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LIONS OC BEN JOHNSON, LIONS DC AARON GLENN, AND LIONS ST COORDINATOR DAVE FIPP QUOTE SHEET

LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BEN JOHNSON QUOTE SHEET

December 7, 2023

On if he ever allows himself to marvel at the season that Lions TE Sam LaPorta is having: “I haven’t had a chance to watch it all in totality I guess, but we keep – I think I’ve said it a few times now, we keep trying to find out things that he can’t do and we’re still scratching our heads there, so. We like to line him up all over the place. He’s doing a phenomenal job picking up the details, the nuances of alignment splits, responsibilities and that’s what allowing us to push the envelope a little bit. But no, it’s really impressive for a rookie. Doesn’t matter what position, but particularly that one, even more challenging in a lot of ways between the run game and the pass game.”

On if it is a bigger challenge for a younger player like Lions TE Sam LaPorta to learn how to win one-on-one man coverage matchups at this level: “I don’t think so. What he showed on tape at Iowa was that he was going to be a dynamic route runner in this League. He certainly is a little bit more advanced in the run game than I thought. Those guys at Iowa do a phenomenal job coaching and so, that’s why it’s Tight End U right now. Those guys come out ready to roll. But yeah, he was able to win some man matchups last week and hopefully that continues for us. That alleviates the burden on our wideout group too. They were doubling (Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown) Saint at times and so we need somebody else to step up and win the one-on-ones. His number was called more often than not last week.”

On what the Bears defense does well: “They stop the run. They are extremely sound, their Head Coach (Matt Eberflus) is very detailed. You can tell that he stresses the fundamentals and he stresses play style. They are relentless, they pursue, they are very disciplined. And so, when you combine that with a sound scheme, it makes it very difficult to run the ball. He was a good run defense when he was in Indy and that’s really carried over now to Chicago. They’ve got some good talent all across the ball. Upfront they’ve got some guys playing better than maybe what – you might not have heard their names before, but these defensive tackles, they are stout at the point of attack. Obviously, they added another pass rusher in (Bears DL Montez) Sweat, but he’s a good run defender as well. Second level, (Bears LB Tremaine Edmunds) 49 shows up all over the tape and (Bears LB T.J. Edwards) 53, the guy they brought in from Philly is very instinctive. And then on the backend, it’s a bunch of young, hungry guys that just love playing football it looks like. So, it’s a challenge scheme-wise and then also with who they have and how they’re playing.”

On the challenge of having to run the ball more due to weather conditions against a strong run defense: “Yeah, I think the weather’s trending our direction a little bit, but I’m with you. It’s – the way we are built on offense is we can be productive any number of ways. And so, we’ll do whatever we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win this ball game. Our guys of course upfront, they take this as a challenge going against such a good group on defense that’s been so good against the run all year long. And so, I think they’re embracing this challenge with open arms. It’ll be a good opportunity. We’ve got a couple really good backs that help make us right and make guys miss, so it’ll be good for us.”

On if expects Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown to be motivated to be more involved this week after being double teamed in the New Orleans game: “Yeah, I think he’s been targeted quite a bit almost every game. Even last week, he was primary on quite a few things. We didn’t connect on a few that we really want back I think, but I’ve got no doubt that he’s going to come out and be the same productive player that he’s always been. They double him in certain situations and that’s when the other guys have to feast, but when (Lions TE) Sam LaPorta or I think (Lions WR) Kalif Raymond had a big game a couple weeks ago, when these other guys make plays, it makes defenses think twice about trying to take out number 14.”

On Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs having a lower usage percentage against the Saints: “Probably within the moment, don’t equate it. At halftime, we get a feel for who’s touched the ball how many times, but within the circumstance of the game, it’s kind of just an ebb and a flow. And so, may or may not try to just dial it up to get it in someone’s hands, other times it might be, ‘Hey, I think they’re going to be in this defense and we want to attack them this way.’ So, it’s a balancing act right now and it’s a blessing and a curse to have this many talented skill players. I mean we’ve got a phenomenal tight end, we’ve got two really good running backs and we’ve got all five receivers that are up on gameday who really deserve to get the ball in their hands and get a chance to run with it. So, that’s where each week it’s, ‘Guys, somebody – you’re all going to have plays in and somebody’s probably going to be at the end of the game not as happy with not touching the ball enough.’ And we just try to cycle it around each week who’s got that. But we’ve got a lot of dynamic playmakers and that’s a challenge for us right now.”

On how much of his post-game process is understanding their own personnel usage to maintain a weekly balance: “Yeah, we’re very aware of who gets the ball, where they lineup, the self-scout tendencies in which situations we know what those things are and we try to usually use that against the defense.”

On Lions OL Colby Sorsdal’s development these last few weeks: “Oh, yeah, it’s really night and day. I think the first game he was in was maybe Atlanta that he had to get thrown in there if I remember correctly. And he really got thrown in at right tackle and it wasn’t his prettiest tape and I think he would admit as much, but to see where he’s grown from those early reps and playing interior both right side and left side. He continues to get better each week. Is it perfect? No, but for a rookie, this is learning on the fly a little bit. And he – as long as, as well as all of our other young guys, they just continue to get better with reps, and that’s what he needs.”

On if Lions OL Colby Sorsdal is more comfortable on the right side due to his collegiate experience: “We’ve been cross-training him all training camp and so far this season. I think if you probably looked at it, maybe he’s lined up on the right side a little bit more than the left side over the course of that time, but he’s getting a lot more comfortable on playing interior football. It really doesn’t matter which side he’s on.”

On how much he looks at the weather before a game and how much it affects his gameplan: “Yeah, that’s a great question. It certainly plays a big role. It plays a big role in (Lions Head) Coach (Dan) Campbell’s decisions of, ‘Hey, do we want to kick? Do we want to receive? Do we want to play with the wind? Do we not want to play –?’ All those things, but for me as a play-caller, certainly we look at wind, we look at precipitation, temperature, all that. Another variable that goes into the play-calls is, ‘What’s the sun? What’s the sun’s location?’ I’ve been a part of a number of times, we’ve thrown deep balls and it gets caught in the sun and it’s all for naught. It’s a perfect ball and the guys’ wide open and it drives – so, all those factors week in and week out always go into our thought process and how we want to call the game. Sometimes maybe you’ve got the wind behind your back one quarter and you know you’re not going to the next quarter, so you want to maybe be a little bit more aggressive and vice versa, things of that nature.”

On when the weather starts to impact the gameplan throughout the week: “Yeah, I mean it’s – the gameplan’s always in flux. And so, we never really put our finishing touches on it until really – we never do. There’s adjustments being made all the time in the game. In fact, I mean we put in a play right before – about an hour before kickoff that we ended up calling there in the last drive before halftime last week. But that’s just an example. We’re always tweaking things and our players, they don’t blink an eye. I mean they’re used to it at this point. We put a lot on them in training camp and so, it’s just par for the course.”

On if the play he added in last week an hour before the game was just an idea that popped into his head: “No, it’s just as you’re going through the plan you’re like, ‘Hey, maybe we’re a little bit light in this area. I think they’ll give us this coverage,’ and just want one more bullet in the chamber just in case the situation popped up.”

On if the play he added in an hour before kickoff last week hit: “It should’ve hit.”

On how to prepare for the unknown from an opponent coming off of a bye week: “I think when you look at a coach’s history, you look at – they have an identity in who they are, and you can trust those things. Listen, there’s wrinkles every game that we have to deal with. (Lions QB) Jared (Goff) has seen enough football in his eight years now that he knows, ‘OK, I haven’t seen this one before. They haven’t shown this before,’ and he knows how to react if they give us a different pressure or different coverage than what we’ve seen. So, that’s the luxury I have is, I’ve got a veteran quarterback and really, veteran offensive line that it doesn’t matter what gets thrown at us. We can adjust and still be productive.”

 

LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR AARON GLENN QUOTE SHEET

December 7, 2023

Opening Statement: “Good to get a win last week at a place that I was at for a long time. Still a lot of faces there that I know, had a chance to get a chance to talk to. Listen, that first half, man, it was the way that we play defense. Second half, we had some events that happen that we’ve got to get better at, which we will get better at. And our guys will continue to practice hard and work on those things. So again, I like where we’re at as far as the record, overall team. Obviously, there are some things we want to clean up on defense and we will continue to do those.”

On the need for making halftime adjustments to have a stronger third quarter performance: “I think that’s really funny that that’s always the buzz word of ‘adjustments.’ And I kind of laugh at it because it just shows that how people just don’t have a clue. I mean we’re winning. We’re doing a really good job and what are you changing?”

On how making adjustments can be a counter approach to the opponent making changes: “And you have to see if they’re going to adjust. And the thing is, they made plays and we didn’t make plays we should’ve made. When you have key plays in a game that’s caused some issues, to me that’s what you try to make sure you make those adjustments. And sometimes you make them on the sideline, sometimes you make them at halftime, but in a game, man, there’s always adjustments that are being made because every team is not just going to come out and do the things that they’ve shown on tape. They’re always going to have something new. So, our job as coaches is to make sure that whatever those new things they come out with, man, we’ll adjust to make sure we put our guys in positions to make those plays. And it happens all the time. So, we’ll continue to do that, but that’s the thing that’s an emphasis that we’ve been – offense and defense, we’ve been going over for a while now. Even in the offseason, we talk about those things, and man, we have to get better at that if we want to be the team we want to be. So, you’re right in that aspect, of making sure that man, we just come out the same way we come out in the first half with energy, effort and doing those things. And I think it’s more of that than anything else.”

On how frustrating allowing big plays has been and how to limit the number of them moving forward: “Well, big plays are always frustrating. The thing that I try to do is look at the big picture. We’re one of the top teams in the League as far as not giving up explosive plays. So, I always try to point back to that and what did we do before to not give those things up, and our guys understand that. And listen, this is a League of teams that are trying to make big plays because usually when you make big plays, obviously you’re going to get scores after that. So, that’s one thing that we try to make sure we focus on, and we look at the things that we’ve done before to make sure we limit those and we want to continue to try to do those things.”

On the urgency to limit the number of points allowed for the final stretch of the season: “Listen, there’s always an urgency in that regard. That’s the first thing that we talk about as a defense is we want to limit points. I think when you look at it in totality, you look at our overall defense, man, there’s really the same core that’s been here and you look at us last year at this time, man, we were not a good defense. I think we were ranked last in a lot of different categories. And you look at it now with really the same core, I mean these guys have improved and that’s the one thing I don’t think people really take a look at is, I mean (Lions DL Alim McNeill) Mac’s having his best year I would think. I do think (Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson) Hutch is having a good year. The thing is there’s been so much attention to him that he hasn’t had a chance to get the sacks that he’s wanting to get. Those things will come for him. You look at (Lions LB) Alex (Anzalone). I think Alex is having the best year of his career. So, this time last year when it comes to yards, when it comes to rush, when it comes to – I mean we were not good last year, but this year, man, things have changed. So, I think we’ve got to give credit to those guys and we don’t hear that enough. Listen, everybody wants to be the number one defense. Hell, I want to be the number one defense, but guys have to develop and the guys have developed. And look where they put themselves. And they’re going to continue to get better at that, even the guys like (Lions DL) Brodric (Martin) that we’re developing now. I mean those guys are going to come along and do well for us.”

On how to keep Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson from getting frustrated by his good performances not being reflective in the stats: “Well, the first thing you’re talking about is how he’s affecting the game, but the numbers might not be saying it, and he’s really doing that. The second thing is, man, understand how the top guys in this League – and I’m not talking about the guys that are playing now, but even the guys that played way before him, how have they handled a double team? I think the one thing that he had a chance to look at, he had a chance to look at (Steelers LB) T.J. Watt who’s an explosive player, and man, he’s always using his hands. And I think if you see the game against New Orleans man, he did a really good job of using his hands and guys man, hell he had three guys on him at one point and he still had a chance to get a hand on the quarterback. So, he’s still developing in that regard and that just goes to show just how much more of his game he has left. Again, I’m happy with where that player’s at. I mean obviously, he wants to get more sacks, we want him to get more sacks, but man, to understand exactly how you – what you’re doing is really affecting a lot of the things on defense.”

On the task of replacing Lions DL Alim McNeill’s production while he is out due to injury: “It’s always hard to replace a player of his stature and we all know that. The thing that we’ve got to do a really good job of is, man, keep developing the guys that we have in our program. And other guys have to step up too. I mean (Lions DL Josh) Paschal has to do a really good job. Sometimes he’s going to be inside and we’re going to need him to step up. (Lions DL) Brodric (Martin) has to continue to develop. (Lions DL Isaiah) Buggs has to continue to develop. Just a lot of these guys that we have in our program have got to take up that slack. And you’re right, it is next man up mentality. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves, and we’re going to continue to try to be the best defense we can each week.”

On Lions DL Brodric Martin’s progress and what he can provide to the team: “Man, just coming from where he did in college and understand exactly how he has to play in this League. The one thing I think that he had an issue with early is just being able to use his hands and understand how to use his hands. And man, I tell him in practice, he’s doing a really good job of that. I mean before practice, after practice, those are the things that Brodric is doing a really good job of to get himself on the field. And then other than that, man, I’m a big believer in D-linemen being able to have lateral agility and he’s working his butt off trying to work on those things too.”

On if Lions DLs Levi Onwuzurike and Josh Paschal have progressed back from their injuries as they had hoped: “Well, I mean it’s hard for Levi because he hasn’t had a chance to really just play for us. And listen, that injury was a significant injury, so it’s going to take him time. I mean obviously (Lions DL Alim McNeill) Mac, I think he’s having his best season. And Josh is the same thing. I mean he hasn’t had enough plays to really just like, ‘Man, where is he at?’ But, the thing is, you’re starting to see that with Josh. I talked about that last week with him. I mean in the New Orleans game, he had some really good plays. So, the development is coming with that player.”

On what veteran players like Lions DLs Bruce Irvin and Tyson Alualu can add to a young team: “Well, two 36-year-olds. That’s awesome though, man. Golly, to be playing at that age, especially two guys that have been in the fight like they’ve been in when you’re playing at that D-line position. Both of those guys can give just insight on what it takes to play at a high level. I mean I’ve known Tyson for a while as far as who he was as a player, that pick’s come from Cal. So, he has some belts on the wall and he can help our young guys as far as things that they need to do to create to be at that level. Same thing with Bruce. Bruce talked to some of the guys this week about playing at a championship level, so man, it’s good to just hear those guys’ voices, for them to bring what they understand this League is about. But man, I think it’s outstanding for guys 36-years-old still playing in this League, man.”

On if Lions DL Levi Onwuzurike has an opportunity to get more reps with Lions DL Alim McNeill out with an injury: “Listen, anytime he gets game reps, it’s always good for him. The thing is I mean we can’t play everybody. There’s only so many people we can bring on defense and if we could bring them all, I would, but we can’t. The thing is the guys that we’ve had have been playing pretty good. Again, we’re a top run defense in this League. So, we don’t want to just bring guys to just be bringing them. I mean guys have to earn their keep and I’ve said that several times. And when you have an injury, man, guys really have to step up and be a big part of what we’re doing. And this is going to be a week where he has to do that.”

On Lions DL Quinton Bohanna’s production the past three weeks: “Listen, that’s a big man. That’s a huge man. And the thing that he shows that’s pretty impressive is he has some first step quickness to him. Listen, he’s still a young player too. I mean I remember him and I know you guys do when he was in Dallas and he’s played a good amount of plays there, so he understands this game, but he’s still a young player and he still needs to develop. So, we have to be very careful on how we use these elevations to make sure that we can get the best guy for us. And we will do that, but I’m impressed with that player. I’m impressed with him and he’s doing a good job for us.”

 

LIONS SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DAVE FIPP QUOTE SHEET

December 7, 2023

On what Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin has meant to special teams and how much he advocated to get him back on the team in the offseason: “Yeah, I mean, when he left, we thought he was a great player and disappointed to see him go or whatever, but that’s a part of the business. And then obviously, when we had a chance to get him back, it was incredible. He’s a great leader. His way of leading is a lot more by example, than being vocal. However, he has been vocal and that’s also helped the guys. And he’s done a little bit more of that this year. He’s obviously a captain for us, but great player. I mean, for him to go out and make the plays that he made in that game was obviously special. And the one thing that I said, I just talked to (Lions Head Coach) Dan (Campbell) about it, but the one thing that happens to these guys, when you’re a good player, you get a lot of attention. They put good players on you, sometimes they put two guys on you. If they don’t put two guys on you, they put their best guy on you. And so, for him to go out and do that against a good football team that has a bunch of good players on their side of the ball and a well-coached group who has a good plan, it obviously says a lot about him, individually.”

On how difficult it is for a player like Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin to see time on both defense and special teams in the same game: “Yeah, it’s great. And I think – it’s just a great example of a guy who – I think sometimes there’s a human element to the whole game and how much you’re playing on defense and everybody wants to be a defensive player, an offensive player. I mean, when you’re a kid, you kind of dream of doing that, I think, for most of these guys. And obviously, special teams fits somewhere in there and I think sometimes when guys start playing more defense, they feel like, ‘Well, I’m playing more defense. I’ve kind of got a built-in excuse of why I might not have been as good on special teams,’ and he obviously took the opposite approach, which I think the great players do. I always say, ‘Competitors compete.’ And it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you’re playing a game of whatever, pig, or horse, or whatever – I mean, these guys – they’re going to go after it. If there’s a free shirt on the line, I mean, these guys will compete for it. It doesn’t matter how much money you make and the best players compete the most and it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. And so for him to do that was awesome. It reminds me, really, I was watching some football. We were actually on the plane, on our way back and the 49ers were playing against the Eagles and I mean they had (49ers WR) Deebo Samuel back there returning kickoffs for these guys. And it’s like, the guy just went off in the game on offense, but he’s still playing on kickoff return. And I know that, that guy must’ve gone to those guys and said, ‘Hey, put me back there. I want to be back there. I can make a difference.’ It didn’t come from a coach saying, ‘Hey, will you please.’ So, anyway, yeah, for Germ, I mean competitors compete. He’s a competitor, he did a great job and it really speaks volumes and also, such a great example for playing on defense, or playing on offense and playing on special teams.”

On the most sensational competitor he has been around: “Yeah, I’ll stay away from answering in specifics, but I would say that I have been fortunate in my time doing this to see a bunch of really good ones. I mean, (former Eagles RB) Darren Sproles is a guy that comes to mind. That guy wanted to change the game. You could tell he was going to go change the game. He was going to put it on himself. It didn’t matter what anybody else did, how they blocked, how they played, he was going to make the play, no matter what. There are two guys running free? I’ll make both of them miss. There’s one guy running free? Great, got that. There’s three? No problem. We get great blocking? That’s even better. But we need it in a game and it’s at a moment where you need someone to step up big, he did it. He would be one of the better ones. But I have been fortunate to be around a bunch of great ones. And all of them have a different impact. His position’s a little bit easier to see the impact of it, whereas a core player, which is also a good thing about (Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin) Germ, a guy’s just running and covering kicks and making tackles, you don’t tend to see quite as much. Most of those honors go to the kicker who makes four field goals and a game-winner in a game, or the returner who has a big return. But for it to be a core guy that’s making tackles, doesn’t happen very often.”

On if there are unique things teams throw at them on special teams when they face them multiple times in a season: “Yeah, it is a really good question because I think there is a balance between – yeah, the schematics and going against this team and what you’d like to do, but then most of it really comes back, at least for me, it really comes back to who are your players and what do they do well? What are you going to ask them to do? And so schematically, you’re more built around the players that you have, rather than, ‘I think this would be a great idea against these guys because they do X, Y and Z.’ It really comes down more with our players against these guys in this game and the players they have in this game, it makes more sense for us to do this, even though it would be fun to do that, but it’s probably not suited for our guys and putting them in the best spot. So, I think a lot of it comes down to individual matchups and players, but then the other element, which I’m sure you guys are going to ask me about, but the other element, like going into this game, it’s a big difference when you’re playing them indoors a couple weeks ago and then now we’re going to their place and we’re getting into December and we’re playing outside and there’ll be a little bit more wind and weather and that factors into the game also. And I think I’ve said before, that’s some good and some bad. If the wind’s blowing sideways one direction, you generally know which way they’re going to kick the ball. But, it’s still blowing sideways one direction, so.”

On if the weather and field conditions at Soldier Field make it a tough place to kick: “Yeah, I guess in the past, you heard a lot about the field, I don’t know. When I first got into the League, the grass was longer there and that was definitely noticeable and I think you heard a lot of chatter from players about that, or kickers maybe. That really hasn’t been like that for a long time, for me. So, the field’s fine. But yeah, there’s definitely always wind and weather there and the way the stadium’s shaped kind of – it lets some wind and weather in there. So yeah, I would say in general, it’s a little bit tougher place to kick, certainly tougher than indoors at Ford Field.”

On if Lions P Jack Fox was able to get into a rhythm and prevent a lull against the Saints because he had more opportunities to punt compared to previous games this season: “Yeah, and I would say very well said by you because what has happened, and it’s not only that we’ve only had like two punts in a game, but those two punts, sometimes they’re both in midfield. They’re totally different plays than when you’re punting backed-up. And this last game, all those punts really happened down on our end of the field, which hasn’t been standard for us. So there definitely has been some lulls and this is the first time when you really got to go out there and cover a bunch of balls and do all that, so yeah, I totally agree. But yeah, good to see Fox have a chance to let it rip and do what he does best.”

On if Lions P Jack Fox had a better performance against the Saints because he had more opportunities to punt the ball: “Yeah, I thought he was outstanding in the game. Great hangtime, great distance on the ball. It’s good operation time. So, I thought he played really well. He’s playing really good football right now for us. He’s in a really good spot. You can see he’s very confident the way he’s striking the ball too, and so it’s positive.”

On his assessment of Lions LB Trevor Nowaske against the Saints and what it is like as a coach to see an undrafted player make the team and see time on the field: “He was great. And the thing about him, I mean, I love talking about him because I feel like he’s been a great football player since training camp and has just done a great job, So, really, with him, we didn’t miss a beat at all. But yeah, I was excited to see him be able to get out there because a guy like him, he’s doing all this work in practice, he’s giving the looks to the other team every single week and all he wants is a chance to play and finally got a chance to play, I thought did a nice job for us.”

On if Lions LB Trevor Nowaske caught their eye during training camp: “Yeah, yeah, definitely. In training camp, right away, you could say, ‘Hey, man this guy’s got something to him.’ He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he can really run. But, on top of that, he’s got some awareness for where the football is when he’s out there in coverage and he does a good job in the return game too, for a defensive player.”

 

The Lions head to Chicago looking to sweep the Bears on Sunday at 1:00pm.

 

Listen to every game on WBRN 1460am, 107.7fm, and 96.5fm.

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  6. Lakeview 10-9 (4-5)
  7. Central Montcalm 8-11 (4-5)
  8. Newaygo 10-9 (3-6)
  9. White Cloud 7-13 (2-8)
  10. Tri County 3-14 (1-8)
  11. Chip Hills 1-18 (0-9)

This Week's Poll

What place will the Lions finish in the NFC North?