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Joe Vitt: "We Will Have Our Hands Full" With Raiders Defense

Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt met with the media Thursday to discuss facing the Raiders and Jonathan Vilma's snap count


New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe VittMedia AvailabilityThursday, November 15, 2012

Opening Statement:"Today we installed our third down package both offensively and defensively. We had good work. Defensively, the Raiders are going to give us a lot of different looks. Some of these dogs and blitzes are familiar, that D.A. (Dennis Allen) took here and integrated in Denver and brought with him out there. They're tough, they are challenging. We are going to have our hands full. Offensively, Carson Palmer knows where to go with the ball. Gregg Knapp, their offensive coordinator, really does a good job of creating mismatches. Pattern recognition and making sure we challenge every throw is going to be critical. Zach Strief did not practice today. Junior Galette did not practice today. Corey White did not practice today. Their status is the same today as it was yesterday. Courtney Roby was full and Darren Sproles was full."

Can you talk about the Raiders if they have Darren McFadden this week? And if they don't have him?

"It certainly creates another element to their offense. They have kind of the same running game that they put in out there a couple of years when Tom Cable was still the head coach. It's that zone scheme that was first implemented out in Denver with Alex Gibbs and Mike Shanahan. They do a good job with it. He (McFadden) does a good job. He is a one-cut runner that can crease you and then get to top speed quickly. This blocking scheme and this offense is really catered to what he does best. Listen, their other guys have done a good job with it. McFadden gives you that extra element of making somebody miss a tackle and going the full distance."

What does Jonathan Vilma need to do to see more snaps?

"He is going to see more snaps. With Jonathan Vilma, the biggest thing (challenge) I had as his position coach was protecting Jonathan Vilma against himself. He is a warrior. He wants to play every snap, he wants be in on every play and I saw it first-hand a year ago, what it did to him when he tried to play with that knee. He wound up having to get a surgery during the season and a major surgery during the offseason. He missed all of training camp so when he came back to play we were going to put him on a training camp rep count where he was going to get a certain amount every game. His reps are going to be up. We need him. He's getting better every day; his pad level, changing direction, it's fun to see (it all continue to improve)."

Any timetable of when he will be at full health?

"He is full health right now every time he plays. Situations in games, the packages we have, his rep count is going to go up."

Is it different because he switched positions?

"No. Every good football (player) we have, we find a place for him on the field."

Is that a difficult thing to manage, when you have to protect the player from himself?

"Yes, especially with him. He's a warrior. He wants to play every down. He wants to be with his teammates. He wants to make plays and he wants to help us win. There are some guys that want to play because they're selfish, they want more balls thrown their way and they want to up (increase) their contracts. Then, there are other guys that want to play because they want to be a part of their team, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and that's Jonathan Vilma. I don't think I have to explain to anybody my respect for this man, his body of work, (and) how important he is to this football team. Again, we've got to do it the right way. This is still a long season."

Jabari Greer said after the Atlanta game that he was a little depressed before the final play. What does a comment like that say about him and how he is playing?

"Jabari Greer was on our championship football team. We saw a lot of really unique qualities when we acquired him from Buffalo. A year ago at this time, he had the best stats in the National Football League for corners targeted. I think the completion percentage against him was only 40 percent. We trust Jabari Greer. Jabari Greer is a great teammate. Jabari Greer works his butt off every day and in every game to get better. I can't tell you why or what he's thinking in his heart when he says that but he certainly knows deep down that we have confidence in him and trust him, as does his teammates."

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