New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-practice Media Availability
Friday, December 28, 2012
Opening Statement: "Pierre Thomas did not practice today and he'll be out of the game. Akiem Hicks didn't practice and he will be out of the game. Jabari Greer did not practice today, he'll be out of the game. Jed Collins and Chris Ivory are probable for the game as is Jimmy Graham. Today was our red zone practice. Defensively, the Carolina Panthers are doing a good job down there. They're going to give us a lot of single-high safety which will include man and zone on second down. They've got a good mix with pressure and coverage and it's going to be based on the personnel we have in the game. When it gets to longer yardage situation, they're going to play what you guys all know as Tampa 2 and longer than that will be quarters coverage. Offensively, they're trying to get the ball to Steve Smith down there and (Greg) Olsen. The close they're getting to the goal line the quarterback's keeping the ball and making plays with his legs. We've got to be good down there, try to score touchdowns and hold them to field goals. They've done a good job down there."
Is Elbert Mack going to be the next guy up to replace Jabari Greer?
"We'll discuss that tonight but Elbert has practiced well all week long."
How has he progressed?
"I think really well. I think he has really defined himself as a real good slot corner for us in the nickel. He plays with good anticipation, has quick twitch, can make plays on the ball, and so I think his growth has been really good this year."
You've seen him progress since he's played more?
"Absolutely. I'll tell you what, he takes playing very seriously. He takes his role very seriously. I think like any good professional, he knows who he is and what he has to do to prepare himself to play a game. (He is) a guy that you can build around. He knows what he can do, we know what he can do, so he's become dependable in that way."
Disseminating your organization's message is a minor but important part of being a head coach in the NFL. Where did you learn that skill?
"Listen, this is just our core beliefs since we all got together in 2006. Our core beliefs the way we practice, the core beliefs the way we play, the core beliefs how we handle defeats, how we handle victories. The core beliefs of the players that we bring into the program and what the expectancy level is. The core beliefs in how you have to build a locker room. Those are things that were set down by Mickey (Loomis) and Sean (Payton) in 2006 and whether you're a coach, player, or employee in our organization, you're going to buy into those things or you're just not going to work here. They are not my core beliefs, I'm just holding down the fort while Sean is not here, but these are things that have been built over the last seven years."
Being able to deliver your message to the public, is that something that's learned?
"I learned that when I was at Oxford (laughter). Listen, I don't know. I appreciate it, I guess it's a compliment, but I don't know. I'm passionate about this organization, the people that work inside these walls, the players that we have on our team and the coaches that have been through a tough season. Listen, the message is not hard because we have a lot of believers here and a lot of people that have worked together to get through this whole thing and at the same time try to get better and be held accountable for what we put on the field."
Most Saints fans will never meet you. To them, are you the same person behind the microphone as you are away from it?
"Are you writing for the National Enquirer now (laughter)? What are you doing? Probably not, I have a temper and get emotional. No. Are you the same person? No. Listen, I'm trying to answer your questions as best I can. I'm trying to be friends with you after six months but, boy, it's tough. No, I don't think anybody is (the same as behind the microphone). I feel the same about this team, our players and the people in our organization. That's not going to change."
Are you looking forward to just being behind the scenes now? Are you tired of talking to us (the media) five days a week? Does this kind of wear on you after a while?
"If you had to guess, what do you think your answer would be?"
I want to hear your answer, I know you have some creative answers.
"I think you're exactly right, circle gets the square. I think you're exactly right. Listen, you guys have been great. It's been my honor to help this team win. This I'm not going to miss."