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Joe Vitt: The Defense Has Improved Every Week

Vitt recaps win over Bucs and talks about the defense's progress


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Press Conference
Monday, December 17, 2012

Opening Statement: "I don't know if there is really much to say that we (didn't) say during our postgame comments. I can't say enough about our fan base, what they mean to us and the way they've supported us this whole year. Our football team takes very seriously our commitment to our fans and we know our fans are always there for us. When you take a look and you dissect the game a little bit more, when you can win the critical factors like we did yesterday,  it's 5-0 for takeaways, we're able to win the run battle, we're able to win the battle on third down, we're able to win the battle of big plays and pressures, and especially after a heart-breaking, crushing defeat in New York with the field position battle, our players take to heart the things that our coaches are teaching them. We've got a lot of guys that have a lot of want-to on this team and have a lot of pride. It was a good, team win and we probably put together four quarters as well as we have all year long."

After re-watching the game, how impressed were you with the performance of the defense?
"I think we've all said this as this year has progressed, this defense has really gotten better every week. I think it comes with product knowledge. I think as hard as they work, as good of teachers as Spags (Steve Spgnuolo) and the rest of defensive staff are, as much pride as you have in these players that worked hand and hand to get better every single week. Listen, this game is over and this game is behind us. We're going to be critiqued and we're going to be judged on how we play against the Dallas Cowboys, a good football team. That's the earmark of a good player, that's the earmark of a good coach, is to show improvement as the year goes on through practice habits, ongoing skill development, teaching progression, and it's something to hang your hat on and be proud of."

Was there ever a point early in the season where you thought you might need to tinker with a few things with the defense because it wasn't working well early?
"Let me say this, and that's a good question, I think that collectively our coaching staff will tinker every week, as will our offensive coaching staff, what specifically you have to tinker with on weekly basis to give you the best chance to win. That could be a technical tinkering. That could be a schematic tinkering. That's why you practice as long as you practice and that's why we work as hard as we work as coaches to give put our players in the best position to win. That's a weekly basis. To go away from our core beliefs, that's never changed."

Sometimes is it more important to have guys in the system for an extended amount of time as opposed to having the right guys for the system?
"I think this, this game has certainly changed since the advent of free agency. When I was with the Seattle Seahawks, you'd have a defensive player on your team for nine years. It was Jacob Green, Jeff Bryant, Eugene Robinson and Nesby Glasgow for nine years. These are guys that were in your system and grew within it. Now, where there is more of an influx of new players and your roster turnover is bigger every year, you have to be able to make sure that you have qualified teachers that can teach a system. We knew there was going to be a learning curve. There is nobody that is patient in this business. Our defense has progressed, (as) they have learned the core beliefs of Spags (and) Spags has a better understanding of what he can ask a player to do and not be able to do because schemes don't win, people win. I think it's been very impressive to watch."

Can you talk about the strides made by Rafael Bush and Joe Morgan?
"It's fun to watch, it really is. I've said to you guys before, anybody that is a newcomer to our team, it's really a race to adapt to the way we do things. It's a race to adapt to the way we practice, to the way we install offenses and defenses, to the way we walk-through, what our teaching progression is going to be, to the way we educate our team every week on the opponent their facing and listen, that's the real joy you take as a coach, to watch young people progress in a system and watch them get better as the season goes on so it's been fun to watch. At the end of the day, really what we are as coaches is teachers. You teach them what to do, how to do it, when to do it, why you're doing it, and watch their growth and knowledge of the game and you watch their growth as individual players. It's been fun."

How would you describe Cam Jordan's personality?
"I don't know what that personality is. I am not Sigmund Freud. I'm not going into that. I know this, he shows up to work with a smile on his face every day and he works hard every day to get better. We've made this comment about him as a rookie, this game is not too big for him. I think when you combine passion and athleticism, durability and production, all of sudden these numbers start to flourish and you start to see a young man get better at his position and you see the sack totals go up and you see his recognition as  a player go up."

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