The Washington Redskins on Sunday play the Detroit Lions in Week 7 action at Ford Field.
On Wednesday, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and wide receiver Marvin Jones spoke to the Washington, D.C., media about their upcoming matchup against the Redskins.
Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell
On being on the coaching staff of the 1985 Louisville team that featured Jay Gruden at quarterback:
"I was the Defensive Backfield Coach at that time on Howard Schnellenberger's staff. I just remember him – obviously much like you see today – he was very sharp and was athletic and could play the position. I was only there one year, and obviously he went on to have a really, really fine career. But yeah, he and I, we go way back – that was a while back. I was a young man then – a younger man I should say."
**On having so many close games this season:
"I think it's kind of the norm in the league, for the most part. Just take a look at it. It's been that way ever since I've been in the league – it's my 16th year coming up – that the great majority of the games, there is a team with the ball in their hands, they're either trying to drive it down the field and score to tie it up or go ahead, or you're on the other side of that coin. But they're always close. Typically it's a one-score game, for the most part. They've all been tight. I just think that's just because of the way the salary cap is structured. There's a lot of parity in our league. There may be a couple teams that end up with a two-score lead, or maybe you see one week when there's a blowout of some sort. But for the most part, it's going to be nip-and-tuck all the way through. Matter of fact, one year when I was at Indy [Indianapolis] in 2009, we came from behind – we were 14-0 to start off the season – we came from behind seven times in the fourth quarter to win. So I would say it's the norm."
On what separates teams in close games and if it can be attributed to randomness:
"No, not random. Teams make plays. They make plays down the stretch that make a difference. We've been able to squeak a couple out that way. But that's why you want your team to be able to perform and handle tough situations. But you'd like a little bit more breathing room, but we certainly haven't been able to get much."
On what gives teams an advantage in close games:
"You know, I think it varies. I think it varies – just like you said – week in and week out. It changes but, you know, certainly it's a matter of teams have been in that situation before, which most of the teams in our league have been and it's just a matter of who makes the plays and it doesn't necessarily end up being in one category or the other in terms of who comes out on top."
On the changes on the Redskins offensive line since moving Spencer Long to center:
"Well, you know, all I notice is that it's one of the finest groups in the front that there is in our league. You know, Trent Williams without question is an unbelievable athlete, does a tremendous job. He's fun to watch but not fun to play against. And I see [Morgan] Moses moving around, big guys that can move and athletic and obviously Brandon [Scherff] who's an old Iowa guy as well plays extremely well in their guard so I think overall it's just a heck of a group. They've been doing extremely well and they've been running the ball well."
On protecting QB Matthew Stafford:
"You know, it's going to be a battle. I mean, obviously [Ryan] Kerrigan on the outside, that's putting pressure on quarterbacks and [Trent] Murphy comes in and does the same. I mean, all across the board they are very, very good upfront and we have to do – just like we do every week – just go out and fight and try to keep our quarterback as clean as we possibly can. We haven't been able to do so consistently but our guys are I think growing and developing and getting a little bit better week-by-week."
Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones
On playing for Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden in Cincinnati:
"Yeah, I love Coach. It was never a dull moment when we're in those meetings. He definitely kept it fresh and entertaining. Yeah, it was good, it was real good. He knows his stuff. He puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback to make sure he knows everything, all the checks, and really give him the freedom to get everybody in the right play. Yeah, so it was good."
On lining up against Redskins CBs Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman:
"It's going to be great, you know. They're a hard working bunch and obviously Norman's one of the best in the league, so as a receiver, trying to be great and having high expectations, you want to go against one of the top DBs. And it's going to be a good battle."
**On what stands out to him about Norman:
"Well, he has great instincts, has great instincts and is very confident in his ability to cover and to know different concepts and routes. And, yeah, he's just a great all-around player. This is somebody that you want to go against every game. You want to have games like this where you can go against that caliber player."
On how Lions WR Golden Tate's return has affected the offense:
"Oh, it's been great, obviously. We all knew the day would come when he was going to light it up and that's what he does. You know, every day he's out there in practice and that's what we all do, and that's what we want to become. And, yeah, it was a great day. He's excellent obviously with the ball in his hands and it was good for him, and it was good for us."
On Tate's touchdown celebration with the Lions' cheerleaders:
"Oh, it's funny, I didn't even see that until after the game. I think I'd seen his Instagram or whatever. It was pretty funny, pretty funny. Pretty entertaining."
On every Lions game being decided by a touchdown or less this season:
"You know, there were some games where we started in the low and ended up fighting back. Most importantly, this is the NFL, so we played against some good teams and you never know what you're going to get. That's why you have to… us as a team, we have to put our best foot forward right off the bat and for four quarters. So, we've been in some tough matches and it showed how resilient we can be when we put everything together and go through those battles. And I think it'll help us in the long run."
On if close games are good for the NFL:
"I think it's definitely great for the league because those are nail-biters. Those are games people are going to want to watch. But, obviously our goal is to not have it close, but that's how it is. But in terms of ratings and stuff like that, I'm pretty sure the fans appreciate it because they sit on pins and needles. But, yeah, our job is to win by as big of a margin as we can, but like I said, it's the NFL and we go against some good teams and some good defenses and good offenses with great schemes, and that's just how it ends up."