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Joe Vitt Recaps Patriots Game

Saints Assistant Head Coach says team improved defensively in second preseason game


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Media Availability Transcript
Friday, August 10, 2012

Watch Vitt's Presser

Opening Statement:
"I really don't know if we feel any different as a staff than last night after viewing the film. To be honest with you I've looked at all the defense, all the coverage teams on special teams. I've watched the first unit of the offense, so I still have more film work to do tonight. I thought we did improve defensively. We played with better pad level. Our decision-making process was better. Our communication on defense was better. The intent to do some of the things that Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) emphasized all week long in practice was there with our gap control, with what we call our match principles. I thought our first unit offensively, our offensive line did a good job. They played with good pad level. They set up a good pocket for Drew Brees. Our starting receivers are our starting receivers. They're good players who are very productive. We got them some work in there and got them out. I was encouraged with our coverage units on both kickoff and punt. I need to get back. I'm going to continue to look at the rest of the offensive film and our return units, on special teams. We're staying right on schedule. The players are off tonight. They're off all day tomorrow. We'll resume our install Sunday night, going into the last week of training camp now, it's critical that we get some of the final things done that we do throughout the year. We give our football team those critical stats of what wins for us. We're talking about the takeaway battle, winning the big play battle. We talk about pressuring the quarterback and things like that from an offensive and defensive standpoint. We have a lot of things to do this next week coming up as we prepared for Jacksonville and get through the next two days of evaluating the 53 that we have."

Can you discuss your injury situation?
"We're going to evaluate. If you have a specific question I can answer that, but we're going to evaluate with the trainers. We will go through the process and get an update from our trainer tomorrow, but if you have a specific question, I'll be glad to answer."

Do you expect to have Nick Toon back next week?
"No, he probably will be sooner than later, but he will not play this weekend (Jacksonville)."

Is there anybody that will be back that did not play in the game?
"We think David Hawthorne's going to be back. We're going to run him a little bit on Sunday, see how he's doing. We think he has the potential to be back on a limited basis or return to practice. We also think that Patrick Robinson is going to come back and start to practice again> Jimmy Graham will be back and start to practice again. Mark Ingram will be back and start to practice again. We're still kind of waiting on some of these guys."

Were there no new injuries last night?
"We will continue to evaluate those things. We're going to have some nicks and bruises. As the week goes on, we will update you on them."

Do you think Courtney Roby has helped himself with his performance in the preseason?
"There's no doubt. I'm going to say this for the third time. Courtney Roby is an elected captain on our football team. He's an outstanding special teams player. His contributions are documented. I just think he ups his value to our team when you see the way he's running his routes this year, where you see he's catching the ball cleanly this year and you see the way he is running after the catch. So yes."

What about Andy Tanner? He's not flashy, but is there room for him?
"Listen, you have a stable, dependable person, who we think is a durable player. This a guy we really think can work the seams of your zones. He gets release from the slot position. He's got outstanding ball skills. He understands how to read defenses. I would say for the most part, he's on the same page with the quarterback of where the ball's going to be placed. He does have some run after the catch ability. He was on our practice squad last year and was a guy that we really, really liked. He gave our defense a great picture last year. As the process is continuing and the evaluation process is going on, I don't have a crystal ball. I can't tell you who the final 53 is going to be, but he has certainly helped himself."

Is he eligible again to be on the practice squad?
"That I don't know (for sure but) I think he is."

Has Junior Galette matured?
"Of all the years I've been in the National Football League, I don't think I've seen anybody grow mentally, emotionally and stability wise as much as Junior Galette has the last three years. He has come such a long way. He continues to grow in the scheme, but also continues to grow as a person. For all intensive purposes, we just got through our first preseason game last night, but he's had a great offseason. He's a self-made guy. He's had to prove himself every step of the way. There's been nothing handed to this man. There's been nothing handed to anybody on our team, but he's taken, the long, hard road. He's done a great job of accepting the challenges that have come his way."

What was the biggest hurdle for him once he started his pro career?
"I don't know that there was anything easy for him. When you talk about the mental and physical aspect of the game, the accountability aspect of the game, being in the building late, the offseason is a marathon season. I don't think anything for him was easy to begin with. He set his sights on who he wanted to be. He understood that once we showed him a road map to get from point a to point b, he embraced it. He wasn't easy as a rookie. He was hard-headed. As we say to all our young players, this is a race to adapt to the way we do things. He has certainly done that and my hat's off to him."

Did you follow the Jonathan Vilma proceedings today?
"I have not. If you can just take a look at me, does it look like I woke up at ten o'clock this morning with cucumbers over my eyes and read the paper. We've been here since five o'clock. I am not aware of anything. I just left the defense right now. So, I am not."

Can you talk about the play of Corey White?
"We thought that he was better last night than he was last week.  He tackled better, his sense of urgency was better, he got lined up quicker and I think he anticipated some things that were going to happen to him based on down and distance and formation recognition.  He's involved right now with the process and he's being fed a lot of information.  He was better last night than he was in the first week, which is all we can ask him to be."

Can you talk about how the kicking situation is playing out between John Kasay and Garrett Hartley?
"It's in the early, early stages."

In this third preseason game, would you like to get the ones more playing time?
"We're going to have a personnel meeting tomorrow.  Really, what are we saying – is this the third preseason game or is this the second preseason game - because we have the extra one from last week.  So I would say that if we stay on course, we would probably up our pitch count with the starting offense and up it with the starting defense, but we're still saying that we're in our second preseason game.  I'm glad that we got that first preseason game with Arizona under our belt because we have a lot of evaluations done.  At the same point, we've gotten a lot of reps on film by the younger guys that we don't feel a sense of panic to evaluate some people.  We'll evaluate that as the week goes on."

Can you talk about where Joe Morgan stands?
"He stands right where he did to start our training camp.  This is an ongoing process.  Joe can make some outstanding catches and then Joe can drop some easy catches.  We're looking for the dependable, stable, accountable person, day-in and day-out.  We know what he can do so we can put him in position to succeed and identify what he doesn't do well so we can help him get better at it, but the process and the evaluation is ongoing."

How concerned are you about Adrian Arrington?
"From all reports that we get, you never like to see a person like Adrian go down.  He has to get some surgery, but Adrian's been a part of our program now for three years.  He's done a good job for us.  I can tell you personally that I'm pulling for him.  From an organizational standpoint, we're pulling for him.  He's put a lot of time off the field into being a good football player.  Am I concerned?  Sure I'm concerned.  In my heart, I kind of know what he knows and I know what he can do.  So with a guy like this, there's just a little bit of leeway.  He's got some pelts that he's given to us."

What is the surgery that Adrian Arrington is going to have?
"I'm not sure about that yet.  He's going to get a second opinion."

Is Jabari Greer still on schedule for the Houston game?
"I'm not going to say he's on schedule for the Houston week, but he's ahead of schedule from where we thought he might be.  He's progressing well.  The surgery was a success.  He feels great.  He's moving better every day and the rehab has gone well.  I don't know that I've ever said the Houston game, but he's on schedule and he's doing well."

Even with all the injuries to the secondary, how do you feel about how they're playing?
"I think we've got a good secondary.  I think Johnny Patrick has come a long way.  I think Corey White has the chance to be a good player for us.  Patrick Robinson is returning to practice on Monday.  Jabari Greer is going to be healthy for us.  And now that we have some newcomers that have come into the secondary, I think we've added some depth and some skill in a passing league.  So far, so good.  I think the numbers bear that out over the first two games with yards per passing and yards per completion.  We feel pretty good about it."

Is Adrian Arrington going to get a second opinion beyond Dr. Andrews?
"To my knowledge, yes."

When did Junior Galette make the biggest switch as far as his approach to the game?
"I think the biggest leap you see in any rookie player is the year between their rookie season and going into their second year.  I think Junior saw the players that he was surrounded by and their work ethic, that there was an accountability factor amongst teammates and if he wanted to be one of them, that's what he would have to do.  He would have to be accountable, he would have to work hard and he would have to learn the system.  So I think the second year.  I think he's blossomed from last year and he got better as the season went on.  He's had an outstanding offseason.  He had one hundred percent participation in the offseason conditioning program.  There always comes that grey area with a guy like Junior or a guy like Jonathan Casillas.  They were raised in one system since they've been in the National Football League and now they've had to learn a new system.  So are they going to learn the terminology or are they going to embrace the techniques?  He's done all that, so now you see a little bit more of a growth from Junior than we saw at this time last year.  He's extremely coachable, he's a good teammate and he obviously has the athleticism to play in this league and rush the passer and pressure the quarterback."

Will we get a chance to see Junior Galette at right defensive end when Will Smith is suspended?
"I'm not saying that.  Right now, we're all competing for jobs.  We're going through the evaluation process.  We're not giving out any scholarships.  He can be a left end or he can be a right end."

Is the team still going to practice in the morning this week?
"So far, yes.  I think that's worked out well for us.  We flipped it around after we had our first break.  We've gotten a lot of good work in the morning.  We switched our installs to the afternoon and our walk-throughs to the afternoon.  I think so.  To let you guys know, the players have off tonight and they have off tomorrow.  We'll have a 10:00 meeting tomorrow where we'll go through all our personnel evaluations.  We have our long range planning for the week, but we'll get specific with situational things.  I anticipate that our schedule will remain exactly the same unless we have a discussion where we see otherwise.  But we're in a good spot right now with what we're doing."

Are we getting any closer to a decision about who will take over for you at the start of the season?
"No.  Again, we've played one preseason game."

Would you want to give the coach that will take over the chance to get a couple of games under his belt during the preseason?
"Again, we're in the process of evaluating this football team.  We're in the process of making sure that we're putting the right people in the right places and getting the proper number of reps.  When the time comes for Mickey (Loomis) and Mr. Benson to call me in and even ask my opinion on such a move, but that time has not come yet.  That hasn't been on the agenda for the last couple of days and I don't really see it in the next couple of days as we move forward going into our last week of training camp."

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