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Will Smith

New Orleans Saints Outside Linebacker Will Smith

Post-Practice Media Availability

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


How do you feel about the rule with the running back or the ball carrier outside the tackle box using the helmet?


“We are not really too concerned about it.  There is an emphasis on safety and that is one of the rules that they put in place.  A lot of rules have been against the defense and this is one of the rare occasions against the offense so we welcome it.”


As a defensive player you would like to see a few rules change that way right?




It seemed like the defense did pretty well in the two minute drill.  Can you talk about that?


“That is something that we have been focusing on all camp, to finish.  It’s something we felt we didn’t do too well last year and in a lot of our games we lost a lot of close games at the end of the game.  This time we are going to focus on finishing.  That’s why we had two minute drills today.  Coach Payton wanted to see how we can finish.  The defense stepped up and I’m sure next time we do it our offense will be a lot better.”


It’s always a good sign when you see Drew Brees a little frustrated, right?


“We don’t like to keep him too frustrated, but when he’s going up against us we like to win a couple battles here and there.  We went out there with the intent to stop him today and we did.”


Does it start to feel like a game week?


“No, (training camp) practices don’t change.  We are still out here in this 200 degree heat grinding every day.  It’s still camp in our minds and once Friday rolls around, we will be ready to play, but right now, we are just focusing on getting better in camp.”


Do you see a significant difference in this defense from a week ago?


“I think the coaches do.  I don’t necessarily think the players do.  We kind of measure it just on our comfort level.  Guys are a lot more comfortable just flying around knowing the defense.  It is constantly installing and installing new things so it becomes challenging for everyone.  But, when we go back to our old stuff that we did the past two weeks, guys are just flying around making plays as you can see today in the two minute drill.”


What is your comfort level with your new position?


“My comfort level is getting bigger every day.  It’s a slow process.  We are going to be in camp for another four or five weeks I think.  It’s still early and I’m learning all the plays.  I know all the plays and I’m playing well.  That’s that progress that you just want to continue to get faster and faster as a player and not really worry about the plays, they just come second hand.”


Is it possible that you will get more snaps in the preseason than you normally would because of your new position?


“I’m not even sure.  We haven’t even spoken about that.  That’s up to Sean Payton and the coaching staff to decide how many reps everyone gets and how many reps I get.”


Mark Ingram

New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram

Post-Practice Media Availability

Tuesday,August 6, 2013


There seems like there were a set of team drills today that almost every other play was a running play so,  in order to have a run game you have to have the reps right?


“Yes, (We are) just trying to get better and you get better with the reps.  Every time you go out there, you have a chance to put it on film and make corrections.  You take a lot of way from watching films. You take away good things; you take away bad things that you learn from so, it’s all about developing every day, growing every single day.  The run game takes repetition for everybody to get comfortable with it for offensive lines, running backs, quarterback and running back exchange for everybody to get on the same page…it takes reps so that’s why we’re putting a lot of emphasis on it in camp.”


I imagine you’re taking a couple of pleasant smiles from the fact that it seems like you’re getting a lot of double digits runs as well. Not just you but, (Darren) Sproles and Pierre Thomas as well.


“Yes, we just want to be effective in the run game. We didn’t have as much success as we wanted to last year. When the saints won the Super Bowl in ’09, they were in the top 10 in the league for rushing so we know how important running the ball is and we just want to be effective and have one of the best rushing games in the league because we have a lot to do. We have the runners to do it, and if we can run the ball effectively, that does nothing but open up passing for Drew (Brees) and all of his receivers we have so that’s definitely a focal point for us.”


Jimmy Graham shared his first meeting about Sean Payton when he came back, anything stand out about your first meeting with him following the end of the 2012 season?


“He just said that we were going to get back to running the football and that he is excited to be back. He told me some things I needed to work on, just things like that.  He just told me he was excited to be back and we were going to get back to running the football. We’re all excited about it.”


Despite some of the injuries in the wide receiver pool, do you feel the offense is progressing the way it should be?


“Yes, I think we’re taking steps every day.  We’re just moving forward, progressing, making strides every single day, improving one day at a time one practice at a time one rep at a time…just getting better and I feel like the more we keep practicing and the more we keep pushing each other, ,the defense is real good and their pushing us.  Their giving us a lot of different looks so they’re out there flying around and competing and we’re getting better.”


How do you feel about the rule change with the helmet? Do you feel that rule was necessary?


“I know they’re talking about player safety and all that, but ever since you’ve been three years old running the football, they taught you how to lower your pads, lower your head and go through a defender, but I guess you can still drop your head but you just can’t lead with the crown of your head and I think it’s just a rule protecting the offensive player and defensive player so I think it’s a good rule.”


Lance Moore

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Lance Moore

Post-Practice Media Availability

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Despite some of the injuries to the wide receiver corps, do you feel like the offense is progressing the way it should be?


“We don’t have a choice. That’s the name of this game…If some guy goes down, the next guy has to be up and ready to go.  We feel like we have the depth over there in receiver, but a lot of guys haven’t played much, but (we) definitely (have) guys that have the ability to play.”


Today seemed like a good day for the offense with Marques Colston getting back to the mix?


“It was good to see Marques out, we were making plays then we did the two minute. When we don’t win that drill, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. We have to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”


Are you saying you should have had that ball on fourth down?


“Yes, I expect to make those plays and anytime I don’t I’m upset. I’m upset right now.”


There is a rule that mandates you to wear thigh pads and knee pads, are you getting used to that, is that something you’ve always done?


“I’ve never worn leg pads in the NFL at least since ’05 or ’06. It’s just a matter of putting them in there and wearing them. I don’t know if it’s going to feel any different. We all had to wear knee pads in college and high school so whatever (they require us to do we will do).”


Are you still a little ticked off from the 2 minute drill?

“Yes, anytime we don’t win a drill, it’s the competitive nature. You don’t want to go out and lose a drill so when we don’t win that drill…I take it seriously. “


It’s always competitive between offense and defense, have you seen it cranked up this camp?


“Yes, that’s how it should be.  (The) Defense has a new scheme and they’re showing us a lot of different looks and when they beat up on us, that’s only going to make us better and when we beat up on them, we hope (for) that in return. It makes them better.  That’s what camp is for.”


Jimmy Graham

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham

Post-Practice Media Availability

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


You spiked the ball a couple of times today. Are you just feeling good? What was that about, today?


“Well, since there is no goalpost, I just go for the spike. I am a passionate player. I am an emotional player, so even at practice, I do the same.”


You guys are kind of feeling that competition, from the defensive end?


“Yeah, our defense has been doing a great job with mixing some things up. Obviously, with the defensive change, it adds a few problems. It is definitely a different look than we have gotten ever since I have been here. It is good for us. It challenges us in many ways. Sometimes, they get the better of us, and sometimes, we get the better of them.”


You talked at the end of last year, about the first meeting with Sean Payton when he returns and figured he would possibly chew you out. How was that first meeting, when you saw him for the first time, and what did he say about last season?


“Well, first he called me, and I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t pick it up. He was pretty mad because it took like two or three days for me to call him back. The meeting and conversation was very serious. Talking about his expectations for me, and the things that I need to correct from last year. How he is ready to be back, and he is ready to see my growth even more.”


What kind of improvement do you see for yourself in 2013, with such high expectations for you?


“I would say just always being on my game, especially with blocking. I am like 270 (lbs) right now. I have been out there blocking quite a bit. That is just me wanting to be complete so that’s what I want to do for this team, myself, and my career.”


Do you want to stay at 270 (lbs) or go down? 


“I am going to play at whatever they want me to play at. I think my maximum weight is 273, so as long as I am not getting fined.”


How direct was Coach Payton with you about last year?


“Sean is a very direct kind of person. I don’t think I have ever personally had a conversation with him that hasn’t been very direct. It is something that I am used to, him setting high standards for me and telling me directly to my face (those standards), that is just how he is. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He is the type of guy who lets you know how he feels.”


Roman Harper

New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper

Post-Practice Media Availability

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


The defense had two stops in the two-minute drill and you had an interception today during team drills. Would you say you’re seeing improvement both as a group and as an individual?


“Overall we’re just flying around and getting a better understanding. We still have some mental mistakes that we have to get corrected. The effort on Saturday was good. We had some turnovers, which is always nice. We didn’t fit the run all the way as well as we need to and we didn’t run to the ball as much as we have to as a whole. Those are the things we’re trying to work on this week. We’ve got to continue to talk about it and make it an emphasis. We know, come gametime on Friday, that tackling is going to be a big emphasis for us.”


You had a pick-six of Drew Brees today. Can you talk about the play and the semi-celebration that followed?


“I don’t know why he threw it. I was kind of standing there and he threw it, so I just broke over there and caught it. The hardest part is catching it. Look it in, make it a catch, celebrate a little bit, throw the ball to the crowd. Jimmy (Graham) always spikes it on us, so we try to get them back a little bit.”


Do you feel that sense of competitiveness from both sides of the ball?


“You can’t help it. It just starts to come out of you. That’s the reason we’re on the highest level, because we are competitive, (and) we enjoy competing. We have a great offense, so we have to use these guys (as a resource) whenever we can. If Drew doesn’t figure out a blitz or something that we do, we know it’s going to work in the game. We have to use everything we can. These guys are so competitive and have always been in the top five for as long as we’ve been here. You’ve got to be able to use these guys.”


Do you approach the first preseason game like a game week at all?


“It’s training camp. It’s not even preseason, it’s not anything. It’s all about getting better. You’ve got to love this thing. It’s all about competing and trying to lead by example while you’re out here working, Don’t let anything slack off, and we’ll get our legs back. You can’t worry about the games right now. A lot of the younger guys are going to have to make a big impression, and we’re looking forward to that. (This will be) Their first time under the lights, in the (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) dome, (and) it’s going to be fun to see how guys react when we get out there. Who’s going to lose it? Who’s going to keep (to) their game plan? (It’s) Very simple. We know it’s going to be big on tackling, fundamentals, knowing your eyes right, and it’s going to be nice.”


Will Smith was saying that the defense puts a lot of emphasis on the two-minute drill because of the way you finished games last year. How pleased were you with what you saw from the team today?


“We definitely won the edge today in the two-minute drill. We had two different stops, (and) one turnover. It’s always good to have it that way. Anytime we can end it with a couple of sacks or anything like that it really stops momentum. First half and second half of the game, somebody’s always in two-minute mode. It’s not often you have a team just sitting on a knee. In the games nowadays in the NFL, it’s always (a) fast pace, there’s always somebody trying to play catch-up. The two-minute is a big emphasis, it’s a big part of every game played this year.”


Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Media Availability

Monday, August 5, 2013


Opening Statement: “Today we waived kicker Jose Maltos and signed (wide) receiver Steve Breaston. We also waived/injured (wide) receiver Chris Givens and signed wide receiver Brent Leonard who was here prior. So two receivers came in and the kicker and Givens with his shoulder injury were the two guys that left. But we got a couple guys back. (Ray) Shipman (was) back, (Marques) Colston, (and Jarred) Fayson, who had a hand contusion came back, Patrick Robinson got some limited work today, (and) Seneca Wallace and the rest of those guys. We sat (Jonathan) Vilma just for today. We’ll go again in the morning full pads outside.”


What’s the word on Joseph Morgan?


“We’re waiting on Joe right now to give an announcement. We’ll see where he’s at. He’s getting a second opinion right now on his knee.”


After sitting them yesterday and now being inside did you see any extra bounce?


“I think we moved around pretty well. I thought the second part of the scrimmage you saw the heat get to us. Specifically in one area was the penalties; the pre-snap penalties, the false starts and we got to get those things worked out.”


What do you like about Steve Breaston?


“Well we worked a few guys out but Breaston is a guy that can run and he’s had a lot of snaps in this league. He worked out well and we’ll see how he does.


How does Marques Colston look so far?


“We’re just getting him back into the flow.”


Was he limited?


“He didn’t get the team snaps nor did Patrick Robinson but they received all the individual and group stuff. We got to make sure we get them up to speed.”


How much does it help to not have to rush Marques back?


“Well we wouldn’t rush him back. The nature of what he has is something that can get irritated. He needed some rest and we were able to give him that. I just don’t want to have a setback.”


Is that something you will monitor during the season?


“Well I think that guys like Vilma and Colston and a handful of guys that have played quite a bit, we just have to monitor them.”


It seems like with some of these aliments you see some young guys with a lot of snaps. How important is that?


“Well you’re getting a lot of younger players reps, which I think is important.”

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan

Post-Practice Media Availability 

August, 5, 2013


What was the good, the bad, and the ugly from the scrimmage?


“Theres still a lot to learn from the scrimmage. We have definitely picked up some things. I defiantly feel like we are moving in the right direction. We should all be ironed up by the first preseason game. It was really promising to see a lot of guys being really active with a lot of high energy. I like where the defense is headed.”


You can’t draw conclusions based on preseason but how much would it mean to this defense to shut down the Chiefs running game after what they did to you last year. I recall you chasing Jamaal Charles down the field. Did that make a statement to the team to do a better job against the run?


“Without a doubt, I believe that the first thing we have to do is establish a good run defense.The way I feel is that our defense has improved in a lot of different positions, a lot of different situations and I defiantly feel like we are on the right path.”


Zach Strief

New Orleans Saints Tackle Zach Strief

Post-Practice Media Availability

Monday, August 5, 2013


Do you think the defense is making strides quickly?


“Yes, I think it’s a lot for them with the installation early in camp.  There’s a lot of stuff going on and I think you see earlier in camp that their minds are churning picking it up.   Then when they get a chance, I think you look at the scrimmage where both sides we kept everything pretty basic.  The game plans for the scrimmage were pretty elementary and when they aren’t thinking and they are just playing, you can see that they get it.  They have been tough.  There are some unique challenges on our defense right now and that’s good for us and that’s good to see.”


It seems that every team portion is a run play.  Is that different from years past?


“I think you go into every season with a focus.  There seems to always be something as a team, as an offense, as a defense, that you go in and this is the focus of the year.  That’s our focus this year and I don’t think that is a mystery to anybody.  You have probably heard that a lot that the emphasis is running the football.  So, we have changed some things and it’s good to get the reps out here.  But, I think the dedication to it, (and) the commitment to running the ball again will benefit us.”


Is this 3-4 defense a little bit harder to run against?


“I think 3-4s are harder to run against (than 4-3s).  It’s a completely different kind of set of techniques as a (offensive) lineman.  There are a lot of gaps filled up and you have big bodies in the front of it.  We have always struggled a little bit against it.  It’s been great for us to get into camp and play a defense that’s going to play it and see 3-4 guys and work through issues that we had I think we will be a better team for it.”


Keenan Lewis

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Keenan Lewis

Post-Practice Media Availability

Monday, August 5, 2013


Are you looking forward to Friday?


“Definitely. I have the opportunity to go out and show the New Orleans fans what I have. I also have an opportunity to play against my younger cousin (Kendrick Lewis of the Chiefs), so I have to show him the ropes. I’ll be looking for him and I’m pretty sure he’ll be looking for me. I’ll be ready to go.”


Will there be some talking back and forth if you get out there with your cousin?


“Definitely. But right now I tell him not to call me until Saturday. I’m sure they wrote an article in the paper about how he is excited to come home and play. That made me kind of mad; I’d like to see him in the dome.”


How are you feeling after having the scrimmage and finally getting a day off after going through training camp for that period of time?


“Today my legs still hurt. We deserved it. Everybody came out and executed their playbook. Everybody went extremely hard since day one, so that day off was very beneficial. Like they say: it’s a new day and we have to come out here and just get better. Training camp is not over.”


Was it nice that Coach Payton decided to have practice inside today instead of outside?


“Definitely. He’s the best. I respect that opinion to come inside and practice. It’s like 110 degrees inside my car so I didn’t want to go outside. He gave us inside, everybody executed their assignments and we had a good practice.”


Patrick Robinson is back today at practice for you guys. What do you think he brings to the secondary?


“That’s a big help to have him back. That’s a guy who’s a student of the game. He’s younger than me but he teaches me a lot. I go to him with questions and things like that. Just to have him back and his presence (is that of) a true ball player. When you get a guy like that back, it helps out the defense. Everybody on the team is glad to have him back.”