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New Orleans Saints players post-practice quotes: August 20

Pierre Thomas, Roman Harper, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Cameron Jordan talk after practice

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Lance Moore
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In your career, does it seem like the years have flown by with having these young receivers in camp?

"Not during training camp. Once the season starts, you look back and you say it's been nine years but these days are long and they're hard and they're hot and they're tiring. You don't really have time to think about how long. You have to think about the next play and the next day and the next opportunity to get out there."

With the potential of this offense, what excites you the most about the regular season coming up?

"Just the potential for greatness that this team has. Obviously, moving forward from last season and looking forward to the challenges that we have this season. I think the sky is the limit for this team. I think we'll play a lot more complementary game and that's in all three facets of the game. Hopefully, that will help us."

On getting a fast start this season

"I think first and foremost we have got to get guys healthy and sharpen things up these last two weeks. The key to getting off to a fast start is beating Atlanta. It feels like it is a while away from now but it is never too soon to start looking."

You've gone up against the Texans before. Talk about the challenge they present.

"They're definitely a physical team. They're a really good team in the AFC. They always play us well. It is one of the more exciting preseason games that we play because it generally lies on the third week of the preseason. Both teams are going to be ready to play a Sunday afternoon game that is more like the regular season. (We need to) get the young guys ready to go and hopefully go out there and take care of business."

How do you view your own game?

"Whatever they want me to do. I've been the guy that has kind of built my career off of making the most of my opportunity. Sometimes it's been the number three guy. Sometimes it's been the return guy. Back to '08 for a while, I was the number one guy. To me, it doesn't matter. Whatever they want me to do. I'll show up and work. It doesn't matter to me."

How well do you think the secondary looks?

"They look great. They are making a lot more plays than I ever remember in a training camp. That's not a knock on them. I think that they have gotten better each and every year but this year they definitely have been sticking out to me. Hopefully that will translate into the games."

Marques Colston has never been to Hawaii, not even as a tourist. What do you think about that?

"It's unfortunate. He's a guy that has had so much success and has ridden under the radar. That is not fault of his own. He is just not one of the more flamboyant guys but if you compare his stats to any of the other guys around the league over the last seven years, he's right there in the top. It's unfortunate and hopefully we can get this guy to Hawaii."

Don't you think if he has some end zone dances like you have, he would have been there already?

"Possibly, I don't think it would have hurt him but you never know."

Does the potential from the 2011 season carry over?

"This is the '13 team. It's not the '11 team. It's not the '12 team and it's sure not the '09 team. We've got to build our own legacy. We can't think about the what-ifs of the past or try to get back to the past. We want to be better than we've ever been here. The only way we can do that is to take care of business starting week one. We can't think about what-if two years ago. We want to be better than we've ever been here and hopefully we can do that this year.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Pierre Thomas
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How great is it to get a final dress rehearsal against a team like the Texans?

"We know Houston is a tough team.  They have been doing pretty well this preseason and so have we.  We are just anxious and can't wait to get out there, especially for the first offense to get out there and really get out there almost a full game and see what type of level we are at at this point.  We are going to have more snaps than usual in the preseason and this is the time to see it and how we finish in the game and how we go throughout or up to the third or fourth quarter. It's a challenge to see what the first string can do and how we play."

It will be a nice test for the run game against a defense like that, right?

"Oh, definitely.  They have good upfront guys and they play that 3-4 defense and something that we have been matched up against in practice and we are going to prepare ourselves for it.  We will put together a good game plan at the last minute against the Texans and I think we will do a good job against them."

Do you look at all at Marques Colston and how he is going into his eighth year and seven 1,000 yard seasons and no Pro Bowl?

"Just hearing that, it's kind of like, why? How is that possible? You see this guy and all the things he has done in his past and still what he can do.  He should have been one of those guys selected to be in the Pro Bowl.  He is a great player on and off the field.  He is a teacher.  He is a student.  He is a great guy.   I wish nothing but the best.  He is quiet guy and most people don't see him talking too much, but he gets the job done.  A lot of these young receivers are talking to him all the time and the coaches always use him as an example.  With that type of attitude and his desire for this game, battling all the injuries he has been through, he is a guy that just shows that he is a fighter and he's not going to give up."

Is that the most impressive thing, battling all the injuries?

"You look at a guy like that and all the things he's been through, he fights.  He continues to fight and never lets up."

How do you feel the running game is progressing and what are your general expectations for this year?

"It's progressing very well. The offensive line, tight ends, receivers and fullbacks, they are all doing a great job of letting us running backs to hit the holes.  They are just opening it up, especially the outside zone routes.  I think it has probably been one of the best looks we had since I've been here.  We have established that and now that Coach Payton has established that he is doing a lot of running in practice and in the game.  You see a lot of good yardage on the ground, especially with the outside zone runs, not as inside as much as we used to in the past.  That is something that you look forward to seeing in the offense and something we are anxious to see as a running back core to get out there and do, to keep that ground game going and help us be balanced on offense and open up the passing game.  Just as a runner, you want to touch the ball more, you want to get those carries and you want our ground game to be successful because it starts with the big boys upfront but also with us."

As a running group, do you have a goal for this season?

"I know that everyone has their own goals.  I know a lot of guys take pride in working hard and getting as much yardage as they can.  I know one of my goals is try and be the YAC king, yard after contact.  I'm not trying to let one guy take me down, it's going to have to take at least two or three guys, maybe 10.  That's my goal, not letting one guy take me down and get as much YAC's as you can after contact.  That is one of my personal goals.  I'm not sure what everybody else is, but I am sure it is doing the best job they can and getting the most yards they can when they touch the ball."

As a team, what would be your definition of an effective run?

"An effective run is if you hit the pile, you want to use one defender and push him back as far as you can.  Don't let him push you back, always go north."

New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Will this week's game against Houston be a good test for this team?

"Yeah, it will be a good test. (A test) For this stretch zone run too. We haven't faced that and it's always good to see how our defensive linemen are going to react to that, all the cut blocks and all of the different schemes, they make everything look alike. It will be a tough test against a great offense, we understand that. They have some serious weapons. Overall, we just have to go out there and play fast, play emotionally, we need to really be into it, understand that we are going to be on the road and try to get ourselves a win."

I am assuming you guys do like the test of playing the Texans, one of the better teams in the league, instead of a team that didn't finish as well last year in the third preseason game.

"As a professional, you like to compete. You always want to play against the best of the best (and) Houston is one of those teams. They are one of the teams that everyone talks about every year. But we have a big chance in front of us. We are going to go out there and compete. We are going to play like the score does count, understanding going in to it that it is going to be fun. We need to start fast like we did last week, play well on third down, tackle well and to see how we do up front against this zone scheme."

How do you feel the secondary has progressed through training camp and the two preseason games so far?

"Communication-wise, we still have some things to clean up. Overall, our man-to-man coverage has done fairly well, we're competing on some different things. We had a couple of chances to get a couple of turnovers last week, (and) we need to continue to work on it. We need to lock it in and things like that. Other than that, you really can't complain a lot. Our tackling has been pretty nice when the ball's gotten back there. We're just trying to compete, that is it."

With some of the new additions including Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis, do you feel that this group can be as good as ever?

"Hopefully. I don't want to put all kinds of pressure on ourselves, we've had a couple of good teams here. We just want to be our own group, it's going to be our own personality. We have a different mantra this year and we are just trying to live up to it. We're going to do it big. We just need to have some success, that's all it is about."

What are the keys to getting off to a fast start?

"The biggest thing is just momentum. Confidence early. Just getting some things to go your way early and then the next thing you know the ball constantly rolls your way and you're just a hot team. Everybody knows that you don't want to play a hot team. Offensively, defensively, if we get some turnovers early and our offense gets on the field and gets rolling, then you see Drew (Brees) complete four, five or six passes in a row, and then we're rolling. There is a system to this whole thing and we all understand it that's been here before. We understand that we have to complementary football."

Even for a veteran team, getting momentum early is critical?

"It has to be. You want to have some confidence. You want to have the younger guys believing in each other, believing in their teammates, believing in what the coaches are telling you and the scheme of everything. That is how you start to move on, how you start to build confidence (and) how you start to build a little momentum early in the year."

Can you tell when a team is ready to go into a season? Or when you are less confident?

"No, you really can't. You won't know until they kick it off on the first regular season game and we'll see how it unfolds."

For you and Malcolm Jenkins, how much does this scheme help you?

"It just allows us to do different  things. We're not just lining up at safety. We're not just doing one thing. Malcolm (Jenkins) is playing some nickel (and) I'm playing some dime. I'm moving around, I'm doing some different things. It's allowing us to really use all of our talents. It's not just you're going to play X and you're not going to play Z."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marques Colston
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What can you tell us about your road back to health?

"I was just trying to be cautious and take my time knowing that we have a long season to play, just making sure that I am 100% ready to go when I get out here full time."

What has stood out to you about some of the younger receivers including Nick Toon, Kenny Still, Andy Tanner and Preston Parker?

"They show up. They have been making a ton of plays. You see it on the practice field day-in and day-out, but once it translates over to a game, that's big-time. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what those guys can bring to the offense."

Can you take your time returning because you have these young guys ready to play?

"That always helps. That's kind of been the plan for me going in to camp. But it's always good to see those guys have an opportunity."

How many reps do you need to be ready?

"That's up to the guys upstairs. I just come in and do what they ask of me."

Are you planning to play on Sunday (against the Houston Texans)?

"Again, that's up to the guys upstairs."

Are you at 100%?

"Probably not at this point. But that's okay, I'm working towards it. I still have a couple of weeks yet so, again, I am taking my time with it."

How steady has Lance Moore been for this offense the past few years?

"He has been awesome. You know exactly what you're going to get from him day-in and day-out, week-in and week-out. He has been one of those few guys for us."

Have you guys talked about being the veterans and teaching these young kids?

"I think we feel it more than we talk about it. These training camp practices, the legs get a little heavier quicker. We're enjoying being the old guys in the room and watching the young guys flourish."

What can you say about the surgery you had in the offseason?

"That is really a non-issue. To me, it's really just working my way back and getting myself in shape."

Do you need a seventh 1,000-yard season to justify being a seventh round draft pick?

"I need another Super Bowl ring."

What do you think about being a seventh round pick and now having the opportunity to go for your seventh 1,000-yard season?

"To be honest, that's never really been a goal. That has just been a byproduct of being a part of a great offense. More important to us is really getting back on track in the wins and loss columns."

Is it hard to believe when you look back on your modest beginnings that this is where you are in your career?

"It's one of those things that a few years from now I will be able to take that perspective. But right now I'm just grinding and trying to get ready for number eight."

How much does it amaze you that Drew Brees has been so sharp for so long? Even in this preseason working with guys he isn't as familiar with, it seems like he has been really sharp.

"That is who Drew is. Really, seeing him work day-in and day-out, it's really not surprising anymore. He puts in the work and deserves to have the success that he's had." New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do you credit your secondary for helping you guys out a little bit with the pressure?

"I think they have definitely been bringing the intensity level up. There's a lot of competition back there. Everybody is out there trying to eat and trying to get better. That's where the defense is at right now: not trying to find their identity, but assert their identity and that's just to be physical, be fast and make the right plays when we need to."

What have you seen from Ramon Humber?

"Humber is a good, fast linebacker. A lot of people have him underrated because he's undersized. He's probably (Darren) Sproles' height or something. No, but he's real fast, real intelligent, and it's definitely a pleasure knowing that he's back there and he can cover a lot of space."

Are you pretty much where you want to be right now?

"Not where I want to be. I want to be faster, I want to be stronger, I want to be quicker. There's always so many things that you can get better at, and that's what it's all about. My goal is to come out to work and work hard."

How have you been able to adjust from the move from 4-3 end to 3-4 end?

"It's only preseason, so I'm just trying to catch my feel for it. The only thing that I've got going for me is that I've played the 3-4 in college and saw a couple of 3-4 packages with coach Gregg (Williams). I think that I can play anything, honestly. I feel that every position you put me in, I think I can excel at. That's the mentality every day."

Do you miss Will Smith in the defensive line room and how would you describe his transition to linebacker?

"Will is always going to be a great defensive end, as well as he has become a good outside linebacker. You always appreciate his knowledge. He's played so many years in the game that he shares whatever he wants with us because we're still a young D-line. Other than Brodrick (Bunkley), we don't have too many years of experience on the D-line so it's always good for some older guys to come in and tell us how to break down the film because we're all still learning. That's what it's all about is just gravitating to as much knowledge as you can. Honestly, with our talent level and our mental process, if we can get everybody on the same page we can be even better."

Does he still come to your (defensive line) meetings?

"Yes. He doesn't attend, but he pops up."

What are the challenges the defensive line will face against the Houston Texans?

"It's a little early in the week, but of course with that type of offense you definitely have to get your hands up and have to be able to play them deep. I think as the week goes on we will be more prepared."

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