"People think it's a big adjustment but we are really just defensive ends in this defense. Our primary job is getting after the quarterback but there is just a slight adjustment in dropping. We did that last year as well. It's not really as difficult as people think it is."
To have to go from rushing on the end to dropping back in coverage and maybe picking up a tight end or a running back out of the backfield, that's a bit of a change when you haven't done it year in and year out right?
"I've done it. I did it college. I did it last year when I had to drop in this defense. Maybe you guys didn't see it as much but it's not as big of a change as everybody thinks it is. I think we have been doing pretty well and we have been adjusting well."
How much were you guys looking forward to putting on the full pads and kind of getting after it?
"Year in and year out, when you don't play football for a while, you get anxious. As someone that loves the game, you really want to get that first start and it really feels good to have contact again. We were really eager but, of course, that dies down a bit once you get out here."
Did you have to dial it back up today? Did you have any good hits?
"I think I did. I think I had a few. You will have to watch the film. It's never as good as it feels when you are on the field and you watch it on tape and say oh I thought it was better. We will see on tape."
Did you have to dial it back a bit today? I know your anxious because you have pads on and you want to go out there and hit someone but thats your teammate.
"Of course. Anyt ime you haven't done something in a few months you put the pads on and you kind of get that pump. You get in that mindset that you need to get out there. It's good though because it's what you have been doing your whole life."
Have you enjoyed this change in defensive philosophies?
"To be honest with you, as long as I am getting more snaps and as long as I am on the field, I don't care what they put me as. I have really enjoyed it. You just have to keep learning and keep getting better every day."
What kind of mental transition do you have to make? Going from fighting for the position to all of a sudden now being a starter?
"It's the same mind-set. You can't lose that edge. I can't lose that edge that I have had the whole time to get to where I am. It's not over yet. I don't even think I'm halfway there. You need to feel like you are the 53rd person to make the roster."
Is there renewed energy on this defense?
"Just with Sean (Payton) alone. Sean (Payton) being back and Rob (Ryan) being here has definitely renewed our energy. We just want to put last year behind us and kind of move forward and try to make a big push.
Can you reflect on when three or four years ago when you came to the Saints and now all of a sudden you're the man working with the first team?
"It's a blessing. Like I said, you just can't ever lose that edge and don't ever get comfortable. I wake up and thank God to give me that mindset and to just keep going hard to be where I want to be."
Does it feel like a long time ago?
"Not really. It seems like just yesterday I was one of the guys just walking in and (not) getting all the attention I am getting right now."
Do you like it?
"I love it."
Jimmy (Graham) jumped offsides and Coach Payton immediately yanked him are those the kind of things that he doesn't tolerate?
"Those are defiantly the kind of things Sean (Payton) doesn't have patience for, especially veteran guys that have been here. Of course, it's Jimmy (Graham) and he is going to get it corrected the next play but that's one of those things that we talked about that we were lacking last year. It's truly a blessing to have him back.