One day after agreeing to terms with the New Orleans Saints, DT Aubrayo Franklin took to the field in the indoor practice faciltiy for a two and a half hour practice with his new team. Following practice, the eight-year NFL veteran met with the local media and discussed the process of leaving the San Francisco 49ers and coming to the Big Easy and his adjustment to the Saints defensive scheme. Below is a transcript:
Today's practice kind of showed that Gregg Williams is an upbeat, up-tempo kind of guy. What do you think of him?
"He got on me on the first play of 9-on-7 drills, saying I wasn't chasing the ball. I quickly caught on to the tempo of everybody else. He's a great coach with great enthusiasm. He's got great energy, and I think that carries on through the players."
It was a strange offseason in the fact that free agency and training camp were combined. You were one of the players who not only had to wait, but also had to change teams. Was that transition difficult for you?
"I don't think so. I think it's about getting the terminology down once you learn and play the technique. It's just different scheme calls. I'm still gradually catching on, but I think I'm doing a great job."
A 3-4 nose is what you played in San Francisco. Can you play the 4-3 tackle?
"It's the same thing. We did a lot of shades in San Francisco, so it will be the same thing here, but in a different scheme. I think I'll be able to adjust."
The reaction of the league was shocked that you landed here in free agency. Were the Saints even on your radar 48 hours ago?
"They really weren't. It's a blessing in disguise. It worked out well for me; I'm closer to home and don't have to get on that five-hour flight out to the West Coast. Plus I'm here with guys who have won a Super Bowl and have all the talent to do it again."
So it's safe to say that New Orleans was an attractive spot to you once they gave you the call?
"Real attractive. These guys are fresh off a Super Bowl win a couple of years ago. Drew Brees is a great quarterback, great offense, and the defense is good. I just felt like I could come here and contribute this year."
Have you ever played next to a guy bigger than you, especially a guy the size of Shaun Rogers?
"I have actually. My last year in Baltimore, I played next to Haloti Ngata during his rookie year. I guess him and Shaun could tip the scales at the about the same weight."
With Sedrick Ellis also in the mix, are you concerned about Gregg Williams using the three of you effectively?
"I think that with the tandem that we have, all of us bring something to the table. If we all go out there and go hard, we can be one of the most dominant defensive lines in this league."
When is the first time the Saints contacted you?
"I think it was Tuesday, and they took the lead from there."
There was plenty of interest elsewhere, before the Saints came into play. What made you hold off on those other offers?
"I was just trying to wait, to find out the best situation for me. I felt like when Coach Payton called, that I could get a spot in the rotation here with Sedrick (Ellis) and Shaun (Rogers). These guys have proven that they can win a Super Bowl, and I want to help contribute and see if we can win another one."
So they're recruiting you one day, and Gregg Williams has you doing up-downs the next day?
"Yeah man that was tough. It's kind of similar to my rookie year in Baltimore. Rex Ryan used to start off camp with 40 up-downs. It shocked me, caught me off guard. They said 'forty' and I didn't know what they were talking about. But I quickly found out what the 'forty' meant."
You signed a one-year deal. Why did you not pursue anything more long-term?
"I think the one-year deal was the best, considering everything with the lockout and the draft being before free agency. Maybe things will get back on track next year and get more familiar; everything was unfamiliar this year. With the one-year deal, why not come to New Orleans? It's the best deal for me, it's closer to home, and we have a great coaching staff and organization here."
Did you almost sign somewhere before the Saints called you?
"It was close. It was close with three other teams but, at the last minute, I signed here."
Are you going to come in here with a chip on your shoulder?
"Yeah, I feel like I'm coming down here with a chip on my shoulder. I'm going to play hard. I'm already a guy that's going to come in and give you everything I have, but there is extra incentive coming in here."