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Joe Vitt Discusses Saints' Preparations for Tropical Storm Isaac, Titans Game

Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt met with the media on Sunday to recap Saturday's win against the Houston Texans and discuss the team's plan for preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Media Availability
Sunday, August 26, 2012

Opening Statement:

"We've had a busy day here today. When I got in here this morning, James Nagaoka, Jay Romig and Danny Lawless were already here and we had an update on the weather. So, we called our squad in here at three on their day off and informed them that it was our recommendation that they evacuate their families and then we will give the team off tomorrow so that they can further seek shelter for their families. They firmly understand that. We then work out the schematics of taking our injured players with us and having staff assist the injured players with getting their families out of town. What we had to do today was we had to have exit meetings with 15 players. We had to expedite that process because of the weather. I would ask you to not ask questions on that. That has not been released. We notified the players. They know. That happened today. Our players will be back here at eight o'clock on Tuesday and at such time, we'll receive an update and see where this weather's taking us. If need be, we will have wheels up and go to Tennessee Tuesday morning at eight o'clock. If we can get our regular practice in, we will get it in here, leave after practice and we'll evaluate it from there. I really don't have a lot to say about last night's game that I did not say last night. We need to protect the ball offensively and if we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, we would have had a couple of more sustained drives. We can't give up the big play defensively and a kickoff return gave the Texans some really good field position last night. We have to correct that, but other than that, I feel our players played with great intent and passion. They overcame an early surge by the Texas. We knew they are a good football team and I applaud them on their resiliency."

The weather affecting a team's plans is never easy, but has it helped where the club has experience in adjusting to these issues and a lot of flexibility in that area?

"No question. That's the way this team is built. That's the way this organization's built. I think that it really just shadows the resiliency of our community. This community faces these types of things it seems every year. We stand beside our community, encourage them to take shelter and everybody can be safe in this thing."

Why did the club not make a decision to leave tomorrow?

"I'm always amazed at our organization's skills in making the right decisions in these things. They've received expert opinions (weather prognostications) that this thing is not going to hit until Wednesday. We do have a contingency plan that we can evacuate tomorrow. Instead of going to Tennessee, we would go to Cincinnati. Those things have already been laid out. We wanted to give our players time to get their families out of town and to a safe place."

Is there any injury update?

"I do if you want to ask me any specific questions. I will say this is the healthiest that we've come out of any preseason game this year. We have some players that were injured in the previous preseason games that will be full go this week, so we are slowly but surely coming back to full health."

Can you give us an update on Nick Toon?

"He'll play this week.  He'll practice hopefully on Tuesday and hopefully he'll play this week."

Do you have an update on Andy Tanner?

"Andy Tanner will not play."

Steve Spagnuolo pulled some of the defensive players over at one point in the game and spoke to them.  They seemed to play better after that.  Is that what we can expect from Spagnuolo this season?

"Our team has great respect for Steve Spagnuolo, his approach to the game, teaching skills and motivational skills.  When the game begins, there's none of this rah-rah, put your hands in here stuff.  It's repair the leak, fix the problem and let's move on.  I thought our defense did an excellent job of that last night.  We taught our guys going into this game that the Houston Texans are one of the best teams in the National Football League with their first 15 (minutes).  I think that they outscored their opponent by 110-39 in first quarter points a year ago, so we knew what they were capable of doing.  Our team wasn't surprised when we were put in that position and our coaches weren't.  We moved on to play one play at a time, one quarter at a time, one half at a time and then get judged on our body of work at the end of the game."

What's Darren Sproles' status for this game?  Are you holding him out?


Should we expect Tom Johnson back this week?


When can we see Adrian Arrington again?

"He had knee surgery and he's going through the rehab right now."

Usually you see injured players on the sidelines during the game. Does he have a different routine?

"When the game starts, I really don't know his whereabouts.  I could put an APB and see where he is.  He's working his butt off to get better.  He hasn't missed a training session.  He hasn't missed a weightlifting session.  He hasn't missed a meeting session.  I have to make a note to make sure he checks in with you though so you'll know where he's at."

Are you concerned at all about the amount of penalties that have been on your team in this preseason?

"Yes.  I think right now they're in the eyes of the beholder.  That doesn't make it an excuse.  These officials are working hard to get it right and if we have to have these officials during the regular season, then we're going to be playing their game, so we're going to have to play within the rules and conform to what they're going to call.  So yes, it does concern me.  We're one of the least penalized teams since we've been here. I think sixth least penalized team since 2006.  We'll continue to work on that."

Marquis Johnson practiced on the last day of last week but didn't play last night.  Was that just a standard case of holding him out?


Have you guys been able to meet in the morning to break down the secondary on film and their performance?

"Yes.  They're not breakdowns.  It's a missed assignment here and a missed assignment there.  We gave up one big play last night that hurt us early and it was corrected.  I thought really after that, the coverage on Andre Johnson was really good.  We challenged him when the ball was up.  He's a big receiver who's got great length and can catch the ball outside the framework of his body.  He's an elite player and I thought really Patrick (Robinson) and Johnny (Patrick) did a great job as the game went on."

You mentioned last night about having Aaron Kromer there on the sideline helped with added responsibility.  Is that the game plan again for next week?

"Yes.  Growing his role now and diminishing mine."

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