New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Opening Statement: "The week has gone along as we would do the regular season. Today was third down so the emphasis was on nickel. Our guys responded well. We had our third good practice in a row, so we will continue to build, try to get down to our final 53, and go through the evaluation process. We had another day of good work."
How much have the injuries at linebacker slowed down the defense?
"The defense has been implemented. The install is over. We are fine tuning it now. The linebackers that are down have already been through the installation. They are not working right now, so their angles and their timing (are what they are missing on-field work on). If this would have been a regular season game, Curtis Lofton would have played this week. This is part of the game, it just is. We have to work through it, and we were fine today."
Were you able to work on tackling this week?
"Yes, two days in a row of the main emphasis."
Do you expect to see improvement?
"That is why we work on it. There is an expectancy level."
How does that work in practice?
"We had full pads the first two days (of the week). (You emphasize) Proper angles to the ball, proper fit, see the target, your eyes are over your thighs and then you wrap up."
Are they hitting each other?
"They are hitting each other. That is why we have the pads on."
Was it a lack of fundamentals or a lack of effort on Friday night?
"Fundamentals. We don't have a lack of effort around here."
Do you have an update on Ramon Humber?
"I think he had a good breakfast. He has been in a good mood. I don't know what music he listened to today, but I think he is having a pretty spirited day. He pulled a hamstring, he has a grade one. He should be back in about ten days."
Is it a conscious decision to embrace the idea that the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year?
"I can just share this with you: every year, we put our goals up, share those goals with the players and want our players to embrace those goals. Everybody in the organization, every person on our team knows what the goal is. Ever since we have been here, in 2006, the goal was and is to play in and win a Super Bowl. I don't care if the Super Bowl is in Anchorage, Alaska personally, you want to play in that game. It is special because we would be the only team ever to host one and be in it. Once we introduce that goal, it is over now. We take it one day at a time, one week at a time, one game at a time, and now you start to work. If you keep looking at the end result, you are not going to take care of what is at hand. Every practice is at hand, every meeting is at hand. When you come in (the facility) in the mornings you want to have great install meetings. When you get through the install meetings, you want to have a great walk-through. When you get through the great walk-through, you (want to) have a great practice. When you get through with the great practice, you want to review the film. You are going to do that for four days and then you are going to get to the game. You are going to play one snap at a time, one series at a time, one quarter at a time, one half at a time and that is the process. If you do what you are supposed to do, you have a chance to be where you want to be. It was relayed to our team one time, what the goals and the aspirations are. You have to embrace it if you want to be a member of this team, but it really hasn't been talked about since."
Is there anything specific you look for in this game as opposed to the first two?
"We have to see it now. The veterans are going to play a little bit longer. They have been issued somewhat of a game plan. We have tried to structure this week like it was a regular season week. I believe they are excited to play and we are playing against a real good football team. This team spanked us last year in the preseason. They have a unique scheme with their stretch-bobs and their nakeds and throwing the ball down the field. (Gary) Kubiak is an excellent play-caller. He knows exactly what he wants to get done. Our hands are full."
Will Barrett Ruud play this weekend?
"We don't think so. We will see where he is tomorrow. We don't think so."
Is the plan to keep Darren Sproles out of this game?
Do you feel like you are fine without him if he doesn't play until week one?
What do you think about the offseason that Will Smith is having?
"I think Will is pushing the pocket this preseason in his pass rush better than he ever has. He's had a great offseason now. We will play him a little bit more the last two (preseason) games here only because he is going to be out the first couple of games. He's had an outstanding preseason. Will is a great leader on our football team. Will has been here since 2006, he knows exactly how we want things done, he adheres to that and he is a guy that the rookies gravitate to. He's had a great preseason."
Will this game hold more significance for those battling to make the 53-man roster?
"Sure. It is like anything else. You have to show improvement through the process. If a rookie came out and played really well in the first two games and all of a sudden he is not playing very well in the third or fourth preseason game, that is going to hold water. The process is you've got to get better every game because your plate is going to get more full and full with plays, formations, and things that you have to remember. The next game is the most important game."
How have the other coaches dealt with approaching your suspension beginning week one?
"You are going to have to ask the other coaches that. I think since we started the offseason with the offseason conditioning program, then the OTAs and then we went into training camp, every coach on this team has done their job. The players have responded to every position coach. I think both units have responded well to the coordinators. Listen, nobody is going to take the place of Sean (Payton) like everybody knows. This program is in place. We have a job to do, know when to do it and how to do it and keep trying to do it better and better every day."
What is the toughest part of your new role?
"Doing this (press conferences). Usually, I am in a meeting now with the linebackers. I don't relish when we have to cut a player. We have an exit strategy here where we sit down and talk to every player that leaves our building. A lot of teams don't do that, we do. That is not an easy job. Our coaches have done a great job, our players have done a great job, it has been my honor to do this."
Without Lofton or Humber, who is going to get the heavy work at middle linebacker on Saturday night against the Texans?
"Do you have a ticket? You will see it."
You mentioned Lawrence Wilson yesterday?
"I did. We will see."
Does Darren Sproles' absence mean anything for Travaris Cadet?
"Absolutely. Cadet has to worry about his job and doing what he does so he can gain confidence in the coaches. He has to go out there and run routes and catch balls. He has to expand his role and be a good return man. He also has to be, on this football team, a good cover guy. He better not worry about where Darren Sproles is. He better worry about where he is and we will evaluate that when it is time to evaluate it."
Has the fact that Darren has been out given him an opportunity for some of Darren's snaps?
"It has been a great opportunity for him because he has been getting more reps because Darren is not in there."
Do you get to see what he can do on plays designed for Darren Sproles?
Has Corey White come along the most (of the rookies)? He looks like he is really grasping things?
"He is a good football player with a real bright future. I think what he has done a good job of since he was drafted is keeping his mouth shut and going to work. He hasn't touched one of Drew's (Brees) balls yet. We think he is going to be a real good football player. He is fast, quick, and has short-area power. He has really done a good job of retaining the defense. He does have a lot of confidence in his play. He makes a bad play and he lets it go and goes on to the next play which is a redeeming quality for a secondary member, so he has improved."
Is there plan for what you will say or do when he finally does get an interception of Brees?
"Get a kick or something for him I guess."
What are you looking for in the battle between kickers John Kasay and Garrett Hartley?
"Who is the best kicker. I think it is a great battle. We drafted John Kasay, I think it was 1991 in Seattle, so I have known him a long time. Then, he has been a nemesis to us when he was with Carolina, beat us in two games in the last second. Then he comes here last year and has a tremendous season. Now, there is nobody in this organization that doesn't have a ring unless we have Garrett Hartley because he got us a ring. It is a great competition. Again, let's let this thing play out. We have two more games left. They have been competing every day in practice, they have been competing in the games, let's let it play out."