New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 7, 2012
Opening Statement: "The injury report is the same as it was yesterday. Charles Brown and Corey White did not practice. Today we installed our red zone, short yardage and goal line. It was our second day outside in a row, which was good for us. It was not only good for our legs, but good to be outside. We can't replicate the temperature outside up there, which is going to be a high of about 44 at game time. Yesterday was about a 50 percent chance of precipitation. Today it's down to 30 percent. So, we've had a good week of practice and preparation. We'll put the final touches on it tomorrow before we fly to New York."
What are Corey White's chances of playing?
"I would say not good. I don't think he had a major setback, but anytime you have a young player like Corey who has missed practice and significant time, you're a little bit more hesitant to put him back in there. He worked hard to get back in there and we really like the player."
Is Charles Brown out?
It has been four straight games where the defense has been doing a lot of good things. How well is that unit playing?
"It's getting better. I think we've all had this conversation the last four or five weeks with the addition of (Jonathan) Vilma getting back in there, he and Lofton getting used to one another. Our corner play has really been good, especially in man situations and our defensive line gap integrity has gotten better every week, along with some really good four man rushes we've had, so this is a what have you done for me lately league. What took place, two, three, four weeks ago doesn't matter; it's what we do this Sunday and how we perform against the World Champions in their building."
Can you talk specifically about Patrick Robinson and how he's overcome some rough patches early on?
"I was gone for the first seven weeks and all I saw were the tapes on TV. I watched as much as I could as soon as I got back. This is a new system for Patrick too. Malcolm (Jenkins) has gone through some of the same growth spurts. Whenever a player goes into a new system, terminology, communication, re-alignment, there's a learning curve there and I think Patrick had some early challenges that he's overcome. As a player, we know what his skill set is. He's big for a corner and physical. He's got a second gear. He's got good ball skills. He continues to grow mentally in this game, understanding this league and Patrick takes great pride in his performance and works extremely hard in practice. Some things that have happened to him, has been a direct result of how hard he's worked."
Can you talk about the challenge of defending Victor Cruz?
"We know what Victor Cruz is. He's an outstanding deep threat and a big target in the red zone. All receivers in the National Football League can run. All receivers in the National Football League have great hands. I think what sets this team and set of receivers apart as well as ours, is that they read coverages and their routes are based off the coverages that they're going to get. Then you have a quarterback that has tremendous accuracy in Eli (Manning), that is putting the ball in places where other people can't touch them and get them and these receivers are catching them and doing a good job of running after the catch. It's like anybody that's played the Giants this year; you just can't sit there in one coverage and expect to be successful. You have to mix your coverages and mix your alignments, play your corners off; you have to play them bump. You have to play the safety, split safety look and you have to hope that you can win more than you lose."
Can you talk about what you've seen from David Hawthorne so far?
"This is my first experience with David and we really liked the stuff of David when he was in Seattle. Behind the line of scrimmage, he's a linebacker with real good range that can get off the block. He had some early season injuries. In training camp he had the knee that required surgery, then he had some hamstring issues and then as we start to integrate him back in our system we made a position change, making him Sam instead of Will. Through all of those things he's stayed positive and worked hard. He sometimes gives me that look that he was brought in to play the Will. I wasn't brought in to the be the interim coach. Sometimes you play the hand that you're dealt. All that's going to do is make him a better player, understand the Sam position and the Will and Mike positions and it will make him a better player somewhere down the line as a Will. A lot of these teams, you have linebackers, they all call themselves a Mike, Will or Sam. You have to cross train. You're a linebacker. Sometimes you have to line up on the tight end side, sometimes you have to line up on the open side, but the results better be the same and your production better be the same. It's been a learning curve for him and he's responded."
What do you think about the possibility of the removal of kickoffs?
"I don't know where it's come from and what the basis of that. I really don't know the amount of injuries sustained on kickoffs and returns. I have a hard time believing it wouldn't be a part of our game or industry. It's how you start every game. I don't know. I never thought there would be a day when you are practicing inside on AstroTurf. I'm used to playing inside on mud. The game's changing."
Are you in favor of it?
"I'd have to sit down and look at it. I'm in favor of anything that's going to enhance player safety, even if it's changing our game some. But, I don't have those raw numbers and data, so I really can't comment on it"
Do you have players officially out?
"Charles Brown and Corey White."