New Orleans Saints Quarterback
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
When asked about the change in your performance, Aaron Kromer said it was the players around you playing better. In your eyes, what has been the difference in your production?
“I think a lot of it is finding our rhythm and getting in a groove. We, obviously, didn’t start off the season the way we wanted to. Just transitioning back into that game week preparation and the flow that we like to operate with (was important). I feel we’ve started to come back more towards the middle in regards to balance which is what we want as well. (It’s) a combination of all those things. Some guys getting healthy that were maybe a little banged up early on. Getting to that mindset a little bit too, of each week, the gameplan, prep, each guy knowing their role and then going out and executing it.”
With everything you had to say to the media last week, do you feel that the NFL is listening to your complaints and other players’ complaints?
“I am not sure. I hope so. I’d say based upon what we’ve seen from the past, probably not. I still think it’s appropriate and it needs to be said by guys like myself, (Scott) Fujita, and others that are close to the situation and maybe have a little bit more knowledge based upon the last couple of years, negotiations during the lockout, and the whole bounty thing. I’d say this, last week was the bye week, it was the opportunity to address some of those things. Obviously, it was fresh. Now, we are on to this week of preparation so it’s really out of my mind right now.”
Would you have any satisfaction if
“I hope that we’re closer to, obviously, the truth and justice being served. It seems like the longer that this goes, Vilma continues to fight for what’s right and for a fair process which I think is extremely justified. The fact that he was out there practicing today, it kind of puts a smile on everybody’s face knowing what he’s been through and having the opportunity to get him back.”
What will it be like seeing Ronde Barber at safety after always seeing him at cornerback?
“There are certain things, obviously, that a safety does where you are playing deep middle or you’re a deep half player or a little bit different than what he’s done in his career as a corner. Then you get into nickel situations and he is in and around the box and he’s over the slot and he does all of the things that he’s done forever. I still think they do a good job of getting him in those positions and you can see that he’s very comfortable there. (It’s a) little different, kind of the way that they’ve tweaked it. He is such a great athlete, versatile player and competitor that you can put him anywhere and he is a great football player.”
Is it similar to what the Packers have done with Charles Woodson?
“Yeah, I would say it’s similar to that. Very similar. It may, in the book, say that he’s a free safety, or with Woodson, he’s a strong safety, but in reality when you turn on the tape and you watch the way those guys play, it’s really like a rover, he’s doing a little bit of everything.”
When Greg Schiano was hired, he was supposed to bring a toughness to the Buccaneers. Do you see any difference in that when you look at the Tampa Bay defense?
“Yes, they play with a lot of energy, a lot of, I’d say, swagger and attitude. You look at (them) statistically and their defense against the run is quite impressive, they’re top five against the run in the NFL. That’s kind of a mindset. They’ve been very, very good there. They have been really good at rushing the passer with their blitz packages and then, really, with just their front four at times too. All of those things are stuff that we have to be ready to combat.”
Where do you stand on Schiano’s decision on the final play of the game against the Giants? Was it a dirty play? Is that the way the game should be played?
“I wouldn’t call it dirty because it’s not like they’re cheap-shotting or doing something unexpected. It was unexpected that first time against the Giants but then you turn on the tape and you see them do it three times in a row against the Cowboys. I’d say that it’s standard that when you are in victory formation, you are taking a snap, taking a knee and the game is over. Everybody is going to do their own thing, it is what it is. Hopefully, we’re in that situation.”
If they were to do that to you, couldn’t you just take the snap out of the shotgun?
“Yeah, that’s a thought. We considered that. We’ll have a plan.”
What are your memories of being around Carl Nicks day-to-day?
“Well, he’s probably one of the biggest human beings you’ve ever seen in your life, as you guys can remember. He gelled extremely well with our guys. That was a great group. We have our traditions throughout the week, our o-line dinner and that camaraderie and he was a big personality in that group. There were a lot of occasions where it was story time with Carl, or whatever it might be, or his perspective on things. I remember a lot of things about Carl. I remember him as a rookie coming in in 2008 and getting a start for the first time and that transition. I know he played tackle in college, at Nebraska, probably not used to pass blocking a whole lot, comes in and moves to guard. Just the transition and just watching (him) grow, develop and mature and now he is obviously one of the best guards in the league.”
Did he have the proverbial chip on his shoulder that a lot of great players have?
“Yes. he was a late round pick for us. (There were) a lot of question marks about certain things with him. So, I think for him, he definitely took that as a challenge and (said) ‘hey, I’m going to come in and prove people wrong’ or in the case of our team ‘I have to prove these guys right, they drafted (me) for a reason because they saw this potential in me.’”
Putting aside his replacement,
“You miss all guys that leave here that were a big part of some pretty special things here. When I think of Carl, he was part of that Super Bowl team. He was the first guy who picked me up after we broke Dan Marino’s record last year. He picked me up pretty easily, I’ll say that too. It’s not that you miss those moments, they’re frozen in time, you know, so you appreciate them. You appreciate them but you also understand that life goes on, careers go on and he received a great opportunity to go elsewhere. Unfortunately for us, it was in our division.”
How much would you miss
“We’ll see what happens. Obviously, anytime you are down a playmaker, just like last week
“Around here, you guys are used to seeing the level of consistency and playmaking ability so it’s no surprise to all of us. Certainly, he is appreciated around here. I would say he has flown under the radar a little bit when you talk about the scope of the National Football League. He’s typically not talked about when people are talking about the Calvin Johnson’s, Larry Fitzgerald’s and some of these guys and yet, if you want to just sit there and match up the numbers, the consistency and the level of play over the last, this going on his seventh season, it’s pretty impressive. Certainly, he deserves everything that comes his way. I think he likes being a guy, though, that kind of flies under the radar. Low-key, quiet, just go about his business, tough guy, extremely competitive, and wants to be great.”
Did you get a chance during the bye week to go back and look at the first couple of games offensively? Did anything stand out to you?
“If I wanted to throw up, I would have. We put those to bed a long time ago. What we’ve seen is we’ve gotten better here. We’ve improved. We still have a long way to go but it gets you excited about the possibilities and the potential of this offense and this team. For us, last week was ‘hey, let’s get rested, healthy, rejuvenated here and prepared to make this run. We have quite a mountain to climb, but that’s okay because we have a bunch of climbers in our locker room and we’ll take it one at a time. It starts this week on the road in the division.”
You have won the last three games coming off a bye, how helpful is it to have that whole week off?
“It’s huge. It’s been great for us. We started that philosophy back in 2009 after the first philosophy didn’t work. You change it up and our saying was ‘if you want to do something you’ve never done before, you have to do something you’ve never done before’ (and) sure enough we go on to win the Super Bowl that year. I think, specifically, that next week was ‘hey, we’re well rested, we’re coming back and now it is a sense of urgency to get rolling again and get right back on track’ and build upon where you left off. I think we all liked that feeling that we had in the locker room after the Charger game and we want to continue to build on that.”
You have the 49ers, Giants, and the Falcons left to play, how much of an extra significance does it place on these two road games coming up here?
“You could sit here and say, divisional games, AFC vs. NFC for next week or another NFC opponent that could potentially be competition with them for the playoff seed. You could sit there and speculate on all of that stuff. The fact of the matter is the situation we’re in and it is the only thing is one game at a time. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, they all count the same. I’d say the divisional games, maybe a little extra. On the road, maybe even a little bit extra beyond that. That’s what makes this game the most important game anyway. When you weigh everything else, divisional game on the road, these are ones you’d like to have.”
What is the best thing that Aaron Kromer did after the early crisis started to kick in?
“I’d say, stayed extremely positive and encouraging. There were definitely some moments of tough love. No offense, we have to come in here and listen to you guys and all of the bad stuff we are doing and why aren’t things working and so you get so much of that negative, so much of those potential distractions, the sky is falling whereas in our locker room it has to be we’re tight and we’re ok and look at how we’ve gotten better each week and we’re one play away. All of those things that have you looking forward to coming back each day and getting better and giving yourself a purpose for each day as you prepare. I think he did a great job of staying positive and encouraging.”
How much different is your job without a Lance Moore or Jimmy Graham in the game as far as going through your check-downs? Do you spend more time in practice with guys that will be replacements?
“My job is to put guys in the best position to succeed, along with the coach, the play-caller, all of those things. You manage who you have. If Lance Moore is down, then you have a gameplan for who is going fill that role in certain situations and what concepts are we focusing on now, what routes, and who do we want in these positions. You adjust. Your mindset might switch a little bit, and I think you just have to be on top of that. You’re also thinking,
Did you do anything like that with Greg Camarillo?
I know you only played one season with him, but what do you remember about Joe Horn as a teammate and as a receiver?
“I loved the year that I had with Joe. He was such a personality so I think there was this reputation, or just kind of this stigma, about Joe Horn and I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. That 2006 year with him, I thought he was a pro. I thought he was a true professional. I thought he was great for the young guys. I thought he approached practice like it was a game. Great effort, great intensity, I think that’s what I loved about him most. If you look at the road he traveled, I think he started off on Kansas City’s practice squad if I’m not mistaken. He came up the hard way, nothing was given to him. He had to earn it. He was fun to be around, I really enjoyed that year with him.”
Do you sense that maybe you guys give up on the running game too early sometimes? Should you run the ball more as a team?
“Statistically, if you just looked at it, we have a balance in mind, a percentage or ratio that we’d like to be at. You come out of a game and it’s like ‘why didn’t we hit the ratio today’ and there are a lot of circumstances that dictate that. We’re going to go with what’s working. In a perfect world, we’d like to come out of a game with 35, 40 pass attempts and the rest run. Hopefully we’re getting a lot of plays, that means we’re on the field a lot and we’re sustaining drives, we’re converting third downs and that kind of thing. I don’t know, I think there is a rhyme and reason to it throughout the course of a game of when you’re wanting to run and how you’re wanting to do it. I would definitely say just during the bye week as we look at it, yeah, we want to continue to emphasize our effectiveness with the run game and how the pass game can complement the run game as well and how those work together.”