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Quotes from Malcolm Jenkins and Jahri Evans conference calls

Posted Oct 7, 2013

Safety Malcolm Jenkins and guard Jahri Evans spoke with New Orleans media via conference call on October 7, 2013

New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 7, 2013

The defense has forced 11 turnovers. Is this due to mentality, defensive scheme or both?

“I think it’s a combination of both. We’ve talked about turnovers for a long time around here and it’s obviously something we preach and practice, but it’s also about putting your players in position to make them. I think that’s where the scheme comes in and when it all comes together you get turnovers and guys are taking advantage of the opportunities that have come. I’m not the only one forcing turnovers; I think this is the only game where we’ve only gotten one. That’s pretty good and obviously a big improvement from where we were (last season).”
 
Are you guys free to roam around or is it pretty regimented where you are on the field?

“No, we don’t have anybody that’s just roaming around. Just the positions we’re put in really give us an opportunity to make a play. We’re getting pressure on the quarterback, which means you get bad throws, you get sack-fumbles. I have to stay in the middle of the field to jump a route if I want to and corners are covering well. When all of that comes in together, you get opportunities to make turnovers. When you’ve got guys running to the ball, you’ve got population around the football, good things happen, and they’ve been happening for us.”
 
How important was that start for the defense yesterday to kind of get things going?

“I think it was big for us to start fast and to get that kind of start and get our offense the ball with more opportunities early. We knew their defense was trying to force turnovers and get stops; they have a really solid defense. For us to get out to a fast start was big for us and kind of set the tone for the game.”
 
How would you explain the Saints’s advantage in time of possession even though the offense is averaging less than eighty yards rushing?

“I think it’s just complementary football. We did a great job, especially early in the game, of getting three and outs or getting shortened drives. And then our offense does a great job of sustaining drives, winning on third down, and that’s where it really comes down to it is just third down conversions. I think we’ve done a really good job as a defense of getting off the field and our offense has done a great job of converting on third down and that continues to eat up the clock and keep the ball in Drew’s (Brees) hands.”
 
What do you think it has meant to have the time of possession advantage in each game in all of the talk about your improved defense?

“I think the time of possession is really a team stat. I don’t think it’s a big defensive thing; I think it’s everybody. It’s special teams, it’s defense, it’s offense, and I think that’s showing you that we’re winning as a team in all of our games.”
 
It does help keep you off the field though, which should help.

“Definitely. I don’t think we’re very tired as a defense. We haven’t been tired at all. It’s not like our offense has been three and out and we’re back on the field. They’re sustaining drives, we’re getting good rest and being able to adjust on the sidelines and then come back out and play fast.”
 
In order for your offense to stay patient yesterday with only six points through the first quarter, did the defense feel trusted to keep the Bears out of the end zone or did you take it as your responsibility to keep them out of the end zone so the offense could stay patient?

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I think our offense and our head coach obviously trusts us to play well on defense and to keep the game (close). At the same time it’s our responsibility. We knew going into that game that their defense takes away the ball better than anybody else in the league. We knew we couldn’t force plays (and) we couldn’t try to make something out of nothing because that’s what they look for. We knew offensively that we were going to have to be patient, take our shots when we had them, and protect the football. Defensively, we had to keep the ball in front of us and we couldn’t give up the big play early to get them off to that start where they put teams in the position where they feel like they have to catch up. I thought we did that earlier in the game.”
 
How much of a focus was containing Matt Forte yesterday and how do you think you guys did in that regard?

“I’m not sure what he finished with, but obviously Forte is one of the best backs in the league and he’s definitely one of the keystones to their offense. We had to do a good job of containing him not only in the run game, but in the pass game. I thought we did that early pretty well. In the second half I think we got a little bit sloppy, but the first half we definitely did a good job of starting fast.”
 
Do you guys feel like a complete team? You guys have won in a different way each week.

 “I think we’re getting there. Like I said, we’re finding a way to win that’s different pretty much every week. That’s a good sign for a team, but I wouldn’t say we’re complete yet. We’re playing well as far as complementary football, we’re getting turnovers, our offense is sustaining drives, but we still have things we’ve got to work on. We finished pretty well in the fourth quarter, but in the third quarter coming out of the half, we kind of let off the gas a little bit and gave the team a little bit of hope, and that’s something we can’t do against these top teams. We beat a good football team and we’ve got five wins, which is good, but we’re still working.”
 
Do you think that your coach hates the stat that 90% of teams that start 5-0 make the playoffs in the current format?

 “He wouldn’t be alone. Five wins only gets you five wins, you know? You would be an idiot to listen to that stat and think that you’re automatically going to the playoffs. Winning five games literally gets you nothing but five games. People are going to throw that around and look forward, but right now we’re just trying to get six.”

New Orleans Saints Guard Jahri Evans
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 7, 2013
 
Are you surprised to be averaging less than eighty yards per game rushing but still dominating in time of possession?

 “Yes. That’s definitely unique, not doing it with a consistent run game. Coach Payton and Drew (Brees), they have those timing routes where he gets the ball out quick and the short throws actually go for big gains, so we are just trying to stay on the field and keep converting, and that’s what happens when you’re converting on third down, fourth and one like we did. Your confidence will start to go up because you’re starting to stay on the field.”
 
Does Pierre Thomas make you guys look good or do you all just work well together on those screen passes?

 “I think that sometimes we come up with key blocks where we get guys down on the ground and Pierre is good at spacing those screens, so sometimes we just get in his way and he makes the right play. I think it’s both. Like I said, sometimes we get those guys down and sometimes he just finds a crease.”
 
Obviously Sean Payton showed a lot of trust in Pierre both with the game plan and amount of touches he got. I assume the entire team feels that trust in Pierre?

 “Yes. Pierre has been in this system for a long time and I think he’s proven himself to be able to touch the ball a lot, and the other day he touched the ball a lot in the run game and he touched the ball a lot in the passing game as well. He had a lot of touches, and it showed in his production coming up with two touchdowns. Every person that coach puts out on the field, he trusts, and that’s why they’re out there on the field of play.”
 
Did you say anything to Pierre after his big run on fourth and one where he seemingly made something out of nothing?

 “I didn’t say much to him. It was a little tight slit in there. We had a couple of guys pull around and Chicago played the edge very fast. They got a lot of population to that side very quickly, and Pierre tried to make a quick cut and get up the field and get it and he got hit by one of the linebackers that came through and just got a little short because he got folded up a little bit. He was running tough all day. A lot of times it was just a one guy breakdown or a guy running in the backfield that was running to the spot before we could get the blockers there. All in all, I think we had some good games. It’s going to open up for us. We’re going to have a game where we just bust out there and we aren’t going to have any negative runs, and that’s going to be a good run day for us.”

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