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New Orleans Saints players talk about Sunday's practice

Posted Aug 11, 2014

Players met with the media following practice

New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram
Post-Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 10, 2014
 
Are you happy with your performance in the first preseason game?
“It was a good start. We wanted to come in here as a group and get off to a fast start. I think what we have and what we started out with was great. We looked at the film and there’s a lot of things that can be corrected and we can keep getting better at. We wanted to get off to a fast start, and I think we did a good job of doing that.”
 
Have you become a more patient runner as your career has advanced?
“I’ve learned to just trust my eyes and don’t question myself if I make a mistake, just correct it when I get to the film room. Just be patient and hit it, and when you make a decision just hit it.”
 
What would you want to have corrected? It didn’t seem like you left a lot out there.
“Everything. I can always work on better pad level, always working on screwing up a defender, making a better move, pass protection, just everything. There’s always room for improvement.”
 
Do you feel like you’re seeing the holes or hitting the holes better? Or is it a combination?
“It’s a combination of both I think and me just trusting the scheme. The linemen are doing a good job of getting a great push off the ball and getting up to second level, creating holes and seams for us to run through. It’s just a combination of trusting the scheme and then going out there and executing, that’s the result you’re going to get.”
 
Are you healthier than you’ve been in the past?
“I’ve had a couple of injuries, but I think every time I’ve played I’ve been pretty healthy. But yeah, I am feeling strong, feeling healthy. I’ve just got to keep it going. This is my fourth year, so I’ve grown a lot each year as a player. I’ve just got to continue to improve.”
 
What were your thoughts on Ryan Griffin when he arrived as a free agent last year?
“Yeah RG4, he’s a great player for us. Ever since he first got here, we knew he had a big arm, knew he was smart, and he’s just getting a full grip of everything. How to set the protections, how to get us in and out of good plays, out of a bad play and into a good play. Check from a run to a pass, check from a pass to a run. I think he’s just getting a great grasp of our entire offense. He definitely has the physical ability and mental ability to be successful in this league.”
 
Does he need to run a little bit to earn that nickname?
“Nah, he’s just RG4 man. RG3 runs, RG4 does…what he has to do (laughter).”
 
When you are in the open field, when do you decide to use a stiff arm or a juke move? Is that just instincts?
“I think it’s just getting a feel. A lot of times people will try to get me to explain a run, (and) I really don’t know how to explain it because I was just reacting and feeling a defender or when to throw a stiff arm, when to throw a spin, or when to make the right cut. It’s kind of just reaction. You go through your read and you hit it, and then after that it’s pretty much reaction.”
 
Can you talk about the communication among this offense? From Coach Payton, to Drew Brees, the rest of the team, how do y’all seem to be in sync with each other all the time?
“Yeah that’s the main thing. You’ve got to have great camaraderie as a team – offense, defense, special teams, and as a unit off the field. Just our communication with each other, how we relay messages to each other, how we encourage each other, stay on each other, push each other, to be better. The entire communication process throughout the whole team, that’s what helps you build great camaraderie and potentially develop successful teams.”
 
How much have you seen it develop since the time you were a rookie?
“I think it’s just part of the organization. Coach Payton runs a great organization and we’ve always communicated well with each other, so I think that just comes with the organization.”

New Orleans Saints Center/Guard Tim Lelito
Post-Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 10, 2014
 
You and Jason Weaver were making big holes for the running backs on Friday night. You seemed to work well together.
“Communication is huge. Get up, get set, and identify the front right away. They kind of have to set up to you, so the faster you get up there and call out guys and say, ‘Hey we’re going here.’ We’re all on the same page. Goody (Jonathan Goodwin) tells me all the time that the faster you get up there, get set, and pick a dude.’ (the Better. That’s what we were doing, and obviously it was working.”
 
Was Friday as good a performance as you have had as a Saint?
“I played OK, I didn’t play the greatest. There’s a lot of stuff to get better at and a lot of stuff I’m seeing on film. I’m just taking it day by day, trying to get better, trying to make this team better.”
 
What did you see on film?
“There’s a few things: little things here and there. Just minor things that I can tweak.”
 
What does it mean to get Ben Grubbs back at a guard spot and how did the younger guys do when he was gone?
“The young guys, when he was gone, were great. I feel like they stepped in and did a great job, picked up right where he left off. Ben is over on the sidelines telling those guys little things to tweak here and there. Just because he wasn’t out there doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an impact.”
 
Does the offensive line room get excited when you watch film of Khiry Robinson or Mark Ingram gashing the defense and ending up averaging 5.1 yards per attempt?
“Yeah we definitely get excited about it, but then we look at it and we’re like, ‘OK, that wasn’t perfect.’ There’s more that we can improve on there, so that’s the most exciting part about it is not only that we got 5.1 yards, but it wasn’t perfect, so we can get better at it. What’s it going to be like when we do hit it perfectly or close to perfect? We try to hit it as close to perfect as possible.”
 
How demanding is Drew on his centers? Last year you talked about when you had to start and gave up a couple of sacks, he had your back.
“Any time you play for a pro team I think it’s very demanding. You can’t let up sacks. You can’t let up ten sacks in a game and still figure on being the starter next week. I think the way he handles adversity is incredible. Sometimes you’ll get down but he never gets down. He will never get down on you, which is awesome. I think he’s probably one of the most influential people to me because he’s so optimistic about everything.”

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Tyrunn Walker
Post-Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 10, 2014
 
How much fun was Friday night?
“It was pretty good. It was good to actually get out there with those guys and compete against some other players other than our teammates, so it was good to get out there and compete.”
 
For you, how big was that game?
“I use it as a teaching tape. I had some things that I did poorly in the game, some things I did well. Bigger than the stats, I try to look more at footwork and stuff that I need to focus on. I came in here, my first week wasn’t too good especially with my footwork. I started out slow.  It’s kind of progressing and picking up for me and it was good to go out there and put that on film.”
 
A lot of the Whodat Nation sees that you went to college at Tulsa, but don’t know that you are a local boy from New Iberia. How did you end up in Tulsa?
“Well I actually started at Jones (County) Junior College (MS). I went out there and I played two years. The coaches from Tulsa had some Louisiana ties, my name got mentioned, and they recruited me. I went up to Tulsa, had two great years. It was awesome up there. Then I came home and came here to the Saints as an undrafted free agent. The story is still (being) written.”
 
You were battling some injuries last year. How much did being able to watch tape last year help you going into this year?
“Well the whole time I was injured, it kind of motivated me and taught me a lesson about taking care of my body. I learned from a couple of veteran guys about how you’ve got to take care of your body and (not to) ever slack and take nothing for granted. That’s what I’m doing now, just taking care of my body each and every day.”
 
People have been talking about yours and Glenn Foster’s ability to get after the quarterback, but it seems like you’ve also stepped up your game when stopping the run. What have you had to work on more in that area?
“When you talk about being a dominant defense, the number one thing you’ve got to do is stop the run. Me and Foster and the rest of the defensive line, we’ve tried to work on getting our footwork right and just try to work on stopping the run. That was our main focus first, because if you don’t stop the run, you don’t get the opportunity to rush the passer.”
 
What’s it like to get John Jenkins back from injury?
“It was awesome. John is a guy with a lot of energy. He gets out there and he works hard, so it was awesome seeing John back in the pads and seeing him back in the fold and getting some work.”
 
What can he provide at 100% for this defense?
“Oh man, he could be awesome. You’ve got him and (Broderick) Bunkley, and you’re not losing a step with those two great nose tackles. You bring the rest of the d-line, (and) we’ve got good depth. The sky is the limit.”
 
Talking to Zach Strief last week, he said he actually felt bad getting in a fight with you because he said you’re the nicest guy on the team. How does the nicest guy on the team end up in a practice fight with Zach Strief?
“When you’re playing d-line or you’re playing o-line – anywhere in the trenches – tempers flare. It kind of got a little heated and at the end of the day me and Zach, we’re very good friends. It was all fun and games after it happened. We talked about it, we laughed about it, so it was all good.”
 
What has been the different reaction from the fans here as opposed to in New Orleans?
“The Saints fan base is great. They’ve got a lot of fans in a lot of different places. The reception we got here was great. The Whodat fans in New Orleans, they’re waiting for us to get back and come to training camp and do those things. We can’t wait to get back, (but) the reception here has been awesome.”
 
Are they not quite as noisy, or more surprising?
“I kind of try to focus on the field and not too much with the fans. They’ve been out here supporting us each and every day. They even come down to the turf fields and watch us do walkthrough, so it has been great.”

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Ryan Griffin
Training Camp Media Availability
Sunday, August 10, 2014
 
When you looked at the tape, what did you think about your performance?
 
“There was some good and there was some bad.  Every time you look at the film, there’s a lot of things I didn’t do correct, some day one stuff like getting a guy lined up, getting a shift, a guy set before I do anything else so there were a lot of mistakes I need to fix, but there was a lot of positives too.”
 
Can you talk about the play to Brandin Cooks?
 
“They mugged everybody up, knew they were coming with zero, I knew I was going to have to take a hit from somebody so I just knew it was going to happen so I tried to get it out to Cooks as fast as possible.  You saw him in our scrimmage, did the same exact thing there, just put the brakes on and flew right by somebody.”
 
Does it make it easier to get up after a play like that?
 
“No doubt, especially when he scores, it didn’t even happen as far as I am concerned.”
 
What was the difference in going into the preseason this year and last year?
 
“Just knowing kind of what to expect, last year you get in there, like oh my gosh I’m playing the Kansas City Chiefs, but in all reality you are playing guys that are in your same position.  You are getting out there playing a bunch of guys trying to make the team.  So going out there this year, same thought process, a bunch of guys trying to make the team so they are in the same situation as I am.”
 
Did you feel like you deserved to start with Drew Brees out?
 
“That is not up to me.”
 
Do you feel good about the Saints seeing a future in you?
 
“Getting moved up to the active roster definitely confirms some thoughts that I had that maybe they want to keep me around.  But I know this league, it’s NFL stands for not for long so you try to stake it every year and so this year it is no different.  Every practice you are getting judges, every practice they are evaluating what you can do so you never feel safe.”
 
If someone said Ryan Griffin is playing well but he doesn’t have enough experience, what would you say?
 
“I don’t have a whole lot of experience considering I was only on the team last year.”
 
Would you agree?
 
“Not necessarily, that is one factor, but it is not all that matters when it comes down to being a backup quarterback or being a quarterback in this league.”
 
What else matters that you feel like you have shown?
 
“There’s tons of intangibles and so just being able to execute and lead guys out there, getting in and out of the huddle, so there is a lot of things that go into it.  It is a process and I am trying to get better at it every day.”
 
Can you talk about the pre-snap reads that you can anticipate and how right on you were?
 
“Definitely and not all of my pre-snap reads were on point so there is still a lot to work on.  They brought a lot of different pressures and so I was able to look at the film and those sideline tablets were helpful too and trying to get used to those.”
 
What are the harder ones to pick up at this point in your career? What comes easily now and what still kind of eludes you?
 
“Every one is different because they’re never really showed the same. There was one play that stuck out in my mind that I came right off and Coach Payton was like, ‘I knew they were rolling to shell right there.’ I didn’t see that pre-snap, and when we went back and looked at it, he was able to point out what the clues were and the indicator. It’s a process and I’m trying to pick up on it, but every one is different. There is no exact same Sam-Dog. There is no exact same Cover Zero.”
 
What did you like about the completion to Josh Hill that he turned into a long gain on Friday night?
 
“He made some guys miss. That was nice. He showed some great speed too. That’s my roommate, so there was a little roomie love right there. He caught it, made a safety miss, and he almost took it to the house.”
 
He said he was surprised that you stuck with him that long because he got jammed. Did you do that because he’s your roommate?
 
“No. He was my guy on that play, just with the coverage we got. That linebacker, number fifty, was holding a little bit. He got Ben Watson earlier, so I knew that it was going to take him a second to get off of him, but he did a great job. Trust was a big factor.”
 
Did you get out of a bad play at any point during the game and check into one of those long runs?
 
“We have checks on about half of our run plays, so there’s a bunch where you’re checking. Every run play, you get a plus for a decision and that’s like a Mike-ID and whether or not you chose the right run play. For the most part, those were pretty good. There was one that I kind of jacked up, but there was a pre-snap penalty so we didn’t really run it into a bad look.”

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