New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and LB Jonathan Vilma met with the media after practice to talk about the addition of DT Aubrayo Franklin, the first day of practice of rookie DE Cameron Jordan and other topics. Below is a transcript.
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
I'm sure you always want to add good players on defense. Did you want to get bigger on the interior defensive line?
"I'm a better coach when the guys are big, fast, and tough, but I've made a career on guys that are two inches two short, ten pounds too light, and a tenth of a second too slow. We've made a career on making sure that those guys understand how to play too. Just because we got bigger, doesn't answer questions. We've made tremendous strides in two years on how we're building the defense around here. Now these new, bigger, faster players are going to have to play our way. They're going to have to buy into what we're doing and I have no qualms or questions that they will."
What are your first thoughts on Cameron Jordan?
"He's a good kid. I'm real happy he's here and he is one of those guys who just looks makes us look different as far as in uniform. Now he has to quickly adapt to the style of our play. His defensive coordinator in college (Clancy Pendergast) was a coach with me a long time ago in the 90's who was also a coordinator in the NFL. So I know a lot about him and how Clancy used him, so he'll fit in with the many different ways that we will use him. He's just not going to be a stereotypical defensive end. You guys will see him play end on both sides, you'll see him play tackle on both sides, and you'll see him stand up a little bit. He's smart enough to do a bunch of things; he just has to get over the information overload in a real quick time, and we'll find out how good of an education he got at the University of California."
I know you love versatility in guys. People say that Jordan might be better in a 3-4 than a 4-3. Is there too much made of that?
"Well let me say this: Who are those people? I don't care what they say."
Martez Wilson looks the part of an athlete, but does he have some learning to do?
"Yeah he looks good doesn't he? I have to make sure that he doesn't shock us on Sunday by not knowing what the stress is of playing in the NFL. The way we practice here is what we call – we term it 'organized chaos.' We as coaches try to put as much external stress on them as possible so that the game is simple. If he can block me out, if he can block out the stress of somebody constantly riding him, on game day he'll point the cat out play pretty good. But he's got to battle through that. They've had five months to be comfortable; it's time for them to start being uncomfortable. I'd rather him be uncomfortable in practice so I'm not uncomfortable on game day."
It seems like one of the things that you were saying to him that you wanted him looking at the formations. Do you feel like mentally he wanders a bit?
"He's a real sharp kid. I'm real pleased with him; there's not one guy on the defensive side of the ball that I'm not pleased with their intelligence and their toughness so far. Right now, I'm not worried about him. Martez has real good focus."
Have any undrafted rookies made the most of their time with you in their first week?
"A couple of the young guys. Ezra Butler has done a good job but is he a rookie? He hasn't played in our league. Those guys are just scrambling to try and get in there. We will find out more about them in the preseason games, and everybody will see. It's going to be tough when you have five draft picks on defense. If one of these undrafted rookies makes the team, they really earned it. It's not a given that since they are draft choices, they will make the team. You've seen us cut draft choices in the same year that we draft them. Sean (Payton) and Mickey (Loomis) have said this, and Sean has pounded it into all of us, 'the most important decisions we have to make in this training camp (without the spring practices) is pick the right 53. We've got to pick the right 53 guys and the pressure is on the staff to do that."
What have you seen from Patrick Robinson so far?
"Night-and-day transition. We have gone through what, five practices? You haven't heard me chew his ass. How about Patrick Robinson and Junior Galette? I about busted a blood vessel in the side of my ear last year being all over Junior. This year, (I) haven't said one thing. See, it's our responsibility as coaches that when you get a young player in the league, to teach them what it's like to be a pro. If you don't change them attitudinally, if you don't change them to make sure that they pay their dues and come in, that's our fault as coaches. Momma and Daddy have been letting it go their whole life. Mommy and Daddy have been saying 'It's okay Johnny, it's okay Patrick," but it's not okay. Patrick has had a phenomenal camp. You know what? Patrick Robinson is speeding up Tracy Porter's recovery process. Tracy wants to get back out there in a hurry because he sees how well Patrick is doing. And I mean that sincerely."
Everyone loves to hear about Junior Galette. Is he making that mental transition?
"I haven't gotten on him once have I? I'm looking for ways to get on him. He's had a really good camp. I'm looking forward to seeing him in preseason games. When nobody is in his helmet besides him, he's got to get out there and do it. He earns the right for us to give him a shot this year, on what he went through last year. I'm really proud of him too."
How is Johnny Patrick coming along?
"He's doing well. Right now Johnny Patrick is this year's Patrick Robinson. He's my whipping boy right now. He's got to understand in a hurry; he's got to come on in a hurry. We have a lot of good cornerbacks here that have played in this league, and if he's going to make this team he's going to have to jump in the boat in a hurry."
He (Johnny Patrick) seems willing to stick his nose in there on defense.
"Well at Louisville he was allergic to contact, so it's really neat to see that. It's been identified and we've said that if we don't see him do this every day in practice, we won't even take him to the games. He is doing that, and it's great that you have noticed that. He knows that's something we identified in his college tape. He would've gone higher in the draft if he had more contact."
You seemed to be "sticking your nose in there" on special teams. Is that something you normally do?
"I've always done that. I've actively coached in this league for seventeen years on special teams. I've been a special teams coach. I was a coordinator when we were number one in this league. Once I came here, I wasn't asked to do that, and I haven't been asked. I just want to make sure I'm around a little bit more this year while I can. Starting tomorrow, it will be harder for me. But this first week to help Greg (McMahon) and John (Bonamego), who I think do a great job, I've tried to be a little bit more vocal."
LB Jonathan Vilma
What has Martez Wilson shown in camp that he gained in the practices at Tulane?
Well, I see one, he knows the defense. Obviously not the whole defense, but he knows the basics of the defense. He understands how we practice, how we come to work, and you can see it on the field right now.
How will Cameron Jordan work out for the team?
Today was his first day. I saw him running around pretty good. I saw him, like any rookie, have a couple mental errors. I feel like once he gets over that and he learns the defense, he is going to be real good.
Are you able to see where Gregg Williams is going at this point?
What I see, is a coach that is always trying to improve. He will look at things that we have done well and things that we haven't done well. He tries to figure out how we can do those things that we haven't done well, better. All the coach can do is drop a sign, drop a scheme. To get it done, as the players, we have to execute.
Are you able to pick up on it more quickly because you know where he is coming from?
Yes, Definitely. I pick up on it and I understand where he is coming from. I am out there not just controlling myself, but ten other guys. I have to always make sure, and I take that personally, that all of my guys know what they are doing and all of my guys understand what is going on within the defense.
Do you have any input in that?
I try. I have input as far as game-planning, when that comes. Right now, it's about understanding defense, getting my guys lined up, and making plays.