Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Can you talk about your season in 1996 as a Saints assistant?
"I just remember how passionate the fans are having been a Southeastern Conference coach for a number of years with the Saints fans and LSU fans. It was a fantastic place to be a part of a good organization."
Was it difficult with a midseason coaching change?
"Very much so. I respect Jim (Mora) and obviously went with Jim to Indianapolis. It was a shame to see all that happen. It was tough on the coaching staff but Rick Venturi did a heck of a job in leading us the rest of the way."
We will be talking to Tyrann Mathieu this afternoon. Is this year 3 a big one for him now that he is finally healthy?
"Yes, it's great to see a smile back on his face. Last year was very, very tough on him and he's a playmaker and a great young man and fun to coach."
What are the challenges to preparing for a team with new faces and potentially key players not available where it isn't clear who will be out there and who won't?
"It's easier when you know who the starters are and what their roles are. When you are opening up, there are new faces and injured players on both sides, it's a little bit of a chess game."
Do you just come out and prepare like everyone is available or do you make guesses?
"No, you prepare as if the best guys are going to be out there."
Back to Mathieu for a second, as far back as when he was drafted, has he met expectations on the field? Also what kind of teammate and person has he been during his tenure there?
"He has been absolutely stellar on the field, off the field. He's one of the faces of the franchise, does a lot of work in the community. It is the happiest draft choice I have ever made just watching him grow."
Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Is there any special significance for you facing the Saints?
"Not really. It's just another football game. Being from there, most of my family are Saints fans. That would kind of be the only significance of it."
Did you grow up a Saints fan?
"No, I wasn't necessarily a Saints fan. I was a fan of individuals. I liked Joe Horn and I liked Deuce McAllister. I wasn't really a big Saints fan. They weren't that good when I was growing up."
Were you disappointed about that LSU game you were at the other night?
"A little disappointed. Obviously I had been talking to a few guys on the team and they were pretty excited and pumped up for the game, just to have it get rained out. I'm able to get to see those guys once or twice every two or three years, so I was real excited to be a part of the experience. It was unfortunate that it rained."
Did you meet Delvin Breaux that night?
"I did actually. I met him in a suite that night."
What are your memories of him? He's a couple years older, but you guys would have been teammates at LSU if he hadn't hurt his neck?
"Yes, at LSU. He was a couple years older than me, so we weren't on the same pee-wee league teams. I did have an opportunity to watch him play. Like a lot of people (think), if he had not hurt his neck, I think he would be in the same conversation as Patrick Peterson, because he did have some of the same physical tools. He was big, strong and fast and until he hurt his neck he just completely dominated high school receivers."
Would it be cool Sunday to see him at warmups, see him in the NFL in the same stadium as you?
"Yes, definitely. I'm extremely proud of him and happy for him. I knew he'd been dying for this moment for so long. He should have been in the NFL. It's going to be fun for him to get out there. I'm excited to see him perform at a high level."
You intercepted Drew Brees a couple years ago in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. What do you make about his level of play in recent years? Do you still see him at 36 years and 10 years with the Saints as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL?
"There's no doubt about it, it doesn't matter who you put around that guy. The offense runs through him. His confidence level, his understanding of the system that those guys are running over there is unbelievable. That in itself, it's tough to beat guys like that, guys who are so comfortable in their system and just understand it so well. Watching him on tape and watching him on film, he's probably still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, let alone his confidence, his awareness in the pocket (and) his overall accuracy I think is very underrated."
How do you feel now healthwise?
"I'm excited. It's been a while since I've been 100 percent healthy. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and put some new things on the tape. I hope it's some great things I put out there on Sunday."
Bruce Arians said you are one of the faces of the franchise and active in the community. How have the last couple years been for you?
"It's going great. I can't complain. It's been a dream come true. Me being in an environment that I'm in with some great coaches. It's just fun to come to work every day."
Do you come back home a lot when you can?
"I try to focus on what I have to focus on. A lot of my family members are back home. I want to see them and try to see them as much as I can, but I'm on a different path on my life. I try to stay focused on that and not necessarily let anything distract me. I do miss my family from time to time.
Does Arizona almost feel like a different planet from New Orleans given the climatic and geographical differences?
"Yes, it is a cultural shock to come out here. It's hot out here as it is in Louisiana. The people and everything is different, the food. I've been lucky enough. I think I've adjusted well these past three years."