NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERSSUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012 ● MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOMENEW ORLEANS SAINTS POSTGAME QUOTES
SAINTS ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/LINEBACKERS JOE VITT
"We've got a football team that's full of a lot of guys with pride and a lot of guys with want-to. They're accountable to one another. It was gratifying to see them be part of (today's game). I'll also say this too: we have the best fans in the National Football League, the way they've supported us with everything that we've been through. It's certainly an emotional week. We understand our strong obligation we have to our fans and (are determined to) not let them down. Today was a good day for our football team and certainly we're proud of the way we played in front of our fans."
"Our guys played hard and they played smart. They made plays and adhered to the keys to victory – we had to protect the football and win the turnover battle, we wanted to win the rushing battle, we wanted to win the third-down battle, we wanted to win the pressure battle – and we were able to do that today against a good football team, a football team we have a lot of respect for."
(on bouncing back) "That's one of the things about our football team is (that) they always come back to work, good or bad. There's always a strong accountability in the locker room to one another. This football team has exhibited that. It's been an honor to (have been) around them for seven years now. It's been fun to watch. We've got two games later and we're working hard to still get better. This was a good day today, one they deserved because they worked hard."
(on the shutout) "I've been in the league 34 years, and you can count on one hand how many times I've been involved in one. This is a league of skilled, skilled athletes and highly competent coaches. That's not to say that Tampa's not competent; they are. They stop the run and they've run the football well, and Greg Schiano's done a great job with that team. But it's certainly a tribute to Steve Spagnuolo and his staff and players, the way they've stuck together. If anybody in this room ever envisioned a shutout after the first couple of games this year, you couldn't have predicted that. That's staying the course with the right players and the right coaches and the right attitude and the right teaching and the proper accountability."
(on Drew Brees' performance) "How many times have we seen it? How many times have we been a part of it? One of the things as a coaching staff, or one of the things as a teammate, is you see the brilliance of Drew Brees, his leadership, his production, his character. Everybody kinds of leaves that ship every once in a while; you're making a mistake. He's truly remarkable. The only thing that overshadows his character is his ability to play this game."
"We're in the business of winning football games around here. We won a football game, and now we go to Dallas. It's going to take the proper preparation, the proper mindset, to compete with that football team."
"What you do speaks so well, there's no need to hear what you have to say. It's time to put up or shut up. You saw the character of this football team, the togetherness and commitment. We have two more games to play. We have a chance to get better and we get to play. We're going to go back to work."
QB #9 DREW BREES
(on the difference between the last three weeks and today) "Obviously there was a renewed focus, maybe a new set of goals for these last three weeks the way we want to close out the season. I think earlier in the week, I know offensively, it was kind of decided that we want to do what we hang our hat on, now is the time. Certainly, there was a sense of urgency, also coming back home in front of our fans against a divisional opponent. All in all, when you look through it, the defense played exceptional. Offensively, I believe to throw the ball and run the ball very effectively and very efficiently, take care of the football, make the most of every opportunity. That was something we wanted to do, and we did it."
(on today's effort despite being out of playoff picture) "Even though maybe that Super Bowl trophy can't be ours this year, we still have a lot to play for. We have a very prideful group of guys, but also we have guys that understand the big picture, and that is that we're going to be here for a long time. We can start building the foundation of something now that will carry over for years to come. We've got a great core group of guys, a great group of young guys that continue to develop. It's fun to watch these guys grow and continue to be part of the offense. Ingram had a great day. Joe Morgan, it's fun to watch him grow. Those guys defensively, really the same thing, especially with the absence of Malcolm Jenkins, safeties stepped up and played great today. Obviously, the whole (defensive) group did. We like the feeling after these games. Hopefully, we've got a few more like this."
(on improvement of defense this year) "Keep in mind that it's not like we're going up against them. It's their defense against our offense. We're running scout team for them, they're running scout team for us. We're trying to give them a good look. It's just kind of falling into a comfort zone. Obviously, it was a new defensive scheme that was installed this offseason. I know it requires a lot of things from those guys. I think they've done a phenomenal job of grasping it. Obviously, there's been injuries at times, but guys have stepped up. Certainly, I look at it from an offensive perspective. What's our job offensively? Score points. But in the process, we need to take care of the ball. We don't want to put our defense in tough positions. We want to possess the ball, keep them off the field, keep them rested so they can go out there fresh. Create those momentum changes that are positive for our defense. I feel like offensively, we've put our defense in some tough spots this year. Obviously, they've made some big plays at times to get us going, help us out. That's what we mean when we talk about the complementary game – the game within a game, both sides of the ball working together, field position, all those things."
"I don't think that means anything. We still have things that … are a potential distraction. We're just focused on playing ball and winning games."
(on offensive philosophy after the last three games) "Aggressively smart. We know the way that the play, the mindset we have. Every time we step on the field, we thing about playing aggressive, scoring points, throwing the ball, running the ball, spreading it around, formationing people to death, multiple personnel groups, throwing it up and letting guys go make the play. We've done that very effectively. It's unfortunate at times when all of a sudden, maybe that same ball you threw that I wouldn't throw any … differently gets tipped or whatever, something bad happens as opposed to what you're used to happening. It's easy to want to become conservative, but that can't happen. All of a sudden, you kind of take away your edge. We're going to keep playing with that edge, that aggressive mentality, obviously understanding the big picture and what we're trying to accomplish. Certainly we're not going to go out there reckless."
"How many times have we gone down inside of a minute and score a touchdown over the last four years? A bunch. If we've got what we feel like is enough time, time outs, all that stuff, we feel very confident in getting some points. Is it going to happen every time? No. At times, you might get a sack or turnover. You try to avoid those. We're not going to play conservative. We're at our best when we play aggressive. You understand the situation, you play smart and aggressive."* *
LB #52 JONATHAN CASILLAS
(on his hit on special teams) "I didn't see it. I heard it. I did it, but I didn't get a chance to see it. I got congratulated by the guys so I guess it was a pretty good hit. The reason I hit him was because I was the last one down the field because I was kind of getting mauled earlier in the play. It's a good thing I got down there."
(on how the team has turned it around defensively) "It's night and day. I don't think earlier in the year we had an identity. We were giving up tons of yards and basically we couldn't stop anybody. We put our offense in a lot of bad situations. I think it's a lot different now. I think we're playing great football defensively. We're complementing our offense, which we hadn't done. To pitch a shutout in this league is very rare. For us to do that was huge. That's just a testament to the guys we have."
(on the biggest difference from the start of the season) "I think we're getting more familiar. We're learning each other, as we have some new parts and we learned this defense. We're still learning it. We're very comfortable now. We're comfortable more or less thinking rather than reacting. We have a lot of guys that are making plays. They're not thinking about what they have to do with the scheme. We got effort like that today."
(on if he feels like he has better control of the game as a player now) "I hope so. This is my fourth. I'm still working on my game and the speed, trying to be as technically sound as I can be and making plays that are mine as well as making some plays that aren't supposed to be mine. (I'm) just trying to get better. As a group we took a step forward. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
WR #16 LANCE MOORE
(on his team's commitment to finish strong) "I was telling guys before this game (that) it's been almost a month before we had a win. We needed to do all we could today to get that done and we started out fast, continued to work out there, Drew (Brees) was hot, we showed some balance on offense. To take it from the practice field, and put it on the game field is great."
(on if he can sense it when Drew is hot) "I would say not as much on the field, but when you're on the sideline out for a few plays and he has completions and keeps throwing the ball in the right spot and guys keep making plays for him, that's when you can step away from it and see that he's hot. When you're on the field, you really don't have time to think about it. You're thinking about what you have to do assignmentwise on the next play. He's definitely fun to watch."
(on if you have noticed him doing whatever he can do to get out of what he was in) "The funny part about it around here is things really don't change. We didn't do a bunch of different drills this week. We really work hard. Drew's always going be the first and last guy there. We just knew that it was a matter of time before he kind of got out of what he was going through and had a game like he had today. It's the NFL, so if you're not turning the ball over and the other team is turning it over a lot, especially with us, we're a tough team to beat."
(on Jimmy Graham and what he's been going through this season) "Jimmy is a great, young player who hasn't really fully grasped everything that's going on out there. He just keeps grinding and he'll continue to get better. We all have our certain little issues during the season. It's so hard playing the 16 games plus the four preseason games and you just have to learn how to be a pro and learn how to deal with it."
(on if the resolution of the suspension situation and Drew Brees and Joe Vitt getting some things off their chest helped them) "I can't speak to that. Maybe it would, but more than anything we just wanted to win today. We weren't thinking about the bounty scandal or anything like that. All we can control is what we do. That's how we work and how we prepare to win. I can't really give you a yes or no on that, but maybe.
(on if Joseph Morgan has opened things up for everyone) "Definitely. He's so fast, he has an ability to run by guys. It's almost scary out there. Defensive guys have to pay attention to him. It almost reminds me of (Robert) Meachem. When Meachem was here, he was making a lot of big plays for us. Today was no different."
RB #28 MARK INGRAM
(on if when he sees a defensive effort like today if the offense feeds off of it) "Definitely. Anytime you're out there (seeing them) stopping the run for no gains, (forcing) turnovers, getting pressure on the quarterback, three-and-outs, turnovers in the red zone. Anytime you see that, it makes the offense feed off the defense and vice versa. When we're making big plays, they're feeding off of us. We're just playing complementary football. We haven't been doing all the time this year. We finally put together four quarters of offense, defense and special teams. We saw them play hard, cause turnovers and havoc all over the field and we played well on offense."
(on the difference in the first half and second half of the season for him "I think as an entire offense, our running game and gameplan is a lot better. Linemen are doing a great job of getting a head on a head, moving guys off the ball. The tight ends and fullback's doing a great job. We're all on the same page. I'm confident in what they're getting in the flow of the game. I'm figuring out how the defense is playing different runs and coach (Aaron) Kromer's doing a great job of putting together certain runs by different looks and formations. I think that's what's helping us get the run game going."
(on how the offense felt after their first three series') "It's encouraging just to know that the defense isn't stopping us, we're stopping ourselves with a dropped pass or penalty. We're stopping ourselves. I think that's encouraging, because as long as we do what we do and not shoot ourselves in the foot, we could have success against this team. This is how we felt after those first three drives. As long as we went out and did what we did, didn't shoot ourselves in the foot and get penalties or turnovers, we could control the game."
(on Drew Brees' attitude this week in practice and meetings and after a couple of rough weeks how he put it on himself) "Drew is his biggest critic. I think everybody knows what he's capable of doing. He's such a hard worker, great leader, great person and he thinks sometimes he's not playing to his best. He knows he's going to get out of it, he works to get out of it and tells us he's going to get out of it and he did and he came out today and had a great game. Throughout the week of practice he was motivating, focused in practice. He's just a great leader. He's a great guy to be playing for, coming in as a rookie and now a second year player seeing how he approaches every day on the job and how he approaches gameday. He's a true pro and that's why he's so special."
(on what he did to pick the other guys up this week) "He just demands perfection from himself and others. Once you finish a play downfield, he wants guys to get in their playbooks and study film. He doesn't get on anybody. He's very encouraging and always positive. That's why he's such a great leader."
CB #33 JABARI GREER
(on if the first interception surprised him) "I'm thankful for being able to create a turnover for my team and be successful. The defense had a great opportunity to start something like we did. I'm thankful for it."
(on what it means to get a shutout) "It's special, because we're playing professional football. These are professional, prideful football players that fight for everything. They didn't let up one bit. It was something that started from the beginning of the game to the last play. To be able to get this, it's special, given that we had a tough loss this week and rebounded the way we got together and made a commitment to each other on the defensive side of the ball and as a team, to be able to have results like this. Those guys in the locker room deserve it. We'll celebrate it today for 24 hours and then move on to Dallas."