New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe VittPress ConferenceTuesday, November 6, 2012
Opening Statement:"After reviewing both sides of the ball and special teams, I think there are some things we can take away from this game. Number one, our wide receivers really did a good job of blocking the perimeter last night which allowed our (running) backs to make some plays. Our backs did a good job of running behind their pads, protecting the ball and making people miss. Our offensive line really did a good job of protecting the quarterback based on the skill level of the Philadelphia defensive line. They set a firm pocket for Drew (Brees) all night long. Defensively, any time that you can intercept the ball in the end zone and return it for a touchdown, that's a 14-point swing, you get seven sacks and really play really good shut-down defense in the red zone, that's something to hang your hat on. We've got a long way to go. We have a lot to improve on. I think that what our football team can be proud of is the fact that all three units (had their hand in a catastrophic play), a fumble on the kickoff, a fumble on offense and a big play given up on defense and they had the poise the resolve to come back, settle themselves down and finish the game."
Talk about the efficiency of the offense last night?
"I think Pete (Carmichael) did a good job of mixing run and pass. I think (Aaron) Kromer did a great job with what we tried to get established, the play selection, in the run game. We worked guard traps, we worked tackle traps, we worked the perimeter. Our receivers did a good job of blocking the perimeter. The reason, obviously, the snaps were up on the defense was because we had opened up the game and then the second series we gave up a long drive and intercepted the ball to take it back. I think was thirteen plays and intercepted, then we have to go right back out on the field. It wasn't anything the offense was inefficient at, it was just we had intercepted the ball defensively and our rep count went up. Our offense, obviously, in the run game last night, made strides. Our defense made strides last night in pressuring the quarterback and in red zone efficiency. We still have a lot to work on and get better at."
What went into the decision to be more aggressive last night than you have been in the past? Was it by game plan and design?
"Yes. Everything that we do is by design. We don't wake up Sunday morning and decide to do something that we haven't talked about all week long. Michael Vick has been pressured pretty good all year long. You take a look at the film and you see what can best serve your football team and best pressure the quarterback and get him off his mark. You're dealing with a different man in Michael Vick now, because if you miss it is catastrophic. That was the plan all along, to be aggressive in our play calling, keep him off balance, don't let him set his feet and don't give him a clean pocket."
So it is not necessarily a change in defensive philosophy?
"I am going to say this to you guys again, every week in the National Football League takes on a life of its own. You are going to do what you have to do that best gives your football team a chance to win. Some weeks you defend. Some weeks it's coverage. Some weeks it's pressure. You take a look at the matchups. If you like the matchups then you can protect the ball going down the field and that's what you do. That was the plan all along. Our players did a great job of understanding what they had to do to win. (Steve Spagnuolo) Spags called a great game. We never left our game plan from the first play and that's what you have to do. You have to have a plan and execute the plan and coaches and players (have to) be on the same page."
Chris Ivory looked well rested in his first appearance?
"He should. I should look well rested after coming off a seven-week suspension. He should."
What did you think of his performance last night?
"I have said this all along, we like Chris Ivory. We know what Chris Ivory can do. He is one of those backs that can combine power and speed and elusiveness. He is doing a better job with ball security. He understands our run game. He understands some pre-snap reads now, so we like Chris. It was good to get him back involved and we are excited for him."
Talk about your concerns with the run defense from last night?
"I have a lot of concerns, it's not the run defense. I have a lot of concerns. We have a lot of concerns as a coaching staff. It is something that we will continue to work on. You are not going to get everything fixed and everything perfect in one day. Ongoing skill development on a daily basis is critical for our players. The ability to get lined up, number one, get your eyes in the right place, number two, execute the defense number three and then make a tackle, number four, is going to go a long way in helping us."
Was Mickey Loomis back at work this morning?
What is it like to have him around the organization?
"Great. I haven't spent a lot of time with Mickey (today). We met briefly this morning. We are on a short week. Mickey and Sean (Payton) are the leaders of this building. It's not only great for Mickey to be back for our players and our coaching staff but every person in our building. Slowly but surely we are starting to get some people back. Everybody knows what Mickey means to me, but he also means just as much to everybody else in our building and everyone on our football team."
Does it feel more normal each time one of these (suspensions) ends?
"No. Right now we've got our head down and we are preparing for Atlanta. There was no celebrations, no cakes, no popping champagne. We are playing a good football team coming here this week. It's great to have Mickey back. Mickey loves being back, but we have a hell of a challenge on our hands this week."
Did you see an improvement in tackling?
"Yes. Better angles to the ball. I thought we had better population to the ball which is going to increase our chances of making tackles."
Did Mark Ingram showcase a lot of different skills last night?
"Yes. He caught a check- down last night and put his foot and made a tackler miss. Mark improved last night."
Do you have an injury update for Zach Strief or Junior Galette?
"No I haven't had one yet, I'll probably get one later on this afternoon."
Is it too early to know anything about Darren Sproles?
Would you talk about the speculation with Sean Payton's contract?
"I don't know the speculation you're all talking about. I really don't. I said this before, and some of you think I am glued to the TV getting all of these updates, these accurate updates that come across the wire all the time. Everything we see I know is fact. I haven't heard the report. I haven't seen the report, I have only heard speculation of what the report is. I want to say this again so hopefully I am not asked about this question again, our football team loves Sean Payton. Sean Payton loves this football team. Sean Payton loves this city and this city loves Sean Payton. That goes a long way. That's what I know. I don't understand anything about a contract being voided, who made the report, where did the report come from, is there accuracy in the report or are we just selling ratings."
Is that something you addressed to the team?
"So we're getting ready to play the Philadelphia Eagles on a Monday Night Football game and you think I want to address that to the football team? No. Sean would be very disappointed if I did. We're in the business of winning games, not spreading gossip."
Was that a bad break for Martez Wilson with the penalty last night following the sack?
That's not a bad break. I think that's the way they're calling things now. You saw Martez go in and he had the right target point, bottom of the numbers to the top of the belt buckle. Well, not Mike has gone down to try to make him miss and it's helmet to helmet. It's in the eyes of the beholder. I am in for player safety, you didn't see me complain about the call. It is the way it is. You have to go on to the next play. They're not going to change the call by us moaning and complaining about it. It's not a tough break, it's the game. It's on to the next play."
How do you feel about the direction with the team winning three of its past four games and all of the stuff that happened over the offseason?
"I'll say to you the same I felt last week after we got smoked in Denver. I love this football team. I love their resolve, togetherness and work habits. All of that being said, we've got to get better this week. On-going skill development is going to be critical. We have an undefeated football team coming to our stadium for a divisional game. They know us, we know them. They're on a roll. They're probably the best team in football so, really, all of this warm and gooey stuff is not going to matter much in this game. We have to have a great week of preparation."
With Mickey Loomis coming back, does that change your role or your responsibilities at all?
"Yes, I am going to become the General Manager and he is going to go out there with a whistle and practice the team (joking). How is it going to change? No. He manages and I coach, nothing changes. He comes back and is the leader of our organization."
Could Travaris Cadet's fumble on the kickoff return last week cost him that job if Darren Sproles still is not ready to play against Atlanta?
"Every time you report something that is inaccurate, does it cost you your job? Everybody keeps their job, don't they? We have faith in Cadet. We have faith."
Looking at the tape, what is it that has helped the Falcons stay undefeated this year?
"I've only gotten through some of the offensive tape. We just put closure on our game yesterday. I will say this, they're wide receivers are big, explosive playmakers. They can run the whole route tree. They have a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez. They have an MVP (candidate) in Matt Ryan. Being undefeated, I think right now they are making plays across the board, offensively and defensively and special team-wise. They're playing with great confidence. Listen, this is in the early stages of the evaluation, I haven't looked at the film yet so I'm not going to speak on things. I just know this, every time we play them when we've had undefeated teams going in there, we've had real good teams going in there, it's always come down to the last play or overtime to win the game. It's always been a hard-fought contest. Both teams have great pride but they are the better team so far this year. We're chasing them."
How much do they remind you of the 2009 Saints team?
"I haven't seen enough of the tape yet. I know this, I think that confidence breeds confidence and lack of confidence helps breed lack of confidence. Right now, they are a talented, well coached football team that is on a roll, that knows how to win, can win tight games, they're confident in their ability, they're confident in each other's playmaking ability. We've been there before as a team and know what that feels like. We'll have our work cut out for us."
Do you think that some of their success so far has come from luck in some of these games?
"I know that luck in this league is when preparation meets opportunity. When those two things happen, the luckier you get."