Head Coach Bruce Arians
(On Wednesday's practice)
"Alright, not practicing: Demar Dotson, Mike Evans, Jason Pierre-Paul and Donovan Smith. A good start to the week, a little warm today. But it was a good, solid practice."
(On QB Jameis Winston not throwing on Wednesday and when he might start to do so)
"We'll see as the week goes along."
(On if he would be concerned about starting Winston in Detroit without him throwing in practice at all)
"Oh definitely, definitely. He'll throw before we get there."
(On if he hopes Winston will be able to start Sunday)
"That's the plan. We'll see how it goes."
(On if he's closer to knowing if Mike Evans can return this season)
"Uh, no. I mean, it's a pretty good hamstring strain but he healed fast in the spring. So we'll see how it goes each and every day."
(On if the team plans to put Evans on injured reserve right now)
(On if he's still holding out hope on Evans returning this season)
"Yeah, with these things you never know. Each guy is so different."
(On if it helps that Winston has previously played well after a week of not practicing much)
"Yeah, I think sometimes it's good to give your arm a rest, but not your brain. So he's out there taking a drop on every play, telling me where the coverage was, where the ball should have gone. So he got a good mental practice and it might help him physically."
(On how Ryan Griffin handled practice)
"He's fine, he's fine."
(On if Donovan Smith is fighting through an ankle or knee injury)
"All of the above [laughs]. He ran in the pool so hopefully we can see him sometime before Friday."
(On if Smith's ankle and knee injuries happened at the same time or are separate injuries)
"They're separate injuries."
(On how Griffin looks on his reps)
"Like he's never missed a beat. Like he's been a starter all year. That's just him. He's a very bright guy, he's extremely accurate, it was a very fast-tempo practice – we really didn't miss anything."
(On feeling good about Griffin getting his first regular-season action)
"Oh, [I have] all the confidence in the world. Now that's over with. Put the picture on the wall – you're out there and you've got to play. You got your first completion. I think we all have a ton of confidence in him."
(On what he saw from Ryan Griffin)
"Same thing I see every day. He's poised, he's accurate, he knows what he's doing with the ball, and gets it out of his hands quickly."
(On having a better practice today than the team had last week)
"Much, much better, what I'm used to seeing out there."
(On what the Lions do well defensively that does not show up on the stat sheet)
"Sometimes statistics lie. They've dropped a couple. Darius Slay – he's a ball hawk. He's going to be jumping routes, like he always has. And, they've got a heck of a pass rush. Trey Flowers is one of the best there is. They're a two-gap team, so it's a little bit different until they get to nickel and start blitzing."
(On WR Chris Godwin being double-teamed)
"Yes. He's been getting double-teamed quite a bit himself on third down and so we're kind of used to seeing that."
(On the chance to finish 5-3 on the road)
"That's kind of the anomaly I think of this season. The early losses, the close losses at home, and then going out and winning on the road, which is really hard, especially some of the places we've won … It's a lot to build on, a lot to build on. You hope to go undefeated at home and split on the road to go 12-4 and you're in great shape. To have a chance to be 5-3 says a lot about our guys."
(On using this season as a springboard for 2020)
"I think it's a belief in your locker room. A shift in culture. If it's the same culture and nothing's changed, a lot of things don't change. I think just watching our guys and how hard they practiced today, in December, really can't ask for more as a coach."
(On losing a consistent starter like WR Mike Evans and how the team replaces him)
"Nobody is going to be Mike [Evans], but just be yourself. Whoever is playing the position, be yourself, do your job, and catch the damn ball when it's thrown to you."
(On the 2019 rookie class)
"I can only speak really about this class, but there are common threads with those guys – they love to play. They love to play [and] they're smart players. A lot of them were captains – you always look for that trait when you're evaluating guys, not just the ability."
(On the offensive success in the red zone offensively)
"Well, that was a major emphasis. When I looked at the team last year, they gained a ton of yards, but not a lot of points because of redzone inefficiency. So, we spent a lot of time in the red zone – a lot of walk-throughs [and] a lot of extra time because it is so valuable. When you're scoring touchdowns and they're kicking field goals, that's usually the deciding factor in the game. Jameis has played well [and] we've run the ball much better down there than we did last year."
(On finding balance in the passing game rather than solely relying on WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin)
"Yeah, I think when people try to take them away, the other guys need to step up, and they did. Jameis did a good job of finding those matchups – O.J. [Howard] a few times in Jacksonville and last week. Some of those plays were by design because you know what's happening outside, so you set some stuff up inside. Justin [Watson] jumped in there and did his job. He got a game ball for doing his job."
(On if opponents are scheming in a way that is forcing the offense into turnovers early in games)
"Yes and no. [Desmond] Trufant did. He studied the film on the backside of that formation. What's usually going to happen is an inside breaking route or Mike [Evans] is going deep. The rest of the things I think are just forcing the ball a little bit [where] the route-runner and the passer weren't on the same page."
(On if he would like to decrease the amount of pass attempts the team has each game)
"I'd much rather run the ball better and more often, but when you get yourself down 14, the number of runs are going to go down. Now, they were successful, which was good in those drives, but the number of runs are going to go down every time."
(On how he thinks his team has handled the travel this season)
"Again, I'm going to credit the sports science team. Knock on wood, we haven't had many injuries – a couple of hamstrings here or there just from fatigue and things. I think some of that was travel – Anthony Nelson and a couple of those guys, and Scotty [Miller]. They bought in and we talked about it. We addressed it – 'This is where we are going, this is when the game is scheduled, have your ass ready to play.' And, 'Here are some things that can help you sleep-wise, hydration-wise and everything else.'"
(On if there is a possibility that WR Scotty Miller and OLB Anthony Nelson could play on Sunday)
"Scotty looked OK. Anthony is still questionable."
Quarterback Jameis Winston
(On how his thumb feels and how he plans to get it ready for Sunday's game)
"I think it's getting better every day and I'm just taking it day by day."
(On how different the offense will look without WR Mike Evans)
"Well, [we've got] one of the best receivers in the game probably not playing, so it's going to be different from that aspect of not having one of the best receivers in the game. But as far as conceptually, we're going to do what we do. We've got some great guys that have been stepping up for us, like they did last game, so we are going to go out there and execute."
(On if he expects WR Chris Godwin to draw more double teams if Evans does not play)
"Yeah, we expect him to be double-teamed with Mike Evans, so whatever they throw at us, we're just going to make sure that we are ready to do what we need to do."
(On what he will be able to do in practice this week)
"It's day-by-day. I can't give you an answer right now."
(On what about his thumb is affecting him)
"We are taking things day-by-day. That's the main thing."
(On having prior experience of missing some reps in practice but still playing in the game)
"Yeah, it's a great time to get some good work in at doing everything. [It's a] great time [to get] some work for Griff (Ryan Griffin). For me, I'm going to be ready to go as soon as I can."
(On turning the ball over early in games and whether opponents have a good read on what the offense is trying to do early in games)
"No, not really. It's just that I like to get started fast, whether it's taking a shot down the field or moving the ball past the sticks. I think teams are just getting a bid on like, 'He's going to take chances early, so we are going to drop deep and try to take our shot.'"
(On what has been the key to red zone success)
"I think, one, Coach [Byron] Leftwich has been doing a great job with scheming things up and I think our guys have been doing an excellent job buying in. We've been running the ball [well] down there – we've got a couple of rushing touchdowns in the red zone. That's always important when you can get on the 15-yard line and run the ball in, that's huge. And when you've got guys that know how to get open, that's huge."
(On the performance of WR Justin Watson vs. Indianapolis)
"I think it was amazing. Friday, being named the starting punt returner to the first play of the second quarter – now he is the starting X or Z or F [receiver]. He was everywhere out there, so kudos to him. I'm very proud of him. I know that he was prepared for this opportunity."
(On what he sees in WR Breshad Perriman during their extended work together after practice)
"Breshad Perriman rarely goes a day without staying after to work on his routes or to work on catching, whether its JUGS or balls from me. He's consistently working and I think anytime someone is consistently trying to get better every single day, as the year goes on, their hard work eventually pays off – and it has, definitely, for him."
(On the chance to go .500 with a win on Sunday)
"The big thing is just finishing strong one game at a time. That's what we're focused on right now. We know that we love winning, and as long as we love winning, we want to be on that winning side of the field. We've just got to continue to approach each game like it's our last, give our best and go out there and try to win."
(On WR Ishmael Hyman)
"Well, he's been doing an amazing job working with Griff [Ryan Griffin] on the scout team. The first time I met Ish, I went to an Orlando Apollos game over there in the league, the AAF league, to watch him play and I met him there. Just to see the transition and how [far] he's came. He's very speedy and has great hands. I'm excited to see him get his chance. Griff got his first NFL snap, so hopefully Ish can get his too."
(On QB Ryan Griffin getting his first NFL game action)
"At first I was just like, 'Man, I want to be in there,' but then I was like, 'Oh, but it's Griff. It's his first completion.' Everybody was very excited for him. I know he's worked so hard for that moment and it showed on the excellent third down conversion that he had. I know Griff's worth and I know he's a very good quarterback. I'm always excited for our guys."
(On dealing with swelling and soreness after the game)
(On pain tolerance)
"It's just day-to-day with me. That's really it."
(On media speculating about Winston's future)
"I like coming to work on victory Mondays. As long as we are doing what we need to do to find a way to win, that's going to be good. That's all I'm focused on. One game at a time. We've got a great opponent this week with the things they do schematically, it's pretty different. I just want to win and we've been doing a great job of doing that the past three weeks. So, we got to try our best to go up to Detroit to get another one."
(On trying not to think about next year)
"It's quite easy, really. When you've got a game every week. I got an opponent to focus on and it's bigger than me. It's about this team, so we got to focus on how we are going to try to beat the Detroit Lions and whoever our opponent is next week. But right now it's the Lions and we've got to focus on that."
(On when the thumb injury occurred)
"Last two-minute drive. Threw a ball to O.J. [Howard] and kind of hit 97 [Al-Quadin Muhammad], got underneath, and I threw it, and I hit his hand, and then when I tried to pull back I hit his helmet. Two-minute drive about the third to last play."
(On if he noticed the injury during halftime)
"No. I really didn't feel it in the locker room because it was just coming off the two-minute drive. I was going in there, but when I came out, because I'm not playing catch in the locker room I came out to grab the ball."
(On the stories Tom Moore talks about)
"The one thing that he shared with me is, 'If you're top-10 in [avoiding] sacks and interceptions you're going to win a lot of games.' We talk a lot about that and I think that's something I definitely applied it to not taking sacks, but I've got to continue to work on it on interceptions and I will."