New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post -Practice Media Availability
Thursday, August 26, 2015
Opening Statement: "Sean (Payton) wasn't at practice today because he escorted his daughter to her first day of college today at Pepperdine. She is excited about that, so is Sean, and we all are, so that is where he is. Questions?"
What do you like about Stephone Anthony and Hau'oli Kikaha?
"Those guys have done a great job so far going through the process. They have a long way to go, but they are wide-eyed, willing to learn, (willing to) work hard, (and) they love football so, so far so good."
Is Stephone Anthony the kind of guy that is mature enough to handle the Mike linebacker/signal calling role?
"Yeah, I mean he did it in college. He is learning it right here. He has some pretty good veterans around him helping him. He is evolving with that."
How much has Kevin Williams helped the overall defense?
"Number one, he has been a really good player his whole career. He came in here and hasn't missed a practice. He has done every conditioning drill. He is an asset in the meetings. What a character guy. You can't say enough about the guy, what a great acquisition."
What have you impressions of Henry Coley been?
"He continues to get better. He's impressive in the preseason games, very, very smart, quick twitch and for his physical size he really is a physical player. He is kind of a shorter guy but plays with good pad level and good anticipation. He is going to have to do a good job for us, which he is so far, on special teams and try to define himself."
What is the challenge when one game Stephone Anthony has the headset and then David Hawthorne has the headset?
"Let me tell you something, there is no challenge. We are trying to find the best people to do the best jobs. Everybody around here after the season we had defensively has to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. We are finding out who can do the best job and who can be the best communicator and get us lined up, and whoever gives us the best chance to win will be the signal caller."
What is the biggest thing you try to impart on them based off of last year that you want to change on this defense?
"Well it is not me, it is everybody. We have to run to the ball better. We have to tackle better. We have to finish better. We have to forget, if it's a bad play, we have to move on and go to the next play. The guys that we have on defense right now have taken ownership in the defense we had last year. We have a long way to go but the attitude has been great."
What have you seen from Delvin Breaux?
"Well listen, great coverage skills, now there is going to be a learning curve in this league with the formation variations, the motions and the things he has to learn going from man to zone concepts, but he is a real pleasant surprise."
Is the physicality of that group contagious?
"No, physicality is not contagious. You are born with physicality. You either like to hit somebody or you don't, they like to hit somebody."
What can a guy like Justin Anderson do to keep himself around?
"He will have a pretty good chance this week. He is going to get a chance. Obviously, again, at that entry level right there, he's got to show he can really do something on special teams. He will get his chance. (He is a) Real smart guy, gets lined up quickly, understands concepts and we will see what he can do."
How is Davis Tull coming along now that he is healthy?
"Listen, he has been here for three days and this is the first time he has every played the position. This is a work in progress."
What about [Hau'oli] Kikaha playing SAM [linebacker]? It was something that he was not super familiar with. How has that adjustment been?
"Good so far."
Back to Tull, I know it's just a few days but his first step looks very impressive. He looks like somebody that could really get around the edge.
"He's got a really good first step. We'll see. He hasn't gone full speed yet. The jury is out."
Do you want to see him this week in the game?
"We haven't discussed that as a staff yet."
A lot of Katrina memories are being shared. How rare was that experience for you in '06?
"It's amazing. You go on summer vacation, you're here for a game and then go to the Greenbrier. I watched TV for the first time last night and saw that one of the stations did a special on it. All of the memories came back. It is unbelievable. Number one, I can't believe it has been 10 years. I can't believe it has been 10 years since we went to [our first] NFC Championship. The bond between the city and that team in that year [was incredible]. I took the job on February 27th and I came to this town and never saw such devastation. I was thinking about the Superdome and the room being off. We really didn't think we'd have a place to play. We didn't really have a home stadium and then that opening [home] game against Atlanta. I was more nervous for that than the Super Bowl. We just didn't want to let these fans down. When you look at how far the city has come and with people coming back to this city, it really is unbelievable man. It is unbelievable."
A team feeding off or vice versa; is that rare or you'll see teams capture that?
"We have players on this team that didn't even know about Katrina and that is just the truth. We're going to part all of that when we get to the 53 and our dedication to the city and what we owe our fans, and the relationship we have, but that was a special time in history. I don't know if any team ever captured that in the country, in the history of professional sports. "
Is it good for some of the younger players to maybe see some of that?
"Yes, and the younger guys that we have now really embraced the history of this franchise, [and] the history of football. I think that they really embraced the history of Katrina and what it has meant to this city, this franchise and the bond that it has had together. I think they'll embrace it."
Explain the difference [between] your role on the sideline versus [being] in the press box. Did it change, as far as what you are looking for? That press box view is obviously different than the sideline.
"Yes, the press box view here is fairly high up in the sky. We have switched around all of our coaches. Sean is doing everything that he can to make sure that we are crossing T's and dotting the I's and evaluating everything that we are doing. I spent a week in the press box last week trying to look at the review monitors, seeing if we can see a better way to identify personnel coming into the game defensively [and] seeing how many more eyes we may need. That evaluation was made to Sean and we'll move forward."
What is a team's protocol when you have to cut a player? Does he meet with [his] position coach and the head coach or is it [General Manager] Mickey [Loomis]? How emotional does it ever get?
"It is emotional any time that it happens. Us as a team, and this is not (across) the National Football League, this is what we do; Sean is the first to talk to him. Then he goes to the coordinator and then he goes to the position coaches. Anybody that has come through this program, we want to sit down and talk to them. We want to make sure that they are alright. Most places give you a pink slip and tell you to show up at the general manager's office. That is not done here. "