Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, December 26, 2013
What is the team’s mindset and what is your mindset going into the final game of your rookie season?
“We want to go out with a win. Every game the goal is to win and it’s no different for us. We want to play well for each other, for the coaches, for the organization, and go out and perform well and finish the season off strong and have some momentum heading into the offseason.”
How do you feel like you’ve grown through your playing time this season?
“I’ve experienced a lot over the course of the year. I’ve had my good moments. I’ve had my not so good moments. But though it all, I’ve just continued to learn a lot and just try to take something from every situation, whether the good or the bad, just try to learn from it and kind of just build. Every week, it’s something new that I see that I haven’t seen before. (I am) just trying to learn from those experiences and put them in my back pocket, that way next time I see it, it won’t be so foreign to me.”
The Saints have had three season-ending injuries in their defensive backfield. What are your thoughts on what they’ve got left?
“Yeah they’ve had some tough injuries and
Can you give me an example of what you saw that made you say they play at a high level?
“They just made plays. The Panthers offense was shut down for the most part of that game until that last drive. Those guys have just had to step in and play well. Holding that Panthers offense, which is an explosive offense, to not a lot of points – really until that last drive, they didn’t do a whole lot – shows that they have talent there.”
If your team was able to beat New Orleans on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, that would complicate things for them. Does that at all motivate the team to maybe spoil a division rival’s playoff chances?
“We realize what’s at stake for them, but we’re just going to play our game and we’re going to treat it like we want to win for us. It’s not really about them. We’re just going to handle what we can control and just win the game for our program.”
No team has been able to beat Sean Payton in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since the end of the 2010 season. Can you talk about how much of a feather in the cap this would be for your program to win this game?
“It would be a huge thing. We’ve been in an environment similar this year up in Seattle in a place where they hadn’t lost in a long time as well and really we had them right on the ropes right until the end and weren’t able to come out with the win. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the fans of New Orleans and the atmosphere. It will be a lot of fun. As the visiting team it’s fun to play in these types of atmospheres, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
If you can finish the season 5-3 with a win in New Orleans after starting 0-8, does that feel like two completely different seasons?
“That’d be great after a tough start to finish the second half of the season at 5-3 and beat some quality opponents and the Saints being one of the best in the league. If we can pull off the win it would be kind of a tale of two seasons. We’re just looking to finish the season on a high note. Again, it’s all about winning in this league and no matter what our record is, we’re looking to win games.”
Do you feel any pressure that you’re playing for your coach’s future?
“We’re playing to get our fifth win. Our mindset is strictly on that and we’re not worried about anything else.”
Conference Call with Local Media
Thursday, December 26, 2013
What are the differences that you have seen from the Saints team you saw in week two versus the team you are facing this week?
“They have a few injuries but not monumental, I think relatively (they) stayed healthy, certainly this last week losing (Kenny) Vaccaro will change the defense a little bit. They are a good football team, a well-coached football team, a disciplined football team, (and have) a lot of weapons on offense. Drew (Brees) spreads the ball around very well, reads things out very well which is nothing new. Defensively they are much improved from last year and certainly playing at a high level.”
Defensively you guys played them pretty well the last time you played. It seems like other teams have been able to slow down the Saints offense. What do you feel like you guys need to do to maintain that going forward?
“I am not sure that I agree with the people (who say that the Saints have been slowed down more this year). You are fixing to what need a couple hundred yards (219) to get 5,000 yards passing again this year. I guess slow it does is relative maybe to them because I look at their offense as so dangerous. When you look as a head coach when you introduce an opponent to a team you go through their offense, their defense and their special teams. Usually when you talk about the offense you say ok, these are their two or three playmakers, but when you are talking about the Saints you are talking about five or six playmakers. It is a little bit different, very noticeable in the meeting when you do that. I think so much of it goes back to
What would you say the key was to take a team from 0-8 to winning your four out of the last seven and having a chance to go 5-3? I do realize that four of your first eight losses were by three or less, is that right?
“We had some tough losses earlier in the year. It was a little bit of a weird year. Some of those games we almost invented ways to lose. I think what the biggest thing is our guys stuck together. There was no finger pointing. We have a great group of guys in that locker room and some real strong leadership. They show the younger guys the way to go. We are not near where we want to be. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We have 15, I guess 16 guys now on the IR. We just kind of tried to fight through all this stuff and we have one more opportunity on Sunday in New Orleans and we are looking forward to it.”
Can you talk about how big it would be for this program moving forward if they were able to get a win?
“We talk about it all the time. We start the year, there are 16 one game seasons so this game is the 16th one game season. It is no more important than the first 15. It is a division game so that makes it exciting. Every week in the NFL is a huge challenge and we hope that we can come in there and find a way to win a game.”
Are your guys at all motivated that if they win it might complicate things for the Saints in the playoffs?
“I don’t know about that. I think we have plenty of motivation before we get to those things. I know personally we haven’t beaten them since I have been the head coach here, we haven’t beaten the Saints. It is the only team in the division that we haven’t found a way to win (against). I know our players want to end the year with a victory. It has been a very hard, challenging, tough year. As a football coach you know that last one stays in you, that last one stays in your mouth so you would like to have it be a good one because it is a long offseason with the bitter taste in your mouth. There are a lot of things that we are motivated to play (for). I think New Orleans’ playoff chances or whatever you want to call it that really isn’t the motivator.”
Do you have any sense on how this result and it is probably unfair for one game to really have an impact on a person’s employment status, but do you have any feeling on that?
“I think we are playing a great football team, a very, very talented football team and we are trying to find a way to win and that is our entire focus. I don’t really spend one ounce of time or concern on anything else. I’ve been in this business coaching for 27 years, you get into plenty of games whether you win or lose, gameday is the best day there is. We all love doing it and we have one more this year and we are excited about it.”