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Coordinators Break Down Defensive, Offensive Sides of The Ball

Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael met with the media following practice on Friday to preview Sunday's contest against the Carolina Panthers



New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, September 14, 2012

Were you surprised by the difficulties the defense had of trying to slow the Redskins down?

"We all to a man on defense feel like we let the football team down. You score 32 points you should win the football game, so we all feel that. I personally feel like I let Mr. Benson down, Sean (Payton), Joe (Vitt), the whole team here. We feel that. That's a great motivator in my opinion, so hopefully with a strong week of practice and some prideful men, which I do think we have, we can get it straightened out. Having said that, I am going to credit the Washington Redskins, their quarterback and what they did. It was a challenge to play them the very first game. It was no question. We talked last week when you guys were here of really having no idea of where they were going to go, which direction they would take the offense on that football team. You have a great coach (Mike Shanahan) over there, his son (Kyle Shanahan) does a good job. I'll give them a lot of credit. The bottom line is we had some opportunities to make some plays, we didn't'. We didn't change the game."

It seemed like a bright spot was Cam Jordan. Where is he in his development?

"I'm glad you brought that up. I agree with you 100 percent. He has been like that all training camp. He has been climbing steadily as a good football player. I actually mentioned that before the game and I did think he played very solid. That will help us. We need that. We need all our guys now to continue to do this. The more guys we have going backwards, myself included, the worse off we're going to be. Cam is one of those guys who has certainly stepped up."

Can you discuss the challenge in preparing for Cam Newton?

"It's similar to last week, although I have not had the fortune or misfortune of having to coach against him yet so far. You hear a lot about him and then you put the tape in and really study him. He's as talented a guy as I've seen back there. He stays on spot in the pocket. He doesn't get rattled. He has a command of everything. He's not afraid to tuck the ball in and run with it like a fullback. He possesses a lot of different challenges. There are some similarities to last week. In some ways that helps. The struggle we have and its' nobody's fault, is when we try to face a totally different offense with our scout team trying to simulate everything, they do it's a challenge. It slows everything down. Our guys get slow. I think our guys fought through it. I thought we had a great tempo at practice yesterday. Friday's a different day. One thing is we had a lot of live snaps last Sunday in this offense. Hopefully it will pay off."

It seems like with Robert Griffin III that there were a lot of snaps without an opportunity to pass rush. Is Cam Newton different in that he will stay in the pocket more often?

"That's probably a valid assessment. Going back to Washington, definitely and they devised it as such. I talked about this with the defense this morning, we had six opportunities where we had free runners on blitzes. When that happens, there has to be a positive play with the defense. We were a step away, a second away. Let's find that one more step and it can even be half a second in this game, and make sure that when we have those opportunities, we make those plays in this game and the guys understand that. Maybe those were first game jitters. Hopefully we get it corrected. He is a little different in that regard, when you talk about Cam."

Would it be unfair to say that the ends didn't provide a pass rush?

"That would be unfair. The other thing we didn't do is we did not get in what I call enough favorable third downs. A couple were our fault. We gave them an extra drive on a penalty, too many men. We gave them from a third and seven to a third and two because we jumped offsides. These are all things you guys are aware of. We need to straighten out. That's a good football team. We learned that, didn't really know that going in, but I feel that way coming out. I think they'll win their share of football games."

What is your impression of Steve Smith?

"Ken Flajole who coaches our secondary was in Carolina for a number of years and was with Steve Smith, so I mentioned to him at the beginning of the week, 'Has Steve Smith slowed down?'. That's what I asked him. Because I was hoping he'd say yes. He'd put the tape in. The answer to your question is he is the same guy that I've seen the last eight or ten years or however long he's been in the league and we've had to go against him. He's (looks) 23 years old to me. He's good and he's a concern and he's got a quarterback that can get him the football. He's a good football player. We have a lot of respect for him"

Is physicality going to be an issue with your corners?

"It always is with our guys. He in return is a very physical guy. I have a clip I showed this morning of him stiff-arming an opponent, some player and knocking him right back an extra ten yards. He's a physical guy. He's really good with the football. He's one of the best ones."

Can you quantify what Cam Jordan has improved at? Is it finding the ball or getting off the snap better?

"It's a combination of all of those things. Bill Johnson and Travis Jones have done a heck of a job with him. He has become a technician. Cam's an intelligent guy. He's embraced the new system and I think he's getting more and more confident. He plays fast. He's got great change of direction. I remember having him in when we did our visits in St. Louis and I talked to him. I thought he was one of the most impressive guys I ever talked to from the standpoint of how intelligent he was, how he had it right, saying the right things and knowing what he wanted to do. It's kind of showing up on the field now."

Did you not completely know what you were getting until he stepped on the field?

"That's true for all of us. We found out some things about our football team on Sunday. It's the jump you make from game one to game two. Hopefully it's a jump forward and not a jump backward. We're looking forward to getting in and competing in another game."

How did Curtis Lofton do in the middle?

"Solid. I thought he managed the game well, which we ask our mike linebacker to do. We had some checks over there and I mentioned this on Monday, I think there were only one or two that we did not get out properly, but that's over with in the course of 70-some odd plays. We had way too many plays. We didn't get off the field."

How successful was Will Smith's performance in that game having missed some practices?

"I'm impressed for not practicing, but that's a veteran. That's Will. The really good ones in this league and Will's one of those, they're warriors. I don't want to get caught up in these military terms. That's him. He goes out there. We need his leadership. I thought he did a nice job under the circumstances. It's great to have him in there."

What would you do if you had a certain Pro Bowl linebacker available to start all of a sudden, but someone is starting at his position?

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We'll figure it out. Let me say this, when and if that's presented that's a good problem to have and we have a lot of team players on this team and we'll get it figured out."

When you evaluated mistakes, was it more execution or slow reaction?

"I had a hard time putting my finger on it when I sat in the room in the morning. There was a little bit of tentative play. Quite honestly, there were five plays in that game where we were presented with opportunities to make a big play. You can probably think of some of them and we didn't. Had they gone the other way, I think it's a completely different game. In this game of NFL football, you have to make those or that happens to you. I go back to, let's find one more step or one more second and if we do that, I think the plays go the other way. Having said that, I think the athletic ability of that quarterback we played last week caused some of that or a couple of those, because I'm not sure all the other quarterbacks in the league in that extra second he had would have been able to have done what he did."

Was a safety blitz play an example?

There were a number of guys, guys that don't look real visible to you and the same thing happened. I studied it. Our guys went through (it). Hopefully we get a little better at it this week. You have some prideful guys out there. Our guys battled their butt off to the end. I was proud of that. I really was. When you're on defense and that many points are on the board, that wears on you. But our guys were terrific on the sidelines through the whole game, were in the whole game. I think they realize that with our offense, they're always going to be in a game. We have to play better defense. I'll finish or add (on) what I began with; we felt like we let the football team down."

Did the no turnovers and close call like Patrick Robinson's hurt?

"That would have been an outstanding interception by the way. There are not many corners in my opinion that would have gotten to that ball and had it in their hands like he did."

How frustrating was that?

"He's frustrated too, but that would have been a big play in my opinion that we would have created. I think we were all disappointed in the ones that were presented that were there, that we didn't. Because you don't always get those. We might not be presented with any this week. We might have to create them all. There was more than the people that you might think."


New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, September 14, 2012

Were you able to study what went wrong with the offense in week one and what you need to focus on to get it right in week two?

"First of all, we give credit to Washington. They obviously played an outstanding game. It wasn't up to what we consider our standards. We just had to get back to the basics this week in practice and focus on some of the things that hurt us a little bit, some penalties. We ended up struggling on third downs. We had a couple of turnovers. Both of them were key. The one at the end of the game obviously was the Hail Mary, but we just have to get back to the basics."

Ron Rivera thought some of you guys might have looked a little rusty.

"We've always done a good job of bouncing back after games like that. Again, (give) credit to the Washington Redskins for playing an outstanding game."

He mentioned some bad throws and dropped passes.

"It's uncharacteristic of our team and there were no indications really during the preseason that that's what was going to happen. We just have to come back, practice and get better."

How did you spend this week trying to fix the problems you might not have expected to happen in last week's game?

"(We were) just making a concentrated effort on practice. We had three false starts in the game and we were at home, so that's uncharacteristic. Just paying attention to the little details and not letting those things happen."

Since you play the Panthers twice a year, is it harder or easier preparing for them due to you both being so familiar with one another?

"I think you have a familiarity a little bit with their personnel, but every year is a different year. They have a great defense. They're solid everywhere. We're expecting a tough game."

Is Jon Beason getting back to where he was before his injury that kept him out last season?

"He's a great player. He's outstanding. He's physical, he's athletic, he's all over the field and he's making tackles. He's a guy who you have to know where he is at all times."

Did you learn anything interesting from the fourth quarter of last week's game?

"We were battling back all game. In those two-minute type situations, Drew (Brees) has always had some success doing that. We battled back and we were within one score at the end of the game which, as poorly as we played, that says something about or team and the guys. They never gave up and we kept fighting."

Even in the course of that game, does it give you comfort that you were making progress towards the end?

"You look at it and we didn't finish because we didn't win the game. That part is disappointing, but there were some positive things from there that we can take away and build on."

what kind of impact will not having Devery Henderson there have on your offense?

"He's out, so Joe Morgan is going to have to step in and play a role. Courtney Roby and all the guys we have at receiver are going to have to step up and fill some spots in different plays and we'll go from there."

How close is Greg Camarillo from being ready to step in?

"He was here for a short period of time during training camp. He's an excellent learner. He's familiar with the offense a little bit and some of the terminology actually from his days at Miami with Cam Cameron. Some of that terminology has carried over, so he's going to have to play a little bit of a role in this game as well."

The stats kind of suggest that whenever Drew Brees has a tough game, he usually comes back firing the next game. Would you expect that out of him this week?

"Again, they have a great defense, but that's been his history to come back. He's a fighter and we're expecting great things."

Drew Brees said he and Joe Morgan are kind of playing catch up in terms of timing. How have you seen that progression?

"I think obviously he has his amount of work in practice. All the receivers stay after practice and work routes that they're going to be running in the game. They stay out there and work until they get into a comfort zone where they feel comfortable with each other."

Are you under the belief that it takes time for a quarterback and a receiver to get on the same page or can a receiver just come off the streets and be on the same page with the quarterback?

"I think it could be case-by-case. Drew (Brees) is going to stay out there and work with these guys until he feels comfortable, but it does take time. It may take a couple of weeks, but Joseph (Morgan) was here during training camp and he was getting reps with the ones, so he had a role."

After Devery Henderson went out of the game last weekend, how did you weigh using Joe Morgan or Courtney Roby and how did you assess Joe Morgan's performance?

"Obviously like all of us, starting with me, we have to be better. He's not the only one. We all have to be better. Really, one play is one position and another play is another position at receiver. So if one goes down, it's the guy that's at that position that needs to be the next man up. Again, based on plays, they're going to see some playing time. It's a group effort. (It's) next man up. Whichever receivers are active, those are going to be the guys who are going to have to contribute."

Has Courtney Roby worked at all at the receiver position?

"He has. He would be classified as a certain receiver in our offense, whether it's X or Z, and Joe (Morgan) would play the other position."

Do Roby and Joe Morgan bring different strengths to the offense, or are they pretty similar?

"I think they bring some different strengths. They both have some speed; but like I said, they both play a different role in the offense as far as one plays the X position and one plays the Z position for us. Those specific positions have different roles for us in our offense, as with (Marques) Colston plays one and Devery (Henderson) plays another."


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