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New Orleans Saints players talk about Thursday's practice

Cameron Jordan, Marques Colston, Jonathan Goodwin, Ryan Griffin and Terron Armstead met with the media

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marques Colston
Training Camp Media Availability
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can you talk about this camp opposed to last year?

"It is a totally different experience for me just being able to really rest and come into the season healthy.  It is a totally different ball game."

Are you in touch with your NFL mortality?  Do you feel like going into your ninth year, how do you look at that?

"I'd rather look at that at the end of the season.  There's an end for everyone in sight.  I'm enjoying my days and my practices here, just trying to get better.  When it is time to hang them up, I am pretty sure I will know and everyone else will know.  It is surely not that time yet.  I am going to continue to grind."

How many of these younger guys come to you?

"It is kind of a funny position to be in for me.  These young guys have come in and really absorbed the offense pretty well.  They are always looking to get better so they ask a ton of questions and I am glad to answer them. I am just really enjoying these guys come to work and be professionals."

Do you see a little bit of yourself in Brandon Coleman?

"Yeah, this is the first time I've had a receiver where I can feel like I am looking in the mirror.  He's definitely that has been a guy that has come out here and worked every day and has really picked things up well.  I am just really looking forward to him getting on the field preseason and showing what he can do."

How does it feel to be the standard on this team and that everybody has to live up to Marques Colston?

"It's motivation to keep raising that bar.  Just come out here and continue to work and realize that I have to continue to work for it."

Is your work load about what you thought it would be?

"Yes, I think there's been a pretty good balance where I am able to come out every day without getting too sore and irritated.  I will continue at this pace for as long as he (Coach Payton) feels necessary."

Why is it funny that guys are coming to you for advice?

"It doesn't feel like year nine for me.  I look around the room and I'm the oldest guy by far.  It's just a unique situation.  I don't have Lance (Moore) anymore.  I don't have Devery (Henderson) anymore.  I still have (Robert) Meachem, but it is just a different situation."

What have you seen in the difference of Nick Toon?

"He's a guy that just continues to work.  You can see his progression from year one to year two to now.  I think he's definitely poised to take that next step"

What are you trying to instill in these young receivers what it means to be a Saints wide receiver?

"I think we just come out here every day.  I think we have the ultimate professional leader in our group in number nine (Drew Brees).  As long as you follow his lead, you are going to be pretty good."

Can you talk about the competition level today?

"Yes, it helps us raise our game.  We have a lot of guys competing for jobs over on that side of the ball and anytime you have that kind of competition day-in and day-out it is going to make both sides better."

Do you feel rejuvenated by all the young guys?

"Absolutely, we are all fighting for reps. Even being in year nine I definitely have to fend for mine and just kind of feed off other guys' energy."

Have you had to make any adjustments?

"One of the reasons you can play long in this league is you figure out what works.  I am definitely not the same 22-year-old guy that came here in 2006.  My game has definitely changed, little subtleties that have changed, but I just have to continue to get it done."

When you look at last year and only have 943 yards receiving. How did last season affect you?

"I really just came out of that season knowing that I had to get healthy coming into this season.  Numbers really don't make a difference to me.  We didn't end up where we wanted to ultimately and that is really what I took out of the season more than anything else."

Is this kind of the way you envisioned your career going?

"I say that everyone envisions it, but I'd be lying if I said I expected it.  It really has been a unique journey for me and I am just enjoying it."

Is it crazier to be one of the handful of guys from the Super Bowl team to still be here?

"Yes, that number I think is down to a handful of guys that were here.  It's one of those things where you kind of have to establish the bar for some of these young guys.  I think it has been one of those factors to help us older guys that have been here to reenergize us."

Where will you be at 45 years old?
"I don't think I'll be on the field.  I'll still be a fan though.  I'll still be watching."

Would you like to come back to the Greenbrier?

"Yes, I am really enjoying camp here.  Obviously the weather is treating us a little bit better than New Orleans.  Just kind of being out here by ourselves, it gives us an opportunity to come together as a team.  I think the facilities will continue to get better as we come back."

How do you approach your new leadership role being so quiet?

"It's not really about getting on guys.  It's just about being a resource to make corrections.  This game, you can't be thin skinned.  It is not about attacking people. It is about attacking problems.  That is a saying we have and that is kind of what everybody goes by."

Does this team do a better job of motivating than teams in the past?

"I think that just comes with the standard that we have set.  Obviously, being a playoff team more times than not, I think that bar is really high.  I think we hold ourselves to that every day."

Do you feel like you guys have a shot of getting a second ring? And why is it so much harder to get the second one than the first one?

"I don't think anyone has that answer.  All we can do is come out here and continue to work towards it.  It is definitely too far away to think about January right now.  We just have to continue to get better at this camp."

New Orleans Saints Center Jonathan Goodwin
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, July 31, 2014

You've been gone a while, but do you think this is the best roster of young players that the Saints have had in a while?

"Definitely. Like you said, I haven't been here. This offense has always been a great offense, and last year I think you saw the defense becoming a top-caliber defense. It's a lot of new faces, but definitely a roster full of talent. Talent is good, but you've got to get on the field and put it together."

Today looked like the most physical practice we've seen.

"It was up there. There's been a couple. All of our padded practices so far have been pretty physical. That's how you build a team and that's how you build a run game. That's how you stop the run, by having physical practices."

Nine days before the first preseason game and two days before the scrimmage, is that when things normally heat up?

"Definitely. Even though it may not feel that way, it's still early in camp. You want to be physical right away and the only way you can become a physical team is by practicing like a physical team."

How do you balancing competing for the starting job with Tim Lelito here with helping him come along?

"Well a lot of people who know me know that's just my personality. When I came into this league, I had older guys looking out for me, and I'll do the same for Tim. He's been coming to me a lot, and I have no problem with that, regardless of who's in there. If he's in there and I feel bad that I could've taught him something, that could cost us a game. I would feel bad if something like that happened."

What did the coaches tell you when you came back about the position battle? Did they tell you it was yours to win?

"It was just a competition, you know? They told me about Tim and they said it would be a straight up competition and the believed that no matter who won, we would have a good center."

Who were some of the veterans that helped you?

"Kevin Mawae, Jason Fabini, Dave Szott. In my rookie year in New York (Jets), those guys looked out for me. To be able to learn from a guy like Kevin Mawae, I think has been valuable for my career."

If the team asks you to be a backup, would you be ok with that?

"Definitely. I didn't come back to sit, but I know that's a possibility. All I can do is go out and play my best and prove that I can still play this game."

Is it the time of camp where tempers start to flare?

"Yeah you saw it a little bit today. It's been about six practices, and coming off of a day off, guys are trying to get back going. That's normal in camp; we didn't have anything too bad."

What have you seen from Terron Armstead?

"A guy with a lot of athletic ability. It's amazing some of the things he can do. For him to come in at the end of the season last year and start in crunch time, that says a lot about him. He's gotten out here and gotten better each day. You can see that his athletic ability is just off the charts for a guy his size."

How impressive is it that you have been away, but when you come back the team is still in the hunt to win playoff games?

"From day one when Coach Payton got here in 2006, he said he wanted to become one of those teams that every year you expect them to win games and be in the playoff hunt. Him, Mickey (Loomis), and Mr. Benson, they've all done a great job of turning this into one of those organizations. Now the goal is to keep it there. When you've got good people leading, you're able to do that."

Why is it harder to get that second Super Bowl? Everyone says the second one is harder than the first.

"That's the way of the league. There's a lot of good teams out there. To be able to get to the top takes a lot. It's just one of those things that will never be easy."

You were right on the cusp of winning a title in San Francisco. How much did that factor in to your return?

"I pretty much knew that last year was my last year in San Francisco. Once I decided I still had the itch to play, Mickey (Loomis) called me and it was a no-brainer. It's a great organization, a place that I loved being the first time, and a place where I'd love to finish my career."

The possibility of retirement did creep into your mind after last season, is that right?

"Yeah, but basically because you're a 35-year old free agent. You see in this league, a lot of times teams go young. To be able to come back here to a place that I love, it meant a lot to me. Part of that thought came from not knowing if anybody would give me a chance."

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can you describe your 'encounter' with Tavon Rooks earlier?

"Nothing. He was wearing a white jersey at the time…he just got in the way."

You were trying to make him better?

"That's it: I was trying to make him better. He's part of the team, (and) part of that is just teaching him. It's all about lessons."

Did it feel like practice went up a notch today?

"Today we just decided to set that tone early on. Even in walkthrough it got a little rowdy with the defensive line going through bags. It was just one of those days that they should have their mind right, and if they didn't have their mind right, they got their mind right. I think that's what has to be done every day. We have to bring the right intensity to work every day. That was a good day today, and I think we can definitely build upon that."

Did you decide to do that before practice, or was that kind of a concerted effort?

"We wake up, came to work, (and) put our helmet and pads on every day. Today we just emphasized setting the tone. Some days you work on different aspects of the game, but today was just about being more physical than we have been. Every day, that's what you have to do. You can't just be a gradual incline and you can't be a decline, either way you have to be advancing towards your goals. Our goal is the Super Bowl, of course."

Do you have to be a little nasty to play defense?

"I mean you call it nasty, I call it enjoying my work. I love what I do."

Who sets that tone? Is it the coaching staff? Is it you guys?

"It has to start with us. It's one thing for a coach to say we have to be nasty, but it's another thing for the players to come in and say, 'We're going to set the tone today.'"

Off the field you're very outgoing and like to joke around. How do you leave that part of you off the field?

"That doesn't leave. The way I play football with kids and going to a Boys and Girls club or an elementary school, you just bring that same passion anywhere you go. When I step onto the field, I have the same passion, now it's just targeted towards the offensive lineman because I can't touch Drew (Brees)."

You're pretty open about how badly you want a Super Bowl ring this year. Can you put into words how difficult these last three years have been to fall short?

"Rookie year, I've never been that close. Second year was a disappointment. Third year, we got close again and I think that this fourth year I know exactly what it takes to get to the playoffs (and advance further than two of the last three years). I know exactly what it is going to take for our defense to be stifling. That knowledge, I can put that forth going into the season. We can't have any breakdowns."

Why do you verbalize those thoughts about championships?

"I've always wanted it. That's what you come here to do. You don't' come into work and say, 'I just want to be mediocre.'"

People usually like to under-promise and over-deliver.

"Right now I would like to under-deliver on my defensive line. I can't say enough about them in terms of what I think they're going to do, but honestly I am going to let them show their work this year. I'm thinking as far as the team goes, I haven't seen a more promising team since I've been here. I just have nothing but great things to say about the team. I think that this fourth year upcoming, we need it. I need it. It's more personal than anything, and I believe with the team we have, we'll be able to do it."

You had a big year last year. Knowing what it takes to get to that next level, did you approach this year any differently at all?

"This season, I worked out harder. It's all about bringing that intensity to practice every day. I think today was a good day and I think we need better days."

What do you think about this training camp format at The Greenbrier? Do you hope this is a long-term thing?

"I believe in the foundation and the organization and what they choose to do. I stand beside whatever they decide to do in the upcoming years."

How do you work out harder?

"During the offseason you usually get in one workout a day, maybe a second. This offseason I was in there in the morning, full workout in the afternoon. I just worked out more. I just feel like I want it more."

Did you try any new things?

"A couple of new things."

Was there a reason behind that?

"It's just personal right now. It's one thing to have a good year like I did last year, but I have to be better this year. Everything that I do has to be better. Everything that the team does has to be better because clearly it wasn't enough to get to the Super Bowl. That's what our goal is."

Do you feel like it's paying off now?

"I feel like it's too early to say. It's only camp. When we get into the season and we get to a stretch of things, if we can get to the playoffs, we can get a good run into the playoffs, and get to where we need to be…that's where we will be."

Can you give us an overall sense of the work you guys have done?

"It's not 110 degrees outside. It's not 100% humidity. It's a little easier on the body. With that being said, maybe you sort of need that hardship as well, just to get through. You sort of depend on that, because you know nobody has that heat and humidity like we do down south."

Do you think this is the best group of young players that the team has had since you've been here?

"Certainly that I've had. The defensive line, I think, is phenomenal the amount of talent we have with the young guys and even some of the rookies that popped up. But again, it's only the first week of camp and we've only been in pads for a couple of days. I think with the new additions to the defensive backs and definitely the way the linebackers have been playing, they're starting to show a little fervor for the game. It's going to be nice the next week or two."

You got rolled up on and had to come out for a second. What happened on that play?

"It's a lot of contact out there. It's what we do. Football is a contact sport. Some things happen, some guys fell, there was a mob, and that mob landed on my ankle. I had to check things out and make sure everything's alright. We were good and (I) came back and finished the practice, and everything's good. I'm looking forward to the next couple of days of getting better."

New Orleans Saints Tackle Terron Armstead
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thrusday, July 31, 2014

Was today a feisty practice with a little more intensity?

"Yeah coming off that day off we wanted to speed up the tempo so we got after it a little bit."

The defensive line guys say they set that tempo to be physical.

"No. That's offense. We tried to put our aggression into it."

How do you think camp has gone so far for you?

"I think it's been very productive for me. I've worked on my technique, (and) I've learned a lot in the offseason. I think I've had really good practices in pads."

Where you are now compared to where you were last year, is it like night and day?

"It's definitely night and day. Coming in last year, I had to work on my three-point stance; that's day one as an offensive lineman. Just being able to work the small fine-tune things and technique, it's been able to help me out a whole lot."

Being as steady as you have been, have you surprised yourself even that you caught on this quickly in the NFL?

"Not really. I expect myself to. I'm my biggest critic. I work and push myself pretty hard, so I kind of expected it."

What kind of things did Willie Roaf teach you in your workout together?

"It was a one day thing. I just had a few questions with him. I hung out with him before. I had a few questions like, 'Where does he carry his hands? What's he looking at?' Those types of things, trying to pick his brain a little bit."

How did that get arranged?

"He's from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, so…I met him at the Ring of Honor ceremony. We just kind of kept in contact since."

From the first half to the second half in your first start, there was a difference. It seemed like every game you got more confident. How were you able to build so quickly in such a crazy setting?

"Well you know they say the game slows down. It's just knowing plays. Hearing the terminology from Drew (Brees) – my first snap I could've sworn he was speaking Chinese or Spanish or something. Just letting it slow down, having veterans like Zach Strief, Jahri Evans just being with you and helping you break down film and those type of things, it's getting easy."

Zach Strief says you can be as good as you want to be and watching you on film it's kind of strange how you're so big and so fast. When you hear things like that from your fellow linemen, how does that feel?

"It feels pretty good. For him to say something like that, going into his ninth year he's seen a lot of guys. That's big."

What did you do on your day off?

"I tried to be as bored as possible. I came in (to the facility) and kind of rehabbed my legs and tried to be bored. I watched Finding Nemo actually."

When you take a look back at the first half of the Carolina game last year and the change to the second half, how fast was that whole environment of playing for the division in that game and all that stuff?

"I take it as a blessing, really, to get thrown into the fire like that. Having the trust of the coaches, I take it as a blessing and just try to learn from it."

It seemed like you had a pretty good block on that middle screen Brandin Cooks scored on. Who was it that you walled off?

"I think it was (Rafael) Bush. That was out the gate."

Do you take a lot of pride in being so athletic on the outside?

"Yeah I try to use it in certain plays. Offensive line is so technique and universal technique, so I try to get those things down. Whenever I can implement my speed and agility, I try to."

You like to get downfield and really lay a block on somebody on those screen passes?

"I love it."

Did you and Willie Roaf spend most of the day walking about the position or was it more technique and physical stuff?

"It was more mental, but we got out and took a few sets. He still can move. He's about 360 and still can move. It's crazy."

What do you think you need to work on more, pass blocking or run blocking?

"Everything. I feel like I'm a more natural run-blocker. I'm picking up the technique in pass blocking more, everything is coming together nicely."

Can you talk about the benefit of having a veteran like Jonathan Goodwin on the line?

"You can really just see the experience of Goody. The things he sees as far as blitz pick-ups and those types of things, you can just see the 15 years that he's been doing it."

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Ryan Griffin
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can you talk about this camp opposed to last year?

"It is different but there is not that much difference.  Each practice we are trying to go out and get better and so I did the same thing last year, trying to get better every day and that is what I am doing this year.  It is a little difference this year but it is the same thing, just trying to improve every day."

How do you look at the battle for the backup spot?

"I am just trying to focus on what I can do and get better.  Every play I can get in there and learn and gain more experience is beneficial."

Was the first videoed quarterback competition the highlight of camp?

"It was because I didn't win before that. They didn't videotape the other two that we had before that.  And then Drew (Brees) tweeted it out and the Saints tweeted it out so we got a lot of publicity.   A lot of happy Green Wave fans."

Did it give you confidence when the Rams tried to sign you off the practice squad last year?

"Definitely, this business here, you are always confident in yourself and you have to be.  To have another team come out and kind of demonstrate that it makes you feel better.  Like I said, it's a process every day, that's obviously a positive, but you're always trying to get better and you're always looking for ways to improve."

Is it more challenging at all to play college and for the NFL in New Orleans and balance business and pleasure?

"Going to Tulane, it's a great school with great people there.  The roommates that I had were great guys.  It is not like I have to worry about being mixed up with the wrong group.  Unfortunately a lot of my roommates have left, (and moved on to) San Diego, San Francisco, and New York.  There are still a few in New Orleans, but it is not like I was mixed up with the wrong crowd over there.  There are some great people and I am very happy to still be there."

Can you talk about Brandon Coleman's catch today?

"It was a great catch.  I was kind of looking down the middle and I could tell that Brandon kind of beat him (the defender) late and he went back and made a play for me and it was awesome.  He has really stepped up."

What stands out to you with the young group of receivers?

"They each have their own kind of trait that is standing out right now.  (Charles) Hawkins can really fly.  (Brandon) Coleman is extremely tall and long and has great range.  Seantavius (Jones) just plays all over the place.  We know (Brandin) Cooks can really run and make plays for us.  Every one of them is making plays so it is awesome."

How did you feel about this team not drafting a quarterback this year?

"I didn't watch the draft this year.  I try not to pay attention to it.  I am just worried about what I can do.  If we draft a quarterback that's great, but I can't really worry about that stuff."

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