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Jabari Greer, Pierre Thomas talk about win over Cowboys

Players conducted conference call with media Monday

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Jabari Greer
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Monday, November 11, 2013

When you look back at a game like last night, are you surprised afterwards that you held a team to zero third down conversions?

"Yes I am. With so many different weapons that Dallas has, to be able to hold them to 0-9 third-down conversions was incredible. It was definitely a good feeling because they usually are a team that gets those conversions and that is just a testament to the way that our guys prepared and how hard we played. Every third down was as if it was a first. There was no let down and guys came to play last night. I was surprised but knowing how focused we were on every play it doesn't surprise me."

Knowing what is up next and kind of how San Francisco has your number lately, do you quickly turn your attention to them or do you give yourself 24 hours to enjoy last night?

"I believe that we set our attention to San Francisco a little bit quicker than we normally would but we still enjoy the win for the next couple of hours. We understand the opponent we are about to face. These guys have beaten us the last two times and it has become more personal in a lot of senses. They have a good team and it is going to be a big opportunity for us to make something happen."

Was Rob Ryan visibly excited or emotional after the game?

"He is usually excited after every win, but we understood going into this game that it meant a little extra to him. As players for him, we played our hearts for him and I think it showed on the field. But we knew he was going to be excited after the win and obviously he showed it."

Was it maybe even more gratifying to play one of your best games of the season defensively considering how big the game was for him (Rob Ryan)?

"Yes, what he means to our defense and what he's allowed us to become, what he's encouraged us to become is a team that has fun, enjoys the game and that plays hard. When you are able to give something back to someone who's given you so much, who has given you life, I think it is just. I think it was the least that we could do for our coach. I think everybody felt that way. I feel like everybody felt as if they wanted to play their absolute best for Coach Rob because he doesn't ask us for too much, but when he does say something personal, then it resonates with us."

Did he say that was personal?

"What Rob (Ryan) said (was) this is a little personal, but I think that in every game it is personal for somebody. Of course, with that team being the team that fired him, he didn't necessarily come out and say go out and win this for me. He didn't come out and say win this for me. But we understood that the logs are still burning in the pot."


Can you talk about the job the secondary did on Dez Bryant, holding him to one catch after all he's done this season?**

"I think that our coaches had an awesome game plan concerning Dez Bryant. Obviously, he's a big threat and has made some incredible plays for them. He's been a play-maker for a long time. I think Keenan (Lewis) did an awesome job on him yesterday. He got up in his face and he was physical with him. We were able to create some pressure in the front and on our defensive line in that they didn't give (Tony) Romo opportunity to look deep for the ball. Our coverage and our rush worked hand in hand yesterday, but those guys truly got after the quarterback and made our jobs a lot easier. But Keenan, not to take anything away from him, did an awesome job in being physical and negating their big playmaker."

Do you think maybe that's the best job you all have done all season of adjusting defensively in the second half?

"Yes, I think that they had to look for some answers going into the second half. I believe we were up two or three scores, so our coaches did a good job of adjusting. But I believe that our coaches always do a good job of adjusting. They have shown to get us collectively together, no matter the adversity in the first half. I don't think yesterday was anything different than the way that our coaches have adjusted all season."

Were you able to get a sense of how the offense was playing and how it affected your game plan and the environment in the stadium? Was that kind of a familiar feeling to you guys?

"The way that they were on fire was fun to watch. Did I get a sense of it? I got to enjoy it. I saw that Mark (Ingram) had an incredible game which I am so happy for. All the running backs did great, the offensive line played incredible. Did I get a sense of it? I sat back and enjoyed it man. Those guys played their heart out."

You've been around when the offense just lights it up and the environment is crazy. This year, sometimes, they have not been themselves. Did this game feel to you like what you're used to?

"Well, yeah, they definitely showed up their potential yesterday. Our group is a very prideful, very hard-working group. We understand that there are adversities that happen week to week. Even though things haven't been as prolific as they usually are over the last couple of weeks, we understand that this is a team game and things happen like that. So when the offense needs us to step up, that's what we need to do. When the defense needs the offense to step up, that's what they do. To see them play the way they played yesterday, we understand that those guys prepare second to none. It was just a result of the hard preparation that they had put in throughout the week."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Pierre Thomas
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, November 11, 2013

How happy are you for Mark Ingram after his performance last night, considering everything he has gotten from fans and whatnot all season?

"I was very happy for him. This season has been kind of frustrating for him. He hasn't been getting the looks he wanted in the beginning, then he had the foot problem that kept him out some games. I told him that when he gets back, he's got to remind everybody why he's in this league and why he's here and what he can do. This past game really showed everybody why he is here and what he can do in this league and why he was the Heisman Trophy winner. I just (saw) the passion inside of him this game. He had this one run that he broke several tackles – I want to say it was a 12 yard gain – and he kind of threw the ball down and went off, trying to get himself hyped up and excited. When you see that in a player, you know he's ready to do something special tonight; he's ready to turn up, get after this game, run hard, run like an animal. When you see things like that, it's like 'OK. He's ready. He needs to go. He needs to show everybody what he can do and why he's here.' I was very proud of him."

I know you don't like penalties, but I'm guessing you were OK with the one he got after that first down.

"Definitely. It was well-deserved. With the things he's been going through earlier in the season, it was well-deserved. He needed to get that out. I believe it was all frustration that he was going through. He was just getting it all out of his system, getting himself hyped and saying, 'OK, let's get back to being Mark Ingram.' (To be) who he is and the style of runner he is and everybody knows how he can run. I think that was just like a release point right there. He needed to get it out of his system and I think everybody else kind of recognized that. Some coaches, in the heat of the moment, were like, 'Get him out!' But I was like, 'No. Leave him in the game. Let him go out there and tear it up.'"


Was that the most emotion you've ever seen him play with?**

"Yeah that was probably the most I've ever seen that guy put on the field in front of everybody. It was a Sunday Night Football game, everybody saw that. Whoever was watching the game around the world, they have all seen that. They've seen all of the emotions he was going through and all the things he was going through. It was just frustration. I think it was a release point for him, and after that he went out there and he balled out. He did a good job and I was really proud of him."

Are you surprised at the efficiency your offense had last night? You were nine for 12 on third down and scored seven touchdowns on 10 drives.

"No I was not surprised. I knew our team could do that. I know we were capable of doing those types of things. We just were going through a lot in the beginning of the season, putting ourselves in bad positions or putting ourselves in holes with penalties or jumping offside and delay of games, just little things we had to correct. We couldn't really find that groove, that good tempo. This game we really felt it. We showed ourselves and everybody else that we do have an explosive offense and a fast offense and an offense that could make plays and get things done. We just have to go out there and have the confidence in ourselves to just do it."

Did that performance remind you of some of the vintage performances you guys have had in some of these nationally televised games?

"Definitely. That type of performance kind of reminds you of how we were in '09, coming out, putting points on the board right away. The first drive, we got a test of it. We moved the ball very well but we didn't come up with points. The second drive, we did. Putting a drive like that together just reminds you of how we were clicking on all cylinders, moving the ball well, being explosive on the offensive side. We were just hitting this game and this just showed us that we can do that as long as we just play our game and do what we need to do, we can move forward from there. "

What do you think when you hear fans booing a player like they did to Mark Ingram? Especially when he runs for 145 yards after that.

"Honestly, I was not listening to the fans. I was not focused on that. I was just frustrated for him not catching it. I know he wanted it, he just wasn't ready. On the sideline he got himself ready, catching balls from Luke (McCown) and myself, getting himself ready again, making sure that he wasn't going to drop another pass. It's frustrating. You're not going to catch every pass out there, but he didn't give up. After that pass he dropped, he went out there and ran the ball very well and caught another pass and got some yards. I mean he shook that off, he let that go. If fans want to boo that, that's on them. But you can't just boo a guy just because of one play. After that he showed everybody (that) he can run the ball and he can be successful and do a good job. He can help this team out. Of course the fans are going to have a change of heart after that, and change of mind. They cheered for him for having a heck of a game."

While you and Luke were throwing passes to him on the sideline, did you say anything to him in particular?

"Definitely. He was getting upset because in the beginning he wasn't getting the good looks that he wanted. I told him, I said 'Look, man. Don't get frustrated . When you get frustrated, that's when bad things start to happen.' I said, 'Just relax. Go play the game like you know how to do.' I told him, "On those runs against this defense, you have to be more patient. Just relax, be patient, and you'll see it. Hit the holes and just run like you know how to run. Let all that other stuff go. Don't let that get into your head. Keep all the negative stuff out. Stay positive. See yourself doing good. See yourself gaining yards. See yourself breaking these tackles and getting first downs or running for a long one. You've got to visualize that. If you visualize that and you start thinking positive, positive things will happen. As long as you still think negative, negative things are always going to be around you and hold on to you.' He did a good job with putting that negative energy to the side and just staying positive, and finished the rest of the game and he finished strong I believe."

Once he got in the end zone, did he express how relieved he was?

"When he got in the end zone, he showed it all. When he slid on his knees and just put his arms out there, he showed it all. That celebration right there showed it all. He was happy. Everybody had seen it. Everybody knew where he was coming from after that little celebration where he slid to his knees and put his arms up and said 'Thank you.'"

It kind of got lost in the shuffle how well you guys were running the ball when the game was still in doubt. Do you feel like this is something that will carry on the rest of the season, the return of the run game?

"I hope so. We, as a group, really wanted to show the coaches, show everybody that we can run the ball and that our O-line is a good offensive line and that our tight ends and receivers they can block the DBs and the cornerbacks and everybody in the secondary. We wanted to show everybody that we can run the ball as long as we keep pursuing it. You may not have good runs in the first quarter or the first few carries. You're not going to always break a long one, but as long as you be consistent, keep calling it, and don't give up on it, you're bound to break one and bound to have a good game, and that's what we did. We had a good game from the start. We wanted to establish this. We said it as a corps, as a running back group, that we have to establish the run game today. It has to start tonight. We can't wait and put it on the side anymore. We really have come to play and run the ball."

This probably couldn't have come at a better time with the defenses you have to play coming up.

"We've got a tough defense coming up, especially this week against San Francisco. Everybody knows they have a good defense. They do a good job against the run, but we can't give up. We can't put that in our head. We've got to go out there and just do the job we do. The O-line needs to get out there and push these guys back and get to that linebacker group, get on these guys, and open up the holes for us. It all starts with the offensive line. If they do a good job, then we'll do a good job."

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