New Orleans Saints Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Opening statement:"At practice today, Jimmy Graham was limited. David Hawthorne did not practice. Jahri Evans was full. The rest of these guys were full: Jabari Greer, Jonathan Casillas, Travaris Cadet, Turk McBride and Lance Moore."
How much of a strain would not having Jimmy Graham available put on the offense?
"Well, you always want to have your best players so we hope we're going to have him. If we don't, then we just have to adjust accordingly trying to get our best players on the field, using different personnel groups and ways to get other guys the ball."
Does it change what you can do or what you want to do if you don't have him?
"Jimmy Graham is a mismatch positionally. When you don't have him, you have to find your best bet and your best other options and that's what our challenge will be if Jimmy is not ready."
David Thomas appears most likely to step up, how has been for you guys?
"David, since he got here, has played a big role in many positions. He has lined up in the backfield as a fullback, he's lined up at tight end, he's lined up split out tight end. He's done a lot of things. He is a jack of all trades. If that's the case (Graham not playing), then he needs to step up."
Is Daniel Graham capable of being a receiver? Is he just a blocker for you guys?
"So far, he has been mainly a blocker. In a situation like this, he is capable and we will have to use him if that comes down to it."
Is Jimmy Graham a guy that you know what to expect from him? Or is he a guy that still has to practice?
"Jimmy is mentally ready and he is a very tough guy. Pain doesn't affect him. You saw him playing after he hurt his ankle in the game. Those kinds of things won't affect Jimmy Graham."
What about with the gameplan?
"He will know the gameplan. He was limited today so he was able to get some of it."
What did you see from Jonathan Vilma today at practice? Are you impressed with him just two practices in?
"Jonathan looks good. He is running around well and he is physically ready. He has made some plays in practice that you're impressed with. We are excited and hoping he is ready."
When you look at him right now, would you be comfortable playing him?
"We have to wait until Sunday because there are still a lot of things that we're going through in the gameplan and we don't have it all in yet. As the week goes on we still continue to see how he feels after each practice. Are there any kind of setbacks? Is there soreness or anything like that that could hold him up as well? It's physically and it's mentally. He definitely would like to play because he's Jon Vilma and that's what he does."
Is the main thing his knee and how he is reacting to practice at this point?
"Just being out there playing football again. It's been a long time since he has been on the football field with the team and seeing plays and pass routes run at him. It has just been a while. We just have to feel how comfortable he is and how comfortable we are with him."
If you look at Tampa Bay's defense statistically, are they ranked where they are because teams can't run the ball and are throwing it a lot?
"That's what it appears when you watch the games, that people give up on the running game because they have done such a nice job against the run. It has boosted the numbers in the passing game. The first and second down passing appears to be good. They've been good on third down against the pass, they've had a good percentage. They've kicked it up a notch there. We definitely have to be able to establish some sort of running game and do what we do."
How much of a difference is there between 2-4 and 1-5 when you look at down the line?
"Well, you can't think that way. You literally have to think, as a player, as a coach, as an organization, is what are we doing right now? What is important right now? Right now it's Tampa Bay and we need to win this game. Today we needed to win this practice. Tomorrow, we need to do the same thing. We have to do a good job in short-yardage and goal line, get prepared and have a good red zone practice. Every day is situational football and that's literally all you can think about. If you start thinking about 1-5, two and this, four and this, you can't. You have to think about how you're beating Tampa Bay."