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Coordinators Carmichael and Williams Meet the Press

Posted Oct 28, 2011

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Media Availability
Friday, October 28, 2011

What do you think the Rams could gain from knowing who calls the offensive plays for the Saints?
“There’s a DNA.  We do a very aggressive tracking of (offensive) coordinators.  There a are DNAs, there are rhythms, tendencies, all kinds of stuff.  We spend a lot of time in the offseason doing those types of things.  When you have coached as long as some of us have coached, I do it day by day in practices.  Some of the most fun times I’ve had since I’ve been here because I have so much respect for Sean Payton is when we have those periods in practice when it’s mano a mano.  I don’t know what they’re going to do and they don’t know what I’m going to do.  So consequently when it’s a situational thing, there’s no such thing as a straight comment.  Something will be said or something will happen there and I’ll put it over in my Sean Payton file.  People I’ve been on the same staff with, at some point in time you’re going to go against them and if you can process it or remember it, it will help you.”

With a guy like Steve Spagnuolo, how tough is it to go from working all the time with the defense as a defensive coordinator to being a head coach and having less time to spend with the defense because you have to worry about other things?
“I don’t know exactly.  I haven’t studied the dynamics with what’s going on there in that respect.  I will tell you that you learn from every experience that you’re in.  If I ever (become head coach) again, I will do what Sean does and just call one side of the ball.  I’m one of the few guys along with Bill Belichick that in our coaching careers have been offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and special teams coordinator.  My son’s playing for Frank Beamer right now who was special teams coordinator at Virginia Tech.  You get a chance to sit in that head coaching chair because you’re a pretty good coach and then all of a sudden, you don’t do that when you become the head coach.  I was guilty of that because there was so much upheaval and turnover with the Bills when I first went there to help in all other areas and turn the other stuff over to staff members is not the fun part of coaching.  I’ll always stay involved with that.  I’m assuming that Steve is.  I stayed involved with the defense but I didn’t call the game and that kind of stuff.  I would say the head coaches I see in my personal opinion that stay involved with their expertise, I think they’ve been a little more successful than the ones that back away completely.”

What do you like about how this defensive unit has come together at the midpoint?
“Every week is a different week.  I look out one time this week at the scout team defensive huddle that was going against our offense and there were seven rookies out there, and nine of the eleven guys were two years or less experience.  I think that’s a positive.  We needed to get younger.  There’s still an acclimation going on with some of those guys.  There’s still a learning curve going on with some of those guys but I like those guys.  As we continue to move on, we have a good spirited core and good leadership in that room with Jon (Vilma), Will (Herring), Roman (Harper), and Malcolm (Jenkins) and all the guys there.  We’ve been able to adjust game-by-game and week-by-week to whatever we’ve needed to do.  The last play of the Tampa Bay game was a frustrating thing because the view was not good, but it was right in front of me.  I saw the ball hit the ground.  It wasn’t a situation where we got off the field and gave our offense a chance again when we pressured in that situation.  They just didn’t get an angle to see that.  I like these guys.  As we continue to make this push on, what we say is every week is a race to improve.  It doesn’t make any difference where you’re at in the season.  The teams that have the best chance to win at the end of the season are still improving.  Look at Green Bay last year.  Look at us in ’09.  We have to continue to improve in all areas and we’re not satisfied with anything yet, with the exception of I like their spirit and I like their fight.”

Is there any way to stop Steven Jackson?
“He is one of the premier backs in this league.  We’ve caught him at a healthy time in the year.  Our work is cut out for us.  You can have an unblocked defender, a guy that where you schemed it right there and the play is over and done with, and he can make you miss. If he wants to truck you, if he wants to put his head down and run through you or run over you, he has that capability to.  Not only may he run the football, he may be more dangerous in the passing game when they give him little check-down routes in zone coverages or the option routes in man coverages.  Now you have to get him down in space.  We have our work cut out for us.  We have to know where he is at all times.  The biggest thing is to limit the opportunities and the timing of the play going to him.  If we can limit the time of the play to give us a little bit of a break, it helps us.  But he is a very good football player.  He has our players’ respect.”

Can you scheme him more given that Sam Bradford isn’t going to play?
“We try to do all those things as much as we can.  There are very few ways.  People think there are an infinite number of ways to line defenses up.  There are only a certain number of gaps and a certain number of coverages you can do.  There will be times we commit two guys on one.  There will be certain times we have to double and then the frustrating thing is he still beats it.  We had a couple of those times two weeks ago in Tampa where we had two guys at the point of attack and both guys missed.  Those are things you have to fight through, but we’re aware of.  We ready to do that this week if we have to.”

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Media Availability
Friday, October 28, 2011

We talked to Coach Payton about you and Drew Brees being reunited here in New Orleans.  Were you surprised to get a chance to work with him again?
“Tony Sparano was the one who recommended my name to Coach Payton.  I was fortunate enough to get hired here.  A couple months later, free agency started and all of a sudden Drew Brees’ name was out there.  I give all the credit to Mickey (Loomis) and Sean for making that decision and bringing him here.  I remember seeing him in the weight room a couple weeks later and it was a great feeling to see someone I knew because I didn’t know many of the coaches here when I got here. It was great to see a familiar face and a guy we knew could lead this team.”

Coach Payton you knew a lot of the language that Drew Brees had known from working with him in San Diego and it made it a lot easier to communicate.
“We started building the offense and Coach Payton had his playbook from the Giants and his playbook from Dallas and really the concepts he wanted to run.  He would ask, ‘Was this a concept you would run in San Diego?  What did you guys call it?  Then that’s what we’re going to call it here.’  So he came in knowing a good portion of the offense when he would recognize the word.”

If Sean Payton calls down and makes a suggestion, is that play going in?
“If he makes a suggestion, it’s happening.  Really last week you have to give credit to Aaron Kromer.  He was firing out the run thoughts all game and we had a lot of success with the run game.  Coach Payton and Joe Lombardi were upstairs saying, ‘Hey, next series think about these calls.’  So that was easy for me.  Next series is what I had in my mind.”

Did you enjoy the play calling?
“I really enjoyed it.  It was probably more nerve-racking through the week just being prepared and making sure we didn’t have any setbacks.”

Was that the first time you’ve called plays in a game?
“It was, at any level.”

Did you go about your job differently now that you’ve done it and it’s become a heightened duty?
“You always go through the game plan in your mind saying, ‘At any time coach could ask what I think here.’  So in your mind you’re always game planning thinking about what to call.  You always have a thought ready, but it was a different preparation for me last week.”

What are the themes you see similar in yourself and Coach Payton?
“I give him all the credit because I’ve been able to watch him over the last five years and he just rolls with the next call.  He never hesitates.  He always has confidence in the plays that we have in the game plan.  By the time Sunday roll around, you just feel good with what you’re going to call because we have great players and I’m sure there were plenty of calls that we made last week that our guys just went out and executed.”

There was an end around last week, right?
“I’ll take the blame for that one.  Robert Meachem did a great job with the second part of that reverse.  He saved it from being a bad play.”

Sean talked about making a call and not getting caught up watching the game, but getting ready to call the next play.  Did that take away from the enjoyment of some of those plays?
“Saturday night he sat down with me for about an hour and just went through all his thoughts.  It was real beneficial and real helpful.  He said, ‘Listen, when first down is going on, you have to have that second down thought.  You can’t wait to see what happens.  Let the guys up in the press box communicate down to you to let you know what happens.’  That part was a little bit different.  Typically on a game day he’s saying, ‘Hey, what just happened there?’  Now I’m thinking what’s going to be the next call.”