played me,’’ Glasgow said. “So it’s just something where you need to gauge where he’s at on the tape.’’

Smart remarks aside, Glasgow said he’s proud of Ryan.

“I’m very happy for Ryan, I think he’s done really well for being a rookie tackle. It’s something that I’m very proud of him and I know our family is proud,’’ Glasgow said.

He thinks it will be fun (although he said to ask him about it after the game) but he’s not so sure his parents and grandparents want to see the brothers go against each other.

They also have a younger brother, Jordan, who plays at Michigan.

Graham Glasgow is the only Lions’ offensive lineman who has been healthy enough to start in every game. He started the season at left guard, but has filled in at center when Travis Swanson (concussion) has been out.

“I’m not going to say it’s easy but I think it’s something that I’ve learned to get better at, I still have to improve on it,’’ Glasgow said. “I still have things I need to get better at center, and a lot of things I need to get better at guard, but it’s something I try to improve on every day every week.’’