New Orleans Saints DL Akiem Hicks
Thursday, August 2, 2012
When are you coming back to full practice?
"Tomorrow. It's been a couple of days and I've had to sit out for about three days to get a little more healing and just give it (my hand) a little more time. Tomorrow will be my first day back."
What are your thoughts on finally getting a full padded practice?
"I'm excited. I've been waiting for contact for so long and it's finally here. I'm getting a little bit here and there, doses individually and stuff like that. It's finally here and I'm ready for it."
Are you coming back in time to play on Sunday?
"Definitely. I'm for sure going to play on Sunday, at least that's what I've been told coming in, so I'm going to be ready to play."
You obviously haven't been going physically against them in full pads, but does this time help you with learning the playbook and being able to learn and watch from the side?
"That's exactly what it is. I've taken more mental reps than I've taken my whole life. Every play I'm into it, I'm waiting for the next call, I'm ready, I'm doing my own moves on the side and trying to figure out what I need to be ready for when I come back to full contact. So…a lot of mental reps."
Is this just another case of you just being extremely patient?
"It seems like it sometimes. I think that's what life is about sometimes: being patient, waiting for your chance to get in there and doing what you have to do. I'll be ready."
When do you get the wrap off?
"This is actually just for precautionary measures. I can actually take it off today. These past two weeks I've been walking around with it off and stuff like that, getting it stronger. When it comes to game-play, I'm going to have a brace on it. It will be good, not a cast."
Could you play the piano if you had to?
"No, I couldn't, because I broke this (opposite) hand a long time ago. I couldn't play anything if I wanted to."
New Orleans Saints WR Andy Tanner
Thursday, August 2, 2012
How has your off-season been so far, and what are some things that you are looking forward to showing Sunday in the Hall of Fame game?
"I think it's been a pretty good off-season so far. I'm making some good plays, lining up in the right spots, running good routes, and I'm hoping to do the same things come game time."
What are you hoping to show the team this preseason that they might not already have seen in the past?
"That I can play special teams, return, cover kicks, block kicks, and of course play receiver at a high level that they haven't seen yet."
Obviously with the depth at the wider receiver position, do you feel like making a mark on special teams is a key for a guy like you?
"Of course, we have good receivers here. Special teams would be the key to try and break into the roster."
New Orleans Saints LB Martez Wilson
Thursday, August 2, 2012
You guys are finally going to get game situations on Sunday, is that something you are looking forward to?
"Definitely. That is something that we are looking forward to. It always feels good, game plan and going against another team besides your own team, hitting everyday. Once you go against another opponent, you actually get a chance to release all your moves and your aggressiveness and see what your team really looks like."
It really looks like you guys are getting moved around a lot. Do you like that or would you rather stay in one spot?
"I actually like that a lot. I don't like staying in one spot. For me, that allows me to work to my advantage more because I feel like the coach is going to put me where is the best position for the team and myself. With that being said, I just have the ability to go against the left tackle, the right tackle, left guard or right guard, so that feels good."
Do you think you guys are getting more push up front and more rush with the kind of situation?
"I do because it allows the front four to use their skills. Sometimes it is going to be left to just the front four and no added pressure or no blitz. With the work that we have been doing so far, actually learning relative pass rush lanes and how to stay effective in our pass rush lane and know when to rush high. Things like that. Every day we are getting better and improving."
Are you in any linebacker meetings?
"Oh no, straight d-line now."
Sometimes a team will get squeezed at a certain position in a game. Could you eventually play linebacker?
"I could, if coaches want me too. I've been playing linebacker for the last five years so I'm not new to the position at all. Coaches call my number and say you need to play Sam or Will, whatever the case may be, I'm going to do it."
Do you feel like you know what has been your scheme all along?
"Not for linebacker yet. I've been studying all of the d-line. As far as d-line assignments, yeah."
The work and d-line experiment is going well?
"Yeah, I think it is going well. If it wasn't they would have made the change back to Sam linebacker. The change is going good for the team too as a whole because now that allows the speed coming from the edge. So it has just helped all of us as a whole.
Seems like you are enjoying it?
"Oh yeah I'm enjoying it. I love it. It is no thinking, just rushing, banging heads with linemen and stopping the run. After that it just becomes more of an experience than what moves you want to do or what scheme you are getting. You know what to do to act faster."
What about your speed as far as a lineman, do you think that it gives you an advantage?
"I think so. I think speed is a power win any day. If you can get a big lineman moving them hips and having the lateral then you can change the power. You win so I think it is to my advantage. "
Are you saying that speed equals power too?
"Yeah, speed transfers to power. If you think about it, say I was going for another lineman where he was sitting straight and sunk his hips and I tried to use power, it wouldn't work as much. Then if you have your speed rushing out the edge and you can get him to get off of his set a little bit and then move his feet off, then you can change it to power and be more aggressive."
You feel like you can get leverage on them?
What are your thoughts on Coach Spags on what you saw last year to Coach Craig?
"I like Spags. It's just schemes. Just letting the ends drop. Sometimes we have a four man front and we get to do d-line stunts. And the stunts are a factor. It allows you to rush more effectively too. You're not only going up the field on the edge all the time. Last year, you'll a lot of blitzing from the edge a lot. Now we switch it up to where you don't know now. That is the difference."
Any thoughts going into this game this weekend?
"Just play hard. I'm trying to have one of the best games I've ever had for my first game back. Knock the rust off. See all mistakes and all my flaws I need to work on. It's just a learning process too at the same time."
Saw a website that compared you to a Pierre-Paul/Jevon Kearse type, what did you think of that?
"It's a blessing. It's an honor. Both of those guys are good. Jevon Kearse is an idol himself. Pierre-Paul is still in the league up and coming. Just having a comparison to two great defensive ends gives myself more confidence. It just lets me come to practice everyday with different motivation and to learn my moves. I go back and study some of the other veterans and see some of my weaknesses and I can learn from them as well."
Any nerves or butterflies about this game?
"I don't get butterflies. I mean I really don't get nervous too much. Last time I got nervous playing football was when I was in high school. That is how I knew this was my calling."
Did you ever play in the line in youth football?
"Actually, I started playing defensive end my freshman year which was in ninth grade. So last time I played defensive end was my twelfth grade year of high school, five or six years ago."
New Orleans Saints CB Elbert Mack
Thursday, August 2, 2012
How are things adjusting to playing in New Orleans under Steve Spagnuolo's new scheme?
"It's been pretty good. Like you said, it's a new scheme for me. I'm trying to learn all the rules and the core beliefs of the defense. Hit the ground running."
What are some things that you think you can bring to stand out?
"I don't know man. I'm just trying to put my very best foot forward. Whatever that might be, I'm just trying to bring it to the New Orleans Saints. Hopefully it's positive. We win some games."
What is something about this team that stands out to you that the common fan might not know?
"I don't know. I mean a lot of people don't know that I come from Tampa. That is a divisional rival. It shows how good of a division we have, NFC South. I'm just a part of this family now. I'm just happy to be a Saint."
Who have been the guys really helping you out with your transition?
"I would say all of them, all of the secondary. The whole locker room really. Everybody has been nice. Everybody is upfront, as far as what the want. Practice habits, meeting room and film room, all of that stuff. Everybody has been pretty helpful. Especially in the DB room with some of the veteran guys, the guys that have been here are very positive as far as helping, getting me on track and learning plays. "
Are they any goals or expectations of you heading into the preseason on Sunday?
"I just want to go out there, play hard and have fun. That is the main thing about the preseason, play hard and have fun. The rest will happen."
Is it special being at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?
"Yes, definitely. Every year you get to sit back and watch it on TV. You get to watch that first Hall of Fame game for like three or our days until somebody else has their first preseason game. For us to be in it, we get a head start on the rest of the league."