New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
"A couple things, (about) the team we're playing, John Fox knows us very well, and quite frankly, it's a head coach we've struggled with in our division. I think Carolina, when he was there, was the only team that we were .500 against. So we continue to play catch-up a little bit trying to know Denver as well as he knows us. Anybody that has any questions about Peyton Manning's ability on this comeback trail right now, his last three games he's thrown an average of 300 yards, three touchdowns and a 70 percent completion percentage, which is historic. No one has ever done it before. Offensively, they're learning the offense, the no-huddle. They have a great tempo. He identifies coverages quickly. Their run after the catch is getting better and better every game. Defensively, we better know where Von Miller is on every snap and Elvis Dumervil. Right now they're third in the league with quarterback pressures with a four-man front. They're getting to the quarterback. So we have our work cut out for us."
The Broncos seem to be very good at halftime adjustments?
"I think right now they're outscoring their opponents in the fourth quarter, I think it's 79-6 or something like that. They're also phenomenal in the second half. If there's ever been a game where we're going to put finish as a premium, it's going to be this week. We're going to have to finish this game. We're going to get their best as the game goes on. I think that's an earmark of Peyton Manning and what he's done throughout his whole career. He does a great job on the sidelines of studying pictures and alignments in coverages. And sooner or later, no matter who he plays, he's going to get to you. We've got to be patient, we've got to tackle well, and we've got to limit the big play. He's going to get big plays on us, but we've got to be disciplined."
Did Jimmy Graham practice today?
"Yes, he did what we call land base stuff. He did routes on air. He looked very, very good. The doctors and the trainers are examining right now. He looked good."
Given the fact that the Broncos do play much better in the fourth quarter, do you game plan any differently?
"Anytime that you play a guy like Peyton (Manning) or a veteran quarterback like Tom Brady or Drew Brees, you've got to keep a couple of hold calls for the fourth quarter and give them some looks that they haven't seen before and just hold on and see if you can confuse them a couple of snaps. And at the end of the day really, you really don't confuse him very often, but you can potentially confuse some other people with route recognition, the way that the receivers have to adjust their routes, maybe some protection breakdowns and things like that. But he's seen just about it all."
How crucial is it to get some of your linebackers healthy?
"David Hawthorne worked today, (Jonathan) Vilma's rep count was up today, (Jonathan) Casillas moved around better I'm told than he did around this time last week, so we're slowly getting healthier at that position."
Is the recipe to beating Peyton Manning the same as it's always been if you can do it getting pressure on him?
"That's the recipe to anybody you play in this league. Get pressure on the quarterback, try to disrupt his rhythm, have the ability to let him smell your breath."
How much no-huddle do you think you'll see from the Broncos offense?
"I think we'll see it the whole night. That's what he does. The no-huddle gives him a chance to sit back and identify pre-snap and coverage, then change the play. There's a certain amount of angst it puts on a defensive lineman sitting in his three-point stance waiting for the ball to be snapped. It's something that you really have to work on. The last time we played him we had two weeks to work on him for the Super Bowl, and we needed every bit of it. This is a crash course. We have to be patient and disciplined, but I think we'll see it the whole game."
Can you tell us David Hawthorne's practice status today?
"He was listed as limited. Joe Morgan was listed as limited today and we had him working on the backside of some routes. Jimmy Graham was limited. He did some land base stuff routes on air. Daniel Graham did not practice today."
What's Daniel Graham's injury?
"He's got a knee."
Now that you've been back a couple of days, how do you feel like the defense is grasping Coach Spagnuolo's defense?
"I think it's a work in progress, just like anybody else at this time of the year. There have been some bad things that have happened to us defensively. This is a game of inches, and we're an inch from making an interception or we're an inch from knocking the ball down or we're an inch from stopping a drive, and potentially something catastrophic happens like a penalty or a dropped interception or a missed opportunity. But I will say this and I said this Monday, you don't make the goal line stand like we made and you don't make the play that Malcolm Jenkins made unless you have a lot of believers in that room that believe in what Spags is teaching and have great resolve. I thought we took a step forward today. We got a little bit better. Hey listen, I'm learning this thing all over again too to a degree. I haven't been around it for seven weeks. We're going to continue to get better every week and that's what we're going to do."
Do you think the Denver defense is a bit underrated with what they've done this year?
"They're not underrated by us. We know about Tracy Porter. We know about Champ Bailey. We know about Elvis Dumervil. We know about Von Miller. They have a quick, explosive play-making defense. They've got a veteran defensive coordinator in Jack Del Rio, who knows us. He played us a year ago. They can get some inside rush. We've got a lot of respect for their defense."
What does Tracy Porter do so well?
"He has great anticipation on the ball. He understands the splits of wide receivers. He has a great feel for the steps of the quarterback, the three and the five step drop and play-action. He understands the top of the stem of a route and when to jump the ball. You would think that a guy that has great instincts in jumping the ball, he'd get beat on double moves, yet he doesn't. He's got the quality of all the really great corners. He has catch-up ability. If he gets beat quick, he can catch up and make a play. He's got length where he can knock the ball down. Tracy knows what we think of him."
How were you able to hold the Colts to 17 points in the Super Bowl?
"Let me say this. That was the Colts. This is Denver. It's a different team. It's a different organization. We're worrying about the Denver Broncos right now. The Denver Broncos do some different things than the Colts did. The Colts put their receivers left and right. They (Broncos) have an X, a Z, and a Y. They do different things, and with the different things they do not only route-wise and run-wise and their gun-run-wise, now Peyton (Manning) has introduced a no huddle to that. So it's a completely different thing. In order to win in the National Football League, your players have to outplay their players. We have to execute. We have to limit the big play. We can't just let Peyton stay in rhythm. We've got to give him some different looks. We've got, as best we can, force some turnovers and give our offense a short field. But this is a challenge now. San Diego thought they had them at 24-0, not so fast."
Do you think it could come down to the last team with the ball?
"I think there's parity in the National Football League. I think all teams have great players. There's great coaching in this league. You better come early and stay late and have the ability to finish or you're not going to win a lot of games in this league. They have obviously shown that their best football is in the second half and they've got historical numbers in the fourth quarter. And we better be aware of that or we're going to be in for a long night."
Do you know who your daughter is rooting for this weekend?
"I've told my daughter on a lot of occasions that there's not a male on this earth that has loved her as long as I have. It's my wife that I'm worried about. I'm not sure who she's voting for after seven weeks alone with her."
Was that speech you gave her enough to get an answer out of her?
"We haven't even talked about it. My son-in-law is a great father. He's a great husband. He's become a real good friend to me. He and I aren't playing. This is a players game. I think deep down Jennifer is voting for me. That'll get me in trouble."
Did Darren Sproles miss practice today?
"Yes, he's got an illness in the family. It was excused."
How much did Jonathan Vilma contribute to the cat-and-mouse game against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl and could he be a part of that this week?
"Obviously, he's going to play this week. I think at that time in the Super Bowl, I think JV audibled 45 percent of the defenses that we were in based on formation, down-and-distance, depth at the back, and some of the checks that Peyton was making. That's always going to be a viable option for us. We're kind of working through schematics right now."