HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on WR-Calvin Johnson being a diamond in the rough for Detroit this year) * *
"I don't know if he's a diamond in the rough. He's pretty special, and what really makes him special, what attracted to me in the draft is his character. I mean he is a special guy and worker, and then you add the talent that he has, it's just waiting to go and take off. He's really having a tremendous year. I just wish we could get him the ball even a little bit more."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on Johnson's relatively low reception totals being a reflection of the offense and the quarterbacks, pass protection, etc.)
"No question. You would love to see the guy get a ton of touches, and we're trying that, and sometimes we're just unsuccessful to get it to him. But obviously that's in your plans every week."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on Calvin Johnson saying he wants to continue to play, to reach goals he has set)
"The whole team is like this because I think the bottom line is, we respect this game. Every guy I got here, I value character, football character, I value that. And we have a bunch of guys here that believe in this game. Part of this game is finishing and respecting it and for every kid that watches us play, we owe them that effort and that preparation, and that's just part of the deal."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on if he has a better sense of who his quarterback might be)
"Not really, and I'm very honest with you. Daunte wasn't able to do anything today. (Dan) Orlovsky threw some today, but he's kind of the next day you find out because of the soreness in his thumb, and then Drew one and Drew two (Stanton and Henson) got some work, so hopefully get a better handle on it by tomorrow."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on Tony Dungy preparing for all of the quarterbacks)
"Coach just prepares for what he does. He does what he does. That's the best thing he does. I've learned that from him from day one: the issue is us, it's not about your opponent."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on Tony Dungy speaking fondly of Marinelli and him wishing Marinelli would get a win after this week)
"That's what I love about him. Coach is just about as nice a person there ever is until gameday, and he's one of the most fierce competitors I've ever been around. He knows how to compete and how to prepare. And he's been special in my life, not just in football, but my life, and really special in football, too. A lot of things I have done is patterned after him in certain ways, and I just believe in him and what he does."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on if he and Dungy talk a lot)
"Maybe in the offseason a little bit more. I'll see him at the league meetings, and I used to do a thing with Mr. Dungy here in Jackson, but it's probably not the frequency, it's the meaningfulness of each moment that we do spend time together, and that's what I value. I value that a great deal because of who he is and what he reflects and I guess both of our passion for this game of football, how it should be played."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on anything in particular he has taken from Dungy)
"When we started off in Tampa we had a rough time (started 0-5) and the thing that I always have and always will admire was his consistency, day in and day out. Not many ups, not many downs, just straight ahead, and move on to the next task. He does that and does it tremendously, and that's why he's so successful."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on Dungy saying the first five games in Tampa Bay in 1996 feeling like forever and not being able to imagine what Marinelli and the Lions are going through this season)
"The one thing that I've been able to do, I just go day by day, and I really treasure every day. I'm just telling you, I can do that. Because if you're dreading the season, you're wishing your life away, and I'm not going to do that. I just absolutely adore every day that I'm in this position, and having the opportunity to coach the people I'm coaching. So I'm about as excited of a guy as you can get each of every day."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on if LB-Buster Davis starting surprises him at all)
"No. His instincts and awareness are great. There's a guy that really loves football. Boy does he like the game, a Florida State guy. It was tough. We made our decisions at the end, and you make your decisions and move on. But any guy that I've ever been around and had a chance to coach and loves football like he does, I'm one of his biggest fans and supporters."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on WR and Indiana native John Standeford)
"He's a great competitor. One of the toughest cuts that I've ever made is when we had to let him go at the end of camp. He was wounded because this guy gives you everything he has, every snap, and one of the better days I've had is when we brought him back. This guy works and loves it and catches everything. He's just a credit to our league."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on the Colts defense)
"They are flying. The thing that they're winning some really low-scoring, close games, too, that's what really is good. I think they're knocking the run out well, and the ends (Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) are just playing lights out. The ends are lights out, but I think those two tackles have done a heck of a job in the run game. They rotate those guys in there. And the thing that they're doing extremely well also is tackling. They can tackle, and they get a lot of hats to the ball. So you can see the pride, you can see the trust in their defense and trust in each other, and how fast they're sprinting to the football. They're fun to watch."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on RB-Dominic Rhodes and what he adds with having RB-Joseph Addai)
"They're both good backs. The thing with that offense, what makes it tough, because you get in the rush mode all of a sudden getting up the field, those draws and traps, they're tough. And they have great play action off those things, so both of those guys do a nice job. Once those guys can break tackles and in the open field in space, that's what when some of those draws break on you, now you're in space trying to tackle those guys, so it makes it tough."
HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI (on facing QB-Peyton Manning)
"We all know his talent level, that's a given. But what I really admire is I think his preparation and the competitiveness of the man. That's what I admire, and I don't think yards mean anything to the guy. It's about winning. The game is never over. I found that out in Tampa one year in 2003. That guy is just a tremendous, tremendous competitor. That's what I really respect. There are a lot of quarterbacks in this league that have talent and a strong arm. He's taken that position to a new level."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on how he would rate his play this year)
"Personally, I'm getting some of my goals, my personal goals I set for myself."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on if he thinks of himself as an all-around WR)
"I do, yes, because I work on all of the things in the offseason with my coach, and he does a heck of a job coaching me, so I like to think so."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on Tony Dungy calling him a stallion)
"Tony Dungy's a real respectable guy."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on if he has avoided getting frustrated this year due to not getting as many passes because of the offense's inconsistencies)
"I don't get frustrated. I control what I can, and then just go from there. (Getting) frustrated, that's not part of my game because I know if I get frustrated, I'm not at my best."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on how he has handled 0-13)
"It's tough, it's real tough…I know I'm hanging in there."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on playing opposite WRs like Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison gets him excited)
"I just love to watch those guys play. It's always great to be on the same field as some of those guys, future Hall-of-Famers."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on if he is doing all he can do)
"I'm trying to do everything I can do. My coach tells me every Sunday, or Saturday night, 'Don't leave anything on the field tomorrow.' I go out there with that mindset, don't let any plays that I make get by. I think as a receiving corps we've done a pretty good (job) of that the last few weeks."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on if it has been hard with so many quarterbacks in Detroit)
"It's kind of hard to get in the groove when you're not with the same quarterback for a while, but we're doing a pretty good job in practice, hitting our spots and being where we're supposed to be, and the quarterback knows where to put the ball, so we're not doing too bad."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on the Colts defense being similar to Detroit's and if that will help him)
"Yes, I guess you could say that. We've seen that defense out there in camp and last year and our guys play the same thing."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on the team's mindset right now)
"The mindset is to go out there and get a win, have a good week of practice. We started off today with a good day, finish Thursday, Friday strong. We just have to get that to translate to the field on Sunday."
CALVIN JOHNSON (on if he wants the season to be over or wants to keep playing no matter what)
"I'm going to keep playing. I have goals to reach, so I'm still fighting towards those goals right now, so by no means am I just wanting to take it in right now."