New Orleans Saints Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Opening statement:"For today's practice participation, we had Turk McBride, (who) didn't practice. David Hawthorne did not practice and Jonathan Casillas did not practice. Those three guys, everybody else was full. We practiced our third-down preparation today. It was fast, we got our scout teams moving fast and it helped us out to keep moving forward in this process."
What do you need to see more of as far as consistency in the running game?
"We just need to be more consistent in the running game and we have to keep calling them. We had 19 runs in the last game. We got backed up a couple of times at the end of the game last week and tried to throw it out of there which is understandable. We have to know and have confidence that we can gain yards in the running game as well. We just have to keep plugging at it and the yards will come."
What are some of the factors that have limited the success on the ground?
"When you study football and you realize that if you are up by a touchdown or two touchdowns at the end of the game, in the fourth quarter you're going to gain 50 to 60 yards rushing because you're going to continue to run the ball more. If you're down by two touchdowns in a couple of games and you're trying to come back to get into it, you're not going to run the ball as much. We got in that situation in week one which limited our runs. In week two, we had 162 yards so we were able to continue the rushing game. In week three, we were backed up a lot and we probably could have chosen to run it a little bit more coming out of our own end zone there but we chose to pass it and we've had success in that fashion before, just moving the ball out of there, getting a first down and then getting back into the running game. Not that that's philosophy, it's just what has happened in the past and we were going with past experiences."
Chris Ivory has not been active for a regular season game, can you talk about the decisions at personnel at running back?
"Running back-wise, we've had Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, and (Mark) Ingram and those guys are (giving us) our best chance of being the most universal and productive running backs right now. We have two other running backs on the roster and when it's time, we will get them in the game."
How did you address the decision with the officials to the team today?
"Here's what we do with the officials: on Friday we talk about each crew. We try to give them a background of what these officials like to call because everybody is human and everybody sees things a certain way. What we do is we find out who the crew is (and we) we study their background. This guy likes to call offensive holding, this guy likes to call false start, you just go by their stats, by their numbers. We just try to explain to our team, 'this is what we are going to get this week, be ready for this, understand what you can and what you can do in a game' and what they're looking for more often than not. We try to educate our guys on the officials and who is working the game but that's it."
But this week you actually know the officials…
"Correct. We used the preseason stats for the last three weeks to try to fill in. It was hard to find information, trust me."
How do you coach Drew Brees, with all of his success, since he is responsible for getting everything together on the field?
"There is a fine line, a balancing act with a player that's that good. You want to tell him, 'you don't have to win the game for us Drew' but at the same time, he usually does because he has done such a fine job in the past winning games. We just say, 'just do your job and get the guys lined up as you always have and throw it to the open receiver and throw some guys open' like he normally does. It's a process here. I think that we're getting faster and faster the more we get into this season as you watch us practice. I don't think that we were playing fast enough offensively or defensively when we started the season and I feel like that's changing as we continue to move on."
As a coach, because Drew Brees can do so much, is it hard to gauge when he is trying to do too much?
"There is a fine line. When you say he is trying to do too much, he'll throw into double coverage and complete the ball most of the time. I don't know if I put it on Drew as I put it on the other guys more often. You have to go fight for that ball when you're in double coverage, Drew is going to throw it to you, go catch it. He is going to throw you a catchable ball. (The) majority of the time, that's what happens. All the guys around him have to make sure they're up to speed and able to handle Drew."
You guys are very rhythm-based, there were a lot of stoppages in play with the…
"It kills us. The stoppage of play, not getting the first first down, that kills us. We're a tempo team. We need to get the first first down and then get going. You see all of our successful games, that's what happens. When you have these long five minute timeouts and the game takes four hours, it's not our style of game."
Could the return of the regular officials help you by having a faster paced game?
"We hope that just our tempo alone and then the tempo of the game is managed faster and that putting both of those things together will bode well for us."
What has changed with the Packers defense since last year?
"To be honest they're getting more pressure on the quarterback. They're still a blitz team, they were a blitz team last year, a heavy amount of blitz when I say that, whether it's third down or any down. They've use their 3-4 defense more often this year. They were in a lot of nickel and blitzing on first and second down no matter what personnel you were in, more last year when we played them. We'll see how they play us and we have to be ready for anything."
What was your personal reaction when you heard the officials were coming back? In handling Sean Payton's duties, how much more are you looking forward to dealing with these guys that are more experienced than the ones you had to deal with the past three weeks?
"The reason it's good that they're back is that they are accomplished. They are going to manage the game quickly. They are going to see the game at the speed that it's played. It's good to have them back and at the same time I'm sure there will be coaches around the league yelling at them as you do any official, trying to get your point across that you think something happened."
Are you going to make nice with them this week?
Do you think the fans might actually applaud them when they come out of the tunnel?
"That would be a bizarre world, that a fan would care when a referee showed up."
Is there anything you notice on film different about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense or the struggles that they are going through?
"They're similar to us in the situation where we looked at and studied third down how we are both ranked. We are both in the middle on third down which is unusual. We broke records last year on third down completions. A lot of it is we got in third-and-tens in these games earlier in the season and so have they. We have to do a better job on first and second. They're really right in the middle with us and it is unusual. Something has to break this weekend."
Does having Charles Woodson back at safety help their defense?
"Well, they're playing Charles in a safety role but in the nickel, when they go to nickel personnel, he comes down and plays the nickel. So he's close to the line of scrimmage and in coverage on the tight end a lot if you have a good tight end, as we do. They're also playing a lot of man-to-man in their base fronts when he is playing safety. There are a lot of teams with good tight ends right now that can catch the football so he is man-to-man on the tight end a lot. It makes sense that they moved him to that position, with their other talent at corner, that he can cover one of the best receivers on your team, usually."
They have two new linebackers, what kind of dynamic have you seen from that group? What are your thoughts on A.J. Hawk as well?
"A.J. is playing very well. They do have a couple of young guys stepping up and they have played well to this point. They fit right in the system. You've seen that in the past, in some very good defenses, that a young guy will step in and you'll see the veterans coach them up and help them come along maturity-wise and those guys have done the same thing."
Do you notice Clay Matthews being used in a lot of different spots?
"Yeah, Clay moves a lot, in the nickel especially. When they are in nickel defenses, he is all over the place. He is on the left tackle, sometimes he is on the right tackle and then other times he is on the guards. They are moving him back in the linebacker position in the nickel, at times, or dime personnel groups. They are trying to get him in a position to make a play and he has been doing it."
Did you feel like the large number of reviews were a product of the officials?
"The game took almost four hours, I believe, and a game should not take that long. There were a lot more reviews. There were scoring plays so they have to review the scoring plays and they had to pull them to the booth a lot of times. We hope that gets sped up and we can speed these games along and get them over in three hours and 20 minutes or three hours and five minutes like they are supposed to. Keep the tempo."
Do you have a feel of how close Drew Brees is to having a game we are accustomed to seeing out of him?
"Drew will have the kind of game we are accustomed to when everyone else around him steps up and I feel like it is coming. I can't see in the future and don't have a crystal ball but at the same time I feel that we are playing faster in practice and I think it is going to carry over. Early as we were practicing, we visualized ourselves as last year's team as far as being fast but we weren't doing that in practice for a lot of reasons and now we are. I feel like it is moving, it is changing, and we are progressing. We feel much better about our progress as we go forward. We are going to continue to keep pounding the rock and eventually it'll crack."
Have you tweaked anything in the practice schedule?
"We said the other day, on Wednesday, that we decided not to wear our shoulder pads like we had in the last couple of weeks so I feel that will freshen us up moving forward as we go. (We) played faster."