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Wade Phillips press conference 12/5/07

Wade: Injury-wise, we held Colombo out again, I’m a little more worried, it’s looking like a game-time decision. It was commendable that he went back in and played on it last week but I think it bothered his ankle some. He’ll try to go tomorrow and we’ll see. Regular Weds. practice, the guys were into it pretty good, the execution was normal for Weds. but not where we want it to be yet. The pass rush was good, we got to the passer a lot today. Our pass rush is getting better.

If Colombo doesn’t play?
Pat McQuistan would take Colombo’s place, Doug Free would be the swing guy.

How do you know if McQ is ready?
From the preseason and working day after day, he’s worked some with the first group, he’s the swing tackle in practice and in the drills, if he has to step in we think he’s ready.

Will Anthony Henry start?
I don’t think he’s ready to start yet. (Will he be ready to start sometime soon?) I don’t know, I don’t have enough feel to say except that I thought he’d be ready by now. To me he had a little setback. He says he feels better but he’s still sore. Three weeks ago I thought he was doing well, but the last couple of games he’s looked a little less ready

Did you look at last year’s Lions game?
We look at last year’s stuff, and at any 3-4 teams they play. In this case, it was a 3-4 defense with some of the same personnel and they are running the same offense. (What was so successful about the passing game last year against Dallas?) They were successful with everything in the passing game. They hit different receivers and made big plays, the QB played well. Dallas had a good pass rush on them. Kitna is a good QB, they have good receivers and they’ve added some more. We just have to play like we’ve been playing. This is a different team this year. And they’re a different team, they’re better than last year, they’re 6-6, it shows the kind of talent they have and the kind of offense they have.

What do you think about your assistants possibly being pursued for college teams?
I’d like for any assistant to get a head coach job in NFL. It’s their choice if they want to go back to college. Anytime they think it’s advancement I’m for it. I don’t want to lose anybody of course. I would have suggestions about things and where to go and might suggest they have patience. People will look at our guys because of the success we’ve had.

Calvin Johnson?
One of the leading rookie receivers this year. Megatron. He’s big, fast, athletic and can make big plays. Without Roy Williams I’d assume they’d use him more. He’s capable of making big plays. Rookie-wise he’s up there but it takes time at receiver in this league.

How much will they miss Roy Williams?
I think he’s a good receiver, it will hurt them some. But their offense is built to throw to a lot of guys. When Roy or Calvin Johnson didn’t play they still did well.

Why didn’t you start Jay Ratliff at the beginning of the year?
I thought he would work his way into it. He has a motor and is an athletic pass rusher, that’s hard to find. He started on our sub-packages. I thought he would be a good run player too. (Has he held up being undersized?) Seems to have held up. We didn’t sub for him much early, now that we have Tank we can, but he’s played very well. (Could he be a full-time NT now throughout his career?) He could play NT for us, but he’s not a 2-gap nose. He’s a quick guy who can play over the guard in the 4-man line and rush the passer. He’s getting better and better, he works hard. (What’s his best position, nose or end?) His best position right now is nose, but he could play the end, but we still would have to stunt him. He’s an undersized end playing nose guard, how about that.

Why is it hard for rookie WR’s in the NFL?
It’s always been my experience, maybe it’s from the Dan Reeves school that you don’t draft them in the first round. Most haven’t run intricate routes and learned the adjustments. You have to make adjustments on the move. Nothing against college but it’s not as sophisticated as the NFL, with the blitz reads and everything.

Shaun Rogers?
Outstanding player. He has the skills to be a dominant player in the middle and he’s shown that, as is Redding. Minnesota had that, too, these guys are similar in production. (Will you double-team him?) Leonard’s a guy that we haven’t had to use double-teams with, we have done it but we haven’t had to. We left Colombo one on one last week, too, even with his ankle.

(Disclaimer: These press conference recaps are just paraphrases of what Wade Phillips says and aren’t vetted for total accuracy on quotes. I shorten and condense things he says but try to get across the intended meaning. Occasionally, what I post loses the context of something Wade said and may appear counter-intuitive. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)

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