New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt
Monday, October 22, 2012
Opening statement:"I never thought I would say this but it's good to see you guys (media). The win that this football team had yesterday shows you the resolve and character of this football team. A divisional opponent on the road with a hostile crowd, down 14 points twice and to come back and win that game on the last play…the play by Malcolm Jenkins followed by the goal line stand. Drew's (Brees) four touchdowns passes. I had nothing to do with that victory. I just watched it on TV. This football team, their resolve, character, togetherness and accountability continue to grow."
"I think Aaron Kromer did a phenomenal job of keeping this team together through some tough times. He has kept our staff together. We had a little bit of a rocky start. You never know how the season is going to go because every season takes on a life of its own. He has kept it together and kept our team together. Our hats are off to Aaron."
"I saw (Sean) Payton briefly after the San Diego game. We talked about family. I got to see his son Connor. That was the extent of it. I got to see Mickey Loomis and sat with him in Mr. Benson's box when Drew broke the record."
What did you do to fill the void of not having football for seven weeks?
"There is nothing you can do to fill this void. At the end of the day, my wife (Linda) should be nominated for the Ed Block Courage award. My wife is a great mother and wife, but she really became a great friend to me over this time. I did some work with the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund with the wounded warriors. I was able to speak a couple of times to my University – Towson, even before we played LSU. I spent time in LaPlace speaking with the flood victims there. I talked to Tulane's football team. I stayed as busy as I could for as long as I could. I know I looked at my watch and the calendar a lot."
How did you watch games when you were away? Did you watch as a fan or did you still find yourself analyzing the games?
"I am going to be perfectly honest with you – because I wasn't with the team, I don't know what gameplan was put in, I couldn't anticipate the play calling – I agonized over it. It's hard to go through. I have been with these guys for seven years. I care very deeply, as Sean (Payton) does, for this football team. When you are not there on gameday with the guys you respect and love…it was a challenge."
Did your suspension make you appreciate the job here more?
"I have never taken that for granted one time. I have never taken for granted my stay in this league. I have never taken for granted how blessed I am to be in this league. I have coached with so many great players and coaches – it's good to be back."
Are you doing anything to prepare the guys for the change in altitude in Denver?
"My suspension ended yesterday after the game. I got back here last night. We have worked through the night kind of getting caught up on things. The theory is this – if you are going to take a team to Denver and play in a higher altitude, take them (two days in advance) to adjust. If you don't do it (two days in advance) you should do it within 24 hours. We are mulling potentially going out there Friday. We have done it before. We played them pretty well out there back in '08. I was in that division for ten years when I was with Seattle. There are a lot excuses you can find to lose a game, altitude being one of them. We are going to need to have our best performance this week to beat a good football team."
How difficult is it with back-to-back road games?
"You are going to play the hand you are dealt. We only have 16 (regular season games). If you are a good football team it doesn't matter where you play, who you play or when you play. We are going to prepare all this week to be the best team we can come Sunday night."
What's the process like to catch up on things after missing seven weeks?
"I am getting caught up right now. I have had no contact with any coaches, players or anyone in the building. I have been able to talk to Mr. Benson. That is a process that started for me about 9 o'clock last night. I have gone from department to department. I have talked to every coach so far individually. I spent probably an hour to an hour and a half with Ryan Pace and caught up to speed. I met with Scottie (Patton) and the doctors and got caught up to speed. I met with Aaron (Kromer) and got caught up to speed with him. (Steve Spagnuolo) was about to go in a defensive meeting so I just got about a half hour with him. I spent about a half hour with Mr. Benson and Dennis Lauscha. This process is going to continue for me to get caught up."
How is it catching up on seven weeks of information while you are trying to prepare for the Broncos game?
"I don't think anybody has ever confused me for a rocket scientist if that is what you are talking about. I am going to take notes, see what the state of our football team is, meet with the staff this afternoon at 5 pm and move forward."
With the team at 2-4, do you come in and do anything different?
"No, our program is set. Mickey (Loomis) and Sean (Payton) started this program back in '06. Our practice schedule remains the same. Our teaching progression remains the same. Our meeting time remains the same. How we activate and deactivate players remains the same. All we are going to do is go back to work on Wednesday and work our butts off to get better. Ongoing skill development is critical to our football team. I am (a) spoke on the wheel here. That's all I am. I am going to come in here and do the best job I can and try to complement the coaches in our building for the job they have done."
What was your message to the Towson football team before their game against LSU?
"The simple message was the great times and moments in your life only come from a great opportunity. As a football team, this is the greatest opportunity you can have – playing one of the best college football programs in the country in their backyard. You will never get this time back again. You will have family and friends who will be living vicariously through you. Give it the best you have. I was proud of them. I thought they played well."
What kind of emotions did you have yesterday when you met the team for the first time since the preseason?
"It was good. I haven't seen these guys in seven weeks. Last time I saw them was the Sunday night before our opener against Washington for our captains' dinner. I haven't seen them since. I was glad to be back with them and glad to be back in the hunt."
I am going to do everything I can, like every coach on our staff and everybody in our building to help get our football team better every day. I am certainly not a miracle worker. I am humbled to be back here. I met with Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) this morning. We know there are things we can do better from a coaching, player and schematic standpoint. I do think this – I think Spags has done a good job with this defense. You don't make the plays and goal line stance that they did yesterday unless those guys are fully committed. We played some tough two-minute defense down on the end. I think there are a lot positive things that we can hang our hat on."
Does Peyton Manning of the Broncos look like the Peyton Manning of the Colts?
"Yes – he is a first ballot hall of famer. He has the records and numbers out there to warrant that. He is a football genius. He understands defenses, alignments and pre-snap reads. When you talk about the skill level of quarterbacks there needs to be three characteristics and he has all three. He is tough, smart and accurate. He is also one of those players, a lot like Drew, that makes other people around him accountable and makes other people around him better. We are jumping right back in the fray here because we are facing an elite quarterback that has mastered this system and knows how to win."