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Joe Vitt's Monday Media Briefing

Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach recaps Monday's practice and gives an injury update


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Media Availability
Monday, August 13, 2012

Opening Statement

"After two days off we came back and were just a little sluggish to start this practice. We came back a little stronger after that. We continue with our training camp installation today, with short yardage and goal line. We had a good short yardage period. As we go along during the course of the week, we are going to explain to our team in team meetings tonight the critical factors that allow us to win and they have to understand that and continue to install and go over situational football. Today was our first day back; we are still in training camp mode. We'll have a walk through this afternoon, install meetings at the hotel tonight."

Is Turk McBride hurt?

"Yes. He's got an ankle. He'll be out this week."  

Assess what Akiem Hicks did at New England?

"He plays with power and leverage and has a lot of athleticism. We know based on where he played a year ago and its nothing against this program, but he is raw. We still need to get him quality reps and looks in the preseason. But he really is where we thought he was going to be. He is big and athletic. He wants to be a good player and has some real good power."

Is it tough for young players to get into that defensive tackle spot?

"No. I don't think so. When you are big and you have courage and athleticism, I think the league has proven that you can take defensive tackles from small colleges and they can transition into good players."

You think he could?

"I don't have a crystal ball. We are still in the evaluation process. We're going to go through this evaluation process and see where it leads us at the end of the preseason. We are happy with the way he played in the first game."

Why did Darren Sproles sit out?

"He'll probably miss this game. If this were a regular season game, he would play this weekend. Obviously we are going to be careful with him."

Did he do something in the game?

"He (Darren Sproles) did something in the game. He's got a knee."

Can you talk about special teams in the first two games?

"I think this, I think the exciting part is our coverage units. I think our coverage units came a long way. A year ago and have continued to play well in the preseason. We like the placement of the ball by our punters and our kickers. We've got a lot of skill out there that can run down the field and make tackles. We are happy with our special teams and where they are right now. They will continue to improve."

Can you talk about Luke McCown, is he in a difficult situation?

"Listen, he doesn't have to do this. He gets to do this. So it's not a difficult situation. He is vying for a roster spot. He is learning a new system. He is trying to understand the tempo that which we operate; in and out of the huddle, with the personnel grouping and formation variations so it's a little bit of a learning experience for him. It was his first preseason game. It was his first at bat so we are going to be patient and continue to feed him so stuff."

Do you like the way he is coming along?


When do you think Nick Toon will be back?

"Probably next week, early part of next week."

What about Adrian Arrington?

"Yes. He had surgery. He is going to be back today. His surgery was successful as deemed by the doctors."

Was Andy Tanner working with the ones?

"Andy Tanner has had work with the ones before. We rotate our receivers in and out. Again, I don't think that you can just look up and see a person in with the one and the second unit and automatically think they have been bumped up on the roster. Andy Tanner is a good possession receiver. He is a good receiver out of the slot that can work the open areas of his own defense. Has good hands and has pretty good running ability after the catch. So we are going to continue to evaluate him."

Tom Johnson has missed several practices, what is the injury with him?

"He's got an ankle sprain. We'll expect him to be back within ten days."

What do we need to see from Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins?

"What do we need to see? I think this, I think we are lucky to have both those guys. I think they bring a level of maturity, physicality and accountability to a team that the elite safeties in the National Football League bring. They've embraced this system. They've gotten better in this system everyday. I thought it was extremely encouraging in the Hall of Fame game, the first series out, Malcolm (Jenkins) intercepts the ball cleanly. We've been extremely happy. Those guys can switch positions at any time. One can go to free and one can go to strong. All of a sudden now, the quarterback looks up, who is the free safety and who is the strong safety? They are versatile in that area. They have worked every hard. They are leaders on our defense. And we are lucky to have both players, both from a production and a character standpoint."

Is Jimmy Graham a little sore?

"Yeah, he is a little sore. He made that catch up in New England on Thursday and kind of hurt his lower back. He received treatment over the weekend. Again, if we had to play this weekend, he would play. We are just being a little cautious with him right now. He is fine."

How much better are we seeing Cameron Jordan in Canton and the preseason as opposed to last season?

"Where we said Cam Jordan was during the OTAs and the maturity in training camp so far, he is staying on course with that. He has done a good job."

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