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Joe Vitt Says Emphasis is on Third Down, Fourth Quarter Against Broncos

Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt met with the media following practice on Thursday to provide an injury update and to discuss Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, October 25, 2012Watch Vitt's Press Conference

Opening Statement:"Today our emphasis in practice was third down. To be quite honest with everybody, since we've been here in 2006, this is one of the first football teams where they do have some decided advantages on third down. They're going to create schematically, defensively and offensively, some real challenges for us. We had a good practice today. We still have some things to work through. Our practices have been sharp, the intent of players has been outstanding and we'll continue to prepare as the week goes on."

Have you been here long enough to realize what the secondary needs to improve on, specifically with the big plays they have given up?

"This is a game of inches. We've been close to having our hands on some balls and it's been two inches away. We've left some plays out on the field because we've had dropped interceptions. We've let some big plays get out the gate because we are misaligned. That's been the emphasis this week. Number one, do your job. Take care of your responsibility, know who to get, know how to get him and know what to do. This quarterback is unforgiving. The emphasis has been detail your assignment and get lined up a little bit quicker."

What do you see with the progression of this Denver team? Is it everyone becoming comfortable with Peyton Manning? Is he just starting to take over?

"I think it's a combination of both. I think it's a good point. Schematically, it's a different scheme now up in Denver. When he was with the Colts it was a left and a right receiver with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. They've gone back to a conventional Z, X and a Y. When you go with the no-huddle, those guys have to get lined up and get in their proper positions or stay on the side and know a different position. So, I think all of those things take time when you have a no-huddle, you're verbalizing protections, you're verbalizing routes and you're trying to get them lined up. It's been a work in progress. Now, that being said, this offense has been strong the last three games now. What they've done in the second half we said yesterday was historical. What they've done in the fourth quarter is unheard of. They're getting better every game. I am sure they are getting better every practice. John Fox is a demanding coach, Peyton Manning is a demanding quarterback and they certainly willing people that want to get better on that offense."

You talked about the fourth quarter numbers, what does that mean about their defense?

"They have only given up six points in the fourth quarter. I said this yesterday. I think somebody said it was an underrated defense, it is not underrated by us. Right now they are third in the league in pressures, pressuring the quarterback, getting in the quarterbacks face, disrupting the quarterback. On every snap, we have to know where Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are. I think it's an earmark of a John Fox coached team, they're going to play tough, hard- nosed defense. (They're going to) make you go the long, hard route. They are going to minimize any kind of mental mistake. Now, all of a sudden, I think for the first time in John's career he truly has a quarterback that can put points up on the board. So, the margin of error is just a little bit better for the defense and they're letting it go and they're letting it flow."

Can you give us an update on Jimmy Graham and his progress?

"Jimmy Graham is about the same as he was yesterday. He participated in some land-based drills and our routes on air. Our doctors and trainers are evaluating him right now, he is still limited."

David Hawthorne?

"David did the same thing as yesterday. He was probably a little bit quicker today, probably practiced a little bit faster. There were no ill-effects of him practicing yesterday so he did a good job today,"

Joe Morgan?

"Joe Morgan will not play."

Did Darren Sproles practice today?

"No, he did not. He has an excused absence."

Do you expect him back?


Was Joe Morgan disappointed with the way things are now?

"We want players that are disappointed they're not playing. Yes, he is disappointed."

How long could he be out?

"I can't tell you that yet, no. He is not playing this week. We'll work on that as the week goes on."

Is it a rib injury? Lungs?

"He has a chest injury. He is not ready to go yet. Circle gets the square."

What about Daniel Graham?

"Daniel Graham will not play this weekend."

Did we get them all?

"I don't know, would you like to buy a vowel?"

How is your week going?

"My week has been outstanding. To be able to be around the guys, the coaching staff, the organization, it's been outstanding. This team, this coaching staff and this organization has been through a lot. It is very resilient. It's great to be a part of this again, be a part of this journey."

How do you judge the impact of a player? Looking at what Darren Sproles accomplished last year and lack of impact this year…

"Listen, the final chapter of this season has not been written yet. As of right now, there is a lot of players that wish they had contributed more. We are what we are right now, we're 2-4, but the final chapter hasn't been written yet. Darren Sproles is an impact player on this football team. He is an impact player in the league. He is one of those players that if I was playing against him, he would keep you up at night. I think the only thing that overshadows his ability to make big plays is his character and his integrity."

Are there moments where his impact is as a decoy?

"You are way too deep of a thinker for me, you really are. We're trying to get the ball into our playmakers hands. Drew (Brees) is going to take exactly what the defense gives him. There are going to be some defenses that are going to take Darren Sproles away based on down and distance, formation recognition and the portion of the game. Darren Sproles is a great player, we love having him on our football team and he is going to have a great year for us."

Can you recognize and do you point to when another team has just out-executed you?

"Absolutely. Listen, this is a player's game. At the end of the day, this is not about plays and it's not about play selection, it's about players, execution, commitment and accountability. I am not making any excuses, we need to play better defense. Our players know that and our coaches know that and this is a work in progress. Let me tell you something, the journey of getting a team better is the reward. Getting players better every day and getting them from point A to point B and point B to point C is the reward of this business. That's what we're getting paid for and that's the fun of this business."

Can you talk about Champ Bailey?

"Rare. I think he is one of those guys when you profile what you're looking for in a corner you are looking at a guy like him. He's got the size, the length, the foot speed, the hip flip, the catch-up speed and you put that together with he understands the game and he's got great anticipation. Playing corner in this league, I think, is awfully tough and you have to have a short memory. Champ is a mentally tough competitor. If something bad happens to him, he quickly erases it and is on to the next play. He has been fun to watch and he has been a nightmare to go against."

Where does Chris Ivory fit in the plans for you guys?

"Chris Ivory is on our football team and we're excited about Chris Ivory. We have a great stable of backs right here. Chris is going to get his chance. Chris is not going anywhere."

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