New Orleans Saints Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Opening Statement:"Turk McBride, left ankle, did not practice. Devery Henderson did not practice. Johnny Patrick did not practice. Scott Shanle was limited. Jabari Greer was full. Today, we made a roster move. We signed Greg Camarillo and (placed) Adrian Arrington on IR (Injured Reserve). Barrett Ruud was activated off of the exempt status. We had a good practice today. We went outside, worked on first and second down (and) got back to business. It was good for our guys, (to) clear their minds from the last game. I thought they did a good job responding today."
What are the official injuries on Devery Henderson and Johnny Patrick?
"Devery had a head injury, a concussion, and Johnny Patrick had a right thigh."
Was there anything that surprised you from the process in the game last Sunday?
"No, nothing surprised us. We had been preparing throughout those last couple of preseason games. Everybody was prepared. I thought the mechanics of the way things went on the sideline were good so I don't think that was a factor."
Is there any difference in that role in a regular season game compared to a preseason game? Are there more adjustments to make?
"Of course. People aren't showing as many things preseason as they are obviously, (in) trying to win the game in the regular season so there are some things to adjust. We knew how we were adjusting, we had the mechanics to do that and we did it, not that it always got done."
How do you defend the naked bootleg?
"It's a case where you have to have your guys running to the ball on the run play but you always have gap responsibilities on the off-side and everyone is responsible for their particular gap and they just have to handle it."
Can you describe the type of adjustment this team is making on defense?
"Our defense, in the last couple weeks of preseason, (we) were without a couple of their linebackers and they were playing backup linebackers in their spot. Of course, Will Smith played ten plays in the last game which is, really, more than most of our starters played. So, him coming back was only a case where we missed him during the practices. He didn't get practice reps that week so Turk McBride got the reps and then he got it in the game so they split them a little bit but Will (Smith) got most of it. I would say that the linebacker situation was not ideal. They didn't get as much practice as they could have used and I think that, obviously, was a factor in the game."
Did you work out any linebackers today?
"We worked out some linebackers yesterday, yes."
Can you tell us who you worked out?
"I'd rather let them release that."
When you look at what this team has been through, was it a distraction?
"I don't think that we played as fast as we wanted to play. I think our defense will respond to that. I think we are full go ahead now with our linebacker situation and Will (Smith) practicing and (Jonathan) Vilma is not with us, but Curtis Lofton is and Curtis is back practicing more this week right from day one here on Wednesday. I think it will be a totally different look. We are going to play a lot faster, more direct in this game."
What did you see that Drew Brees struggled with that led him to have his lowest completion percentage since he arrived in New Orleans?
"We are used to seeing Drew Brees break records on a weekly basis and he didn't do that in that game. I think it was a collective effort of everyone. The biggest thing we came out of that game talking about is everybody do their own job. There were a lot of people trying to cover for other people, it appeared watching the game live and watching it on tape. I think it's a case where we just have to make sure we are doing our job, our particular job, and handle that and things will be fine."
Was Drew Brees trying to do too much?
"He was one of them, yes."
Are the receivers running through their routes one of the points of emphasis this week?
"Correct. Working (on) the timing of the routes, as we talked about were somewhat off in the game. We are going right back at it. Just as our linebacker situation was a little iffy last week, our wide receivers situation, guys were having a tough time getting through practice with the injuries that they had. I think getting them back this week and starting day one and being stronger, I think will help our timing."
How much of the interruption of timing came from Washington's gameplan?
"We encourage our guys to practice every day and we expect it. There are injury situations or nagging things that hold a guy out and you lose some timing. The guys are back, we are ready to get going and we're fired up about it."
I imagine you didn't expect this to be as big of an issue as it was because this is a veteran group?
"Correct. Washington did a good job of really riding our receivers all the way down the field and we have to do a better job of releasing."
With Vilma on PUP, where does he sit health-wise?
"He appears that he is doing well. He is running around, working drills and doing different things. I don't know if he is football ready but he appears to be doing well."
Is there a timetable? Would he be ready after six games?
"Yes. That is the goal, that he is ready to play as soon as his PUP (designation) is up."
Do you think that too much is made of one loss?
"Absolutely. We talked about that on Monday. We talked about it being overreaction Monday in the National Football League. Half the teams lost and half of the teams won. Every team that won was crowned a Super Bowl Champion and every team that lost wasn't going to make the playoffs. We know that is far from the truth. I made the statement on Monday that the New York Football Giants went 9-7 and won the Super Bowl. We feel good about our progression as we go out through this year of getting better and better and peaking at the right time."
Will you address all that went on between these teams last year and try to make sure everybody is not too amped up to go back there and play?
"Anytime you play a divisional foe, there is a lot of chippiness. We need to have as much energy and willingness to play fast but we need to also play smart."
It seemed Tampa put a lot of defenders on the line and forced Carolina to throw the ball. Is that what you see when you look at the game tape?
"Yes, it is. I feel like their offense had a similar game as our offense did without the two-minute drives at the end that got us a lot of yards and points. Their offense looked similar. Just a thing here or there, one player at a time not executing, but we know, potentially, what this quarterback (Cam Newton) can do, what Steve Smith, what these running backs can do in Carolina so we are preparing for the team we are used to seeing."
Joe Vitt said before he left that Cameron Jordan had a very good preseason. What are your thoughts on his performance against Washington?
"Well, Cam Jordan led the team in tackles. As a defensive end, that is pretty impressive. It appeared to me, watching the tape, that (on) most runs that went his way, he shed his defender and made the tackle. He was very powerful and he did a good job of, most of the time, keeping the dropback quarterback in the pocket as well."
If Devery Henderson is out for some time, do you think that teams will defend you differently because he is such a deep threat?
"Yes, I am sure they will. Joe Morgan is a fast player for us. Lance Moore can get up the field as well as having great quickness. Jimmy Graham can cover a lot of ground quickly. Darren Sproles can cover a lot of ground. Without Devery, it will be different. At the same time, we have to put the pieces together and make sure it is not that much different filling in with our other players."
Since Morgan has that kind of speed, are we going to assume he might get an opportunity to prove it?
"He played in the last game and he is going to have to play well in this game, better than he did last week. He did a good job blocking, he didn't do a great job catching but he sure ran fast."
Since you are facing another mobile quarterback, are you going to focus on the pass rush or containment?
"Our pass rush didn't hurt us as much as (how) he (Robert Griffin III) ran the ball in the running game when he was on his bootlegs and that sort of thing. It wasn't a case where it was third down and ten, he dropped back to pass and we were getting to him or not getting to him. It was a case where on first and second down they were being productive, moving the ball and not getting themself in third and long as we did."
Ron Rivera said that people have to patient with Steve Spagnuolo's defense, is there a time when you expect it all to click? Should it click now?
"I picture this for this team, that at the end of the season, we are going to be far better than we are right now. We are going to continue to climb that mountain and continue to improve in every phase and the end of the year is when we will peak. We need to win games in the process but that is our goal."
How much emphasis do you put on this second game while trying to get your first win?
"We have to make sure that we're doing a good job in what our assignment is. What is our assignment? Did we do it? Are we following the technique? Are we producing? And we'll let the wins and losses handle themselves."
For Akiem Hicks and Tyrunn Walker, is it just a matter of them getting acclimated to the gameplans or getting ready to play?
"We do have an abundance of defensive linemen. There is going to have to be one or two guys down each week."
It looks like Jonathan Stewart will play Sunday, does that change how you try to defend against that run game and make them one dimensional like they were against Tampa Bay?
"We sure hope to. Anytime you enter a game, you want to make a team one-dimensional and you're working to stop the running game first."
Who is the backup deep snapper?
"That is a good question. You (laughing)."
Is that one of the things where you can never think of everything? There is so much you have to consider as a head coach, that being one of them.
"There is a calm, as the interim interim head coach that you have, knowing that Greg McMahon has that handled, Steve Spagnuolo has the defense handled, and Pete Carmichael has the offense handled and all of those things fall into their category and they do a good job with it."
So, you are not telling us who it is?
How would you assess the offensive line's play?
"The assignments that were given to the line, they did a good job with. The problem with the free rushers is we weren't always on the correct people. Within every game, there is a scheme blitz here or there, and like I said we practiced against every blitz they ran in the game, they disguised them a little bit and we didn't get them identified to the best of the ability that we normally do. We have to do a better job of that and making sure we are seeing it and communicating with the quarterback who we are blocking."
Was there anything that you communicated to the offensive line and it didn't get adjusted to correctly or was it something you saw after?
"To be honest, we work with the quarterback on who we are blocking in passing situations. If you see the quarterback pointing to certain people, that is who at times we are blocking, sometimes not, but we are all communicating together. We are working with the quarterback to make sure we are assigned to the right people."
On the DeAngelo Hall sack, should Darren Sproles have blocked him or did Sproles block the right person?
"He blocked the right person. That was one of them, where I would say, that we would have liked to have gotten a call to go that way to be able to pick that up with our offensive line."
It would have been the quarterback's call to the offensive line?
"To do that."
How much different is the Panthers defense this year compared to last season based on what you have seen on film so far?
"Game one, they are still the aggressive style, zone blitzing, zone dog team. Very physical style of play up front. Very fast linebackers as always. Luke (Kuechly) has done a good job, as a rookie, coming in and playing linebacker. (He) doesn't look like a rookie at all. It is very similar, whether it is an over front or an under front it doesn't make much difference, they have changed a little but it is very similar."