New Orleans Saints Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer
Monday, October 1, 2012
Opening statement:"I just talked to you last night about the game and I still feel the same way where it was a great effort by our guys. When I say effort, their hearts and souls were in the game to outhit and outplay this team. We went up to Lambeau Field, which is always a tough situation. At the end of the game, we had a situation where we had a chance to win it. That's all you can ask for when you're at a place like Lambeau against a team like Green Bay is (to) have a chance to win at the end, have a chance to make a play to win the game. Our offense I thought adjusted well. Drew (Brees) was on fire. We were completing a lot of passes and moving the ball up and down with almost 500 yards of offense. There were two times in the red zone we stalled and didn't get touchdowns and that's something we have to fix. We have plenty of plays that we felt would score in those situations and we called them. They weren't quite executed to the point that we felt we needed them to and we were stopped. Defensively, the bright side was the two turnovers, getting the ball back for us was really big. Brodrick Bunkley did a nice job of knocking the center back on the goal line situation and caused a fumble on the handoff. There's a bright side there, but if you really study our football team, you would go back like I and our staff has and look at the last four games. You would obviously say that 0-4 is not where we want to be and anywhere near acceptable, but as you look at it, as we adjusted well to this situation moving on, week one, we didn't look very good. Week two, we started to look a little better. Week three, we played three good quarters and had a great chance to win that game and didn't because we didn't make the plays in the critical times. This game, obviously came down to (playing) at Lambeau (with) a chance to win. Our offense has adjusted and done a good job of getting back on track and getting to a point of where we should have and could have won that game. Credit Green Bay, they played well and they have a very talented team, but you can see the progress. Obviously it's not good enough, because we didn't win, but the progress is there and we are adjusting well to the situation, but we have to adjust a little better. I keep saying that each week. If you are looking at it, that's the way I see it."
Was this loss easier to take?
"No loss is easy to take, but you can see more positives and so you would have more of a brighter outlook on the future. We really feel that we're on the cusp of getting on a roll."
Are there any solutions to getting a better pass rush and more sacks?
"We need to have a better pass rush period. We need to get more pressure on their quarterback."
Are there personnel or scheme solutions?
"We've had four man rushes and tried to cover and we've had blitzes that have not gotten to them. We've tried both avenues. We obviously have to try to get better and feel better about the plan as a player and execute it better."
Have you talked to Steve Spagnuolo about altering personnel or tweaking schemes?
"As I spoke the first day I came up here, this is a we game. This is a we situation. We are working together as a group and as an organization to get these things fixed. As I also said, the defense is coaching the defense. Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has the defense, Greg McMahon has the special teams and Pete Carmichael is coaching the offense. I have an offensive line to coach. I motivate the team and we work as a group in all the other areas."
How much does it come down to players executing a little better?
"In the history of Steve Spagnuolo as we've talked in the past, he has made little tweaks. If you would watch the defense, see the way they tweak and the way they align or execute the defense, there are little tweaks in each formation or each thing that the offense does. That's where his defense has been good in the past and that's what we have to get better at of understanding that clearly so we can execute what he wants done."
Was not running the ball as much a product of Drew Brees having the hot hand a little bit?
"It really was. We ran it 19 times and not very effectively, but at the same time it took a little pressure off of Drew when we did it and that's the goal and at the same time, Drew was so hot, it made no sense not to put the ball in his hands."
Is the running game a disappointment and does Chris Ivory possibly come back into the mix?
"It's hard to say disappointing when you have almost 500 yards of offense, so when you have something that's working, you go with it and stay with it. We had one game with 162 yards of rushing and then we had three others where we have not. Sometimes it's a product of the game and sometimes it's a product of who's hot."
Do you look back at the goal line play calls where there were three pass plays and wish you would've tried to run the ball?
"No, we had five passes that we were ready to call inside the three-yard line that we thought were outstanding and then we had four run-pass checks that we liked. So we had the plays on that we wanted to call and we were ready to execute, but just didn't execute at that time."
Is it harder or easier given the fact that you know you have good guys in the locker room that want to get this turned around?
"That's a great question because if you don't have great guys when you're in this situation, we would not be in these games. The guys would have quit, but the fact that we have great guys and the leadership in the locker room is allowing us to improve. I say it again, it's not good enough. 0-4 is not good enough, but you can see it coming. You can see we're on the cusp of breaking out. We went to Lambeau Field with every intention in our locker room to win that game and had a chance to win it, and we didn't quite make a play here or a play there at the end of the game that we had been making. This team is all in and they are on the cusp of becoming a very productive winning team."
Can you talk about Marques Colston's progression?
"Yes, I feel like (Marques) Colston's progression has gone from very slow in the beginning of the year to a little better, a little better and then I felt like last night he was finally back."
Would you say he was one hundred percent going into this game?
"It seemed like it."
Can you explain the receivers struggling with the catches and dropped balls so far this season?
"It doesn't make sense to any of us because if you look at just Lance Moore in particular, he made a spectacular catch the play before to convert on third down and give us a first and ten, and then he drops one that would have been a normal catch for him, and then the next play he makes another spectacular catch. He's two-for-three, and you're wondering why he didn't catch all three because that's not like him. We just have to go back to continuing to stay on the focus because there were too many dropped passes, but stay on the focus and stay on task that every single play we can catch it and that's what we expect to do in this offense."
Do you think it's better that you're playing in a primetime game with a lot of people watching and knowing that the guys are going to be ready to get out of this hole?
"Anytime you can play on the main stage, as a competitor you want to be on the main stage. That's where we'll be this weekend and we're looking forward to it and we're planning on going in ready."
Do you feel like the pass protection yesterday was the best you've seen all season?
"Yes, I thought it was a big challenge. We all thought it was a big challenge going into Green Bay with the noise and with their talent. We talked about it last week and the guys really worked hard on it, the running backs, everybody. Like I always say, it comes down to 11 guys on offense when you're talking about protection because the guys were getting open quicker, the running backs were doing a good job of picking up their blitzes, and the offensive line had a much better game protecting."
Can you talk about the irony with playing the Chargers this weekend as they the only team since the expanded playoff format to start 0-4 and still make the playoffs or are you blocking out that?
"We're definitely tunnel vision on this week beating San Diego. That's all we care about."
Can you talk about Drew Brees going after a significant record this weekend?
"It's very similar, although this is a very significant record that he's going for at this point, very similar to the Dan Marino yardage record. Drew (Brees) being the team guy that he is, wasn't as aware as the guys around him were last year when he broke the record. I feel like it will be that same feeling for him. He's a team-first guy, so he'll do what it takes to try to win the game, but at the same time this is a significant record that we all hope can be achieved."
Is it more difficult preparing to play a team like the Chargers since you see them so much less frequently than other teams?
"When you are familiar with players you're going to play against, it is easier but it's no different from any other situation in the NFL. You go, you prepare, you do the best you can to know their strengths and weaknesses and you go from there."
How do you deal with Joe Vitt coming back emotionally?
"This isn't about me. It's not about Joe (Vitt). It's about the organization, team and players. It's a group effort. It has nothing to do with me and how I feel about that."