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New Orleans Saints players post-practice quotes: August 21

Nick Toon, Jimmy Graham, Travaris Cadet, Will Smith and Glenn Foster met with media after Wednesday's practice

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Glenn Foster
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's nice to play well in practice, but how nice is it to perform well under the lights in an actual game like you have so far?

"It feels pretty awesome. Being able to transition from practice to a game is always good. It's been something I've been working on this whole offseason since OTAs, so to see it pay off is a good feeling."

Does the defensive line feed off of one another when one person does well?

"We are and we are also buying into Coach Bill (Johnson) saying that we have to play as a unit to attack the quarterback. We are all trying to attack the quarterback (using) four points of pressure. Once Cam (Jordan) got his sack, we all thought 'Okay, this is possible. We can all get after the quarterback.' It's just adrenaline passed on."

Is it beginning to feel like you have a legitimate shot here to make this team?

"Definitely. Whenever a free agent or anyone comes out and shows out like that, you always feel confident going into the next game that you can do more. With that energy and that level, anything is possible."

What was your approach coming in as an undrafted free agent?

"I just felt like I had the talent to be drafted and b (with)e a contender here. I just (wanted to) go out here and prove to these coaches, to the league, and to this organization that I'm here to play."

Why did you decide to come here over other offers?

"I had a handful of options but I talked to coach Payton and he told me that I had a legitimate shot of making the team as a free agent. Pierre Thomas from Illinois was a (undrafted) free agent and he's here on this team. I felt confident that I was able to fit into this 3-4 defense."

You have experience in the 3-4 defense?

"At Illinois we made kind of a transition to a 3-4 hybrid on defense, but I felt that with my athleticism down the field I would fit right in."

How difficult is it actually to get to the quarterback in time to sack him?

"It's pretty difficult. But when I use my advantage, which is my explosiveness and my get-off, you play with a high motor and be able to react to screens and draws and all of those other schemes. Just be able to play fast."

Are you surprised to lead the team in sacks, quarterback hits, and forced fumbles through the first two games?

"Yes, it's a shocker. I mean I've never had a quarterback sack or forced fumble in college so it came off as a surprise. But, just playing with that high energy results well."

New Orleans Saints Outside Linebacker Will Smith
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Do you think the window of opportunity is still open for this team to win a title?

"I think it's always open. That's why we're out here, to win a Super Bowl. I think it's always open."

You won a Super Bowl and in 2011 you probably had the best team in the league. What do you think of this team?

"It's still early. Definitely I think we have a good team. We have a bunch of guys working hard and a lot of talented young guys. It's early. A lot can happen. We just have to take it one day at a time and at the end of the season if you guys ask that question, I'll be able to tell you what we have."

Do you think that the quarterback play in this league is better than ever?

"It's too early to call a guy great. There are a lot of talented young quarterbacks that are playing well and playing at a high level. Great, that takes a long time to get that tile. The league is changing in terms of the offensive styles and the way teams are running their offenses. Quarterbacks out there now have to be a little bit more mobile and athletic than the traditional quarterbacks. You never know, time will tell. You could find a defense to shut that all down and then they'd be back to the regular style."

How do you feel about the transition to outside linebacker two games in?

"I feel fine. The majority of the time I'm rushing the passer. Every now and then I drop back in coverage. I don't do that much. I do what I've been doing the last nine years, rushing the passer."

It looks like you have your hand down for some of your snaps still, including when you got your sack on Friday

"I got the sack with the hand up. They want me to rush the passer, stop the run, and drop back into different coverages at times, but for the most part I'm doing the same thing I've always done. It hasn't been much of a change."

In the preseason every week you want to see improvement. Is it good to be seeing that in the defensive line and linebackers and from the perspective of bringing pressure on the quarterback?

"Definitely, it's no secret that we weren't that good last year. We want to see progress, even though it's preseason, it's a big boost for anyone on the defense. We wan tto continue that. We have a long road. At the end of the day it's only preseason and we have to carry that over into the regular season."

Is the test against the Texans as good as any like it?

"Yes, the Texans are one of the top teams in the National Football League. We've been competing against them for the last four or five years, scrimmaging against them, playing them in preseason games. Every time we've played them it's been a battle. We know them pretty well. They know us pretty well. It's going to be a tough game, because you know they are going to come out and play though."

Can you talk about Cameron Jordan's play and his personality?

"Cam is a very bubbly guy on and off the field. I don't know if you really see it away from the field. His confidence has gotten a lot better since his rookie season. He's playing the run well and pass rushing well. His overall game has gotten a lot better since he first got here. It's a tribute to his offseason work and the work he's done every day in practices."

What do you think your strengths are as a player?

"The last four or five years I've been a four technique, five technique defensive end, taking on a lot of double teams and doing a lot of things I had not done earlier in my career. Now, I'm mostly a just a pass rusher up against tight ends and running backs. It makes it a lot easier for me to pass rush and do a lot of things that I do well."

Was your sack on Friday night on a blitz?

"I don't know if it was a pressure, but it was a blocking scheme they (Oakland) did wrong and I came in off the side."

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Texans' pass rush is pretty strong and they bring blitzes. Does this provide you an opportunity to get off of the line more and perhaps work on blocking?

"They have a better than average pass rush. Watching the film is very interesting. They're very, very talented and it will be a good way to work on things that I've been working on this whole offseason. I'm excited. They are really big and fast and very, very powerful."

Do you guys feel fortunate to play against one of the better teams in the league in the third preseason game?

"Definitely. I think we'll probably end up playing three quarters. For it to be that game, I think it's a blessing to get us going especially when you have such a big first game. We're going to take this like a regular season game and prepare for it the same way and be ready to go out there next week."

How nice was it to have a sense of flow and rhythm on the offense in the last preseason game?

"Sometimes it's hard to get in a nice rhythm in that first game, so it was definitely good to go out there and move the ball (against Oakland). Especially our young receivers…to see them out there shining like that is definitely encouraging. We're an offense that Drew (Brees) is going to throw the ball to whoever is open. He doesn't care what number you're wearing or how many years you've been in the league. I'm definitely excited about what those guys have showed."

As someone who was on the 2011 offense that set the record for most yards in a season, what kind of potential do you think this year's offense has?

"That was a good football team. I don't think anybody can doubt that. I think its too early to judge what kind of team we're going to be. It's week three of the preseason. We're just scratching the surface of who we're going to be and what our identity is going to be, so that's hard to say. I know it feels good to have Sean (Payton) back and I know it feels good to have Drew (Brees) the whole offseason."

He said he thinks he can play until he's forty. Where do you think he's at right now in his career? Is he as good as ever?

"Yes. I mean I think he is. We were actually talking about that last week. I had a press conference with him myself and asked him how long he was going to be here for (because) whenever (that happens) I'm going to have to retire. He's definitely got it in him to play until 40 and beyond. The way he takes care of his body, the way he prepares for the game and the kind of player he is, I think he'll be here for quite a while more and playing at the high level."

Was there any change in Drew's preparation going into this season as opposed to last season?

"The biggest change was just having him here, you can tell. That year when he was gone, he used to text me every couple of days asking me how the guys were doing. So, to have him here early pushing me especially and telling me all the things I'm doing wrong is only for the better. Especially having a lot of younger receivers right now, that sets up and puts us in a better situation."

What do you think of Andy Tanner and his journey with this team?

"Andy is going through a battle right now, and he knows it. He's been playing very, very well. He's a close friend of mine, so obviously I'm pulling for him. Consistently every day he's making plays. That's all he can do is keep showing what he can do. I know it's got to be tough, but he's a strong person and I know he's going to make it out right."

Does it take a strong person to do what he (Tanner) has done?

"Most definitely. It takes a stronger than strong person to do something like that. He's been on and off (the team) for quite a while and he's been Mr. Consistent. He doesn't complain, he doesn't say anything. He just goes out and does his job."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Nick Toon
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How do you approach this week's game?

"Any time you get the opportunity to line up against a great opponent, it's a great opportunity to go out there and compete.  For myself personally, the more snaps I take, the more comfortable I get.  I am just trying to learn and continue to get better every day, every game, every snap, every practice, and just try and learn and take something from each and every opportunity I get."

What was your reaction to the roster move of Steve Breaston and Patrick Crayton getting released?

"My approach to the roster has always been such that it is something that is out of my control.  All I can do is control how I perform, what I do and the rest is out of my hands.  Those are decisions that are above me and my job is to just go out there and showcase my ability, help the team in any way that I can and the rest will take care of itself."

Are you starting to feel like you and Drew Brees are getting more comfortable?

"Yes, for any quarterback and receiver, the more time you spend together, the better chemistry you are going to have.  Drew and some of the older guys here, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Courtney Roby, the older guys in the room had an opportunity to develop that chemistry with Drew over the years and that is something that just comes with time, trust and repetition.  The more opportunity and time I get with Drew for myself and Kenny Stills and all the young guys here is helpful and definitely carries over into the game."

Can you talk about how it seems that receivers that leave the Saints sort of fade away from the game?

"Drew is a phenomenal player.  It's hard for me to speak on what happens when people leave here.  There are unknown factors and a lot more things that play into it than just the simple combination of quarterback and receiver.  Drew does a great job of communicating his thoughts and relaying what he is thinking and that is a huge part of developing that chemistry and trust, just knowing what the other person is thinking, if you have a lack of communication or if there is a communication gap, it is hard to build a sufficient relationship with the quarterback."

How difficult is it to learn the process of that in this offense there is always a chance you could be the guy to make the play?

"It's something that is taught in football at a young age, but there is not always the talent to get the ball there.  Drew obviously has the talent to get the ball out there when needed.  In this offense, it can fly anywhere at times.  You just have to be ready.  There are situations where you are more likely to get the ball than others, but you just never know.  Coverage could be blown, someone could fall down, you just don't know what's going to happen.  You just have to go out and play the game and be ready at all times."

Are there any unique characteristics you need as a receiver?

"It's just really going out there and being a football player.  A receivers job is to run your routes, get open, and catch the ball.  If you can do all three of those things you are going to be a good player.  It's not as easy as just saying it, but those are the three things you need to be able to do well and hopefully you have a good quarterback that can get you the ball.  We have a guy here that is excellent and makes our job much easier."

You have to read pressures right?

"Coverage recognition is important especially important at this level.  Obviously it depends on what kind of offense you are in, but in our offense you have to be able to recognize coverage and make adjustments to play and shift."

Sean Payton mentioned how the young receivers needed to work on the little things. Does any of that hit home to you?

"Definitely, like I said earlier, my approach is such that I am going to try and improve every day when I come out to practice and every game, (and) every play, just try not to repeat mistakes.  I definitely made improvement from week one to week two in terms of the little things.  I didn't catch as many balls, but there were definitely a lot of things that I improved on week one to week two.  I'm going to carry that over and try to repeat the same thing from week two to week three."

Brees has compared you to Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston.  Do you agree?

"I have heard that comparison.  Drew mentioned that to me last year after training camp.  He said you remind me a lot of Vincent Jackson.  Obviously Marques is a guy that I will naturally be compared to because we are similar body types and we play the same position here.  We do a lot of the same things.  My approach is, it's hard for me to compare myself to other players.  I see myself on film, but I am really just trying to build my own brand, become my own player and take positive things from the guys that have had success in this league.  Two examples, Vincent and Marques both have had a lot of success and are phenomenal players."

Are you anything like Al Toon?

"I think I am probably most like him if we are comparing in those three guys.  I have his blood running through my veins. He was a track guy and I hope I am better. Time will tell."

He must have loved that deep ball. Was he excited about that one?

"My dad was a little bit of a different player than I am.  My dad was a track guy and was kind of one of the first big receivers, one of the first of his kind in his era.  He was fast but I think last week it was great for me to get past the defense and catch a deep ball, because my speed has been something that has been overlooked throughout my career.  I do have above average speed for a guy my size and it's definitely something I can bring to the table and become a well-rounded, multi-threat receiver, not just a possession guy."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Travaris Cadet
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are you looking for a bounce-back effort in Houston after your performance last week against Oakland?

"Definitely. Last game was last game and it's in the past. The only thing I can do is learn from it, progress from it, and move on and put the bad stuff behind me."

What exactly did you learn from last week's game? Have you figured out what happened to fumble twice?

"Really it's no excuses. Ball security is the number one thing you need to have in this league to win because when you lose the turnover battle, you put yourself and your team in a bad hole. When you get knocked down you have to get back up. You get knocked down twelve (times), you get back up thirteen."

Did you find a certain mistake in your technique?

"It was a helmet on the ball, and the second one was mishandled by me which is all mistakes by myself. I point the finger at nobody and I'm going to learn from it, gain from it get better."

Coach Payton said his biggest challenge is getting to know the rookies and the guys like you from last year that he didn't get to coach. How frustrating is it having to prove yourself all over again?

"Every year is a new year. When I came in as a rookie last year I was trying to prove myself. Going on to the veteran stage, I wouldn't even consider myself a veteran. I'm getting a year under my belt, and the second year is getting more comfortable and learning. I mean what Coach Payton brings is another force to the table just like Coach (Joe) Vitt did when he was here. They all expect highly of us, so it's really not a start-over year. One year you bring in a notebook and take notes. When the next year comes you throw that notebook away and get a new one. You have to approach every year the same."

When you have a game like last week, was there a veteran or a coach that took you aside and told you to shake it off?

"There were a lot of guys. A lot of guys on the team came to me and said 'We know what you can do' and etcetera. Things like that happen. You can't keep thinking about it through practices because if you continue to keep thinking about it, it's going to keep happening. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the first fumble of my career, and through all of them you have to learn and get better from them. You can't dwell on the past and you have to move on and that's the way you be great."

So when you came out for practice on Monday it was all gone?

"It was all gone; it was a new approach. You have to take it one day at a time and it is all about progression. When a bad thing happens, you have to replay it in your head as a positive and move on."

How important is it for you to keep your edge during camp?

"It's a mentality that you bring coming in. I believe that if you're up on your game, no matter if you are a first round pick, an undrafted guy, or a tryout, if you approach every day the same and give them that maximum effort, you will have nothing to worry about."

Are you a player who is going to rely on versatility to contribute to this team?

"Definitely. My job is (to be) a versatile player. (I'll do) whatever they ask me to do. If they want me to play receiver, running back, return kicks, or cover kicks, I am available to do it. I just don't want to be a man of many things and a master of nothing. I want to be a master of all. It takes time and whatever you bring to the table is what you're going to get out of it."

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