On whether he has been walking around the building holding a football: "Yeah, I was at the beginning of the week just to get a feel for the pigskin. Not to put too much emphasis on it, but to continuously remind myself that I need to take care of the football."
On whether anyone tried to knock it out: "They tried every time. The stakes got pretty high and I had to put it down."
On whether he has any concerns that he has put too much emphasis on it: "I don’t think it’ll be a concern once the game starts. The thing you don’t want to do is to go out and worry about things that can happen. You want to go out there and make it happen - just being in the moment and taking care of the football and doing the right things for my team is what’s important. That’s what I’m going to try and do."
On keeping the ball high and tight: "I’ve taken tips from some of the running backs who carry the football. I love football so much and with all the football I’ve watched - this entire week I’ve watched guys carry the football – and everybody has it high and tight. Even quarterbacks that I’ve watched. It’s something that I definitely need to do. There’s a comfort level that I’ve been able to develop when holding the football."
On whether he is getting irritated that fumbling has become such a hot topic: "Not really. It’s the nature of this business. I totally understand it. The thing to do is correct it. Correct it and keep playing good football. Eliminate that, and the sky is the limit for our team."
On whether he is changing any of the protective gear that he wears: "I’m keeping the same flak jacket. I don’t think that had an affect on the ball coming out. The guy put his helmet right on the ball. With the second fumble, if I just go through my progressions, it would have never lead to that. I went back and looked at all of the film with the turnovers that I had and what I could have been able to do to correct it, and they are all things to do to prevent it. They are all things that could be corrected and it’s all self-inflicted. I just have to trust in what we’re doing."
On where he carried the ball around to: "Breakfast, to the meetings, lunch. Everyone thought it was funny, but I didn’t. That’s how much I care about this team and that’s how much I care about our success and winning on Sundays. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I take care of my responsibilities."
On whether it is hard to think about being careful with the ball in the moment: "It’s kind of hard, but at the same time, you want to play naturally and let everything flow. I always talk about being in the moment and being able to do the right things when you’re out there playing. It’s very important. You have to stay conscious and keep it in the back of your mind as far as what you have to do when you’re holding the football. I do it in the passing game because I can see downfield, so I’ve been able to take care of that, but sometimes running with the football you have guys coming from everywhere. We get paid to protect the football."
On whether there is a definitive way to keep WR Calvin Johnson out of the game: "You just have to keep a couple of people on him. You have to keep him out of the game and don’t even allow him to get started. Frustrate him early."
On other defensive backs saying no matter what they do to him, he still succeeds: "If you line up outside on him one-on-one, no question. You have to have a short memory and you can’t even go in there thinking how you can do this and that against him. You have to go out and play ball and have a short memory because he’s going to get his."
On what comes to mind when he thinks of WR Calvin Johnson: "He is considered one of the best guys in the league at his position, if not the best. That’s the challenge that you want, especially as a young guy and a rookie and somebody that they probably think that they have an upper hand on. It’s your time to shine."
On whether there is a definitive way to stop him: "I think he can do a lot of different things and he doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses, if any at all. Just doing your fundamentals and techniques, no matter who it is and if you do what you’re supposed to do in terms of technique, can take away a lot of plays. Of course, they are going to throw the ball his way. It’s just a matter of making a play, and if you’re in the right position, you should be okay."
On what he has seen from QB Matthew Stafford on tape: "Very accurate guy, and someone who can throw the ball a long way and put it on the money. I actually played with him for a year at Georgia, so I got to defend passes from him at practice and going against him. He’s definitely gotten a lot better since he’s gotten to the league and he can even continue plays on with his feet a little bit. He’s not really a fast guy but he can maneuver and make people miss. That is something we have to watch out for."
On whether the game plan is to hit QB Matthew Stafford early to disrupt timing when passing to WR Calvin Johnson: "I hope we get to him early so he can’t get the ball to (Johnson). He has a lot of weapons but that works for any quarterback. You get to him early (and) you can start to get him thinking about a rush instead of looking downfield. It’s going to be a huge challenge once again."
On what the film reveals about Stafford: "That he’s a good quarterback. A very good quarterback. He broke 5,000 yards last year so he has a lot of weapons and all the tools and hopefully he doesn’t piece together a complete game against us this week."
On whether he expects to exploit the Lions’ weakness of covering tight ends: "Just depends on what they give us. I don’t look at that too much. It goes from game to game, team to team. Teams sometimes play us differently than they play other teams so you never know."
On what the film reveals about the defense he will play on Sunday: "They’ve got some good linebackers. I think the strength of their defense really is their front four and how they rush. They’re a good front four and then the guys on the back end are pretty good. But I think if we take care of the guys up front (then) it’s a start."
On whether he and TE
On whether it is difficult to concentrate on the upcoming game knowing the bye week is approaching: "No it’s not tough at all. Going into the bye week you want to win. You want to have a good taste in your mouth the whole week otherwise you never have that opportunity to get back on the field for a whole week. Guys know how serious it is. This is a big game for our football team. There’s a huge difference between being 3-3 and 4-2 so if we want to go a long way this is a big step."
On whether it helps to face a wide-nine scheme in practice every day knowing the Lions utilize the same scheme: "Well it’s familiar from practice. The defense is very similar to what ours is (and) how ours in run. As far as the wide nine goes, we really haven’t seen it too much up to this point yet in the season. Like you said, we covered it all at training camp and throughout the practices and stuff."
On what he needs to concentrate on when facing that defensive scheme: "Getting off the ball on time. I have to really focus in on what the snap count is to make sure I can get a little bit of a jump."