New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver
Friday, August 3, 2012
What is it like actually to be playing a game?
“It is exciting. We have been out here beating each other up for a couple of weeks now. To see another color out there, another look, we have been seeing the same thing, it will be good for us.”
How has it gone as a football team?
“I think it has gone extremely well. I think we have gotten better each and every day. As soon as the heat really came out, guys got a little bit tired. We had guys that were a little bit dehydrated. Once you adjusted to that, I think we got some good work in.”
Do you think that game experience this preseason is more valuable than in the past due to the new CBA limitations on practice time?
“I think preseason games are always important. It is a process. The preseason is five games for us this year, so they will get a chance for a lot of the younger guys to get more reps which is huge for them. Hopefully the veteran guys won’t have to play too much early on. The reps are going to be just as important for everyone else.”
Do you think the younger guys will see a speed and amount of contact that they haven’t seen yet?
“It is always turned up a little bit in the game. Guys are out there trying to win jobs and stick around. It is going to be fast-moving but it is going to be happening on both sides of the ball. I think our guys will be ready.”
What is your mentality going in to this weekend?
“To make plays. The same as it is always. We have a game and I am paid to make plays. That is what I am focused on doing.”
Are you excited to see the team’s display, especially the Super Bowl XLIV one?
“Absolutely. The last time that we played there in 2007 there wasn’t too much Saints stuff in there at all. Just to see some new stuff and some Saints memories in there, I think it would be awesome.”
Joe Morgan dropped a pass today, but how impressed are you with his physical abilities?
“He is a freak athletically. He is big, he is strong, he is fast. Even knowing that he is like that, when he does the things that he does on the field you still say wow. It kind of reminds me of Devery (Henderson) years and years ago and (Robert) Meachem when he first got here because they are so fast. Everybody still has work to do. We are trying to bring him along and hopefully he will make some plays for us.”
As a receiver, what is the biggest difference you have noticed in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense this year?
“They have been giving us a bunch of different looks. Anytime that you have a new defense that you are playing against, they are going to have different wrinkles and things that you haven’t seen. With Gregg Williams being here the last three years, we kind of knew what we were going to get. Blitz-happy, playing a lot of man-to-man coverage and Spags has been switching it up on us a little bit trying to throw off the quarterbacks and our timing. I think it will be good for us.”
New Orleans Saints WR
Friday, August 3, 2012
How is it going to be for you returning to your hometown of Canton, Ohio and playing in the stadium that you grew up playing in?
I played a little league game there. In middle school, our championship game was there. That was my high school stadium. When I transferred to Walsh, that was where our home games were. Going back there in the pros is going to be something special.
Talk about the competition at wide receiver and what it’s like among you guys. Do you all get along?
Everybody knows that we’re competing, there’s no question about that. We are probably the closest-knit group in the NFL. Everybody wants to point at me, (Nick) Toon, and (Adrian) Arrington; we always help each other out. If there’s something we see somebody messing up on, we’ll try to fix it. We’re not the type of guys that are going to badmouth anybody or try to play everybody else. We try to build each other up. We are trying to make our corps, our group, the best unit in the NFL.
It helps tremendously. Lance and I are both from Ohio so he knows the types of things I come from. Talking to these guys who know what you’ve been through and what it takes to get there, they help you out a lot. You learn how to do the little things that can take you from the bottom all the way up to the top.
You’ve mentioned consistency as something that’s very important to you. You had a drop today in practice, what was going through your mind?
I had two drops actually. I had a deep man that I outran and I dropped than one. Everybody saw the deep one I dropped too. Drew (Brees) talked to me yesterday and he told me that one thing I need to work on is my body language. When something bad happens, just let it go. Address it there, but move on to the next play. Don’t let it linger on. I used that today to overcome my mistakes and get better.
You talked about your limited National Football League experience (only two preseason games). How important are these preseason games to just get used to the NFL speed and NFL contact?
They’re very important. With the new CBA we can do some things, but we can’t do as much as we possibly could do in the past. Getting into the preseason games, that’s where they tell us that you’re going to make a name for yourself, that’s where you’re going to show up for real. Out here, you’re going against the same defense everyday. You’re picking up tendencies and stuff like that. Going into a game live is a whole lot different and goes at your brain a little bit. It lets you work and asks you to think. It tries to make you put the things you learn in practice out onto the field.
Does that pressure help you or is it something that you kind of have to stray away from and just focus on the game?
You have to be mentally tough and mentally focused. Don’t let thinking about that get you down. If you’re out there thinking too much, you’re not going to be able to play fast. You’re not going to be able to be at the best of your abilities. You just need to go out there and play and perform at 110%.
Overall as a team, how has this camp gone?
Overall it’s been great. We’ve been getting better, a lot better. We came out of the gate really with no rust. Everybody was of course wondering how Drew was going to do since he hadn’t been here, but he came out on fire and since then he has gotten better. Just getting better from here is all we are going to do. Right now we look good.
I know you have known about it for a while now, but is it surreal that you’re actually going back to Canton tomorrow to play in this game?
I knew about it before. When I found out over the summer that Willie Roaf was getting inducted and we took the Hall of Fame game, I thought that it would be pretty cool to go back. It’s actually starting to hit me a little bit more now that we are getting closer to going back to Canton.
Family? Friends? Who is all going to be there?
Everybody in Canton. The whole city of Canton is probably my family right now. It’s going to be exciting. I know people are going to be out there screaming.
New Orleans Saints Center
Friday, August 3, 2012
Can you talk about the next phase of this and leaving New Orleans?
“It is time to put some stuff on tape. It is exciting for us to get out here and show how we have been doing all of the hard work and all of the people get to see it.”
Were you able to go up against
“Not today, no. I didn’t get to run with him today. He looked good. Fresh legs. He looks good, I am excited to have him out there. I expect big things from him.”
Did you set a goal or is there something you want to accomplish in your limited playing time in the Hall of Fame game?
“I think we definitely want to look sharp. We don’t want to have any mental errors. We want to work together as a unit. That will be our main goal, to put together a drive and to look good doing it.”
How important are these preseason games to get experience due to the new CBA and the limitations on contact in practice?
“Preseason is very important for everybody to be honest. There are 90 guys on the roster right now and only 53 are going to make it. There are a lot of guys trying to make other teams. It is not just this team they are putting on film for, everybody gets to watch this film. Preseason games are very, very important.”
Talk about the differences between now and last year.
“I prepared every day like I was the starter. When my opportunity came, I was mentally prepared. All I had to do was go out and do it. Right now, it is a team. We are trying to get better as a team every day. We have some new parts and we are just trying to get everybody on the same page. I like where the team is headed.”
What is the feeling like for you being the starting center as you approach the season?
“For me, you can’t get complacent. My mentality is I am competing for that starting spot and I am battling every day to keep it. I am not going to give it up easy. That is what I am doing. I am the starter. I set the huddle, I set the tempo. That is what I can control. Right now, I am really focused on tempo and getting out of the huddle and doing what I can do to get this offense rolling.”
How much does tape benefit a team like this?
“It speaks volumes for this organization that the concept of the best players play is really true here. It is rare in the NFL. I have been on a few teams and this is a special place. I am glad that my path led me here. I get to play with great players and hopefully be here for a while.”
If you were an analyst, and ten being the best and one being the worst, where is
“Ten. No doubt about it. Drew doesn’t miss a beat. I was fortunate to get to work out with him a little bit back in California (in the offseason). Regardless if he is here or not, he is getting that work in. Drew is a professional. He knows where he needs to be and he is there. I am excited to get out there and get back on the field with him.”
Do you know about Willie Roaf’s career and what he accomplished?
“I do know about Willie and knew how great of a player he was. I am excited to meet him. I haven’t met him before. I think this whole experience in Canton will be exciting. Especially for the young guys to get an appreciation for the NFL, where it came from, to see the Hall of Fame and get to experience it. I got to do that my rookie year and you really do have an appreciation of where the NFL has come from.”