Week 1 of the regular season is upon us and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has moved on from the weekend’s roster cuts and is in full regular-season mode.
The Lions will practice on Monday and Tuesday before kicking off their normal week of game prep on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for Monday night’s opener against the New York Giants.
“It’s a delicate balancing act,” Caldwell said of this week’s schedule.
“What we’ll do today (Monday) in practice is, we’ll be working against ourselves for the most part. I believe in getting into a rhythm, just in terms of preparation.
“Our rhythm would be our Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday sort of routine, which would start for us on Thursday. These next couple of days will be once again getting an opportunity for us to get better at what we do, focus in on us and then we’ll start our preparations in term of the Giants.”
In his first Monday press conference of the regular season, Caldwell made it very clear that there is no part of this football team that he isn’t responsible for and there will be no excuses.
We’ve talked in the past about accountability when it comes to this team. Caldwell said Monday that he’s accountable for every aspect of this team’s performance and he’s made it very clear to the players they need to be as well.
“It all depends on me,” Caldwell said. “I’m responsible for each and every little thing that goes on in this program. Bar none. Wins and losses. Conduct. Every single phase. Offense, defense and special teams. It all runs through me. There isn’t anything I don’t have responsibility for and doesn’t fall on my shoulders in that regard.”
Here are some other key questions from Monday’s press conference.
What is the update on
Van Noy returned to Allen Park Sunday night after undergoing surgery last Thursday. Caldwell said they should know more in a day or two in terms of his long-term status after the team doctors evaluate how the surgery went.
The Lions can place Van Noy on short-term injured reserve starting Tuesday. Each team can use the designation once per season.
“The update would be that he did have a surgery and that surgery was successful,” Caldwell said. “A lot of it depends on him in terms of how quickly it heals. We’ll wait and see.”
Caldwell said the possibility of him going on short term IR is still on the table.
What is Caldwell’s initial reaction to the 53-man roster?
The Lions cut down from 75 players to 53 on Saturday and didn’t add anyone from the waiver wire afterward.
All 10 of the players on the practice squad were part of the 22-man cuts.
The Lions obviously like the talent on their roster and didn’t feel it was necessary to sign a player and rush to get him up to speed for the season opener in a week. Expect the roster to change some in the coming weeks, especially after Week 1 when veteran contracts are no longer guaranteed, but coaches obviously like what they’re working with right now.
“I believe that we’ve got a good nucleus of guys,” Caldwell said. “The thing you know, and know extremely well, is that within this business because of the fact that there’s a 100-percent injury rate, that there’s always going to be some adjustments along the way.
“You’d like to be able to think that you could stay extremely healthy. Hopefully we do, knock on wood, but it doesn’t take long for the churning to start in that regard. Right now, at this stage, we’re pleased with the group that we have and excited about the group. We’re looking forward to our first game next week.”
What did second-year receiver
Caldwell had a rather simple answer: “The guy made plays.”
To be exact, Fuller caught six passes for 90 yards (15.0 average) with two touchdowns in the preseason. He has the size (6-foot-2) and speed (4.3 40-yard dash) to be a factor as a deep threat in this offense.
“He’s grown and developed,” Caldwell said. “He’s got speed and length and he’s hungry.”
Is this roster a championship-caliber roster?
On paper it’s a talented roster, but like all teams, there are some perceived deficiencies. The biggest question mark remaining for this current roster is the secondary. Can they cover?
This team is talented enough on offense to win eight games. Whether or not they play good defense and have the ability to defend some of the best passing attacks in this league, which just so happen to reside in the NFC North, might be the difference between eight or 10 wins and a possible division title.
Caldwell said there are certain characteristics every championship team has and he’s hoping this team adopts those.
“Having had an opportunity to work with a couple teams that won it all, there are some things that you look for and see, and without question this team has those things in place.”
What are some of those things?
-- “Real strong leadership in terms of the guys that are playing for you across the board. We have a strong nuclease of guys that do a great job in terms of setting the tone for their particular room and sometimes we have two or three in a room.”
-- “The ability to be explosive in terms of putting points on the board from an offensive standpoint. I think without question we do have that.”
-- “When it really boils down to it (good teams) all look the same. They run the ball. They can stop the run. They don’t turn the ball over a whole lot. They do a great job in minimizing penalties. That’s what they look like.”
Caldwell admitted that his team is working on a couple of those phases, particularly the penalties, but thinks they have the “foundation” to be champions.