Safety Marcus Ball signed with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday. He was a guest on Thursday's Black and Blue Report (interview starts at 6:40 mark) Below are some highlights from the interview:
Your thoughts on joining the New Orleans Saints?
"Excited. It's a great opportunity. I'm very very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Who Dat Nation. Very much looking forward to it."
What was it about the Saints that made you want to sign with them?
"Just the Who Dat Nation to be honest with you. To be a part of such a great franchise and Coach Ryan and Coach Payton and the guys have really showed me a lot of love and respect. They supported me and we kind of connected on a couple of ideas and it was pretty much a perfect fit."
What do you hope to gain playing alongside Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro?
"First of all, it will be a great opportunity and a great chance to learn from those guys and to be able to be in the same locker room with those caliber of guys. They have already set their marks in the NFL and I'm pleased to say I will be looking forward to meeting those guys and learning from those guys. Anything I can learn, every day, every meeting, every practice."
Now you have the opportunity to work with Rob Ryan. Your thought and what did you know about him before signing with the Saints?
"I know he was a Ryan first of all and those guys are energetic and in tune with their players. They're very much about their guys and that's something that attracted me to Coach Ryan. I know he has the go-get-it defense and he is going to throw you a couple of different looks. I know it's going to be a thick playbook to learn but I'm eager to get in there and start learning and get it rolling."
If you could pick one strength and one weakness of your game, what would it be?
"That's tough. The strength would probably be my anticipation. I'm pretty much a film-head. I do a whole lot of studying and try to anticipate what is happening. Weakness would be pretty much anticipation. I try to get the jump before the offense anyway so sometimes that gets me in trouble."
You played in the Canadian Football League for the Toronto Argonauts. What is the biggest different from the CFL and NFL?
"The field size would be one of the big differences. Also, it's 12 guys on the field instead of 11 so there's one more guy. He's going to hurt you or he's going to help you. The wide receivers on the offense get the running start in their motions. That's a very difficult way to approach it and defend those guys. That causes troubles also."
Is that something that is going to be difficult to adjust to?
"I hope it's not a problem. Football is football. In Canadian football or what not, once that ball is snapped it's football. It's pretty much whatever you learn and whatever you can do to go out and produce."
What can you take from your experience in Canada?
"I learned to be a pro. It was a great experience living in Toronto, living in Canada and experiencing the great Canadian lands up there. Playing with a great group of guys and a great organization, the Argonauts. I can say I was please to sign with the Saints but it was bittersweet because like I said, it was a great organization I was in. I was really lucky to fit right into the Toronto Argonauts team. I'll miss those guy and wish them the best of luck."
For some of the guys that don't go straight to the NFL, is the CFL the best place to start?
"That's pretty tough. I don't want to say that's the best place to go. I want to tell those guys who don't get in right away to keep faith, keep fighting and keep grinding. Either way you go AFL, CFL, it doesn't matter where you go as long as you keep working hard and believe in yourself and believe in your skill set then it will work out for you. Whichever league you end up end, wherever you're at it doesn't pretty much matter if you're believing in it and working hard you'll reach your goal eventually."