New Orleans Saints QB
How does it complicate things for the offense that the younger guys have not had as many reps as they normally would? When you look at our offense, it is a lot of guys that have been in the system for a while now. On the offensive line, we have one new starter at this point at center in
Is it different going into the pre-season because of the time lost over this past off-season? I will be honest; we haven’t talked much about the first pre-season game to this point. We are still three days away. I know we are going to take a look at the 49ers here soon. We are still in the phase of installing our own offense and defense and making sure that guys know what they are doing with our system. Then we will worry about how to move the ball against another team.
Because of the offseason, is the first preseason game more like a scrimmage? It puts a premium on the reps that we get during practice. (We are) making sure that guys get quality reps. We don’t have room for many reps. You have to get the most out of every practice, every time we step on the field. We are on track for where we want to be, but we still have a long way to go.
Do you do anything different to prepare? It’s the same prep. We have an idea of how much the one’s will play as it has been for every first preseason game that we have been a part of. I think the big difference is, now, what do you do with the young guys? A lot of them have not had a lot of experience with our team in this offense and this defense and this system. We will manage that. I know Sean (Payton) has a plan.
With the excitement around the end of the NFL lockout, what do you think about the atmosphere going into the first game? I think it’s awesome. The fans will be crazy like they always are. The who-dat nation never ceases to amaze. You can sense it out here. The turnouts that we have had at practice have been phenomenal. Everybody is talking about the first game in the dome and just football being here. Everybody is excited, as are we.
What do you think about going to California for a week? I think it is a good change-up. We will be able to get a lot of work done out there. Obviously, the conditions are a lot different. The ability to maximize reps. It’s like the situation where we went to Millsaps. It’s like when any team goes away for camp. You sequester yourself away from all distractions and you can really just focus on football. We love to have training camp here, in New Orleans, in front of our home fans. That has been great for us for three years. We have gone and scrimmaged with the Bengals, Patriots, and Texans. We just find ways to shake camp up a little bit. It just shakes up the monotony. You have the opportunity to change it up and add a little competition to it as well. I think this will do that.
Is there camaraderie as well? Definitely. Every year, every training camp, you have to establish your identity again as a team. No matter what you did the year before, no matter how many of the same guys you have coming back, you have to re-establish that identity. That’s yet another one of those stepping stones toward doing that.
What are your thoughts on Mark Ingram thus far? Do you think that there is an adjustment to the physical nature for rookies coming in? That’s usually the case. He is used to playing big time football. You play in the SEC or Big Ten, you are used to playing physical football. Every week is such a competition, such a challenge. Obviously, he had that experience coming in, but, still there is an adjustment. It is a long season. It is 16 games plus, hopefully, a lot of playoff games. As you look at it for a young guy, it’s not only about adjusting to the physical nature but then also, how do I take care of my body and make sure that I am able to survive through that length of a season. It’s a marathon. I think he is one of those very smart, attentive guys who pays attention to the other veterans: guys like Pierre (Thomas) and (Darren) Sproles and the things that they do in order to learn and in order to make sure that every time they are on the practice field its 100 miles per hour and then to be able to recover, come out the next day and do the same thing. I think consistency is always a big thing for rookies coming in as you learn the system and learn the nature of the game. He seems to be on track. Obviously, I have been very pleased with his progress.
How competitive does it get down there inside the five or ten yard line? That’s the scoring zone. That’s what it’s all about. You have to score touchdowns on offense, and defensively you have to hold them to a field goal. They’ve got something we want and vice-versa. We take a lot of pride in that period. That is why it is really hard to do that and not do it full-tilt. You do a couple periods and then there is a lot of jawing. Full go, four plays. You score, you win. You don’t, you lose.