New Orleans Saints Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer
Monday, September 10, 2012
Opening Statement:"We signed Bryce Harris off of the Atlanta Falcons practice squad for Marcel Jones who went on Injured Reserve for us. The other guys, that we adjusted, we are going to work on today as far as replacing or seeing what we are going to do from there."
Is there an update on Johnny Patrick?
"Johnny Patrick looks to be, hopefully, not as bad it looks. He is still getting looked at by the doctors but we hope to have him back pretty soon."
What about Scott Shanle and Devery Henderson?
"It looks the same for them as well. (We) hope to have them back soon."
Other than penalties, what else stuck out to you?
"I am going to say, again, that it was penalties and it was a case of when you get yourself behind the eight-ball like that and it all compounds. So, if it's first and 20, it is going to end up being third and ten a lot of times. Now, it not only goes from a penalty as a negative but then the next thing happens and your third downs are negative, your percentage of third down conversion becomes much less because it is third and long. Then, you don't stay on the field as long because you are not converting the third downs and the defense has to play longer. It's a combination of all of those things put together that just compounds problems. If you eliminate one, the rest of them don't show up."
How was the communication process on Sunday in terms of working with the offensive line?
"I thought that was one thing that really went well. It was a case where I talked with Frank (Smith) on the sideline, I'd go back there every once in a while, when I say back there (I mean) over to the bench, and talk to the guys and get a feel for where they were mentally and give them a thought or two that I had, that I was seeing. All in all, when you look at it, the offensive line was pretty productive even though it didn't show on the stat sheet."
What did Washington do to pressure Drew Brees so much?
"Washington did a good job of disguising some of their traditional blitzes that we had practiced. They showed up late and we, as a group, decide who we are blocking between the quarterback and the offensive line. We weren't always going to the guy that we had practiced to go to and, quite honestly, there were a lot of times that we have protections in where they are bringing six and we have five blockers and so we have to get the ball out. That's when Drew, at times, is Houdini and decides he's going to make a guy miss in the backfield as you've seen him do many a time and still make a play. There were a couple of those yesterday and a couple disguised blitzes that were good. When you throw it 52 times in a game, it is not going to be as clean as you want it to be when it turns into a one-sided game."
Does playing against a quarterback that is a threat with his legs such as Robert Griffin III help prepare you for Cam Newton on Sunday?
"Absolutely. I would think that for sure. Just that you just experienced (it). Obviously, we would have liked to have more success against it. But, the experience against it that you can't get, any simulation that we try to do in practice wouldn't be the same with the talent that RGIII has. It definitely is a benefit."
Do you take any positives away from having a chance to tie the score at the end of the game?
"That is exactly right. We had a chance to tie with the ball in our hands at the end of the game. For us to play so poorly and execute so poorly, that says something about the talent and the resolve of this team. There are a lot of teams that would have not finished the game the way we did. Us and our players decided, and that's where you see the character of our guys, even though they weren't playing and executing well, they weren't executing well, that they were going to finish the game and we were going to put ourselves in position to have a chance to tie it at the end and it didn't quite work out that way. But that shows you the resolve of this team."
Was part of the problem yesterday figuring out and reacting to Robert Griffin III?
"Yes. When you are playing against a guy like RGIII, figuring it out, reacting and actually making the tackle are three different things. I don't think it was the case yesterday that we had a lot of difficulty figuring it out. If you get a half of a step behind on RGIII, you are not going to make that tackle before he gains some yards and I believe that is what happened yesterday as well as a couple of missed tackles."
A network show said the Saints defense looked more reactive than proactive like they had in years past, can you talk about that?"I feel like, and if you ask the players, that we had a scheme. It was a good scheme. As we were playing the scheme, were we that half a step behind sometimes? Yes. Were they gaining some yards because of it? Yes. We trust in Steve Spagnuolo's scheme. The players trust in his scheme. They have practiced it and felt good about it. It is just a case of there's some missed tackles, there are a couple missed executions that you have throughout the game and that is when they chunking the yards up against you."
Do you feel it's necessary to put your stamp on this team?
"I think we are going to put the New Orleans Saints stamp on this team. I have taken over this team for a total of seven days at this point and this is still Sean Payton's team. This is still Drew Brees' team, Joe Vitt's team, and Mickey Loomis' team. This is the New Orleans Saints team, there is no stamp. The stamp is that we know how we execute. We know how New Orleans Saints football looks. That wasn't us yesterday and we are going to get that fixed."
Even early in the game, the gameplan seemed skewed towards the pass. Was that the plan?
"Obviously, the gameplan, when you have the talent that we have at all positions, is to be balanced. We have a good offensive line. We have a good running back group. We have good receivers and a good quarterback. It is always a plan to be balanced. When you get in a situation like we got in yesterday and you get a couple of scores down, you are trying to keep it as balanced as possible. When it's first and ten and then you false start and its first and twenty, you're not going to call a run play. You are looking at a four to five yard gain on a run play and on first and twenty that is not a good call. Second and twenty, that is not a good call. Too early in the game, we got in that situation so we are not going to call a run and then it becomes pass heavy."
Is Adrian Arrington back with the team?
"We are deciding that today."
What do you think of people saying that Drew Brees is putting too much on his shoulders because Sean Payton isn't here?
"One thing I talked to the team about this morning already, as a coaching staff we looked at it and we said there is too much, yesterday, doing someone else's job and not doing their own job. I am trying to make up for this because Sean (Payton) is not here. I am trying to make up for this because (Jonathan) Vilma is not here. Will Smith wasn't in practice this week, should I try to… That is not what we do. What we do is do our job, do it the best we can, know that we are prepared, and go into the next game knowing that calmly that we have prepared the right way. (Knowing) that we are all in, because we are, every one of us are in. Every player, every coach, we are all in. We are coming tighter together, we are pulling tighter together. We are going to do our job and not try to make up for someone else. Someone gets knocked of the game and is injured, you are not going to try to do more than you do, more than you should have done, you are going to do your job."
Did you see the performance coming?
"No, I didn't see it coming and we didn't play under the lights yet. When we played under the lights, we realized, looking at it today, that there was some 'I'm going to try to do more than I normally do to try to make up for something' and that is not necessary."
What mood did you feel from the team this morning in the initial meeting?
"I sensed determination. I sensed focus. I sensed a wakeup call. That's what I sensed."
How do you think Sean Payton personally reacted yesterday to watching the game from afar and what he saw?
"I'm sure he was disappointed that we didn't play better than we did and he should have been. We were all disappointed, players, coaches, everyone. If he was reacting in that way, he should have."
How much man to man coverage did your offense see yesterday?
"We saw a lot of man coverage yesterday. A lot of bump man. A lot of bump man all the way down the field."
Did that surprise you?
"(I'm) not surprised. On long distances and third down, they played a lot of man. They had not played a lot of man on first and second down, but once again, we got them in positions where they were playing first and second down like third down."
Do you have to take more shots down the field to loosen it up?
"If you're asking take more shots. As we looked at it this morning what came up is that there were more dropped balls than we were used to. We did take shots down the middle, down the sideline and we didn't connect with as many as we normally do."
Did they try to take your underneath stuff away?
"Yes. Even in man to man schemes there are plenty of other things you can do with crossing routes and that that we've had up and called."
You spoke very highly of Robert Griffin III on Friday. After seeing him live, what about him was more impressive than you may have originally thought?
"Yes, his poise was extra impressive. He had a mature game. He had a game that a quarterback with a couple of years under his belt would have had. And they did a very nice job of balancing their offense to help him get into a groove early with a lot of bubble screens. He didn't throw the ball past the line of scrimmage very often early in the game to calm him and that made sense."
One good football team will be 0-2 on Sunday afternoon. Is there added importance to the game at Carolina?
"The added significance is that it is a divisional game. We need to win this game this week. It's important to our program. It's important to our psyche. Is it a win or lose this season game? No, it isn't, there are 16 games. The New York football Giants were 9-7 in the regular season and won the Super Bowl. We need to get to the playoffs and we need to peak at that time. Constant improvement, constant skill development and learning what we are as a team (is important)."
Are you worried or concerned about this team at this point?
"No, Not at all. I would be worried if we had immaturity in the locker room. I would be worried if I had a sense that our guys thought they did well yesterday and they lost. I don't sense that. I sense our guys determined to make up for what happened yesterday."
How does it play out where people are trying to possibly do too much?
"That's when you try to make a play that's not yours on defense instead of just doing your job and staying within the scheme. That's when you try to make a pass that isn't needed at the time, because you're trying to press to throw a deep ball to get us in the game right now as opposed to two plays from now. That's when a lineman is trying to help his buddy block a guy by doing something differently. There are plenty of examples within the game. That would come to mind."
Do you think with this type of questioning of doing too much that players and coaches have too much going on in the absence of Sean Payton?
"No. I am being a football coach right now. I come into work. I evaluate tape. I see what I see. I explain it to you and I go home. That's what a football coach does. I try to explain it to the guys and we try to find the response and reactions that we need and how we're going to fix it and we move on. That's what football coaches do."
What do you think it will take for people to quit asking what they think Sean Payton would do in a specific instance?
"You can ask me that all year. It doesn't bother me one bit. This is Sean Payton's football team. I'm managing it as a group, as we get through these six weeks and I'm excited to do it and the team is excited. We had one bad game. We're going to turn it around. It's a good wakeup call for us and we're ready to go."