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Joe Vitt Discusses Facing the Eagles Defense, Gives Injury Update

Posted Nov 2, 2012

Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt met with the media on Friday to give an injury update and discuss facing the Eagles defense


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 2, 2012
Watch Vitt's Press Conference

Can you discuss practice participation and injuries?

Darren Sproles did not practice today. Darren Sproles will not play in the game. Courtney Roby did not practice today, will not play in the game. Everybody else was full go.”

What happened to Darren?

“He hurt his hand.”

Wouldn’t it be a problem for a running back if he had a hand injury? Would he need surgery on it?

“I would think if you were an opera singer, a sore throat would be bad too. That’s why he’s not playing in the game. He hurt his hand and he’s not playing in the game.”

What’s his timetable of being sidelined?

“I don’t know that. We’ll evaluate him next week. The next question’s going to be which hand. Whichever hand you put down, you’ll have a chance of being 50-50 right.”

Did he need to have surgery?

“Yes.”

Was it broken?

“Broken hand.”

Can you talk about the continued improvement of Akiem Hicks?

“Akiem has really done a good job of combining size and athleticism and does a good job of getting better each game. Obviously when you take a guy like Akiem Hicks into our program, you worry about the level of competition that he’s coming from. Really his transition in the OTA’s was really coming along when he broke his hand. We had to back off and redo it again, so you have to get worried about the level of competition. He had a good training camp for us. His rep count continues to grow in games and that’s because we trust him.”

Was the Denver game the most he played?

“Yes, he’s going to go through growing pains like everybody else, (as) a young player in this league. What we do know is this; he’s big, athletic, has courage and to this point it hasn’t been too big for him.”

What does the loss of Darren Sproles do to the running game?

“We have pretty good running backs around here and this is part of the National Football League with injuries. It’s (the) next man up. We will miss Darren Sproles, but this is going to be a great opportunity for some of our other running backs to receive some more reps and show what they can do.”

You spoke yesterday about the Eagles defense, can you talk more?

“We worked on third down today. Right now the Philadelphia Eagles are ranked fourth in the National Football League in third down defense. I think that’s one of the strengths of their team. They have good cover guys on the outside with (Dominique Rodgers-) Cromartie and (Nnamdi) Asomugha. They have great edge pressure that we have to be ready for. It’s going to take our A game to be productive against their defense on third down.”

Have you seen big changes with Todd Bowles as their defensive coordinator and would you expect changes?

“I think Todd played for a long time in this league and he’s coached for a long time. The transition for him personally is coming from a 3-4 defense in Miami to a 4-3 defense (in Philadelphia). I was asked this question before and you don’t do wholesale changes and wholesale schematics in the middle of the year. You become what you are and you have to become better at those schemes. Really there weren’t a lot of changes last week. I think last year they finished ranked eighth defensively. This year they’re ranked 13th and in the top five in nickel defense. That’s one of the strengths of their defense and Todd’s a secondary guy.”

Do you see both teams having a lot of urgency with needing this game?

“We are worried about one thing. We are worried about our football team, how we play, how we perform and how we prepare. They’re going to be well-prepared. That program’s well-established. Andy’s (Reid) been there 14 years. They have a plan and a system. We worry about what we can control.”

How did Darren Sproles take the news about his hand injury?

“About the way anybody would take the news. How would you take the news? It doesn’t change. Darren Sproles wants to play. All our players want to play. When you can’t play in a game, you’re disappointed. He’s extremely accountable to his teammates. He’s a big part about what we do around here and he’s one of those guys that live for Sunday. It’s disappointing.”

What has Jahri Evans done on the offensive line this year?

“Jahri’s an impact player at his position. I think the things that you look in Jahri is number one he’s durable. Number two, he’s extremely stable mentally and has the trust and admiration of his teammates. Jahri’s one of those guys that doesn’t have a sense of entitlement, doesn’t miss a practice, meeting or game and wants to get better every game.”

Do you have in mind who you want to have back there for kickoffs and punts?

“I sure do. We practiced today.”

Are there a couple of different guys?
“Yes. If we wanted you to know, we’d let you go to practice.”

 

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