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Joe Vitt Says Hall of Fame Weekend Will be Special

Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt talks about Tuesday's practice and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can you talk about Patrick Robinson?

"He's got a shoulder (injury).  We're going to evaluate him right now.  He's could be out the next couple of days."

Marquis Johnson appeared to make some plays out there for you today.

"Yeah, it's very encouraging.  Again, we're early in the process right here.  There's a long way to go, but he had a good morning."

Can you talk about Jabari Greer?

"We took him in.  He had a little groin pull.  We'll evaluate him when he gets inside."

How do you feel about your third and fourth corner?

"Listen, I feel good about them right now.  We're in practice.  This is a great evaluation coming up this weekend against pretty good receivers that we're going to go against.  We were in pajamas in the spring time.  We've been in pads now for the third day.  I think this weekend is going to be a big challenge for him.  We're excited for that challenge."

Can you talk about Tom Johnson and his progress?

"Tom Johnson, to me, is sort of like a rookie, and we've already talked about this so we don't have to go through this exercise again, but he's like a rookie into his second year.  There was a learning curve for him a year ago.  I think he's had a great growth spurt, and so far he's really done a good job.  He's done a good job.  I think we can expect a little more inside and outside pressure from him because he's got a speed rush from the outside and he can beat a guard on the inside.  We're going through the process right now, but we're very happy so far."

Curtis Johnson was here as the wide receivers coach previously and now Henry Ellard has taken over the wide receivers group.  What can Ellard bring in that Johnson didn't?

"Curtis is a very vocal, energetic, passionate guy, and Henry has all those qualities, he's just a little more quiet.  I was with Henry in L.A. when he was a player.  I was with Henry in St. Louis when he was a coach.  Listen, potentially he's a future Hall of Famer.  You take a look at the number of catches and what he's done in this league.  He's an outstanding teacher.  He really knows this system pretty good because he has the same stems and he's coached the same types of wide receivers, guys like Torry Holt, so he's going to be a great addition to our staff.  Our players really appreciate him."

Was the decision to move the practices to the morning to try to guarantee that you'd get the practice in?

"That's part of it.  I think we've done this ever since we've been together with Sean (Payton), we've always adjusted well.  I've said this before, we are going to meet the needs of our football team as far as the installation goes, the practice time goes, we felt by practice in the morning number one we would be guaranteed some good weather, we're going to get a little bit more meeting time in the afternoon and tonight with the walk-through this afternoon.  Again, this was something that really meets the needs.  Last year when we were on the other schedule, we really felt like we had people coming and getting signed every day with the new CBA.  We had to have an install and a walk-through at practice.  This year, everybody's been here, so we all feel good about the install.  Once Spags felt good about the install, we'd switch it up with the heavy in the morning and the walk-through in the afternoon."

Were you a little unhappy about the in-and-out of the huddle at practice this morning?

"I was just getting them going"

Are you guys planning on doing anything in Canton like going to the Hall of Fame?

"Yeah.  Listen, I think it's an exciting time.  We played this game in '07 when we played Pittsburgh.  We had a great time as a team going through the Hall.  Now, we're going to go through the Hall and we're going to see this display up there of when we won the world championship, so our players are looking forward to seeing that.  We're going to get there and see Willie Roaf's induction, we're going to take a tour of the Hall, and then Cortez Kennedy, who is a close friend of ours, is also going in.  We're going to have a certain amount of people who are staying back who will want to see that.  We'll have two busses going back to the hotel in Cleveland.  It's a huge weekend.  Everyone is looking forward to it."

For someone who's coached long in this league, can you talk about your appreciation for what's going on this weekend?

"Two guys are going in that have meant a lot to me.  We drafted Cortez Kennedy I believe in 1991 in the first round.  When we drafted Cortez Kennedy, he had no idea how good he was.  When he came out of Miami, all he wanted to be was a state trooper, an Arkansas state trooper.  Now he's going into the Hall of Fame.  Willie Roaf, I had in Kansas City for four years.  I think he was the most dominant tackle along with Jackie Slater of our era.  He was a great player.  Both are great people.  Both are great contributors to our sport and great ambassadors.  Hey, it's going to be happy and it's going to be emotional too.  It's going to be great."

It looked like the defense got a little more pressure today.

"It was the same as yesterday, just executed a little bit better.  I don't know if yesterday we called the plays that you would recognize, but today you could recognize them."

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