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New Orleans Saints players post practice quotes

Chris Carr, Luke McCown and Brian de la Puente met with media post practice

New Orleans Saints Running Back Pierre Thomas
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How do you think the running game is improving?

"The running game has improved a whole lot, especially the outside zone runs.  It showed a lot in the game against Kansas City.  We need to keep progressing.  It was our first game.  We played against another team.  We got a chance to test our ground game against another opponent instead of our own team, our own defense.  I think they did a good job as long as we keep progressing and doing a good job of running the ball hard and the offensive line doing a good job on their blocks, the receivers doing the same thing, I think our ground game is going to look good this year."

Did it feel good to be back in the goal line drill after missing it last week?

"Definitely, I think our goal line scrimmage that we just had was one of our best that we have had in the past.  I saw that the guys were on the blocks very quick. The offensive line and tight ends did a great job getting to their guys and pushing them back.  We had a few ones that we didn't get in, but the majority of the time, we got in.  It was mostly dead even but usually the defense gets an upper hand on us when we are out here scrimmaging, but today it was close to dead even.  When I say we got the upper hand a little bit, we ran hard and the offensive line did a heck of a job of allowing us to get into the end zone."

How do you feel about being back in team drills today?

"I feel great.  I was anxious to get back out here and test it out.  I was trying to push for these trainers to let me back out here so much.  It was tempting to say hey, let's just take our time.  Knowing me and my attitude, I really don't like being hurt and I just want to get back out there on the field with my teammates.  They were being smart with me, just holding me back, making sure everything was good and that we don't have any setbacks. I'm glad they did and I just felt good out here.  They said I look a lot fresher and faster.  I have these fresh legs so a lot of these guys don't like it, but hey I am good and I'm glad to be back with these guys at practice with them."

Do you think you will play on Friday?

"Definitely, I am preparing for it.  I am ready to play on Friday. I am ready to hit another team besides my own players."

Was it good to get a little payback today after the defense won the two-minute drill yesterday?

"Definitely, the defense has an upper hand.  They know some of our signals.  They have an advantage on the two minute drill.  We drove on them very well and it's good to see our defense step up when it really comes down to it because if it is like a game like situation and they get driven down all the way to their own 20 or 10 (yard line) and come up with a pick at the very end of the game, it's unbelievable.  We want something like that for our defense.  I am kind of glad that we did it, but at that time I wasn't because we had to run the conditioning afterwards."

How impressive is Jahri Evans?

"Jahri is one of our leaders on this team.  He is one that you could look up to, talk to and look to for guidance, especially on this offensive line.  A lot of the guys go up to him and Zach Strief all the time and ask them questions if they can't ask the coach.  Jahri is one of those guys that will show you he can get the job done.  He has been doing it for so long and here with the Saints, he has been doing an outstanding job, a wonderful job.  He is a great player and a great mentor."

How impressive is Darren Sproles for being so small?

"I've been stressing that so much to try and get him a lot of runs in the inside and try and get him the ball a lot more on the ground game.  It is hard for defenders to see him.  You talk to our guys and I ask them questions like, 'can you see Sproles as soon as the ball is snapped'.  You have the linemen and the defensive linemen standing up, is it hard for you guys to see him?  They said it was hard because sometimes they lose track of where he is at.  If you have that, why not put him in.  Why not use that to your advantage.  He could squeeze through little holes that Mark Ingram and I can't.  It's really good to see him out there switching it up and not always catching the passes from Drew (Brees) or being out as a flank back, running behind the tackles and everything.  That is something that I'm glad to see and he's happy to see it too."

Do you notice that you get called a lot for screen passes?

"I hear a lot that I was one of the best running the screens, but I tell these guys that they can run it too.  It's not just me, it's what you have to look for.  I give feedback to my fellow teammates, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, I tell them what I look for when I am running the screen.  I give that back to them, but I am glad Sean Payton is back and I know he is going to call those a lot more.  If my name is called, trust me I am happy for it."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Chris Carr
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What was the problem on special teams when you looked at the film?

"We were avoiding (the side of the return) the wrong way and we were (also) getting stuck on blocks.  We have to give them credit, they played well.  They were getting leverage on their blocks.  They get low and usually the low man wins.  It doesn't matter how strong you are.  If you attack a blocker high, they are going to be able to block you.  And then we were avoiding the wrong way.   You have to avoid the side of the return and we were going the wrong way, read the wrong blocks.  And so, it's just the little things, the little things turn into big things, so we just need to fix those mistakes."

Can you talk about the experience you bring to this franchise?

"I think I come with a lot of versatility (and) a lot of football knowledge.  It's humbling to come back and have to prove yourself all over again.  I've been around the league for a while.  A lot of these guys have seen me play, so they know what I can do.  At this point in my career I know that it's what have you done for me lately kind of league.  I know I have to go out there and be consistent and prove to these guys on this team that I can play and help this team out.  It's been a lot of fun.  I am just thankful that I got another opportunity, hopefully I make this team."

Do the younger guys make fun of you and Jim Leonhard about being old?

"They don't joke too much.  I don't think I look young, but they said that they think I look a lot younger than I am.  And plus I think my energy and the fact that I go out there and play like I am just as fast and I am just as quick as I always have been.  It just maybe hurts a little more now.  They don't joke around.  I think they are very respectful and they want to ask questions. They are willing to learn which is good.  I am willing to share whatever information I have."

What are your thoughts about the live goal line drill?

"I thought it went well.  It's good to go live sometimes. It's always hard to simulate tackling, so in practice, football is such a violent game (that) you can't hit every single time.  It is kind of like a boxer. You can't hit really simulate being in the ring, you have to hit the bag and do other things.  You have to save your body.  You need to go live occasionally to get that experience.  Hopefully nobody gets hurt doing it, but people are smart.  There were no cut blocks out there and the offense did a very good job.  It's hard. We have a very good offense and you need to go over those difficult situations, football situations and football.  Whatever the situation is, whether it's two minutes, red zone or goal line, you need to go over all of those situations."

Can you talk about how Rob Ryan uses a lot of colorful sentences and languages to motivate you guys?

"He is always like that, but he is a very positive coach even if you hear him yelling.  It is all in good spirit.  I think all the guys respond to Rob very well."

How key is it to earn a spot on special teams if you aren't going to be a starter?

"I think the more things you can do, the better.  When it comes down to a very competitive team and you have a lot of players that are capable of going out there and playing a certain spot.  I think the more versatile players are probably going to be the ones that will be here for a while.  You never know how things are going to shape up.  You also have the salary cap to take into consideration as well.  When you are trying to make a team the more things you can do, the better.  Especially, once you are an older player, they want to see if you are dependable and that they can play you at a lot of different spots.  Usually a lot of the younger guys are the ones that are called upon to play special teams.  If you are an older player you want to be able to show them that you are capable to go out there and do that as well.  To me, that is just as vital as defense, to play well on special teams and to play well on defense."

What is the approach on special teams for the Raiders?

"Everybody is in the same predicament. You can't use that as an excuse.  But the ultimate goal is to get ready for the regular season games.  If you are a coaching staff, you want to feel like when you go into that first game, you have a confident kickoff and punt team.  It's all about getting better.  By the time the fourth preseason game comes along, if you aren't playing well by that point, then there is going to be something wrong. But I think it's really important not to panic and not get overconfident.  We (can) go out there against Oakland this Friday and play very well, but that doesn't mean anything.  You have to get better because once things go along, people are going to get more experience here and we are going to watch a lot of film and if you aren't on your game, you are going to get beat.  It's about being consistent and doing things consistently well.  That was just one game and we want to treat that as an anomaly and hopefully that's not the norm and we do a lot better."

Are you going to miss the fans at practice?

"Yes, I signed some autographs today.  I have really enjoyed my time here in New Orleans and they definitely have that southern hospitality here.  I will definitely go out there and shake some hands if they want to see me.  I don't know if they want to see me (joking).  I like having people here, but sometimes I'm so focused that it doesn't really matter to me."

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Luke McCown
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday August 14, 2013

Do the recent personnel changes to the wide receiver position make it more difficult for the offense to get in a groove or is it a work in progress?

"Every day they are certainly getting better, guys are working hard. There aren't too many places in the league where they ask the receiver to be responsible for different routes as they do here. They're constantly running, learning new releases and how to run different routes and it puts a lot of pressure on those guys. You're constantly learning in that position for them and they're doing a great job so far."

How difficult is it going to be for the coaching staff to pick out the guys that make the team?

"I don't envy that position at all because it's going to be tough and that's part of the business that it's going to be tough. I think what probably any spectator has seen, we have a number of guys at the receiver position that we trust and each of them can play at a high level and they each have bright futures."

What are your thoughts on Jim Loenhard?

"(He's a) super smart player. As a quarterback, (working) against the safety, sometimes it's kind of a chess match. Can I get you to go where I want you to go and can you fool me into thinking that you're going to go where I don't want you to go? With Jim, he's just so smart.  We were standing on the sideline the other night in the preseason game against the Chiefs, he was calling out the formation play before the chiefs snapped just based on film study and what he understood about that offense.  Obviously (he's a) very, very smart guy and really underrated athletically. He gets a lot of talk for his size and he's got very good range for a safety. He's physical and the thing that stands out about Jim is he is smart, he will fool you in coverage.  "

Do you still give Drew Brees a hard time about the home run derby at Zephyr Field where you beat him?

"Oh absolutely, I have a trophy on top of my locker facing his locker just to let him see it every day."

Does it eat at him?

"Drew isn't the one to tell you that it eats at him, but you got to know is."

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Akiem Hicks
Post-Practice Media Availability
August, 14, 2013

Which side of the edge held the ball during goal line?

"Both sides. As a unit, I don't think there are going to be a lot of teams that can run on us because of the size and strength we have on our defensive line and our secondary help."

What are your thoughts on having the opportunity to start with Kenyon (Coleman) being out?

"You have to keep rolling, you have to keep getting better, you have to keep coming out here and working hard every day. Put another bean in that jar."

What is a veteran like Jim Leonhard's work ethic like?

"Number one, he has a wealthy knowledge. Anyone in our secondary would agree with that. You pull on guys like that because not only can he dictate what's about to happen but he can give you a heads up. It's always a benefit and his work ethic is phenomenal."

Obviously, Jahri Evans is the man at his position. What does he bring to this team?

"I would have to say that's where the defensive tackles get most of their work. You have a big Jahri Evans that does pretty much everything well. You learn something every day. Especially me coming from my rookie year to this year. I feel like it has become more of a competition because last year it was a lot rougher. It's back and forth every day and he is great mentor. Someone who (you) can look to to just know how to play the game and what kind of person you want to be out there when you are out there playing the game."

You mentioned putting the bean in the jar. What are some things specifically that you are looking to improve on in your game?

"Pad level. That's number one. That's what I come out here and focus on every day is pad level. I'm a 6-5 guy and I am 340. I have to stay low. That's something that Bill Johnson works on with me every day with."

How difficult is that for you since you are a tall guy to begin with?

"I don't believe that it is difficult but it is just a mindset. You just have to come out and be focused on that task."

That being said, what goes through your mind as you see Darren Sproles on the practice field?

"Lunch. No you have to catch him. he is one of those guys who is always running. He is always fast and when you do get him and you do get a chance to get your paws on him, you feel good about it because you know he is running about a 4.3 out there."

Is that something that you can anticipate or do you just react?

"I don't believe that you can anticipate what our offense is going to do because it is so multiple and it is something you really have to prepare for."

New Orleans Saints Center Brian de la Puente
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How did the goal line session go today? It looked like you guys on offense got the upper hand today.

"On goal line, as an offensive line unit, we kind of have to buckle up, and it is up to us. We will have to see it on tape, but I think we did a pretty good job. It is one of those days that you just have to grind it out and get the ball inside the end zone."

Is it encouraging knowing you scored eight out of twelve times and some of those were with relative ease?

"Our goal down there is to be a hundred percent so that is not what we want, but it is in the right direction. We just have to get back and watch the tape and get better."

It kind of seems through camp that the defensive line has been getting a lot of pressure too. Can you see the improvement on that side?

"No doubt, I think that we have a stout group, top to bottom. I am excited to see them on Sundays this year."

I know that it seemed odd watching the first team run the scout team, and Drew running the option. Did you get a kick out of that a little bit?

"Well I don't like when Drew is out there getting exposed to hits and stuff, but there is a lot of read option stuff going on right now. Anyway we can help our defense out. At the end of the day, we are a team, if our defense can get a good look and get better at something then I am all for it."

You are a team, but it is competitive. You saw the defense celebrating after the two-minute drill yesterday, you get the best of them at the goal line, was that satisfying?

"I think they were lucky that conditioning wasn't on the line today. We are pleased with the way that we did in goal line, and we just have to have carryover on Sundays."

It seems like we are seeing some runs that break out some big yardage. How do you think the running game with blocking and zone schemes are working?

"I like it. I think the guys are getting the hang of it because it is different. Aiming points and stuff like that is different, so as time goes, as we get more comfortable with it, I think we will see better results."

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