New Orleans Saints Safety Jim Leonhard
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Jim what are the differences you see in the offense and the defense so far in training camp?
“I think you see the defense with a new scheme. Offensively, they’re in their third or fourth year and they’re rolling. They’re testing us every day. We have a lot of veterans and if we keep improving like we are, we have a chance to be a good team.”
Defensively, what are the soft spots that you want to see improve?
“I think its communication. We have a lot of talented guys and a lot of depth. It’s just getting the communication and avoiding the mental mistakes. If you make a team beat you every single play, you’re going to have a lot of success. Anytime you’re in a new scheme I think that’s what you’re worried about. I think we’ve handled it really well. We’re getting to a point in (training) camp where we’re putting ourselves in a lot of different positions.”
With the announced loss of Kenyon Coleman today and Victor Butler earlier with injuries for potentially a significant period, it’s not good news for the Saints?
“It hurts. Anytime you bring in guys like Kenyon and Butler who have been in this system it’s going to hurt. Rob (Ryan) was kind of thinking of leaning on those guys as far as teaching. On top of that they’re great people so when you lose them it’s going to hurt. Unfortunately, that’s the way this game is and it’s the next man up mentality. You feel sorry for those guys and a lot of us have been through that before.”
Do you have enough depth to make up for those losses?
“That’s not my decision. I think we’ve got a lot of talented guys. If they don’t like what we have I’m sure they will bring somebody in. This is a team that is going to do what it takes to win. We’re going to count on the guys that we have on the roster right now and if they feel like we need help I’m sure they take care of it.”
You know this system really well and that’s really been a big help. Its certainly a big reason why you’re here?
“I think that’s one reason why they brought me in. I’ve played in a lot of different systems and communication has been crucial to why I’m still playing nine years in. Anything I can do to help, whether it’s talking through defenses or helping out the young guys, I’m willing to do that. I realize that that’s part of my role.”
You really made it into this league initially through special teams. Do you stress that to some of the younger guys?
“I always try to stress to the younger guys how important special teams are. It’s not like college where there are 120 guys. You’ve 46 active on game day. If you’re not starting on offense or defense, you’re going to have to help out. A lot of these guys haven’t done that in a while. You always stress it and I think we’ve done a great job. Sean (Payton) stresses it and Coach (Greg) McMahon does a great job. I think we’ve got guys responding to the coaching and I think we’ve done pretty well.”
You’ve seen some pretty good safeties. Tell me your evaluation of Kenny Vaccaro.
“Kenny has a lot of talent and I think he’s going to be a great player. Kenny understands football and that’s the main thing. He doesn’t act like a rookie or make rookie mistakes. If he makes a mistake he fixes it. I think he’s got a very promising future and hopefully I’m around to see it for a while.”