Caldwell eager to start Lions’ season

DETROIT — Coach Jim Caldwell addressed the media on Saturday and spoke on several issues.

The Detroit Lions announced that tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and cornerback Teez Tabor have been removed from active/non-football Injury and will return to practice.

The following players have been placed on Active/Physically Unable to Perform: defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and guard Brandon Thomas.

The following players have been placed on active/non-football injury: tackle Greg Robinson and defensive end Cornelius Washington.

“Well, we’re ready to kick this thing off and certainly excited about it,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “The guys are in today, so we’ll have our first team meeting with all the group after we finish here, but yeah, excited. We’ve been working a few days already with the rookies, some injured vets and quarterbacks, so it’s been a good week of work.”

Caldwell was asked by reporters what his first message to the team might be:

“Yeah, there’s very rarely few things that I do off the cuff, besides dealing with some of your guys’ questions,” Caldwell said. “Those come off the cuff once in a while, but other than that, it’s a thought-out process. Some of it is intertwining some of the things that we’ve done previously in the offseason. It all started the new year for us in the spring so, a lot of that stuff we cover-where we need to improve, how we need to improve.

“Just in terms of the basic thought and principles of what we’re going to try and get done is we’re going to try to be the best possible team we can be in terms of this league, in terms of our fundamentals and technique. That’s the key. Those are the things that help you win and lose ball games. How good are we at those things? They’re simplistic, blocking, tackling, catching, throwing, all those kinds of things, but very, very tough to maintain. The schematics and things will take care of themselves if you can take care of the fundamentals. It’s an old saying, ‘Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

“We’re trying to focus in on those little things,” Caldwell added. “That’s partly what we’ll tell them in that regard, but we have a lot of other things. The unique thing I think for the great majority of these guys is they understand what we want to do. It’s a building of the culture and we got to make certain we establish that with some of the new guys that are going through training camp with us for the first time.”

Caldwell was asked if ongoing contract talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford will distract him.

“No, and I think most of you guys have been around him long enough,” Caldwell said. “He can have pretty good tunnel vision and he’s been focusing in on getting better. When you look at him from a physical standpoint, he’s always been in great shape this time of year, but he may be in better shape than he’s ever been at this point and time. He’s just working at trying to improve all of the little things, any edge he could possibly get, he’s working to try to get that edge. I’m pleased with his progress, he’s moving forward still and I still believe that you just have not seen the best of him, yet. He’s still headed in that direction.”



Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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