New Orleans Saints Safety
Conference Call with Local Media
Monday, December 23, 2013
Although you lost control of the division, you still control your own destiny as far as getting into the playoffs. Can you talk about that?
“I think you can cut this thing up a bunch of different ways and try to play out all of the scenarios, but one thing we can guarantee is if we win, that we make it in. That’s all that matters. We just want to get our ticket on the train. This week going into it, playing Tampa Bay in our division (is important). Last time we played them was a tough game. We’re going to have to go out there and get this win to accomplish anything that we want to. It’s a big week for us, and obviously it’s coming off a disappointing loss, but we’ve still got everything in front of us and that’s all we can really focus on.”
When a team starts 5-0, and then they’re 5-5 in their last ten and 1-3 in their last four, you feel like you’re buying stock in a team. Why are the Saints still a team that you’re going to buy, even though it’s trending that way?
“I don’t know if I have a selling pitch for people to buy stock in us, but I think if you watch us on tape, we’re a good team. We have a great offense, a defense that’s playing top five, and a special teams (unit) that’s clicking. We’ve only had two games where we struggled I thought. I thought this past game we played well, we just didn’t come up with it in the end…the same way in New England. Then you have three games in there where we probably just struggled. But other than that, you see (that) to beat us, you’ve got to come with your A-game every time. I think we still have a confident team and I think we’re excited about what we have, we’ve just got to find a way to put it together.”
Can you take us through the last play where Carolina scored the winning touchdown? It looked like you had a clean shot and the running back nudged you. Is that what kept you from getting to Cam Newton on that play?
“I came free. I don’t think they saw me at first, and at kind of the last second he was able to bend back and get a piece of me, but that’s a play I kind of expect myself to make. It’s tough to talk about even if I do make the play, what happens. You never know. It’s just one of those plays. You look at it and if I was able to do anything, it would’ve been a great play, but it’s tough. He was able to get back and get a little piece, but I can’t go back and change it now. It is what it is.”
We always try to figure out what kind of emotional state the team is in. What do you think this week will be like? Will it be trying to get over a deflated feeling or will it be a sort of defiant or motivated feeling to bounce back?
“I think today is probably going to be a little more on the somber side because it was a tough loss, but I don’t think we have time to dwell on it because we still have our goals. It might be a rougher road, we still don’t know what’s ahead of us, but we do know that if we win this week – and we must win this week – then we get into the tournament, and that’s all that matters. That’s what we’ve worked for in OTAs, in summer training, in training camp, all that, is just to get to the tournament. We don’t have time to sit here and lick our wounds and feel bad and think that we’re going to show up Sunday and just automatically get a win. We’re going to go prepared, just like we did last week, we had a great week of preparation. It’s got to be the same tempo, the same tone and intentions, and go out there and get a win.”
Can you talk about where you feel like the confidence level of this team is right now?
“I think it’s high. I think we weren’t like last week. We decided early in the week that we were going to practice a different way; we were going to focus and do all the little things. We did that all week and we showed up on the road, in a hostile environment, in the division, with a lot on the line, faced the elements and I thought we played well as a team against another great team. We had everything in place to win that game and we just didn’t. Although that hurts to lose those types of games, we still know what we have and we know what we are capable of so I think our confidence is still high. I think we know once we get into the tournament we are going to be a team to reckon with. First, to get to there we have to get this win this week so I think all the focus goes there, focus on getting better and fixing the things we need to fix.”
If you guys have to play without
“That is a tough loss to us. He is definitely a big part of what we do on defense, but we’ve got guys that will fill in and every time anyone has been injured this year, we’ve had guys fill in and play well. I think we will be alright. He is obviously producing a lot on our defense. We will move guys around and I am sure they will do a great job.”
What are your thoughts about having such an important game at home? Is that relevant to you?
“Not really, no, we have to win wherever this game is. We have to win this game.”
You still are not buying into this whole thing that you play better at home?
“Who doesn’t play better at home? I would hope that everybody in the league plays better at home in their own stadium than they do on the road. I was encouraged with the way we played; I didn’t think we played bad this time. We didn’t win, but I didn’t think it was because we played terrible or some crowd noise in Carolina. We just didn’t come up with it at the end. I’m sure it will be continued to be said, but that is one opinion to the next.”
How do you prepare for your upcoming game knowing that you need to bounce back after two losses?
“We had really good opportunities the last two weeks and we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities and now it’s a win or go home type scenario for us. It’s not like we have a slouch coming in. Tampa Bay plays us tough every time. We have to come out and make sure we play up to our standard and do whatever it takes to come away with the win.”
What do you think has happened over the last couple of weeks?
“We just haven’t played well enough to win. The other teams have made more plays than us. This most recent one stings a little bit more because of what was at stake and Carolina just ended up making one more play than us. It sounds simple but at the end of the day we had the ball with two minutes to go, up three (points) with a chance to end the game and we don’t do that. We give them the ball back, they are a dangerous offense and they made the plays necessary to beat us.”
How frustrating is losing that game, especially with everything that was at stake?
“It’s extremely frustrating. It’s not like we went in there and laid an egg and got beat 38 to nothing. That would stink. But losing the way that we did, it just stings and it definitely hurts a little bit more.”
How are you guys going to tune out all of the chatter about possible playoff scenarios?
“I don’t know that we are going to put any pressure or anything or try to screen anything out. It’s our last game, we’re playing at home and if guys aren’t going to be ready to play then we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway. We have to take care of business this week and everything should be okay. Once we are in we still have a chance. It doesn’t matter where we have to go to play or who we have to play, getting in is our first goal this week.”
How do you think the offense is playing right now?
“Not the way that we should be playing. Our best teams here have been extremely balanced, we’ve made a lot of big plays, tried to limit the turnovers, (and) protected the quarterback. I think this offense is kind of hot and cold. Some weeks we come out and we are exceptional and some weeks we come out and we throw the ball all over the field and score a lot of points. Some weeks we come out like the Seattle game we had 200 yards of offense. It’s kind of the way the season has been for us. You start out so hot and everything seems like it’s going great and you slow down and you get into the stretch run of the season and we are becoming one of those colder teams that can potentially be limping into the playoffs. We’ve got to find a way to make sure that this offense gets back to the days we were great and we were extremely successful like the Super Bowl season we were top one or two offense, we were a top five rushing team. That is when we were clicking on all cylinders. Hopefully that’s something we can get adjusted back to quickly.”