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New Orleans Saints players talk about third preseason game against Colts

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Saints won 23-17

Cornerback Champ Bailey on if he's feeling 100 percent back to normal:

"I would love to see somebody who is 100 percent in this locker room. Just to get out there and mix it up with the guys I'm going to be playing with on Sunday, it felt good. I can't put a percentage on it because if one thing hurts, something else is probably going to hurt once that feels better. That's just how it is and we roll with it. I felt good tonight, that's all I know."

On how the secondary unit played together and their health:

"It was good to get most of our guys back on the field. Patrick Robinson and myself, we definitely wanted to get out there at least one or two games if we could. We want to be healthy going into the season no doubt. It's good to get this work in. We all came out clean. That's just the way you come into these preseason games hoping you come out clean."

On the amount of snaps he would like in the final preseason game:

"I just want to be ready for our first game. If it calls for him putting us out there, then we'll go out there and do it. It doesn't matter. I'm ready to play football."

Quarterback Drew Brees

Do you agree that you felt sharp tonight after practice this week?

“I feel like it was a progression throughout the week of just kind of getting the feel and the timing back. I don’t think I’m 100 percent yet, but I feel like the tempo and the rhythm and all those things are coming back as expected.”

What do you have to say about the first drive?

“We had great balance, converted a few third downs. There weren’t any big chunks. Just kind of marching it down the field, and obviously we were able to punch it in. It was a great way to start the game. We talked about coming in with a great tempo and with great balance. We talked about taking our shots when we could, but for the most part, I felt that when we were in there that it was kind of methodical.”

What do you mean by saying you’re not 100 percent back?

“Just getting all the rhythm and timing back. And probably from a health stand point, it’s just not all there yet.”

 Is the decision to run not something you want to do in preseason?

“No, it’s third-and-10, the end zone is right there and you’ve got to go and get it.”

 What do you have to say about the offensive line?

“The guys up front, the O-line, it was great to have Ben Grubbs back, Jahri Evans back. We have some guys we’ve been holding out strategically to make sure they’re 100 percent. We knew coming into this we were going to bring all the guns out and see if we could put a few good drives together and then get them out. Make sure everybody was ready to roll for the regular season. I thought they did a great job. Pass protections, it’s a team effort, it’s a group effort. When teams are applying pressures, it involves the tight ends, it’s the running backs, and those guys have done a great job as well. As quarterback, you’ve got to know when the ball needs to come out, so at times we get sacked, and it’s probably our fault as much as anybody else’s, and there are other times when we need to get out a little sooner than we want, but we’ve still got to make our decisions.”

 Did you get as much playing time as you wanted?

“Yeah, I think it was more so, it wasn’t based on where we were in the game, it was more so the number of plays and how good we were with those plays. I don’t know what the total number exactly was, but I imagine it was 13 plays on the first drive, six or so on the second and then maybe close to 10 on the third. Coming into the game, I think we had said 16 to 20, but we got 26 plays in the first quarter, which was probably more than expected. We had two touchdowns, two good drives, which is what we all wanted to see, and then it was time to let the young guys get in and have some fun.”

 Were you able to trust Austin Johnson right away?

“He’s done a great job all camp. Obviously Erik Lorig going down was tough during training camp but Austin has stepped in and has done a great job whenever called upon, in whatever role whether that be the fullback position or on special teams, you name it. He’s one of those lunch pail guys, he comes to work, ready to do whatever is asked of him. He’s done that very, very well.”

 How is it playing with the veterans?

“The old trusting guys. Some of those guys, we’ve had so much time together. I was thinking about it today. You take each of them. You take Marques (Colston), Pierre Thomas, Zach Strief, Jahri Evans, Jonathan Goodwin, even though he left and came back. All of us have been together for eight-plus years now. That’s pretty rare, but certainly that pays off. We have that trust and confidence in one another.

 Did Jonathan Goodwin come back as good as you remember?

“He’s done a great job. Goody is Goody. Pretty soft spoken, gets the job done, does it very well. Tim Lelito has done a great job too. I don’t know how that’s going to shake out, but both those guys are certainly very capable and will be key contributors.”

 Jonathan Goodwin said that this is his best camp that he has ever had, do you agree with that?

“I think he has had a great camp. I think also just maybe the way his body feels, he looks really good and he’s moving really well. He is strong and powerful. I think that being at the Greenbrier and having a chance to be in those conditions takes less out of you, especially for an offensive linemen. So I think that has something to do as well, but yeah its god to hear that from him.”

 How much has the whole getting back process been on you?

“Yeah, if there’s guys out there that you know and trust and maybe you haven’t thrown with them for a few weeks, we could just go out there and it could happen because we have so much time together. That certainly would be a big factor in why missing time and then cutting it back and then all of a sudden it happens still because all that muscle memory and chemistry is still there.”

 Do you treat the last preseason game a certain way?

“Yeah, we usually prep for it like it’s the dress rehearsal for the season. That week is very much a game week in regards to our schedule and our preparation. We still don’t spend a whole lot of time on the opponent because you’re still in a training camp mode and yet, you adjust the schedule to try and allow guys to see that in-season pace and schedule is going to be like in preparation. It’s a good thing because we certainly come into this game saying hey this is like a regular season game for that time, that we are in and usually it’s pretty brief, a quarter to maybe a half. I can’t remember the last time we played a full half, but it’s good to win.”

 Are you all ready to go for the season? If not, what needs to improve?

“There are still little things to clean up. Penalties are still too high, too many. I know Coach (Sean) Payton came up here and tells you guys that already. We’ve improved from last week but still not quite where we want to be, but I think overall as far as everyone getting the playing time they need and spin the ball around and run the ball the way we want and throwing it the way we want. I think it’s going to be valuable for me and Brandin Cooks here over the next week, two weeks, to get some more time in. I missed some time and he got sick and missed more time, but I’m confident that things are going to be just fine there, but the more time that we can get together, the better. Other than that, we are on pace and still have some more work to do.”

Wide Receiver Marques Colston

On the test the Colts defense gave to the Saints:

"I think we felt like this was a good team that we were coming in to play at their home place. We came in prepared for a challenge and it turned out to be a pretty good game."

 On how he feels compared to last year health-wise:

"I'm feeling really good going into the season. I have two more weeks really to try and get better and continue to manage my body. By all means, it's a totally different ball game than last year."

 On playing with a healthy first string offense today:

"I think we were just able to get into a pretty good rhythm. Having those guys back was definitely a huge part of that. Really just finding ways to continue to carry that rhythm into Week 1.”

Tight End Jimmy Graham

On how the first half went offensively:

"It went well. Especially if you compare it, you can tell that we're just growing, and to have number nine back is a big part of that. He really gets the tempo going early and he's really looking to push the tempo. When we've been able to push the tempo, that's when we are at our best, so all good things."

On translating practice into games:

"That was a big emphasis this past week. Drew (Brees) said he's had some time, which he's never had before, to really look at each individual position and really see the offense and the defense from an angle that he's not used to seeing it. That was one of the emphasis this past week and it transitioned well to the game. When you have a leader like him, things like that happen."

On finding a rhythm during a preseason game:

"That's one of the biggest things that we focus on is finding that rhythm. It just felt natural. It really did. That's all good positive things. We're going to have a lot of good work leading up this next week and then the week after, so to be where we are right now, still with a lot of room to grow, but still with a lot of positives, it's nothing but good."

 On the run game helping the offense’s efficiency:

"It's all good. When you've got a run game like that and when you've got backs catching passes like that, it just really opens it up for the rest of us. We're going to exploit those matchups. When you've got guys running in the backfield like that, it really opens up that play action, which we definitely need those big plays."

On Coby Fleener's touchdown celebration:

"Yeah I saw him after the game and was laughing about it. He said he had to do it. It was pretty cool. I was hoping to get my chance at it."

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