Lions Postgame Quotes (Week Fifteen)

Head Coach Dan Campbell

Opening Statement…

That’s another win. We talked about it, it’s a six game season and that’s three down. I would say it was not our cleanest game. There were a lot of little things we did not do right that we must clean up moving forward. However, when we needed it, our defense played pretty dang good, let’s start there, they played pretty dang good. There were a couple of things that we gave up, but man, they fought. They certainly had the stopper at the end. I think, as a team, what really came through was in critical moments, especially at the end of the game, we came up huge. You get the fourth-and-one for a touchdown, that was a great call by Ben (Johnson). Our defense has to take the field with 1:49 on the clock and three timeouts by the opponent. They get in field goal range and we stop them and we come up with some critical sacks and hurries and we covered well. It was great. I think that’s part of the maturing process. The growth, everything. I don’t know if we would have made those plays earlier in the year. It would have gone the other way. That just shows we’re getting more mature. We’re becoming more disciplined in critical moments. That’s big.

 

On having confidence in the offense…

We just have to get first downs. We had plenty of time. You know you basically have one possession to get down there now. With that, you kind of know you’re in four down mentality. Now, you just find a way to get the next first down. You end up in a fourth-and-one. You don’t think that play is going to be a touchdown. I wouldn’t have thought that. I thought it could have been an explosive, it’s a first down and explosive, but Brock (Wright) turned it up. We got a good block out of (Josh) Reynolds. It was great. That’s what I thought of. We’ve got our back against the wall. We’ve basically got four downs, let’s go to work. Those guys really showed up when we needed it.

 

On how it feels to get the win…

It feels great. It does. You’ll never take away from winning, not in this league. I told our guys, nobody knows that better than we do. We’re not going to talk trash about a win. A win is a win. We’ll take that because we earned that. Our guys earned that. The reality is, moving forward, we do have to clean a few of these things up that could have cost us today and that will cost us down the road. But, a win feels great. The guys believe. They believe and now here we go. This is another win, but it’s a different way to have to win. We had to find a different way to win. Every time that happens, you just continue to grow and figure things out. Your confidence grows.

 

On the fourth-down call that led to the touchdown after Brock Wright had a drop earlier…

That didn’t shake my confidence. He had a drop early. A lot of people had drops.  We had some drops out there today. We just felt like the way we run the ball and the situation we’re in, it would be there as along as he sold it. He’s a pretty disciplined player, he always has been. We figured he’d be pretty open and it worked out that way. It’s about getting through the trash, which he did. (Jared) Goff gave him a good ball, he makes a play and he did the rest. He turned it up.  He runs pretty good once he gets his hips up field.

 

On being .500 after starting the season 1-6…

It’s hard to answer because you know you’ll be better. You know it will be better, you just don’t know how it’s going to get there or what it’s going to be. You do know, if you start playing better football, you can rattle off some wins in a row. I think that’s the best way to say it. I didn’t know what it was going to look like or how it would be, but that’s kind of the idea. You start playing some pretty good football and you rattle off two or three in a row. If that’s good enough to get in (to the playoffs), great. If not, it didn’t work out. We didn’t do enough early. When you start playing pretty good football, that happens. It’s a credit to our coaches and our guys. I’ve got some great coordinators and some great assistant coaches. And the players, man, they’re fueling it. They’re starting to feel it. They’re taking ownership into this team and we’re getting better because of it.

 

On how important this type of win is…

They’re all important. It’s important to know that if you get in those critical moments and all doesn’t look well and you get in a critical fourth (down), you can make that play. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re at the two minute and you’re going to get a five-yard gain for the first down. It can mean at any moment, even Brock Wright can take it for a touchdown for 51-yards. It’s possible with some blocking from a teammate and everything lines up perfectly and you do it right. We’re not even talking about (D’Andre) Swift or (Amon-Ra St. Brown) or (DJ) Chark, some of the playmakers we have. It didn’t quite go there, but it can happen. Just do your job. You can’t (think), what if we don’t get this play? No, just go make the play. Line up and cut it loose.

 

On the decision to go for the missed field goal…

It was tough. That was a hard decision one way or another. I wanted to go for it. We had just thrown the ball and it didn’t work out. It’s incomplete, you’re probably going to have to throw it again. We were just on that fringe. We were so close to where I felt really good about (Michael) Badgley. It was on that line, so I took a shot and it didn’t work out. That was the end to go if you were going to kick it a little longer, you wanted to go that way.

 

On Kalif Raymond…

I just gave him a game ball. He’s our iron man. He does everything for us. He’s been in there with some of the injuries we’ve had at receiver. He’s been in there every day. Every game, every practice, he just goes. He’s selfless, he’s disciplined, he’s a hard worker, he’s smart, he’s productive, he endears himself to his teammates, he’s versatile, he can block, he can play in the slot, he can play outside, he’s got run after catch, he’s a damn good punt returner. I think he’d be a great gunner, too. We want to be smart with how we use him. He does everything for us and he doesn’t bat an eye. He doesn’t whine. He doesn’t complain. It’s never too hard. It’s never this job is too much. He just goes. What do you need me to do and he goes. You can’t have enough of those guys.

 

On if he has an update on DeShon Elliott…

No, I don’t. I don’t know where that is going to be. I haven’t talked to our trainer yet to see how bad that really is.

 

On Romeo Okwara…

It means a lot to have Romeo back, just to have him in the fold with us. First of all, he’s unbelievable locker room guy. He’s a hard worker. On top of that, he plays the run well. He can rush the passer. He can work them on the guard inside. He can work them outside. He was better than he was last week. He’s gotten a little bit better and there are somethings that really showed up today. I’d anticipate he’ll be even better next week against Carolina. It’s good to have him back.

 

On if it’s a hurdle to have playoff expectations…

Here’s what it is. I felt this way when we came in at halftime, I felt like there were some mistakes we were making because we were afraid to fail. There was a little bit of afraid of failure in some areas that I had not felt. That was something we talked about. More than anything, that to me is what is going to be critical. I don’t think it’s about taking the cheese and all that because we can play. We have a good enough team to play. Our deal has got to be that we can’t become so tense that we start doing things we weren’t doing. There’s a reason we’ve gotten to this point and we’re beginning to win. If we start becoming so tense and uptight from everything that we’re so afraid to lose, then you’re not going to win that way. I think that’s what we have to guard against, which we’ll do a great job of. We’ll be on it. We’re getting better as a team.

Jared Goff

On the touchdown pass to TE Brock Wright…

Yeah, the fourth down call was great. It’s a play we’ve kind of had going on all year. I threw a touchdown to Brock actually on it against Chicago, a similar type of play. I thought it was a great call. He’s the number two in the progression, got it back to him and totally redeems himself for that play earlier in the drive. He’s a lot faster than people know. I think he runs a 4.6 40 but he can roll, so when I got to him in open space right there, I’m like, ‘He might score’, and he did.

 

On the level of confidence the team has right now…

A lot of these close games are starting to lean more towards us than they are towards them, and that hasn’t always been the case around here. I think we’re starting to believe in each other. Well not starting to, we fully believe in each other. Just know somebody is going to make a play to do something right, and that’s half the battle. And that’s showing off for us a lot right now.

 

On whether this win was exhilarating for him…

Yeah, we hadn’t done much offensively the whole game. Specifically in the second half, hadn’t really done anything. I wasn’t playing my best ball certainly there in the second half and felt like, ‘OK, here’s a drive where we can make up for all lost previously,’ and Brock made a great play. But yeah, I was fired up and our whole team was fired up.

 

On the play call…

It’s a great call. It’s an easy read, easy completion if we do it right and we did it right. Again, getting a guy like Brock with some speed, didn’t know he’d be that open but when they are, it’s pretty good.

 

On the Jets defense…

They’re really good. They’re one of the top five, six defenses in the league for a reason. Really good at creating pressure with just four guys and really good at mixing up coverages. Really aggressive. Both corners are really good, both safeties are really good. Yeah, it’s a good group. They challenged us for most of that game, and we’re happy to be able to get away with that.

 

On the source of confidence prior to the game-winning touchdown…

We know what we need. We’d been moving the ball for most of the game. We had good plays, we had explosive plays. We had good drives, but that’s a good defense. They were stopping us quite a bit there, especially in the second half. Knew we needed one play and there was certainly plays I wish I would have made a little bit better throughout the game and would’ve maybe made a difference there, but when it comes down to it, we made the play that mattered.

 

On what he and Wright said to each other after the dropped pass on first down…

Nothing. He’s level. I trust him and he’s a great player.

 

On where that speaks to the confidence to go back to Wright on fourth down…

Yeah, he’s wide open. He’s a guy that we trust. Yeah, he had a drop and guys have drops. I had bunch of missed throws. I had missed reads. He had a drop. So be it. We come right back to him and made a great play.

 

On what is says that the team is winning close games…

You’d rather win ugly than lose pretty. There was times earlier in the year when we were winning pretty in certain situations, and then kind of letting it fall away from us towards the end and I think that’s totally flipped to where we’re at now. We’ve won some games recently pretty handily, but we’ve also won some close games, and won some games on the road close that we had to pull out and things had to go our way at the end. Is it going our way or are we making a play? I lean toward making a play, whether it was a sack on that last drive, or just things we did up front, we’re starting to learn how to win and how to win consistently in close games in tough environments. And yeah, it’s a good, mature team now.

 

On whether they’ll be watching the Giants-Commanders game…

Yeah, we’ll see what happens. We’ll be watching. Again, we win them, we’ve got a good chance. If we don’t win them, we probably don’t.

 

On his incomplete pass to Jameson Williams and developing chemistry with him…

I wish I would’ve thrown it a little bit earlier. I had to move in the pocket a little bit. That’s one missed opportunity I felt like throughout the game I was thinking about. But yeah, him and I are moving along. It’s much better than it was two weeks ago, with just understanding his speed and what’s he’s good at and what he likes. So yeah, we’re moving right along, and it’ll only get better from here.

 

On Kalif Raymond’s impact…

He’s a tremendous receiver, as well as a punt returner. But when you have a guy that’s supposed to be your gadget guy or your punt returner and you can call choice routes to him, that’s rare. A guy that understands coverages and knows where to be and what to do and is always on time and is always doing his thing. I spoke about this earlier in the year, him and I have so many reps together. Now he’s slid back in the depth chart a little bit because he’s punt returning and Jamo (Jameson Williams) is back, but when he’s out there, it’s just like any other guy that I feel confident with and that gives us a whole lot to have four or five guys, now six, that we really feel really good about.

Aidan Hutchinson

On what he saw from the Jets offense today…

Kind of what we expected – I thought – going into this game. Maybe it would be more of a run-heavy game because of the change of quarterback, and we knew if he got out of the pocket, he’d be looking for that deep field shot. So, kind of what we expected.

 

On this game being a full team effort…

No doubt, full team effort. We saw the offense do that and I think this defense wants nothing else than to have it in our hands at the end of the game.

 

On Romeo Okwara’s play coming off an injury…

It was great. It’s great. This is Romeo’s coming out day and I thought, really, we were firing on all cylinders for a lot of the game. I’m super proud of Romeo.

Kalif Raymond

On his contribution to today’s win…

Just thankful to be a part of this team, part of those guys, part of that unit. It’s a lot of guys out there working very, very hard. Even on that one, all I had to do was just be a part of it. I’m just thankful to be here.

 

On his punt return…

I saw a lot of guys blocking really hard. Even the time, I don’t know if you ever seen me catch it, the guys on the outside, it was Jerry Jacobs and Amani (Oruwariye), held up their guys, I mean, it’s just almost like a wall. I barely had to do anything, it’s all those guys. James Houston at the end, I catch his eye and he’s doing a monster block. So, I always tell those guys, “Never seen a returner break 11 tackles.” There’s 10, 11 other guys on the field and those guys are making the play happen.

 

On what it meant for special teams and the defense to contribute today…

It’s a team game. You got to play complimentary ball and we have a group of guys that have a really strong character and I think it just comes out late in the game and we just keep fighting. The games a war and we got to battle every quarter. We just keep battling, even down to the last second. I’m proud of our guys.

Jameson Williams

On how he can explain this game…

Great game. We showed up, we showed we could fight till the end. We have some great very offensive drives, and we had a great special teams. My guy Lif (Kalif Raymond), he took it to the crib. It was a great game overall. I think we fought till the end where we showed that we could play full fourth quarters, for sure.

 

On how hot this team is right now…

I would say we’re pretty hot, but that’s something we’re not focused on. We’re pretty much focused on the next week. We got a game Saturday, Christmas Eve, vs. Carolina. So, we’re going to put this behind us and focus on Carolina.

 

On why he has Garrett (Wilson)’s jersey…

That’s my brother. I actually got it on. 17, I wore it to the pregame, but we did a jersey swap at the end of the game. It has been something we used to talk about for a long time. Back in high school, we linked up. He’s been my brother since high school. Even before college, we just have a strong bond, so we had a jersey swap. I told him I was going to wear it pregame, though.

Brock Wright

On his mindset during the touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the game…

I just kept telling myself, ‘Just reset and finish.’ I didn’t have my best game, obviously, but a lot of plays I went back, like I said a couple of minutes ago. I was just telling myself finish and we were able to come out with a win and I think that’s most important.

 

On the team’s confidence level in that moment…

I think we all believe in ourselves and believe in each other. We have been fighting here this whole season. We believe we can win these games in these critical situations like that, and we were able to do that today.

 

On the importance of blocking on that final touchdown play…

Yeah, it’s important. You have to get down there and make it look like I am blocking obviously. That helps me leak out and obviously it worked out, we were able to get open in flat. So, it worked out just how we wanted it to.

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