Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell joined the Tampa Bay media this week on a conference call to talk about this week’s game with the Buccaneers. Caldwell talked about how his first season has went, what he sees when watching the Bucs on film and more. Below is a full transcript of that conference call.
(On how the season has gone for him in his first year in Detroit)
“Just in terms of how things have gone, obviously we’re an 8-4 football team and nobody is satisfied with that. We’ve got to keep improving and this is the time of year where – November and December – are months where you’ve got to get in position where you have to win and you have to win consistently and it’s gets equally tough because of the nature of this league. It’s just that every single team has players – they’re good, they’re talented and you better certainly be operating on all cylinders extremely well in order to get yourself into position and to get a win.”
(On if talks to the team about last season)
“I know nothing about that, I wasn’t here. For me to comment on it, talk about it or evaluate it, I should say that I am not in a position to do so nor is it a concern of mine. That’s last year.”
(On Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson)
He’s a consummate professional, works extremely hard at his craft, is the humblest individual that I know in terms of a guy that has done so much in this league, but yet at any point in time has not thrown his weight around. He does everything that you ask him to do and in most cases you have to protect him from himself because he would work himself to death, but he’s everything that you look for in professional athlete.”
(On Detroit wide receiver Golden Tate)
“He’s played extremely well for us. In particular, he just came up huge when Calvin was out for that stretch and to be able to carry the load like he was able to do, to be highly productive in a difficult stretch, it goes without saying that he’s a pretty special guy. Looking at him, this was one of the things that most of the local media has heard me say this before around here, but I probably knew as much about him as I did any receiver because Bill Polian’s son was working for Notre Dame – at the time Brian [Polian] – and Bill would go up there often times, not only in support of his son, but he just so happened to see several games and every time he would come back, he would talk about Golden Tate and what kind of player he was. We all know that Bill is a very astute judge of talent and maybe one of the best ever and he would come back just be raving about this young guy. I had that somewhat stuck in my head a little bit and then when you go back and watch the film and see what he was able to do in his pro career, although he didn’t get the ball as much as he’s getting it now. There’s no question about it, he’s a quality player.”
(On his relationship Tampa Bay Head Coach Lovie Smith and if Smith can improve the Buccaneers)
“I think that goes without saying, he’s really a fine, fine football coach and one of the best. He does a tremendous job of getting his team ready. It’s not one of those things that you have to look very far to see what he was able to do. Just take a look in Chicago and how well they played under him and how much the players responded to his direction. He’s tremendous and a great football mind and then he has a staff there too. Leslie Frazier who I worked with in Indianapolis … Kevin O’Dea we worked together there in Tampa early on and it’s a whole bunch of guys that know how to coach football and do a tremendous job.”
(On if on film Tampa Bay looks like a 2-10 team)
“It happens every week because what we try and do number one: we throw the record out, we don’t even talk about it. We talk about the players that are on the field, we talk about their abilities and there’s no question about it, there’s a lot of players that play extremely well obviously on Tampa’s team – offensively, defensively and kicking game. They’ve been so close, I think they’ve lost six games by a touchdown or less and they’re right in the middle of it. These guys are a talented bunch. You don’t get any finer defensive lineman then the big fella who destroys people and disruptive in [Gerald] McCoy, he’s all over the place. [Michael] Johnson, I saw up close and personal when we were at Baltimore and we would play him in the same division. [Jacquies] Smith is a fine pass rusher, [Clinton] McDonald is a big physical guy and they rotate enough guys to give you enough problems. The linebacking core, [Lavonte] David is having a Pro Bowl year, how do you get any better than that guy? He’s leading the team in tackles. He runs, he plays and the whole core is a good core. The secondary led by [Johnthan] Banks on the corner, he’s a talented guy and a talented safety [Dashon Goldson] – so across the board you can go back and do the exact same thing from an offensive standpoint. You look at them on offense and [Vincent] Jackson and [Mike] Evans do a tremendous job on the flanks, they’re hard to handle, they’re physical guys, they can jump and catch, can run, they love to play the position, they have passion for it. You have fine offensive lineman and a running back in [Doug] Martin who has vision and power. I know Bobby Rainey well because we had him at Baltimore as well and I know he’s got talent. Josh [McCown] has played well over the years and proved that he can win a bunch of games in this league. All across the board, this is a heck of a football team.”
(On how his previous head coaching experience in Indianapolis has helped him in Detroit)
“Systemically we’ve probably done a great majority of things in terms of how we practice, the mannerisms in which we go about our week and how all those things are the same things we did in Indy for the most part. You make small tweaks here and there because it is a different place, it has a little different ethos, you’re dealing with different athletes. There’s not a cookie-cutter sort of operation, but that experience in particular, we were fortunate enough to win a number of games year after year and we had very, very fine talent and that kind of thing and I think we have fine talent here as well. There are a lot of things that were transferable and so we’ve used those and then we’ve adjusted some things. There are a couple of things I saw in Baltimore that I thought would fit and we adjusted a little bit that John Harbaugh had done and just the way he organized a couple of things. We’ve adjusted a little bit and then there are some guys on the staff that also had some insight and ideas, but that experience for me was invaluable as well as my experience when I was a head coach in college at Wake Forrest. All of those things come into play I think when you’re trying to put together an operation that wins.”
(On what he wants people to know about Tony Dungy)
“I think number one – and I think it’s probably what they base everything on – is performance and when you look at what he was able to accomplish in the amount of time that he was a head coach in the league, then I think it’s worthy of a Hall of Fame induction. He won quickly, he won often, he turned around a franchise there that had not won consistently and then he took his operation and went to Indianapolis and was able to duplicate that with win after win after win. I think we were seven years in a row where we had 12-plus wins and then won a Super Bowl as well. I just think that when you look at the facts about what he was able to accomplish – and let’s not even talk about the other part of it, the fact that he’s really transcended the position of coaching. He’s an author, a father, a great role model, public speaker and he’s just done so many things that have enhanced the game of football that we certainly love.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
I think it’s telling that while he mentioned nearly every position on the team in his analysis of what he saw (and admired) on tape…there is noticeable silence about our OLine…even Caldwell could not bring himself to say (as he essentially did for McCown) “well they were once good for a little while”….
He said we have “fine offensive lineman”. He must have meant “five”. Unless it’s leading up to the potential game winning play, then we have six.
Smart politics coach – knowing that anything can happen…..well, like last year. He wouldn’t want to say “we lost to an untalented bunch!”.
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