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Sports
09/18/13

Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Post-Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

 

How is Cam Cameron as a coach and what can he do to make young quarterbacks better?

 

“My four years with Cam in San Diego were awesome and that was a time where I was in my second, third, fourth, fifth years as a professional.  Obviously, I was a young quarterback and had a lot of learning to do.  He was a great coach for me and I feel like he certainly has a way to challenge quarterbacks, get the most out of you, and get the best out of you.  I actually paid him a visit this offseason.  I drove up to Baton Rouge and spent some time with him and talking a little shop, looking at some of their stuff.  I felt like Cam was, with our offense there, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles came in 2005, had Michael Turner there for a little bit, other weapons that we had,  I felt like he did a great job of moving guys around creating great matchups and really putting guys in positions to succeed.  My experience with Cam was great and I always felt like he was very instrumental in my career, especially as a young player.  You’ve seen him go on and do that with other young quarterbacks.  He has a great opportunity at LSU with a lot of talent and a good group of quarterbacks to influence those guys.  I think all that has paid off.  You see it in their results.”

 

Did Cam take any of your pointers?

 

“I don’t know if it was my pointers, we were just talking shop.  It was funny to compare notes a little bit.  He has been in the NFL for so long.  It was funny because he was the coach at Indiana University when I was at Purdue, so the relationship was the other way around.  We were kind of archrivals, instate rivals, but then he obviously became my coach in San Diego and then he was in the NFL.  You are always looking at their offense, they were doing great things with (Joe) Flacco and the weapons they had there.  It was always interesting to turn on the tape and see what he was doing, maybe comparing what we were doing and that kind of thing.  It looks like he is in a great situation now.”

 

Are you seeing something different in the red zone than you normally are?

 

“No, I think it is just execution.  (On) At least two occasions it has been penalties, we got a couple of penalties that set us back and the field is already compressed enough at that point, challenging enough to get five yards much less 15 or 20 when you set yourself back so.  We have to do a better job with that and I think just overall execution.  We certainly had some opportunities and just haven’t taken advantage of them yet.  Eventually that will bite us if we don’t get it fixed so that is what we are working on.”

 

Do you feel fortunate that you guys have been able to pick up two straight wins with some red zone struggles?

 

“Yes, very fortunate.  We pride ourselves on being able to sustain drives and convert third downs and obviously punch it in the end zone in the red zone.  We have always been top in the league in that regard.  Also, the big plays, it’s great when you get the big plays but you can’t bank on it.  You have to be ready to sustain drives and be patient and all of those things.  It is definitely an area we are focused on and need to clean up.”

 

What is your evaluation of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu on the Cardinals?

 

“Yeah, they are both explosive players.  They are very talented, playmakers, game-changers, so as you are sitting there watching film, they are definitely two guys that you want to know where they are and how they are playing.  It seems like they always have their eyes on the quarterback.  Definitely, as we sit there and think about how to attack them and game plan them, that kind of thing, you are definitely aware of those two guys.”

 

Can you talk about how Tyrann Mathieu was a risk/reward acquisition in the draft and maybe still is?

 

“He is much more on the reward side at this point.  He is a playmaker.  He is a ballplayer.  He is extremely instinctive.  So many things he does you just can’t teach.  They are just there and he just has that football moxie, ability to make plays around the football and just do things that you just kind of shake your head at.  I don’t know if you saw that play he made against the Rams where he chased the tight end down and dove and knocked the ball out, just the timing of that, but more impressive than that is if you watch him hit the ground. I’m not sure if he ever touches the ground when he fell because he was up back on his feet so fast like a cat or a honey badger.”

 

What are your thoughts on Dashon Goldson’s hit and his suspension being overturned?

 

“I didn’t see that, so what, he was suspended for a game and then it was overturned? We don’t make the rules.  I know he has had a lot of those.  He certainly has no regard for the rules in the middle.  He is going after guys’ heads, you can see it.  Obviously $100,000 is a hefty fine and I’m sure if it continues to happen it will be even greater punishment than that.”

 

Does this seem like hypocrisy from the league?

 

“Obviously there is an evaluation process that goes along with it.  It’s hard when you are coming off a game where that was one of our guys that he was going after on more than one occasion.  And then obviously the hit on Jimmy (Graham), which wasn’t him (Ahmad Black), it was another one of their guys, but it was obvious they were going at his head.  I have no sympathy for that.  I care for those guys and I don’t want to see that happen to our guys.  I know the rules and I know it is tough playing the safety position in the middle, things happen fast, but then again, there are some instances where it is pretty obvious a guy was going for another guy’s head and that happened on at least two occasions in our game.  It is what it is and that is why the rules are in place to protect defenseless players and continue to be enforced.  Sometimes they get overturned, sometimes they are just hefty fines, sometimes you will see some suspensions, but I know it is a point of emphasis.”

 

Is there an adjustment at the quarterback position with the new rules?

 

“I know this, as a quarterback, the last thing I want to do is ever feel like I laid one of my guys out to dry.  I know that we have guys that are courageous individuals.  They are going to go across the middle.  They are going to go for the ball.  There are times where I am going to put them in the best position I can to help them make a play and that’s a part of this game too.  We are probably going to throw more balls than most that people wouldn’t probably throw or attempt to throw.  That is just the trust I have in our guys.  Jimmy is going to go up and make a play.  Marques (Colston) is going to go up and make a play, Lance (Moore) and others.  But also, I am very aware of the fact that there are physical guys in between the numbers, in between the hashes, linebackers, safeties that there job is to hit you and hit you hard and make you remember it and not want to come across the middle again.  I am very aware of that and last thing I want to do is ever hang one of my guys out to dry.”

 

Do you feel more protected with the rules and does it change your mindset of playing quarterback in the NFL?

 

“No, I am aware of the rules that protect defenseless players and the quarterback being one of them when he is in the pocket, whether it is guys coming low when you are stepping in low and when you are stepping into a throw and they come at a knee or an ankle, coming at a head when you are standing in the pocket.  I am very aware of those, obviously it is meant to protect guys that aren’t in a position to protect themselves at the time.  You see defenders becoming more aware of that and I think it is making the game safer, not saying that it is not difficult for defensive players, it is very difficult for defensive players because instinctively things are happening so fast and you are kind of in another place as a defensive player. You are thinking about hitting someone as hard as you can and getting the ball and doing all of those things.  They don’t want to see a receiver catch a ball in the middle.  They don’t want to see a quarterback have all the time in the world to sit back in the pocket and not get hit, they are trying to hit you.  I know it is very difficult for defensive players, but the rules are in place to prevent guys from having serious head injuries short-term and long-term.”

 

Do you think elite athletes have the reflexes to pull up or slightly change an angle?

 

“Yeah they do to an extent.  Like I said, you can turn on the film and there are going to be hits throughout this year that are delivered to a guy’s head that you are going to look at and say, gosh that happened so fast that it’s obvious that was not intentional.  I think too there is a track record for some guys.  You look at some guys and say hey, this is just a hard-nosed (player) but clean player.  You are going to look at other players and say hey, this guy has a reputation of being a dirty player, he doesn’t care and he’s going for the head and it is obvious by the film that you see with the number of penalties he has racked up over the course of a period of time.  You are going to be able to evaluate that based upon the player and if you flip on the film and you know what you are looking at and you know football and you have been in that position before or you are well aware of the situation, you will be able to say, that was unintentional or man that looked pretty dirty.”

 

Has there been an emphasis to get the ball to Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles?

 

“Here we are just two weeks in, listen, we are executing the offense.  We’ve called plenty of plays that could have gone to anybody, they just happen to go to Jimmy a little more or Sproles or what have you.  We are going to keep doing what we are doing and to fine tune.  We have been executing certain things very well and we need to improve upon some things.  I think you will see better distribution as this season goes along.”

 

Would you defend Mark Ingram for not picking up the fourth down?

 

“No it doesn’t all fall on him.  There are a lot of guys out there that have to do their job in order to get him in the end zone.  Listen, that was a great defensive effort and combined with guys on offense doing all the right things, but it was kind of a stalemate on the one inch line.  Credit to them, they stepped up and did a great job stopping us.  So much, I think, in those calls is based upon on momentum and confidence at the time, a play call that you really like and then hey, did you get the look you thought you were going to get.  And for us, no that was not the look we thought we were going to get.  There were adjustments that had to be made.  I thought we did a good job of, but it’s not what we practiced.  Listen, our job, at the end of the day, is you call the play, we make it work and we didn’t get in, so that’s on us.”

 

Was Ingram the right guy for that play?

 

“Absolutely.  Listen, had Pierre (Thomas) been in there, I would have said great.  Had (Darren) Sproles been in there, I would have said great.  I have confidence in all of our guys no matter what the situation.  We do mix and match those guys quite a bit and I’ll never question that.”

 

What is your thought process when you come out of a one touchdown game?

 

“I’m sitting there going, we had a chance at the end of the second quarter to punch one in for a touchdown and we didn’t.  That should be a touchdown nine out of 10 and unfortunately that was the one.  The interception down here should have been a touchdown, that’s a 14 point swing.  So you combine those two and all of a sudden we wouldn’t have to drive down at the end of the game to kick a field goal.  We would have had 14 points plus, and then it’s a 27 point game and you are saying, ok, on the road in the division, that should get you the win.  The fact is we did not.  There were other things we could have done better execution, maybe we convert a third down instead of a field goal results in a touchdown because we had quite a few drives where we attempted a field goal.  We have a lot of things to clean up and a lot of things to improve upon.”

 

Do you think that 40 point game is on the horizon?

 

“We are used to having four or five of those a year where you are racking up 40 (points).  That’s the level we expect ourselves to play at and we haven’t been at that level.  I hope that it happens soon.  Especially walking away from these last two weeks, we are averaging below 20 points a game and that’s not what we are used to.  We are used to being much better than that.  There is a big sense of urgency around here despite the fact that we are 2-0 and 2-0 in the division.  We’ve won these games, it was really just about a play here, a play there that could have gone the other way on us.  We need to make sure we are cleaning those things up because it is only going to get more difficult.  The margin for errors is only going to get smaller.  We know if we are going out and scoring 30 plus that we have a great chance to win and taking care of the football and doing some of the other things we need to do to help our defense and play complimentary football.   At the end of the day, did you score more points than them and if so then you won, but man if you are scoring 30 plus your chances of winning go way, way up.”

 

Did you have a chance to see the Steve Gleason documentary last night?

 

“I have seen bits and pieces, but I did not see the piece last night. I heard it was phenomenal.  I can’t wait to see it.”

 

When the defense is playing as well as it is, is it easier to take more chances and to be more aggressive?

 

“Yeah, it is.  What it does, in the game the other day, the defense played phenomenal.  The only two touchdowns they scored were from two turnovers and that’s when we give them the ball deep in our territory on one and they run one back from a touch down.  At the end of the day, you say our defense didn’t give up any points.  Those were all points that I gave up for that matter.  I feel terrible about that.  But yeah, when the defense is playing like that, you feed off that, especially when they got us two turnovers around midfield.  You feel like you are going to take those and get points immediately.  That is complimentary football at its best, where you are feeding off their emotion, their success, their ability to take the ball away and those kind of things.  You are capitalizing on those and in turn I think that feeds them.  When we are moving the ball on offense and sustaining drives and giving them rest and scoring points at the end of it, I know they get charged up too.”

 

Do you see this past game as a landmark game for Jimmy Graham?

 

“Walking away from it if you would have asked me Jimmy’s numbers I wouldn’t have said, 10 receptions for 179 yards.  I wouldn’t have thought it was that much, but I guess looking back at it you start adding it all up.  I guess my point is, not that you have this expectation level, you are just used to seeing a lot plays being made.  It’s not like taking him for granted, but I think we all just expect that if we are not putting up 400 yards as an offense, score 30 plus points, running the ball well, throwing the ball well, hitting some big plays, doing these things, when those things don’t happen is when you notice.  When it is happening, it’s just like, this is what we do.  Jimmy has been locked in and very focused this entire offseason and I can’t say that this game, more so than any, this season certainly.  I think coming off last year where he was really banged up and fought through injuries that most people probably didn’t even know about.  I think he is just happy to be healthy and happy to be in the situation he is in.”

Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

 

What are your impressions of the Saints defense?

 

“I think (Rob Ryan) has done a good job with them. They are very young, very athletic and very physical, which I wouldn’t expect anything else from one of his defenses. They play extremely hard and I’m very impressed with them.”

 

What impresses you about them specifically?

 

“Probably the defensive line right now. They’re fast, they’re big, they’re powerful.  They’re very well coached and I think they look like they have great instincts as far as ball awareness. Obviously Roman (Harper) has been there for a while. They have some veterans helping the young guys and they look coordinated very well.”

 

Usually the Saints offense is the big story. Are you maybe a little surprised that they have relied more on defense through the first two games?

 

“I think that’s smoke and mirrors. That offense is always high octane. Anytime you play Drew (Brees), especially at home, he’s one of the best there is at a home stadium (with) the energy of the crowd. Offensively they’re just a play or two away.”

 

How does Tyrann Mathieu fit in with you guys?

 

“He’s playing extremely well. As a person, you couldn’t ask for a better guy. He has been a great teammate. He comes to work early and leaves late. He never stops asking questions. He gets mad if he doesn’t get every rep in practice.”

 

How has your impression of Mathieu evolved over the past four months since you drafted him?

 

“I think everybody else put him as a risk. Patrick Peterson came in my office and said, ‘Hey coach, I’ll stand on the table for this guy. Give him a chance.’ We brought him in and we sat (him) down. We talked twice and I was more than impressed that this kid just wanted an opportunity. He knew he messed up; we all mess up in life. It’s time to give him an opportunity and he’s doing everything he can to make sure he does great with it.”

 

In terms of football, has he surprised you with his ability?

 

“No, because when you saw him on tape you knew that he was a great football player. I don’t give a crap about height, weight and speed. He’s just a heck of a football player. I don’t know any college player that dominated on defense like he did over the years. He has some unbelievable instincts of getting the ball out and getting his hands on balls. He does it every day in practice here and he’s done it in the games.”

 

Could you talk a little bit about the challenge week to week of roster limitations? Rob Ryan’s defense has had a lot of injuries and I’m sure you have had your share over the years. How critical is that in being successful in this league because of the limitations and what the front office has to do and the coaching staff week to week to overcome that?

 

“Yes, it’s amazing. You have to have great pro personnel directors that you trust as a coach. They have their ‘ready list’. Last year in Indianapolis I think we had 13 guys on IR. (We were) bringing guys in on Tuesday and playing them on Sunday, and still winning. If your team believes that ‘next man up’ is not a mantra, it’s real. We gave Kerry Taylor a game ball this week because he was on the practice squad Friday (and) caught three critical balls in the game Sunday to win the game. That’s your MVPs. It’s not the high-profile, five star guys. They’re just earning their paychecks. The MVP of your football team is the guy that gets put in and the standard doesn’t drop. You have to preach that to your team and make sure that they really believe that.”

 

What kind of challenge does that present to your staff to get those guys ready to play?

 

“You coach your young guys as hard as you coach your veterans. Our practice squad guys are sitting in meetings just waiting for an opportunity, and you coach them as if they’re getting every rep. You’re coaching them on the field to make sure they’re getting better, not just running card O and card D, so that when they’re chance comes, fundamentally they’re ready and mentally they know the game plan. If it happens on Friday, freaky injuries have happened on Friday, and all of the sudden he’s got to play on Sunday. You can’t say, ‘Woe is me.’ They’re going to play the game anyway, so you embrace it. You say, ‘Hey man, you ever heard of Wally Pipp? Here you go.’”

 

So when is Patrick Peterson going to kick a field goal? He’s done just about everything else. How valuable is he to your team?

 

“We’re working on that. He just can’t beat out Jay (Feely) yet. I just saw him the first day of OTAs intercept a ball one-handed, tipped it to his other hand, and run down the field. Nobody could touch him. It was like, “Whoa. This guy could be a top five receiver in the National Football League.’ He has that skill set. I have to watch on the offensive side of the ball when we’re installing that that’s enough for Patrick this week. He’s got to play Calvin Johnson, or he’s got to defend Marques Colston or somebody else. He’s got another job. Our offensive coaches will always say, ‘Get Patrick over here. This would be a great play for Patrick.’ You have to really watch yourself that you don’t overload him.”

 

As an offensive coach, you’ve watched him for the last two years. When you get him on your side, what goes through your mind when you first came over?

 

“I knew he was good, but I didn’t know that he was that unbelievable of an athlete. What really sold me, is when I saw him play golf. He taught himself in his basement and he shoots 75. He took all of my money; I know he did. He taught himself on a simulator in his basement and he smashes the ball about 290 (yards) in the air.”

 

Did you say he took some money off of you?

 

“Yes he did. We played with a bunch of the guys; we went up to Flagstaff last spring. He and Carson (Palmer) got the best of a couple of us. It was a great time.”

 

How rare of an athlete is he? I’m sure you’ve coached a lot of great athletes over the years.

 

“Yes. I recruited Bo Jackson out of high school and saw Bo at Auburn, who I thought was probably the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen. We played against Deion (Sanders) and watched him do some of the things. Deion had the speed, but Patrick has his speed (and) is 6-2, 215, closer to Bo in size playing corner, he’s a very rare athlete.”

 

Have you prepared your team at all yet about coming into the noise of the Superdome and the challenge it presents?

 

“We just had our first team meeting and talked about the energy in that stadium. It’s very unique. It’s Halloween every night in the dome when you play there. The fans are just fantastic. You have to match that energy because Sean (Payton) has done a great job over the years as a play-caller and leading the league or close to leading the league in scoring on the first drive. We have to match that energy and don’t be surprised by it.”

 

I know your time as a coach was limited in New Orleans, but how special is it to come back to a place where you have coached before?

 

“It always is. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be a head coach, and to be able to go back to the places that I was an assistant is always very special.”

 

How is Larry Fitzgerald doing the best you can tell us? What are the implications if he can’t go on Sunday and what do you lose there?

 

“You lose an unbelievable player, first of all, and also a great leader. Someone who plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played: full-tilt. Larry is also a great blocker, not just a great receiver. You can’t take your best player and ask someone to play at that level. You ask them to play the best they can play, and other guys need to step up around him.”

 

Are you surprised that maybe the Saints are only one for seven in the red zone? Are you maybe afraid that they are going to break out soon?

 

“Yes. You’re always afraid of that. It’s one of those things that have happened. The ball bounces funny, but I know what they’re capable of. What we’re getting ready for is what I think they’re capable of.”

Sports
09/09/13

Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Media Availability

Monday, September 9, 2013

 

Opening Statement: “We just finished meeting with the team and went through this game.  Players will be in meetings here for the next two and a half hours.  I said this yesterday, I thought it was a big win for us yesterday.   Any time in week one you start off with a home game against a divisional opponent, it obviously carries a lot of importance.  I think there are a lot of things that we are going to have a chance to clean up when the players watch this tape.  One thing always about your first game is, it’s the first time a player goes from 20 snaps maybe to 40 or plus snaps.  You deal with some fatigue and you deal with some cramping.  You deal with that transition into the regular season.  I thought overall we handled that pretty well and yet there are a lot of little things and a lot of big things that we have to be better at.”

 

Can you talk about how your pressure came from the same four guys every time?

 

“Yes, that was the plan going in.  I think that anytime you can have and create pressure with a four man surface (pass rush) it certainly benefits you because you are covered in the back end and we will do that in this game.  It was part of the plan going in.”

 

Malcolm Jenkins said that you guys watched a lot of film on Matt Ryan’s tendencies when a team blitzed him and would send an extra man and how he would always find an open receiver, can you talk about that?

 

“He is a smart quarterback and so it’s hard to just stay in one look versus any of these quarterbacks that are experienced and as talented as he is.  You are wanting to change the looks up. I think if they get a steady dose of one thing, they will have an area or idea of where you are weak, and certainly he is one of those players.  And he has enough weapons (on the) outside that if he feels like he is getting pressure and a single coverage, generally with each pass play you know exactly where you are going with the football so we try to mix things up and not provide with a constant or same look.  Fortunately, our guys handled that aspect well, and back with what you mentioned in the beginning, the four guys rushing were able to disrupt him enough.”

 

Are you happy with the new guys making an impression in the first game?

 

“We have a lot of young players. A lot of young guys in week one that you don’t know a whole lot about other than what you see in the preseason, but aside from guys playing on defense or on offense, you talk about Kenny Vaccaro, John Jenkins. Even the receivers, Nick Toon being someone although he is in his second year, he is really in his first year healthy and playing. A guy like Josh Hill stood out and played especially well on special teams as a backup tight end.  We are going to count on those guys and quickly they are going to get up to speed and look to improve each week.”

 

Can you talk about your dedication to the run game?

 

“Yes, look there are some frustrating snaps that we are going to look at here this afternoon and there are some snaps where we are close and yet it takes all 11 guys.  We were wanting to control the time of possession.  I thought it was mostly significant in the fourth quarter.  I thought we possessed the ball quite a bit.  We had one series in the second half backed up, down to our three and I thought although it didn’t result in any points, that series was significant in that it changed the field position back in our favor.  And then the final drive that led to a field goal took a lot of time off the clock.  We will continue to work on that element, it needs to be better.  We were close in some areas and yet we still have to work on and clean up a number of things to improve it.”

 

What was the emotion like for you during the Steve Gleason pregame chant?

 

“There was kind of a lump in the throat with Steve.  He is a guy that has been so close to this program and epitomizes, when we came in 2006, of a player that worked extremely close and was very dedicated.  So, to be out there and enjoy that with him was special. I saw him afterwards and he shot me that text and the computer voice came on and said, ‘you almost dislocated my shoulder.’  That’s just him.  He hasn’t lost a bit at all. His mental focus and all of that is in great shape.  It was pretty emotional just being with him.”

 

Did you consider, on that short yardage play, a sneak?

 

“No, two things went through my mind. There were two or three plays that I looked at and it is always this way, the other play I was considering, I’m frustrated I didn’t run.  They made a good stop.  We didn’t get the yard that we needed.  At times we will run a sneak, but I didn’t in that situation.”

 

Can you talk about how Kenny Vaccaro handled going up against Tony Gonzales?

 

“I thought Kenny played well.  I thought he played physical.  We asked him on a number of snaps to be on Gonzalez. He spent a lot of time studying the tape and understood the strengths and weaknesses. A guy like that is a veteran player, but I thought he handled that matchup well. I said this way back at the beginning of training camp: he is a player, Kenny now, that is a little more wiser or a little bit more savvy than a lot of rookies in that he is very experienced. He studies hard, but (he) is someone who knows the game well. It was a good start for him.”

 

Can you reflect on Marques Colston’s record-breaking tenure here in New Orleans?

 

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years, but consistent is a great way to start. He’s been very consistent. He’s a big target with strong hands, week in and week out. Number one, he’s very intelligent. He can play the split end or X position, but he comes inside and plays the slot, the Y, the F. He knows most of all the positions. He’s a task master in that somebody who will work very hard at his game, specifically on the individual routes. He’s big inside; I know Drew (Brees) has a lot of confidence in him. We are proud for him. Something like that is a great accomplishment, especially in eight years.”

 

Can you get a sense of what yesterday meant to Keenan Lewis, helping them beat Atlanta in his hometown of New Orleans?

 

“I asked him earlier in the week, ‘Is this going to be a big ticket week for you?’ There’s a saying that once is forever. Once there is twenty-eight tickets in week one, then there’s probably going to be twenty-eight tickets for every home game. He told me he was limiting it to six or eight. But I think, more than anything else, being part of a win, and he’s a veteran player, I’m sure it carries some special meaning. But he’s going to play at home here a lot now, and so I thought he handled all of that very well.”

 

Last night Tony Dungy said that he thought your team as the most impressive of all the teams he saw on Sunday. He said he feels that you brought a swagger back. How much of that is real and how much is just rhetoric, given the fact that every team is so close in this league?

 

“That’s a term that maybe is overused sometimes. In our league the confidence and swagger, if you will, comes from being successful. It goes away quickly if you’re not successful. It was an important win for us. It was good to see our defense come up with not only a stop at the end of the game, but a good plan against a real good offense. It’s week to week. It’s very short-lived, it can be. I appreciate Tony’s comments, and yet if he saw the tape that I saw, he would recognize that there are a lot of things that we can improve on.”

 

Do you think you team’s resilience late in the game had any correlation with what you preached through the offseason with conditioning and mental toughness?

 

“We would like to think so. We focused on it and talked about it, and yet the first game back was tiresome for some players just because the reps had really changed. But, we felt like that was an important part of our preparation coming into the season. In the offseason, I said this, that our players were really committed to the offseason program- the weight part of it, the strength part of it. Dan (Dalrymple) and his crew did a great job and the conditioning element was tougher. There’s always that fine line of just making sure you’re not doing too much where there’s fatigue. But I thought we handled, overall, that yesterday pretty well. We will get a good test here this week going on the road in a place that at this time of the year can be pretty hot.”

 

Were there any individual performers or some type of scheme that you thought worked very well against Roddy White and Julio Jones? They didn’t make a huge impact in that game.

 

“Yes, when you first start with the idea or decision that you’re going to rush four, then you’re going to commit a little bit more maybe to the back end. Our guys did a pretty good job with some doubles and singles, depending on the formation. Both of those players that you mention are exceptional talents that at any time can turn a game around. There was some pressure on the back end to understand formation, recognition, and then who we were wanting to get safety help on and then maybe who might have the single (coverage). So that may vary by formation, it could vary by set, but I thought overall that that was something that helped us. (Harry) Douglas had a few big plays. The one thing that we will try to work closely on getting corrected is that we gave up some chunks. I think those things can be corrected and need to be.”

 

How did it feel for you to be back on the sideline in a regular season game?

 

“It felt good to be back. It did. It was just very much all the thing you felt as a coach in week one versus a division opponent. There’s those butterflies that are healthy, all the things that you’re trying to control and make sure your team has the best chance to win. At the beginning with Steve (Gleason) was a little different/unique, and then very quickly after that all of us I think got into the game mode. That felt very normal once we kicked off. It felt kind of like it always had.”

Sports
09/06/13

Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, September 6, 2013

Opening Statement: “Today we finished the third main practice day in a work week on a Friday.  We held it over at the stadium for a number of reasons.  We played a couple of preseason games there, but I thought it was good to go through some of the mechanics with the 53(-man) roster.  It is also good for the kicking and the punting because you don’t have the restrictions like you do in the indoor facility.  Everything went pretty smooth.”

Are there things about this game week that you did differently after having a year off?

 

“I don’t know that we did anything different.  The first game of the season always provides you with an additional day on Monday for most teams.  Schedules can vary.  I think we try and pay attention to where we are at that time, in other words, on paper, in the spring when we map out the calendar, it might be one thing, but as you get closer, you might adjust it.  It’s one of those things.  We try to look closely at how much time do we need, do we feel like we want to be in full pads or half pads, those kind of decisions.  Overall, I think the schedule is something that we kind of stuck to over the years.”

Are you genuinely excited about getting back to coaching again?

 

“Yes, I think one of the great things about being in this game is the energy and excitement that comes with gameday, especially the opening game to start the season.  So, yes, I know our players are and our staff is.  We spent a lot of time in the preseason, training camp, and back in the spring.  There is a lot that goes into getting ready to play the regular season.”

Why is Drew Brees a good fit for the Saints and the city?

 

“From a football standpoint, he is one of those elite quarterbacks that is a good fit for any team and we are fortunate that it worked out where he has been our quarterback.  Specifically as it pertains to New Orleans and a good fit for the city, I think he is someone who is very giving and very caring.  I think he does a great job with his charity efforts and he is someone that has all those elements that you are looking for as a team leader and a quarterback, both on the field and off the field.  I think the timing, and a lot has been written about it, but it all just worked out and it worked out for the team.  It worked out for Drew.  It worked out for the city and his recovery off his injury.  Every one of those things fell into place in a special way.”

Is it easy for you to focus on the job and not think about everything that happened in the past?

 

“Yeah, it has been very easy.  There is a lot as a coach that you have to go through and preparation for a game.”

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, September 6, 2013

 

Much like New Orleans, Atlanta has had some changes defensively. How much have you been able to take from last year’s meetings into this year’s preparation?

 

“I think with every team in the NFL there are going to be a few unexpected things, I think, for everybody going in. It’s a rivalry game. We know their personnel, they know our personnel for the most part. Again, maybe a couple of adjustments that need to be made as the game goes on.”

 

What were some of the things that you saw with your group in the preseason that you think will translate well to what we will see in the regular season?

 

“I think that we feel pretty good about the personnel that we have. We have a lot of experience with the guys we have. Things aren’t going to change too much.”

 

How has Robert Meachem looked so far? Is he back to his old form?

 

“Yes. I think there’s going to be a period of time of catching up to do, just because he hasn’t been here in a while. I think we feel good with where he’s at.”

Sports
09/06/13

Rob Ryan

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, September 6, 2013

 

Is facing the Falcons offense as difficult as it gets in this league?

 

“Personnel wise, absolutely. I think they’ve got great talent. They have done a great job of assembling players. I think they’ve won more games than anybody over the last few years so we are going to have our hands full, but we’re ready to get at it.”

 

Do they test an opposing secondary more than anyone in the league, with the unique skill sets of their receivers and tight ends?

 

“I’d say yeah, this side of Denver, looking at that game, they are a great challenge. They can run the ball also. Steven Jackson is a great player. They can throw it, and they can run it. We have to be at our best, and we plan on being that.”

 

Does Steven Jackson provide something different than what they usually have in the running game?

 

“I think he’s also an excellent receiver. I think that would be the one redeeming quality that maybe he has over (Michael) Turner. Both of them are hard runners, both of them are premier power backs. I think that would be the only difference.”

 

What are your emotions going into your first regular season game with the Saints?

 

“I’m excited. I think we put a lot of great work out. (With) All of our coaches on defense, there hasn’t been a lot of sleeping. But we don’t care because this time of year, we love the grind of it. We love the challenge of it. Our players are excited, and that’s most important. We can’t wait.”

 

Are you anxious to see how your defense plays as a complete unit once the lights go on in a real regular season game?

 

“Yes. I think in the preseason we accomplished what we wanted to do, we got our 53. Now we are ready for it to count. It’s what you do. We love what we do, just like you guys love what you do. We can’t wait to go.”

 

How excited are you to see what Junior Galette and Martez Wilson are going to do together since they did not play together in the preseason?

 

“Yes. I want to see (them) play because I think (they’re) going to be great. I’m looking forward to it.”

Sports
09/04/13

Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Post-Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

 

Is there such thing as a must-win first game?

 

“No, it’s impossible. But it sure feels good to start it that way, getting a win against a divisional opponent. Knowing the track record between the two teams, these are always close games, always hard-fought games. There’s always a lot at stake when we play each other. It’s the earliest we’ve ever played each other: week one. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

 

You have played them in a home opener before though going back to 2006?

 

“Home opener, yes, in ’06. We were both 2-0. I guess we’re both undefeated right now too. The game is meaningful. They all are, especially this one. Being that it’s the home opener, it is a divisional opponent. It is the Atlanta Falcons, the division winner from a year ago. We know the type of team they are, they’re an extremely good team, an extremely well coached team. I know we put up a stat today that seven of our 10 games with the Falcons since Mike Smith has been the head coach have been decided by the last possession, seven out of 10. It just goes to show you the type of battle this always is with these guys.”

 

How does it feel to have Robert Meachem back?

 

“Great. Obviously he’s all smiles; he’s happy to be back. Obviously (this is a) familiar place, a familiar offense. We spent some time together yesterday and then out here today. Watching him run around, he looks as good as ever. We look forward to getting him incorporated back in.”

 

From afar, what do you like about Matt Ryan?

 

“I’ve got a ton of respect for Matt Ryan. First of all, he’s a winner. He’s going into his sixth year now and he’s led his team to the playoffs four out of five seasons. He’s played extremely well both in the regular season and the postseason. He obviously has great command of that offense. I think he’s a great decision maker. He comes across as just one of those highly competitive guys, great work ethic, loves football, tough, all the things you want in a quarterback.”

 

Yourself and Matt Ryan both are playing with huge contracts. Is there a different approach by the two of you since you have won a championship and he has not?

 

“I don’t know, I guess I really haven’t thought about that. It was my ninth season that we won a championship, my fourth season here. He’s still very early in his career, only going into his sixth year. He seems like a guy who could play for a really long time. I’m sure there’s going to be many opportunities for him and his teams to make a run at it. But, as long as we’re in their division, we’re going to be fighting for the same thing.”

 

Is it easier for you to play with the big contract since you have won a championship?

 

“No. It’s never easier. You’re always thinking about the next one. If anything, maybe when you haven’t won one, you’ve got that edge or chip there saying I need to win it. Once you have won it, you sometimes have to manufacture that chip on your shoulder, that edge. You find it however you can, but it’s as difficult or more difficult once you have won one.”

 

Do you think Robert Meachem has a chip on his shoulder with the way things ended in San Diego for him?

 

“I don’t know. I’m not going to speak for Meach. I know it was a tough situation for him. Watching from afar some of their film from last year because we played common opponents, he wasn’t incorporated in there like you would’ve thought. Who knows what the inner workings (were) of that team? Obviously the guy we saw on film and incorporated in the game plan wasn’t the guy that we knew through his contributions here from (2007) to 2011. All I can say is that I’m glad to have him back, and I think it’s all coming right back to him. Talking through stuff out on the field again today, running some routes after practice, it all looks the same.”

 

What makes this rivalry so intense?

 

“Just the fact that they’re a very good team and we’re a really good team. Anytime you’ve got two prideful teams, organizations that are used to winning and used to playing well and that kind of thing going at it, that’s a recipe for a very highly competitive, highly intense atmosphere. So I find, you always get that with this game. I’d say that the fan bases are probably more at odds than the teams are. That makes it fun too.”

 

You guys obviously haven’t had to manufacture an edge this year, coming off of a losing season. Is there maybe a reason to go for a back to basics mentality?

 

Any time that you have a season where you struggle and you don’t make the playoffs, and obviously there were a lot of mistakes made and the reasons why you lost those games that maybe you shouldn’t have lost. There’s that tendency to say ‘Let’s get back to the basics (and) fundamentals, and regain that confidence from the ground up as to what makes us a great team.’ So that’s what it’s all about. First of all, no game on Sunday is perfect whether you win or lose. We’ve won plenty of big games and you come in on Monday and it wasn’t quite as good as you thought when you watch the film. The win kind of masks a lot of the sins of the game at times. When you lose, you can turn on the film and say ‘We didn’t look as bad as we thought, but we lost. That stinks, and it hurts, and I don’t want to feel this way.’ There’s those emotions that come with it.”

 

What does Steven Jackson bring to the Falcons?

 

“He’s a big, powerful back. I just know at times when we played him in the past, that he’s hard to bring down and hard to tackle. I just think he brings a physical element to any offense, so that was a big pickup for them.”

 

At this point in your career, what still motivates you or drives you to be great?

 

“I’ve got this opportunity that very few have, and I want to make the most of it. I want to utilize the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with and take care of the opportunities that I’ve been given. At the end of the day, this is part of your legacy. It’s not only what you do on the field; it’s what you do off the field, it’s how you carry yourself, and the type of person you want to be perceived and what type of player you want to be perceived as. I just have a competitive nature where I love to compete; I love to play. If I wasn’t playing professional football, I’d be in the YMCA men’s basketball league and probably whatever baseball league I could get into and play golf on the weekends and maybe get into some kind of tennis league or something. You’ve got to do something to get that competitive edge kind of filled. I’m just blessed to have this opportunity and I’m going to try to do it as long as I can, try to win as many games as we can, and try to win as many championships as we can.”

 

Is there a common thread between when you have your helmet on, when you’re the business owner, and when you’re being a dad?

 

“Yes, there is. The same approach that I take with my job, (and) my career, is the same approach I take with our foundation work, our business opportunities off the field, (and) being a dad. I try to be as present as I can in each of those moments. When I’m playing football, my mind shouldn’t be elsewhere. When I’m with the family, my mind shouldn’t be elsewhere; it should be focused on my wife, (and) my kids, and enjoying every second of that time. It’s about being the best you can be at what you’re doing at that moment. That allows you, I think, to be able to do a lot of things and do them well. You’ve got to be able to kind of compartmentalize and say, ‘Look, it’s time to work. If it’s time to lift weights, I’m going to lift weights and think about lifting weights.’”

 

Do you attribute your good preseason play to the fact that you didn’t have any distractions in the offseason?

 

“I thought it was a very good offseason. It was a very normal offseason. It was a breath of fresh air, honestly. Coming in in April and just feeling like this is the first normal one we’ve had in about four years.  We really had a chance to just really get to work and have it be all about football and nothing else. The work we got done here as a team during April, May, June, and the work that got done in July in preparations for camp, and then obviously training camp, has just been all about football, which is a great thing. It just allows you to focus and really get back to those basics and fundamentals that we talked about. It gets you excited too, because coming off of last season, we’ve got a lot to prove.”

 

Do you feel like you’re sharper now going into this season?

 

“I definitely feel more comfortable. People don’t realize that just because I’ve played this game for, this will be my thirteenth season, doesn’t mean that you just step on the field and it just automatically happens. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into preparing to go out there and play the quarterback position. So much of what you do as a quarterback relies on your trust and confidence in those around you. Even though you might have been together for a long time, you need that work. Missing last offseason certainly, I felt like, put my behind the 8-ball a little bit once I got to camp and then camp seemed to fly by, and then all of the sudden you’re in the season. I think if you look at our play as a team last year and myself, it seemed like it took a while to get going. Obviously, we don’t want that this year. We want to come out with our best stuff to beat the Falcons. That’s the most important thing to us right now. I’m  definitely not sitting back comfortably right now because I know I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me this week, and preparation. I definitely feel like I have a lot invested right now and a lot of great work that is part of the foundation of where we are right now as a team and for me personally going into this week.”

 

As a student of the game and a guy who always tries to get better from past performances, what do you take from your performance against Atlanta the last time you faced them, which was arguably your worst game as a pro?

 

“Yes, it was crummy. It was funny because I watched the film and it’s like, ‘Well, I easily could’ve thrown five touchdowns instead of five picks.’ Everybody might laugh, but I would turn that film on and say ‘Here, here, here, here, and here. Five touchdowns.’ But listen: coulda, shoulda, woulda. You turn on the game film after (the) game and said ‘Ah! (I) Missed this one (and) missed that one.’ Whatever it might be, a bad throw, a bad decision, or bad luck. Listen, you’ve got to have thick skin and you’ve got to be able to go water off the duck’s back playing this position. You’ve got to have short-term memory in a lot of cases. That one stings. That one will always sting. I can think of about four or five games in my career that I look back on and they still sting me. But that’s also what gives you an edge, and what keeps you motivated. It’s not like you’ve got to go out and right those wrongs in the next game, but certainly that was  not the guy that I know.”

 

Is it hard not to make it personal when you’re getting motivated to play and to try to redeem yourself?

 

“Yes, sometimes. You just have to put that aside and you really just have to tell yourself, ‘Faceless opponent.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s the Atlanta Falcons or an AFC team that we play once every four years that we don’t know anything about. Obviously we are familiar with these guys and there is a track record, but you have to find a place mentally to go to where you are just playing ball, just operating. It doesn’t matter what jersey color they’re wearing or who you’re playing, you just try to score every time you touch the ball.”

Sports
09/04/13

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan

Conference Call With New Orleans Media

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

 

What are your overall thoughts about the game against the Saints this Sunday?

 

“I think everybody is really excited to get the regular season going.  Obviously it is a place we are very familiar with, (and) a team we are very familiar with.  We know it’s going to be a tough challenge for us down there, (it) always is.  There are always a well-coached, tough, physical football team and we are going to have to handle the environment when we get down there, but I think that is something that our veterans can help some of the younger guys come along.  We are going to practice hard all week so we are ready to go come Sunday noon central time.”

 

Are you a little curious to see what they will throw you defensively with a new scheme?

 

“Definitely.  It is one of those things early in the year, it’s always a little more difficult when you are going against a new coordinator.  We have obviously played against Rob Ryan before and know the challenges that his scheme presents and certainly there are some.  There is nothing you can do about it.  We will have to make adjustments as we see during the game and get a feel for what they are trying to do and who is going to be out there. That’s the case for everybody this time of the year.”

 

Were you a little surprised this was the first game on the 2013 schedule for both clubs?

 

“No, I’m never surprised with the way the schedule shakes out.  It’s different every year and like I said, I think everyone is just excited to get this season underway.”

 

How do you think the Saints defense will respond after being the worst defense in NFL history last year?

 

“They have talent.  They have talented players and they are a very prideful bunch.  I know that every time we played against them it has been a physical matchup and a tough matchup.  I expect them to play very well, I really do.  It’s going to take our best and a really good effort from us to go out there and be successful.”

 

What can you tell us about Steven Jackson and the impact he has on your team?

 

“Steven has been great for our football team.  He is a great leader.  Obviously, he has been an incredible player for his tenure in the league.  He is a huge addition for us.  I think on the field, his diverse skill set adds to our offense.  But, even more so off the field, just his work ethic, his experience and his leadership has been huge for our locker room.  I think guys have been very impressed and have tried to emulate some of the things that he does.”

 

What stands out to you that has made Drew Brees so successful for a long period here in New Orleans?

 

“I think it is his work ethic and I say that from watching him from afar.  I think he is always extremely well-prepared.  It’s like every week he is extremely consistent and he knows how to attack defenses.  He is aggressive, but he is also, during the offseason, is an extremely hard worker.  So I think there is no shortcut to that kind of success.  I think you have to work towards it and he has certainly done that and been an incredible player.”

 

You and Drew both received lofty contracts the last two years; do you feel a burden on you to play up to that contract?

 

“I can only speak for myself, but I set high expectations for my own performance in the way that I work.  I think at the end of the day if you are worrying about what everybody else thinks, it’s taking away from you being the best player that you can be.  For me, I am going to continue to work and prepare the same way that I always have in trying (to find) ways to get better, improve, and work harder.  I’m going to focus on that and then try and let all the other stuff take care of itself.  That’s been the way I have approached my career and that’s the way it’s going to be the way I continue to approach it.”

 

How did you approach this offseason after being so close to the Super Bowl last year?

 

“I think it’s important to learn from your past experiences whether they be good or bad and try and use that as motivation moving forward. I think guys have done a great job of that.  You don’t want to be consumed with what we did last year because obviously, it has no bearing on what’s going to happen this season.  For the most part during the offseason, training, and training camp, it has provided the motivation that we need, that we needed at those times, but I think for everybody and specifically myself, I think the exciting part is what’s in front of us, the opportunity that is in front of us this season. I think we learned from it.  I think we used it as motivation, but I think we are on to what we need to do now.”

 

Is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome one of the louder crowds to deal with?

 

“It’s definitely one of the most intense and one of the loudest venues in the NFL and we know that.  I’ve been down there five times now and played down there five times and I know every time it’s loud and it’s hostile.  With the veteran guys that we have, we understand what it takes to go down there and execute at a high level and we need to be at our best.”

 

Can you talk about the comparison to the Falcons Saints game in 2006 after the reopening of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the game this Sunday?

 

“It’s tough to compare the returning of a coach and what happened with Hurricane Katrina.  I think they are two different things.  Certainly I watched that game in 2006, I think as did everyone in the country.  It was an awesome win for that organization at that time and I think it kind of lifted everybody’s spirits. At this point, I think they are two different things.  We are just going to prepare the same way we always do to go out on a road game and prepare for a tough road test.  We are going to try and do everything we can during the course of the week to have ourselves ready to go with whatever shakes out on Sunday.  We know it’s going to be loud.  We know it’s going to be tough.  And we know it’s going to be a 60 minute football game.  That’s really where our mindset is at.”

 

Can you talk about not having Todd McClure back as your center?

 

“It’s tough.  It’s one of those things where I have played with him for five years, my entire career and he had been such an important part of helping me come along and specifically with this game, I would say it would be a homecoming game for Todd going back to Louisiana where he grew up and where he lives.  It kind of brings a little extra to it, but our guy Peter Konz, who is playing center for us now, has done a great job in that transition.  I think that some of my experiences can help him out in a similar way that Todd helped me out because there is always a unique relationship between a quarterback and a center.”

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Preston Parker

Post-Practice Media Availability

Sunday, August 11, 2013

 

Obviously you got a chance to get in the end zone a pair of times. You’ve worked in order to get to that point and to get comfortable in this offense enough to get to that point, right?

 

“Yes. All the (wide) receivers work hard out here. Everybody works hard out here and it pays off.”

 

What do you think your role will be going forward whether you role is on offense or on special teams?

 

“Going 110 percent on every team I play on. Any team they put me on I’ve got to show effort and play fast.”

 

What did Sean Payton say to you today when he pulled you aside?

 

“He just told me to make sure I keep doing what I’m doing and going full speed. He just let me know to keep finishing and doing well.”

 

The depth chart at receiver is pretty cluttered right now. To make the most of your chances and score two touchdowns, what does that mean to you?

 

“I just love the experience. To come out here with a bunch of good athletes from all over the world is just a good experience. I love being here. It’s just a good job.”

 

How much do you feel like your experience in playing in 27 games and catching 40 balls in Tampa Bay the last three years helps you? Do you feel like that helps you to be ahead of the game?

 

“I know that being in the game it helps with the pressure because you know that you’ve already done this. It just eases it just a little bit, I don’t mean all the way gone because you’re still trying to make the team, but it eases the pressure just a little bit.”

 

Does it feel good after a game when Coach Payton doesn’t say a lot of nice things but he says that you played an exceptional game?

 

“Of course it makes you smile. It’s Sean Payton so you already know.”

 

You’ve gone through what younger guys like Kenny Stills are going through right now as they try to figure out what NFL football is all about. Do they come to you with questions?

 

“Anybody with more than one year, they’ll come to a vet. We just give them the most information we can so we can ease their minds and ease the pressure for them. We’re just there for them no matter when it is, make sure we’re there for the young guys and make sure they’re learning and reaching their potential.”

 

Coach Ellard says you do a good job of going to get the ball. How natural is that?

 

Just like when you wake up and know you got to go to work to pay the bills, I see the ball in the air and I go get it because I got to pay the bills so I just go and get it.”

 

Going through the situation in Tampa Bay, coach Payton says you have a hunger for a job. Everyone has it but you’ve been through a different situation. Can you talk about your experience of being out of a job.

 

“The experience (of) going home (last year) was probably the longest I’ve been away from football. It gave me a reality check and let me know who I was. It made me cherish my job much more than I (ever) did before. I love the game now and that’s the difference. You have to love the game. That’s when the hunger keeps coming out every game and every practice. It just feels good.”

 

What happened the last year in Tampa? You went from being an important part to seeing less time.

 

“New coaches came in and they decided they wanted someone else and they released me. I was good with their decision because that’s how things happen in the NFL. I had to take it, go home and get a reality check. I don’t blame them and I’m not mad at them. You just keep going and take the experience from Tampa and bring it here.”

 

When the staff called from here was there any questions about what happened with your being let go in Tampa Bay?

 

“I didn’t even need clothes. I just came up and worked out and went home. I spent time with my son and kept praying.”

 

How long were you at home?

 

“It was too long, probably like six or seven months. I watched the NFL from the second game all the way to the Super Bowl. I had to deal with the people at home and that stuff. It was all a good experience. I learned a lot from what happened and I’m still learning.”

 

Can you be the speed guy?

 

“I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do; I’m going to go get it.”

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