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New Orleans Saints players talk about Monday's practice

Ryan Griffin, Keenan Lewis, Ben Watson, Kenny Vaccaro all spoke

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Ryan Griffin
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, August 4, 2014

How much are you taking advantage of the extra reps you're getting with Drew Brees being sidelined?
"I'm trying to, definitely. Every rep I can get, especially getting in there live with the ones and twos is great. I'm just learning as fast as I can, and just trying to improve."

What did you think of your performance after you watched the tape?
"Well it never looks as good on film and it never looks as bad. There's a lot of plays I feel like I could've had better ball placement. There's definitely room for improvement."

It seems like you are making quick and rational decisions this year. Are you improved from last year?
"A year makes a big difference. Every rep, especially today getting a bunch of reps. Being able to get in and get timing down with different guys and being able to play faster."

You seem to be more confident this year. What do you attribute that to and when do you think that kind of 'clicked' for you and you were able to take command of the huddle?
"Coming in as a rookie you don't really know what to expect, and so you kind of come in wide-eyed and you have no idea. This year I kind of had a general idea of how practice was going and what the tempo was like and how players practice. Just receiving that experience and having a year under my belt really helped. I'm just trying to improve on that and keep moving forward."

Luke McCown and Logan Kilgore have talked about how competitive the quarterbacks room is, but how you all help each other. Can you talk about that dynamic?
"Luke is awesome. Just being a veteran of 11 years in the league and helping us out, a couple of young guys. Logan and I, just talking today, said that we need to step up right now. We are the only two that are able to finish practice and I thought it was great to be able to lean on him and him lean on me."

How do you help Kilgore in this whole dynamic?
"Any question he has, I'm going to help him out. Sometimes I'm able to jump in there before he even has a question because I've been there before. I was in his exact same shoes last year, and so just about every question I can help him out with."

Do you feel like this is your third year in the Saints offense, being that you ran something very similar at Tulane under Curtis Johnson?
"Maybe two and a half. We definitely weren't able to expand the playbook like we have here. It's probably two and a half, because I kind of got a little head start on it, just with the terminology and everything."

How much do you appreciate a guy that is willing to help you out, even though you are trying to take his job?
"Luke's just a great professional. Every day I'm learning from him – how he carried himself in the weight room, out here on the field, and in the film room. He's been awesome. He has helped me as much as he can. Before I even have questions, he'll come talk to me and he knows what's on my mind. He's just been great…just a total professional."

You're getting more reps, but you're used to Drew being out there. Is it strange not having him out there?
"It's just a little weird. Even in stretch line, getting in stretch line, he's not in there. Once you get in, you're not even focused on that. I'm focused on the play-call and just trying to execute."

Do you get more help from Luke than from Drew?
"I get help equally from both of them. They're both great."

How good is it to have a guy like Brandin Cooks to throw a quick pass to and he can turn it into a big gain?
"It's awesome. A five-yard out, he's able to take to the house, or a screen. He's a weapon that we're going to be able to use this year, and I think he's going to be pretty good."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Keenan Lewis
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, August 4, 2014

Did you give Marcus Ball a hard time in the defensive backs room for not scoring a touchdown on his interception Saturday?
"We definitely need that touchdown from him. We teased him, especially (because he let) Mark Ingram catch him. Next time he's definitely got to put six points on the board."

What kind of a camp has Stanley Jean-Baptiste had?
"I like him. I've been helping him a lot…guys like myself, Champ (Bailey), some of the older guys have been helping him out, just polishing his skills from the college level to the NFL level. I believe that he'll be a tremendous player and help us out a lot this year."

What was your takeaway from the scrimmage this year? There were some big plays, but you're probably happy with what you did in the red zone.
"We gave up too many big plays. That's something that we need to minimize, especially when you're trying to win against some of these top-notch offenses these days; quarterbacks are passing for 5,000 yards. As a whole, we were very disappointed. But like you said, in the red zone we stopped them from putting up points which is the main goal, so we came out with something positive."

What did you notice from Ryan Griffin on Saturday?
"He definitely whooped us. That's a guy who is improving, working with Drew (Brees) the whole summer. You can tell that he's getting very confident in the offense and just on the NFL level. It's his second year, and that's what we expect from him. I'm confident that anytime he needs to step up and play, I'm pretty sure he will lead the team right."

When people talk about the best defensive backs in the NFL, should your name be included?
"I don't want to judge that. Like they say, the stats don't lie. It is what it is. As long as my team has confidence in me, nothing else matters."

Does that motivate you when you don't hear your name mentioned with some other guys?
"Definitely. I feel like I can play with the best of them, so that definitely gets me fired up and ready to go."

Coach Payton said that being here was less distraction than being at home on your day off. How was it in your case?
"Definitely not me. I'm a New Orleans guy, I love New Orleans. It really doesn't matter. You've got to stay focused no matter where you are, like coach said, and just be ready to roll. Sometimes it's going to be like this."

Well can you talk about just the day off?
"Well, I'd definitely rather be in New Orleans."

What is your favorite high school football memory at O. Perry Walker?
"I would say just seeing some of my fellow teammates go off to Division I schools, colleges, wherever they went. Just to see them get their journey started, was an excitement for me."

How do you approach this year and how do you want to get better, personally?
"Just learning from Champ (Bailey), just learning the small things that I need to polish up in my game, some of the things I learned from guys like Ike Taylor as well in Pittsburgh, just the small things that can help me become a better player and also things that can help my teammates. I'm pretty sure I've asked him too many questions since he's been here, especially sitting next to me in my locker. That's basically like the main thing."

Do you think he (Bailey) will be out there with you soon?
"Yeah, definitely. That's a guy who will be ready to go."

What's the main thing you've taken from him after all the questions?
"Just the small things. Just watching tape, some of the things I need to learn from different quarterbacks and the connections they have with receivers, and the receivers' footwork and how they line up and stuff like that helps me out tremendously. When I'm out there, I try to use it."

What advice do you give to Patrick Robinson, Corey White, when covering Brandin Cooks out on the field at practice?
"Well when you're guarding a guy like that, you've got to make sure that your shoes are very tight because he will probably leave you out of your shoes. Just make sure you get your hands on him quick, so he doesn't get into his route. Don't let him make you do what he wants you to do, make him play your game. That's a guy who has been working extremely hard and I'm excited to see what he'll do."

I know you said you'd rather be in New Orleans, but there's so much to do here at The Greenbrier. Have you gotten the chance to do anything here outside of football?
"I try to sleep. In training camp, we don't get much rest. During my down time, I try to get my body going for the next day."

Is it weird not having Drew Brees out there?
"I'm kind of glad he's not out there (laughter). That's a guy who loves to compete and will do anything to make sure he gets that completion. I'm kind of glad. He's the best in the league at what he does, and when you don't have the best that makes it easier on the defense. I'm excited that he's not there, but I'll love to have him when the season starts."

New Orleans Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, August 4, 2014

What did you do on your day off?
"I took my son swimming, that was about it. I took him to the pool and we walked around a little bit. We went to Draper's for like the 10th time, that little restaurant. That's my spot…the vanilla malt (is a favorite)."

When you came in last year, you looked like you belonged on day one, but is there a big difference for you going into your second year?
"Yeah I think the game has changed. It has slowed down a lot for me. I played a lot of nickel in college. People don't understand that I didn't play any safety in college. Dre (Andre Curtis) and Crime Dog (Wesley McGriff) actually had to find clips of me actually playing safety because I played so much nickel. Now I think I'm more comfortable playing safety, playing deep, and playing multiple positions."

Will you play different spots with Jairus Byrd in now, or will you still play everything?
"I don't know, Jairus isn't back yet. You know Rob (Ryan)…as soon as Jairus gets back, he might switch the whole defense. We'll see."

The plan was to scale you back a little bit though, and not do everything?
"I don't think I'm scaled back at all though. I think I'm still playing a lot. He just wants to use my versatility. I think I got drafted because I can do a lot of things and he wants to take advantage of that."

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