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Drew Brees, other New Orleans Saints players talk about Texans game

Posted Aug 25, 2013

Quotes from Cameron Jordan, Mark Ingram, Kenny Stills and others

pierre thomasQuarterback Drew Brees on reason for slow start:

“Our first possession was at the two yard line, so it’s always a challenge to get out from a team’s end zone. We got to a third-and-5 situation and (RB Darren) Sproles is running open but unfortunately they had a free rusher. Had we been able to hold onto Sproles a little longer we could have continued the drive there. Otherwise the next possession we were able to get close to the 50 and just needed to convert on that third down. Other than that, we got those two big plays on our third drive, the screen and the pass to (RB) Pierre (Thomas) he made a great play of getting that guy off his back and then making the free safety miss and turning that into a big play. So, that was limited action for the first group but I felt like we were just starting to hit our stride when a couple of us got pulled out at that point.”

On the improvement of the receivers:

“Yeah, I’m excited for (WR) Kenny Stills; he had a couple big catches today, one for a touchdown. The go-route on our sideline was a big play. That was great to see. (WR Nick) Toon came up with some big plays, (WR Andy) Tanner had some big plays; every running back it seemed like was in on the action and did a great job. So honestly I feel like we spread it around quite a bit today. I felt like we got off to somewhat of a slow start but once we found our rhythm, that second and third quarter, I felt like we were moving the ball very effectively and playing with a lot of confidence.”

On not playing as much as in previous preseason games:

“Yeah, you know you’re always thinking about time versus number of plays, and one might come before the other. I think we came in with the plan that we’re going to play a little bit less this time around in the third game than we have in the past. I knew (RB Darren) Sproles was going to be limited coming into the game as was (WR) Lance (Moore), you know (RT Zach) Strief and some other guys on offense. So that was part, we just went according to plan. We all got some work and then got out.”

On what the young wide receivers have done during preseason:

“Well that’s how you get better, that’s how you gain confidence by gaining that type of repetition. Obviously we try to do that in practice but it’s hard to simulate the game during practice, so there’s nothing like getting game reps. Against some teams, now over the last couple of weeks, it’s been a lot of man coverage. It feels like, a lot of bump-and-run. You get in a game and to get off the jam and execute a good route and get your depth and stay disciplined, do a lot of those things, can be a challenge for a young receiver and our guys have handled it very well.”

On if WR Pierre Thomas will want more time in the slot:

“Yeah, he made a bid for that today with that. It’s always nice when you can throw a pass three yards and it becomes a 50-yard touchdown. But credit to him, great individual effort, then obviously with (WR) Lance (Moore) blocking down field, it turns a very routine of throw and catch into a touchdown. But it’s nice when you have those types of playmakers who can do that for you.”

On LT Charles Brown switching sides in today’s game:

“Yeah I mean I think that was just today with (RT Zach) Strief coming out a little early. Charles has started a number of games at right tackle, maybe three or four back in 2011 when Strief was hurt. So he’s been a swing tackle as we would say. You know Strief was a swing tackle prior to becoming a starter on the right side. So it’s nice when you have that versatility, just shows his athleticism.”

On how QB Drew Brees feels the offense did today against the Texans defense:

“The third preseason game is always with that mindset, that final dress rehearsal. This last game is a real quick turnaround going to Miami, probably not a lot of guys are going to play, and obviously our sights are going to be set on Atlanta very soon after. I felt like we executed the plan coming in as far as how much we wanted guys to play. Although we did not score every we touched the ball, which is always our goal, I feel like we did get some good things done, certainly something we can look at on film tomorrow and make corrections and be ready to move on.”

On importance of this last preseason game for the guys who are on the fence:

“It’s always important. Every preseason game is important. Last game certainly is, because there’s always guys on the team who are really making the squad because of maybe their contributions on special teams or their ability, their versatility to do a number of different things and a lot of those decisions go down to the wire. Unfortunately it’s always a tough time of year, it’s an exciting time of year but it’s a tough time of year because you gain relationships with guys and then all of the sudden there’s obviously some guys who go. There’s always some surprises or tough decisions that have to be made, but you still make friendships that last a long time. We’ve seen guys that left here that we knew maybe unfortunately it wasn’t the right timing for them to be a part of our team that year, knew they would go on a do good things and they have. Then again, it’s exciting to see the Pierre Thomas’ and others of the world that make the team as a rookie free agent and fifth string running back at the time and just playing special teams and makes the team and next thing you know he’s your starting running back. You get a little bit of both but that’s the tough part of this business is when it comes down to cut time.”

Linebacker Ramon Humber on the third quarter goal line stand:

“They had some momentum. They had us on our heels with their play action and some of their runs, but when it came down (to the fourth down run), we knew what they were going to do and we stopped them. The mindset in the defensive huddle was that they were going to run the ball. That’s usually what happens, even though they do have a tendency on fourth down to want to pass it. We prepared for the run, but knew we would need to react to the pass if they threw it.”

On the Texans running game:

“Their running game is good. They have a good offense. Their running game can beat you just as much as the boot and play-action (can), so it can definitely catch you on your heels. For me, I just need to keep everything in front of me, so I can decipher what is going on.”

On overall play of Saints defense:

“I am very pleased with the way our defense played with the effort, but there were still some mistakes that need to be corrected. I have to learn from my mistakes in order for us to get better as a team.”

Running back Mark Ingram on the running back’s impact in the passing game:

“We had a couple of big plays early in the pass game, a few screens and (RB) Pierre (Thomas) caught one going across the middle and broke a few tackles. It just put a spark in our offense, got us going, lots of momentum for the rest of the first half and continued into the second half.”

On how important it was for the running backs to help ignite the offense:

“It’s very critical. We just need to make plays in every phase of this offense, run game, passing game, picking up pass pro. We just need to be effective and efficient in every way possible.”

On how effective the run game was considering how good the Texans defense is:

“It’s encouraging, but, at the same time, there were lots of runs that we only had one-yard or no yards. There is still lots of room for improvement. Although we did have big runs and we caught some seams and had some big chunks on runs, we still have to be more consistent on every run. We’ll just keep practicing at it and working at it and try to improve every single time we come out.”

On RB Pierre Thomas lining up in the slot:

“Well, we’ve got five backs that can line up anywhere on the field and that can run routes and catch the ball very effectively. It just depends on the personnel and play call. If it happens to be they call, ‘Empty,’ and I’m in there, I can line up in the slot and run the route as well, so can (RB Travis) Cadet, (RB) Khiry (Robinson), (RB Darren) Sproles, as you know. We all can contribute in every phase of the offense.”

On running backs lining up in the slot and if that’s a product of Coach Sean Payton being back:

“We’ve always had the stuff installed and it’s always been a part of our offense. It’s just switching up the personnel and letting different guys run those plays. I think that’s the difference and you just have to be able to show that you’re capable of running it in practice and you have to have the coach’s confidence in you that you can go out there and execute those plays. It’s not just one person, it can be multiple people lining up in different places and running different things and just nothing but help our offense and expand our offense, and make it more difficult for defenses to scheme us and stop us.”

On how well QB Luke McCown played when he came in:

“Yeah, Luke is a good player. He’s been playing a long time. He’s a student of the game. He and (QB) Drew (Brees) are competing all the time in practice. All their little drills and games they play, they’re always competing. He did a great job. He came in and he just picked it up, and led a couple of touchdown drives. He was very efficient out there. He’s a hard-worker and he’s a veteran. He’s a good player.”

On if he felt like the team didn’t perform up to Head Coach Sean Payton’s expectations:

“We started off slow. We didn’t start off how we wanted to start, but we did pick it up towards the end of the half. Like I said, there were things that will show up there were good on the field, but there’s also things that we have to improve on. There’s lots of things that we have to improve on. We’ve had a lot of sloppy penalties as a team. We just have a lot of improving to do. As many good things as we did, when you look at the tape and you break it down, there’s a lot more things we have to improve on and clean up before the season starts. I think that’s where some of his frustration comes from.”

Defensive end Cameron Jordan on being soft spoken off the field, but being a ‘monster’ on the field:

“I definitely try and do what I can on and off the field. When it comes to conditioning, any of you guys who have seen me out there practicing, I’m pushing myself to the limit every day and when it comes to games I’m definitely trying to improve on what I have and what I’ve been working for. I’m a lot this year. I’m a lot for our defense and a lot for the team, so at that, I’m just trying to be one of the pieces.”

On how he thinks they compare defensively against a potent offense:

“I think that there’s still a lot of room for improvement, which is always a plus. I mean, they will be getting someone good against them early on, after that in what, the first or second down, I think our defense got a little bit more stout. From there, I think we just kept that rolling and when we came out off the field, the younger guys stepped on the field with a lot of energy and I liked what I saw. Of course, we’ve just got (DE) Glenn Foster popping up every week, and (DE) Akiem Hicks is doing what needs to be done and (NT) John Jenkins is going to be a force to be reckoned with soon enough. Going from there, I’m just excited to be a part of such a young d-line that can be so talented. And when you look behind you, you’ve got a lot of great players, a lot of established players that have been there and you know that they can ball. So it’s easy to just go out there and put it all out there.”

On ILB Ramon Humber:

“You know, he’s under sized for a linebacker, but he definitely has a big, big heart. I mean, he’s got a lot of tenacity and that’s what I like to see in players. He’s down-right nasty and vicious when it comes to what he does and that’s what you really want in a linebacker. I think he’s going to be a great rotation, a great addition to the team if everything works out right.”

On the young undrafted talent such as DE Glenn Foster:

“I mean I love Glenn. Glenn’s got to be 22, 23. Just to relate that I’m probably a year or two older than him, I definitely think he’s earned a spot, if that’s the way coach deems it. I like the way he plays, he plays real, real strong at any position that we put him in. so he’s similar to what I’ve been doing.”

On his performance having highs and lows and if he was frustrated:

“I don’t know if I ever get frustrated because there’s so much that you want to put out there on the field and just to see how much we could get better at, it doesn’t frustrate me at all, it excites me especially since this is preseason that there’s still such a learning block to be had. And with that, we also have another week just to try and figure things out. It’s a new defense and you can’t expect to be perfect by game three. It’s a process and that’s what we’re striving for is perfection.”

On his confidence level on the field:

“I feel that with our defense as a whole, our DBs do what they need to do, our line backers do what they need to do, and as a d-line it’s my job to do what I’m supposed to do. With that being said, I’d like to be in the backfield every play, whether it happens or not, I’m also playing the lead talent every week so I’m happy with that.”

Running back Darren Sproles on combating Texans pass rush with short passes:

“We just wanted to get the ball out quick because we wanted to stop that pass rush. So our plan worked pretty good, I guess.”

On New Orleans Saints receivers getting behind Texans secondary when they played too close to the line of scrimmage:

“We didn’t really have a plan; it just worked tonight.  That’s all it was.”

On the Texans defense possibly being overrated:

“No. The Texans have a great defense. They’re not overrated at all.”

On the difference of the defense when Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt isn’t playing:

“Whenever you can get 20 sacks in the 3-4, playing (defensive) end, he’s actually doing a great job.”

On being surprised they could move the ball so well with their second string QB against the Houston Texans starters:

“We’ve played a lot of games in the League.  He’s (Luke McCown) a great quarterback; we knew he could do a good job.”

Receiver Kenny Stills on his one-handed catch:

“You know it was a go route down the field and just fighting for, you know, my territory out there and the ball is up in the air I gotta go get it. It was just one of those plays.”

On his touchdown catch:

“Touchdown catch, it was just a double move. Work on it all the time. Got the corner kinda sitting on the outside and was able to get inside and the ball was there. Great protection. Great ball.”

On his rising confidence through preseason:

“Just getting more comfortable. Just getting used to being out there. Like I said before, relaxing and playing football. That’s all it is. Just playing football again and having fun.”

On how valuable the reps he has been getting in games are:

“That’s huge. You never know what a player can do until they show it out there on the field during a game. So, just for us to be out there, be consistent, be doing our jobs, I feel like we’re trying to gain as much trust and confidence from the coaches as we can.”

On what he thinks his dad will have to say about this game:

“I hope he has some positive things to say. You know, he always gives me a hard time. Always finds something. Same with my mom. Same with my sister. So, everybody gives me a hard time. They don’t want my head to get too big.”

On if he has surprised himself with how quickly he has adapted:

“I haven’t really been thinking about it. Just getting out there and playing and having fun. You know, it’s a blessing the position I’ve been in, the opportunity that I have, and I’m just having a lot of fun.”

On what it felt like to see the receiving core play so well:

“That’s huge. That’s huge for us. Seeing (WR) Andy (Tanner) out there balling, seeing (WR) Preston (Parker) balling, just making plays you know. And we’re one group and we’re rooting for each other. So, I had the biggest smile when I saw Andy score twice and then spike it.”

On if the group of rookies are all a tight knit group:

“I think so. I think we try are best to, you know, try to stick together as a rookie core, kind of group. We don’t have that much free time, but just going to dinner and sitting together at lunch and dinner. You know, knowing what our goal is and that’s just trying to help the team win in any way and shape we can.”

Running back Pierre Thomas on his play last week and this week:

“Yeah, I got a few snaps.  I wanted to get a little test in before I jumped in to this game knowing I was going to play in to the second or third quarter possibly.  I asked the coaches if I could possibly get my feet wet in the last game and they really didn’t want me playing just to be on the safe side, but I told them let me just get a feel of it just to get in a rhythm because it’s been so long since we’ve been back playing.  Before I stepped in to this game a lot I just wanted to get my feet wet.”

On being lined up in the slot last week:

“Yeah, we change it up a lot.  We wanted to change it up and put our (running) backs in different positions a lot of people don’t see often.  Normally we all do the same thing, but we’re really switching it up this year.  Just a change in our offense.”'

On his touchdown and Texans LB Joe Mays trying to strip the ball:

“He was reaching for the ball and I talked to him after the game he said ‘I tried to get it, I tried to get it,’ but I just put my left arm out, he was grabbing me, but somehow I got away and took off from there.”

On if they tried to exploit the coverage of the Texans linebackers on the Saints running backs:

“Oh definitely.  We think we have very quick and agile running backs who can also run through the holes and take that pounding.  Also, we got guys who can run good routes and make the defender miss.  We work on that so much in practice and try to get all of our running backs doing the same thing.  We go out there and don’t miss a beat with any one of our guys.  We practice so much in practice, we come out here and the game feels like nothing.”

On slowing down the Texans pass rush with short passes:

“We had a little game plan coming in to the game; nothing too big.  We tried to watch how their defense was playing as the game was going on.  In the beginning they were rushing us a lot and we started to figure out what can we do to get around this quick pass rush they got and those quick dump offs and screens we had going was a great plan.  (Head) Coach (Sean Payton) did a great job of recognizing what they were throwing at us on defense we had a great plan of great offense and great plays we had in our game plan for this game and we just put it to work.”

On if the Texans defense is average without DE J.J. Watt:

“No, that’s still a good defense.  You have to give them credit.  They did a good job of stopping us at the times they did.  Their guys were out there moving around fast were hitting hard and you have to give these guys credit.  They were missing one of their best players. So give them credit because they did a good job out there.”

Receiver Nick Toon on his game today:

“Obviously, we came out with the win. You know, that’s the most important part. I feel like I had a clean game mentally. I had a nice catch in the first part of the game. I should have had the one on the sideline but the DB made a great play. But you know, like I said, the most important part is the win. (WR) Kenny (Stills) had a great game. (WR) Andy Tanner played a great game. It’s good to see those guys go out there and have success.”

On the play of the offense:

“Yeah. We came out a little slow. We didn’t start off the way we wanted to start off, but we got things rolling and had success down the stretch and got the W.”

On how well the team is prepared for the upcoming season at this point:

“Every day is a new day. Personally my job is I just try to come out and improve every day, continue to learn. As a team that’s obviously something that we try to do as well. It’s a long season. We’re just trying to get better, improve every day and keep it going.”

Safety Kenny Vacarro on his transition from college to pros:

“I’ve grown a lot as a player honestly. Coming from Texas, the Big 12, a lot of up-tempo offenses, a lot of non-traditional offenses. So I had to adjust to the NFL. A lot of pro sets and slot sets, you know that we don’t see in the Big 12 so that’s been the biggest thing. Always guarding the tight end, I’ve never done that. I’ve always been on the tight end. So that’s been the biggest thing”

On critics:

“Honestly, they were saying I couldn’t tackle and saying that I was way overrated but I have to make sure as a strong safety you need to be a great tackler, but you also need to cover and guys know that I am also a great cover guy. So, I just want to be a balanced safety as much as possible.”

On what we can expect from the Saints defense:

“I think we are going to be an ‘in your face’ defense. A defense that sets the tempo and not necessarily tries to prevent. I think we want to score points and create turnovers. We haven’t done a great job creating turnovers as far as picks and interceptions go but I think we’re getting there. It’s just all about leaning the scheme. The sooner we can learn it, the faster we can play.”

On defensive coordinator Rob Ryan utilizing him in the defense:

“He just uses me to the best of my abilities. He just puts me in position to make plays and he knows his players. He’s going to play his players to their strength and limit their weaknesses. He’s just a great players coach.”