New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe VittMedia AvailabilityFriday, November 9, 2012
Opening Statement:"Today we had a normal practice with short yardage and red zone at the conclusion. We went through some last chance plays for both sides of the ball, which we review probably on a bi-weekly basis. In an update on the injuries, Darren Sproles has a hand (injury). He will not play in this game. Courtney Roby has a shoulder (injury). He will not play in this game. Junior Galette has an ankle (injury). He will not play in this game. Zach Strief has a groin (injury). He will not play in this game. I think we're playing the best team in the National Football League this weekend. We have to play our best game of the year to have a chance to compete with these people. It's a team full of playmakers that are playing with a lot of confidence right now."
How does the rotation change with the absence of Junior?
"Turk (McBride) is going to play a lot more this week. Turk has practiced well for us. Turk was prepared to go last week. We're glad to have a guy like Turk McBride. I think Turk McBride would probably get a few more snaps for some other teams than he does for us (at times). We're pretty good at that position. Turk prepares himself like a pro every week. Turk will play well for us."
Is Zach Strief dealing with more of a sports hernia issue?
"He's getting back from Philadelphia. I don't know if that's a sports hernia or if that's a groin injury. He's due to get in at five o'clock. I'll be more filled in exactly when he gets back. He's not playing this game."
Is it Dr. Meyers who he saw?
"I believe that's the right name."
Can you give your assessment of Jonathan Vilma?
"Really last week when you take a look at it, it was really his third preseason game. We made the conscious effort a week ago, because we played him way too much in Denver to count on him for 25 to 30 snaps. Now Jonathan Vilma moved better in the game last week in (his) conditioning. His legs feel good. It's really about timing and angles. He took his full allotment of reps this week, so we expect and he expects him to have one of his better games of the year, which we're going to need, because quite frankly at the OTA's he was out, training camp he was out. He was suspended. So, it's been level for him for the last four weeks now. He's had a good week of practice and we expect he will play very well."
Was the pitch count of 25 to 30 reps last week?
"That was last week. I'm not sure I want to share that (this week's reps), but it's going to be more."
Depending on Zach Strief's diagnosis, will Charles Brown be able to fill in?
"Charles Brown will be our starting right tackle."
Do you have confidence in Charles?
"Charles played a lot of football for us last year before he hurt his hip. He really is what we thought he was when we drafted him out of (U)SC. He's athletic and he's really matured as a player and person in our system. He has good work habits. He's been very accountable to his teammates. This is a great opportunity for him."
I know he's received starts before, but in terms of confidence and preparation how do you feel about him?
"This is the next man up. This is a great, great opportunity for him. He knows the offense. This is not foreign to him. The position is not foreign to him. He keeps himself well-prepared. We expect Charles to go in there and play well for us. If he has a lack of confidence he needs to go to church or something. We have an expectancy level for him and he has one for himself. Now it's time to go."
How pleased were you with the breakdown of carries and performance in the running back rotation last week?
"It was good. We were truly committed to the running game last week, both with the number of carries our backs got and the rotation of backs. We've had a good week this week of running the ball. We've had some good nine on sevens. We like our backs a lot. I think we're a little bit more comfortable with the rotation that we're in right now and we'll see how they do. We're going to feed the hot hand."
How do you compensate for not having a running back that can run routes like Darren Sproles?
"It's the same thing as the right tackle position. The guy that plays that position has to pick up blitzes, has to know where the sights and the hots are and he's responsible to do his job. We introduced the game plan all the way back on Wednesday. This game plan is not going to be foreign to these players. They have a job to do and they're going to be held accountable to do it."