Mike Martz

Martz: Things that you would expect a guy that’s been around a while to do. Just so that he can see how fast things happen. So now when we talk about these things he knows what we are talking about. We’re in a good situation here with Drew where we can kind of choreograph his progress and get him down. It gives him time to learn what we do. If you have full knowledge of what we do and you’re not trying to figure these things out on the snap, then it’s just a question of reacting quickly to it. And so we’re going to try to let him pick up the tempo and I guess probably his snaps will begin to improve after the first week of camp.

Reporter: You’re putting a little bit more  out there than he can grasp. Aren’t you?

Martz: Yea, he’s expected to be where John is. He has to be. They all do. We won’t change what we do. If something, god forbid, would happen to any of our quarterbacks it’s just the way it is. You can’t hold this team hostage to that. I think he understands that and he’s done a remarkable job, probably a better job than I’ve given him credit for or would give him credit for, of learning what we do. He’s done a real good job of that. The other thing he’s done a good job with, and usually this takes a good year for a guy to do, he’s really…all the little things about the physical aspect of him. How to hold the ball, just all mechanical things. He’s really incorporated in a timely fashion. Much faster than I thought he could do. So his progress is very good. He understands. He’s not a guy that drifts. He’s very mature you don’t have to worry about that part of it with Drew. He’s in it, he’s very tense, he’s in here earlier than everybody else and he stays after. So we just have to make sure when we put him in a situation that he’s ready for that situation. I don’t want a quarterback like that. When you can choreograph things and really kind of put him in a situation where he can have success with him and kind of build him up that way. I think it’s real important for a quarterback like that to come in that way.

Hondo: Coach, does it help that he doesn’t pout? That you can get on him and he just wants to get better and he actually wants that?

Martz: Well, he’s a guy that I’ve gotten on very little compared to guys in the past. He’s pretty…he doesn’t have that in him where he feels like he knows. All quarterbacks have a little bit anyway. They have their own interpretation of how things should be done in each play. He doesn’t have that. He’s just in that completely. He’s an open book, so to speak. He’s really hungry to do it the way we want him to do it. It’s easy to be patient with him because he’s really trying his best to do it the way we want him to do it.

Reporter:   When you talk about his grip, do you want all of your quarterbacks to grip it the same way?

Martz:  Hand size has a lot to do with it.  I think that when a guy’s getting the ball out quick and he’s got a lot of snap on the ball and he’s accurate, you just don’t mess with it.  Bad habits can be developed early as a quarterback.  I think the rotation of the ball, the spin of the ball, the zip you have has a lot to do with accuracy.  It coems out quicker when you can zip the ball and there’s just a lot things mechanically that he’s capable of doing.  The remarkable thing about Drew, and this one of the things you have to like about him, he had really good success and mechanically he had some things that needed to be cleaned up.  So when you clean those things up you can imagine that you have a pretty good player. 

Reporter:  Is it like he’s learning to swim, do you just throw him in to see what happens? 

Martz:  No, We’eve done that in the past, when you have to.  You don’t want to do that…Kurt Warner we had to do that, he was up to it.  But he’d been around for a while, he’s been out for a while and some of those things.  So he was kind of ready for that.  Young quarterbacks, you just would like to be able to take a year with them and let them see how this game is played at this level, the speed of it, the mental aspect of it, the preparation of it, how you deal with the media, how do you deal with teammates.  All of those things he needs to learn and watch and see how Jon does things.
Reporter:  I meant more in a rudimentary level.  Like Monday when you put him in passing drills and team drills for the first time.  Was that so he can, is it a good opportunity for him to see how much work he has left to do, or is it just because he’s ready for that?

Martz:  Yeah, he was ready for what I asked him to do.  He knew what was going on now.  The remarkable thing for him was when I put in those blitz drills, he hadn’t been in one of those yet.  He can see how quickly things happen, how fast the ball has to come out.  So now he has a benchmark for the next time we put him in, “oh yeah, now I know what you’re talking about”  It looks real easy on the board when he watches Jon do it, but Jon does it with real ease that Drew says “Yeah, I can do that.”  Well he can’t.
Reporter:  It’s interesting, you said you could be patient with him, you also say he has to know everything that Jon knows now. 

M: It’s a remarkable personality that you can be patient with.  See, his standards already up there.  I don’t have to talk to him about that.  This is one of the things you have to like about Drew.  Drew has pressed himself to do this.  Sometimes you have to motivate thses guys.  They don’t understand that they don’t know.  Drew knows that he doesn’t know.  That’s the key with Drew as opposed to other young quarterbacks.  Other young quarterbacks don’t know that they don’t know, so you have to kind of gut them and press them, and push them and knead them, to get them to understand that you need to raise your standards a lot more here that you need to understand and learn to be a good player.  Drew has a sense of what he doesn’t know already.  It’s pretty remarkable, pretty interesting that a young man comes in and understands that he’s way off, knows what he has to do and he’s vigilant in terms of paying attention to Jon and all of the things that he has to do.  He listens to everything.  So he’s different than anyone I’ve ever had in that respect.  Usually you’ve got to really kind of push them.  You don’t kneed to push him.  He’s pretty well squared away with his understanding where he is.. 

R: What will you do with him the rest of the way now?  I know you have a couple more weeks.  In the off time now will you just kick him loose or how does that work?

M: I think now, and I told him this morning he wanted to know what he needed to do that was very specific as to what needed to be done now in the next week or so when we’re not on the field.  He needs to look at a lot of the protections that we do, just so that he understands all those situations off the game tape now and project himself into all those game situations and really tahts the best thing he can do for him to do.  Now he’s been through it, he knows what the protections are, the depth of the routes, what his footwork needs to be.  All those things that a quarterback got to remember.  Now that’s been presented.  He’s seen it in practice, he’s done a little bit of it.  Nows the time to go back and take game footage, and cut ups if you will of all these situations and kid of project yourself into that and say “Oh, that’s what that is.” Then when he comes in in the fall he’ll be much further ahead for it. 

R: Ideally though, he wouldn’t take a snap during the season?

M: No, I think if Drew had to play he’d play, and he’d do well.  I would never put a limit or a governor on anybody I just don’t believe in doing that.  You get them ready and they just have to do it.  The nice thing is that we don’t have to make him ready I guess is probably the point.  Jon is playing at such a high level, he couldn’t be in a better situation to learn for a year anyways and kind of just see what’s going on.
R:  Do you need him to be ready to be the number two guy?

M: No, not right now.  Daniel’s done a pretty good job.  He may pass Danny, I don’t know, but in fall camp, you can not ask a guy to go out and perform at the same level of your number two who doesn’t have knowledge of everything.  You can’t ask that.  when he gets to the point of where he has full knowledge then there’s a real competition for that second spot.

R: Is the number there to be taken?

M: Always is, always is. Yiu just don’t knoe enough about Danny yet, we haave to see him in the preseason. But I’m excited about both of them to be honest with you.  I’m really encouraged about Drew, his approach to this game is humility, if you will, about where he is and what he needs to do, which really is a giant leap forward.  That, in itself, puts him ahead of most rookies.
R: The offense in general, with the changes that have been made and the more guys you have, can you go into that playbook now where you couldn’t last year?

M: Well, I think that a year ago, we just tried to move the ball anyway we could, and there were a lot of issues that we had, and you had to just kind of deal with it, and some situations, ignore it, and just try to make a play.  We did more than we probably wanted to do.  You just had to get the ball down the field and put it here.  Now you don’t need to do that.  You can take advantage of the strengths.  Your own strengths, and really hone in and get good on some things, and I’m excited about that aspect of it, so, the volume of it isn’t as big of an issue as the execution.  That’s what I’m excited about – it’s not so much that we’re gonna do more, because that’s not necessarily the case.  I think, really, the point is that we’re going to be so much better at doing what we want to do.

R: You know what you have to do.

M: Exactly.  So now, if we make it in game, you have the run the ball 20 times in a row to win, and that’s fine.  You want to be able to do that.
R: You can attack a weakness, too.

M: Exactly.  You can take advantage of a weakness in a defense and a strength that you may have.  I guess the biggest aspect of that is that when we do run the ball, we’re very successful at doing it, and it’s per rush.  And when you’re throwing the ball, you’re doing it because you want to throw it, not because you have to throw it.  And that’s a real big difference.

H: Coach, every practice that we watched, TJ didn’t get any reps at the ones.  Is there a potential battle for that spot?

M: Oh, sure he is, but he’s not there yet.  He’s not there yet, no.  But I think that he’s certainly capable of being a starter and playing very well.  He’s still learning what we do, trying to adapt to it; he’s a good player.  We’re not disappointed in anything he’s done whatsoever, but we’ve got several good ones, so that makes us better as well.  The competition there at runningback is very healthy.  That’s a good thing.  I think that to read in there, the guys who are at one, or two; the whole idea at keeping him at two is so he can get reps.  If we move him up there with the ones, then he’s gonna split time and nobody gets better.  It’s just a question of getting a guy in a situation where he gets a lot of turns.  He’s gotten more turns in a lot of situations, really, than Tatum’s gotten.
R: A couple guys in the locker room said Tatum had an impressive offseason as you guys had just the way he was.

M: I think probably the best way to explain Tatum is, “wow”.  He’s got that “wow” factor to him.  I thought he was pretty good.  We always felt that he was pretty good coming out and we were excited about getting him.  But what he’s done out here so far, and I know he’s not in pads, but just his reaction, his ability to see things in the running game, his ability to run routes and catch the ball, which has really not been used as much as we’ll use it – the thing you like about all that ability is that he’s very intense and it’s important for him to be really good.  You just don’t see any drift or metal lapses at all, he is in it now.  He comes to practice like it’s a game every week, and that’s what you like.
R: Where do you want to see them ranked in rushing?

M: I don’t care.  I could care less where we’re ranked.  What’s important is yards per rush.  You want to be up over five yards per rush, that’s the average – now that’s important, is how well you rush, now how many times you rush.  Same thing with the passing game.  It’s yards per play.  And turnovers.  That’s the key with all football – the turnovers, and yards per attempt.
R: What’s the yards on passing that you try to strive for?

M: I just wouldn’t put a number on it.  I know what’s good, and you like to throw around that nine.

R: When Kurt got nine, was that above your limit?

M: That just happened.  I wasn’t even aware of it.  People told me that years after.  I kind of know, you just know, without reading someone’s stats how well you’re doing that stuff.  I know defensive coaches are really involved in stats – the stats sometimes can tell you what you already know.  This is a game about people, and how else – it’s like when you take a run, and you’re not running this play very effectively; and you know what the numbers are on it.  Do you jump the run or do you move on, or is there something inherently wrong with this that you can fix and make it productive, and that’s what you have to look at, and so, the situation and the circumstances around some of those statistics can be a little more meaningful than the actual stats.

H: You lobbied hard for Calvin, was he everything you thought he would be?

M: yeah, he is.  These young players have been pretty remarkable in that a guy like Calvin, the character is absolutely evident.  The work ethic and the maturity – for a guy his age, you have to understand the stress and the pressure that’s on him, and a lot of people say, “Oh yeah, poor so-and-so, because he’s gonna get this,” the pressure that goes with where he was picked and the ability to perform at that level is very important for him.  He doesn’t shy away from that at all, he knows what his expectations are, he’s accepted it, and any mistake that he makes in practice is something that he takes personally.  So, usually, vets have been in the league seven or eight years are like that, and this is probably one of the more remarkable things about Calvin is that he is so much more mature than you would expect.

R: Tatum Bell’s speed, the speed he has, and the threat on it, how does that change things?

M: Well that’s what you want.  That kind of speed really can be devastating out of the backfield.  You get a little bit of a crease, particularly in the gap schemes, and he does all of the read zones stuff so well.  We haven’t found anything he really doesn’t do well, and I think that once he breaks through the line of scrimmage, he really destroys those pursuit angles, which is pretty good.

H: Duckett has 4.4 speed in the 40, but do you think he has the same speed as Tatum?

M: No.  I don’t know anybody in the league who has that kind of speed at running back.  He’s certainly fast enough.  Tatum is just unusual.  TJ has real good speed, plenty of speed to play in this league; he’s a starter.  So is Kevin Jones.  The thing that’s remarkable about Tatum is that his speed is probably better than everybody else.

R: Jon Kitna used the expression “undertow” a lot last year, in reference to the attitude of the team, you had two or three guys who were questioned that day after week what they hadn’t done, as a coach, not having to deal with that year…

M: I didn’t have to deal with it last year.  No, it doesn’t bother me.  Either they do or they don’t.  For me, it’s very easy; it always has been.  Here’s what we got for you, either you do it or you don’t, and we won’t reward not doing it; we just won’t do that.  And I think the whole attitude of this football team was a primary goal for Coach Marinelli and I when we took this job.  And you have to set or change that attitude for what you need to have in order to create an environment to win.  And whoever’s involved in that, if they don’t buy into that, then they just don’t buy in which is probably what you’re getting too.  Here’s where it impacts you: You’re counting on somebody, and they’re not who you thought they were.  When you’ve picked them or they’re your guys, it has more meaning than if you just inherit em, so to speak, do you know what I mean?  And a lot of times, they may not understand, they’re coming from a different program.  In time, maybe you can change that.  You really can, if they’re willing to.  If they’re not willing to buy into it, then they’re not going to, obviously.

H: Have you ever seen a team change its attitude as fast as this team has since last season ended?

M: Well I think the attitude was changed at the end of the year last year.  I think the last four games or so – I think that Green Bay game was a bit of an anomaly.  It was kind of an exception, there were a lot of things going on there.  I think, you look at, for instance, the New England game, the Chicago game; the guys, for what we had, they played their hearts out.  I think the attitude was particularly set in the Dallas game, as Rod has mentioned many times.  I think that’s who this team is – the way the played.  Now, you can add more talent to that, which we’ve done a great job of really adding a great deal of more talent to that.  We’ve got some of those injured players back, so now you can imagine, with better talent, and that attitude has been established as of that Dallas game, then you’ve gotta be excited about the year.  I think everything that you do in football, whether it’s defense, offense, or special teams – everything revolves around how well that offensive line plays.  If you have a dominant offensive line, it keeps the defense off the field, it gives you great position for special teams and allows you to do whatever you want on offense.  It’s at the core of who you are as a football team, and that’s the world according to Mike.  That’s my opinion obviously, but that’s why the offensive line is so doggone important.  It really, really, is.

Dominic Raiola:
Hondo:  Off-season OTA’s are over talk about your feelings. How do you think they went? Dom:  Good attendance, was good the attitude was good. Really looking forward to coming back July 25th and hitting the ground running.

Hondo: Dom I was shocked at how huge the attitude change was from the end of the year. Did it surprise you I mean it was clearly noticeable.

It was what Rod Marinelli wanted. The way we ended the season, how many rookies we had on the field starting I mean I know on the offensive line we had Jonathan Scott and three rookies starting basically. So I think it was big for us, you know, it was huge beating a playoff team and we really are using that to propel us into next year.
Manny Ramirez
HONDO: Manny it’s over, your first off-season now getting ready for training camp how excited were you? I mean has reality hit yet?
Manny: No you know I’m still kind of settling down a little bit. I don’t think it’s going to hit me until the season starts but the OTA’s were a great experience I got to learn the system pretty well, I think I picked it up pretty well. Pretty fast. I’ve had good communication with the offensive line so far, they’re great people and all that so I just can’t to be able to play next to them.

Hondo: How much does it make you better when you’ve got one of the best centers in the league, Dom Raiola, right there next to you, I noticed that he talks to you guys how much does that help?
Manny: It helps a lot because you go by what the center says. You can’t go wrong with the center. Whatever the center says is what’s going to go. If something goes wrong, then it’s the whole team so you know it’s not a problem being able to play next to Raiola. He’s experienced; he hardly ever makes a wrong call. So I’m not worried about it.

We apologize to the great Lions fans that can’t watch this as a video which would be much better for the fans.  The new recent stupid NFL rules prohibit that.   Thanks Goodell BUT MOST OF ALL, THANK THE TEAMS.  GOODELL WORKS FOR THEM AND THEY ARE ALLOWING HIM TO DO THIS!