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Q&A: Mickey Loomis' end of season press conference

Video, quotes and analysis of Mickey Loomis’ 2014 end of season press conference

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis
Local Media Availability
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Have you been in contact with the league about Junior Galette and are you concerned about the possible ramifications?

"We are going to take this matter very seriously.  We are going to let law enforcement and the legal process run its course.  We have notified the league.  I presume this is going to fall under the personal conduct policy.  The league has a process for that. We are going to let both of those run their course.  If at some point we deem it necessary for the club to take some action we will do that."

Do you do anything differently now in a situation like this than you would have done before?

"I don't know that.  We would always take these very seriously.  We have got a reporting obligation which we always adhere to so I do not know if it would be a lot different.  Obviously the league's personal conduct policy has changed and modified so that may be a little different.  Other than that I do not think so."

And any investigation, does the league handle that?

"Yes, that is the league.  The league handles that as part of their personal conduct policy."

Who makes the decision on if you want to put him on any kind of exempt list?

"I am not sure what the process is for that.  I am not really concerned about it because there is no football activity until the latter part of April."

What are your thoughts on Junior Galette being involved in something like this?

"I do not know that I can make too many comments about that until we receive more facts and receive more information.  The incident just happened yesterday so I think it is too early to make any comments about any of that."

Have you talked to Junior Galette?

"No I have not.  Our security director has spoken with him though."

How do you personally feel about how the season played out?

"I think I feel the same way everybody in our building feels, disappointed, 7-9 certainly was not our expectation.  It's not what we're accustomed to.  I think I feel the same way as everybody else in our organization."

What would you see as the biggest area of concern?

"We have to be concerned about every aspect of our football team starting with me, starting with the personnel department.  We are going to go through this evaluation process of our club and again, that is every aspect of what we do and how we did it.  We are at just the beginning of that."

When is the evaluation of the coaching staff going to be complete?

"I do not know that I have a time or date for that.  Obviously Sean's (Payton) heavily involved in that.  It's his staff.  We discuss every aspect of our football operation, he and I, and like I said, we're just at the beginning of that process.  We do not put deadlines on ourselves in terms of that.  We just want to be thorough."

Is the evaluation something you'd do every season?  Is there more of a critical eye on it this year?

"After 7-9 yeah I would say that it is a little more critical eye on every aspect of it certainly."

In the future do you think it is less likely to take a project guy like Stanley Jean-Baptiste?

"No I do not know that is the case.  First of all he would not have been available in the fifth or sixth round.  I think sometimes our expectations of draft picks, even high draft picks are a little unrealistic.  If you look back, a few players that I'll mention, Jon Stinchcomb who was a second round pick didn't play until year three.  Devery Henderson didn't play much his first year, he was a second round pick.  Robert Meachem who was a first round pick didn't play a lot in his first year.  Part of the time when a draft pick comes in, he is just looking for the right room to go to, much less to understand what it takes to play at a high level in the NFL.  Now some guys are different.  We got a lot out of Brandin Cooks this year for example and it was disappointing that he got hurt.  We knew going in that Stanley was going to take some time and need some development, but he has some unique traits for his position and I think we are still excited about the traits that he has to play corner in the National Football League."

Will you talk to Junior Galette or will you let everything play out?

"I don't have a timeframe for that.  I think again, this just happened yesterday so we are going to let the legal process and the league process start and run its course.  I am sure we will have a discussion with him relatively soon."

Is it tougher for you with the salary cap?  Are you going to take a closer look this year than the past?

"I don't know that it is going to be a lot different.  We are over the salary cap but we have a lot of mechanisms built into a number of these contracts.  I read we are 20 million plus over the salary cap, we are, but in actuality it is less than half that when some of these mechanisms trigger.  I would say that I think we are in a better position than we were a year ago in terms of just pure salary cap although it may not appear like that sitting out there and looking at it on the surface."

If Junior Galette does get suspended, how does that affect the salary cap?

"Here is what I am not going to get into, I am not going to get into what ifs.  We are one day into this, one day after this incident.  I am not going to get into the what if anything or if certain things happen.  We just don't have enough information yet."

What is Rob Ryan's status right now?

"It is what I said earlier, we are in the very beginning of the evaluation process.  When we get our decisions completely made we will make the announcements at the appropriate time."

Photos of Mickey Loomis??? 2014 end of season press conference held on Tuesday, January 6, 2014. Photos by Matthew Sharpe (New Orleans Saints photos)

Can you give an update on Ryan Pace's situation?  There was a report yesterday that he may be moving into a higher position and you may be moving into a different position.

"That was that Ian Rapoport report right?  I think he has about a 30 percent accuracy rate if you pay attention to things he puts out there.  With Ryan , we have had a couple clubs ask permission to speak with him about their general manager's position.  And look he's a talented guy.  We have a lot of confidence in him and we'd hate to lose him and yet look, he's ready for a general manager's job.  He's talented.  I would expect to lose him at some point.  It is a good thing, no different than the coaches over the past that we've lost to other teams who've had opportunities, it is a good thing when your people are being asked to interview for jobs and promotions and he is no different in that regard."

Is it accurate to say that his day-to-day role has increased throughout the last year?

"He's our player personnel director and has been promoted a number of times since he's been here, the last time really less than a year ago if I remember correctly.  He's in charge of college and pro scouting here.  That would be the role that he would continue to be in if he doesn't end up getting one of these general manager jobs."

With you taking a larger role with the Pelicans this year, do you think that affected the amount of time you spend with the Saints?

"What makes you think I took a larger role?  We have a general manager and have a lot of confidence in with the Pelicans and a head coach who is doing a good job.  My involvement with the Pelicans I think is a little bit overblown.  The Saints have my full and complete attention.  They always have and if I felt like my role with the Pelicans interfered with that effort with the Saints then I would step away from the Pelicans but I don't feel that way."

Has it been determined if Rob Ryan will be back?

"Again, we are in the middle of that process.  When we are ready to make announcements about decisions that have been made we will do that."

Can you help us understand the evaluation of the two coaches that were let go on the offensive side?

"No.  Again, we are just in the early process of this.  We are looking at every aspect.  This shouldn't be about, this is not about coaching.  It is not just about our roster.  It is about the personnel department.  It is about everything that we do.  We are going to look at it and be honest with ourselves about the things that we are doing that may not be working or have worked in the past and need to be adjusted.   This is a week after our regular season ended or 10 days, whatever it has been.  We are in the early part of that.  I am not willing to discuss the things that we've talked about and the decisions we've made.  We will do that at the end of the process, not at the beginning or in the middle."

Are you confirming that those two coaches have been let go?

"No we will make announcements when the time is appropriate."

Are some of these coaches being evaluated more closely?

"I don't know that I would say it that way.  Look, 7-9 isn't acceptable for us.  We are looking at every decision that we make, everything that we do going forward we are going to look at pretty hard and say hey, can we do this better, including me."

A lot of players said they got what they deserved.  Do you feel the same way?

"It is that old saying, you are what your record says you are.  We are 7-9 and that is just what it is and we have to face that.  We have to be honest about it.  Why are we 7-9?  What were the things that prevented us from winning some of the close games we had?  Why did we have some close games?  Maybe we felt like there were some opportunities for us to be better than that.  That is the process we are really starting."

What were some of those things in your mind initially?

"I don't know that I want to talk about those specifically.  Obviously we have some ideas about that but we want to get a complete picture.  I don't want to give a partial picture of some of our thoughts."

Zach Strief said that the team got away from the core of what made this team great.  How do you have to not say we have to shake things up and change things as opposed to maybe we are on the course and just had a bump in the road?

"I hear what you're saying, I think there's a key phrase in what Zach said and what you just repeated.  We have some core values that we started with when Sean (Payton) first arrived in 2006 and we have to revisit those, make sure that not only are we talk about those core values and those core things that we believe in but we are implementing them.  That is part of our discussion, part of what we need to do moving forward."

Do you know if Ryan Pace plans to interview with any teams?

"I think that is a better question for him than for me.  I do know but I think I will leave it up to him to answer those."

Would you grant permission if he wanted to interview for one of the general manager jobs?

"Yes, certainly."

Does it get frustrating when the buttons you've been pushing over the years and things don't work right all of a sudden?

"That gets frustrating.  Obviously if you do not get the results that you expect and obviously that can be frustrating.  I am not sure what your question is."

When things all of a sudden are not going right, do you think well maybe we got complacent?

"Yes, absolutely sometimes you think that.  Hey, what did we do, did we not implement some of those core beliefs that we've had in the beginning that we strayed away from.  That's a big part of this process.  We have to look at ourselves before we start really looking at the rest of our organization and the rest of the things we do.  I have to look at myself and say hey, what did I do that did not work?  Why did I do that?  How can I do it better?  Sean (Payton) needs to do the same thing.  And obviously he and I will have some frank conversations and we already have about each other and hey, what can we do better?  Because it has to start with us before we get to the rest of the things that we're doing."

What would you tell the fans that say that the Greenbrier is the reason for the 7-9 year?

"Look, Bobby (Hebert), you and I started in a different era of football where training camps were longer, (and) tougher.  Because of the rules these days it is harder to make a training camp tough because it is really one practice a day and a walk through.  Training camp is about learning.  It is about recovering, taking care of bodies.  It is about evaluating your team.  I felt like the things that we expected in West Virginia and why we went there all came to fruition. I really did.  I thought that was a good experience. That is not the reason we were 7-9.  They did a great job up there for training camp.  We had a good focus there.  I am not concerned about the location of training camp as being a part of the problem here.  I think it is part of the solution."

Do you plan to go back to the Greenbrier?

"I would say yes, that is our plan."

Are there any changes you would make about training camp?

"That'll be part of our discussion certainly.  We'll talk about every aspect of, we have not gotten to that yet but we'll talk about what happened there. We had a review of it after we left.  We have notes.  We have some things that we would do a little differently but in terms of being in West Virginia and what happened at that training camp and how it was conducted, I thought it was pretty good."

Was there an overall mentality of that this team didn't need a culture change?

"I am not sure what you are asking me here but…"

Some people say you go to a place like Millsaps when you need a culture change and you need to tear everything down and start over.

"Those are good questions.  Those are the questions we are asking ourselves.  I really don't have answers for that right now."

How is your relationship with Sean Payton after 10 years?

"I think it is really good.  I feel that way.  I hope he feels that way.  I think he does.  I don't think there is any topic or any subject that we can't have a discussion about.  We don't always agree.  There is some thought that we agree on everything, we don't.  We have different viewpoints so sometimes those conversations can be a little uncomfortable.  I am not afraid to say anything that I feel with him and he certainly doesn't have any fear of discussing any issue with me.  I think it is healthy too.  I guess what I am saying is I think our relationship is very healthy."

When you look at the major moves you made with the veterans last year, do you still feel good about the major moves you made or are there certain regrets?

"Yeah there are certainly some regrets.  I'm not going to talk about those specifically.  We're 7-9.  What could we have done differently?  There are some things that we could have done differently to maybe address some positions or some things, not necessarily with the roster but some things that in retrospect that we should have done differently.  Yeah there are certainly some regrets."

Did you think those veteran players were missed in the locker room?

"Any time you are taking out guys that have been with you a long time, that have been successful, that have been leaders on your team, yeah, there are some things that you are going to miss from that if they don't get replaced.  That is part of what we will discuss."

What surprises you about the decline of the NFC South?

"I have my hands full with our own team so I don't spend a lot of time analyzing what's going on with the other teams.  Was it a surprise that our division winner was less than .500?  Absolutely it was a surprise.  But there are a lot of factors in that.  There are injuries that happen, timing of when you play teams.  There are lots of things.  Look, I am proud of the Carolina Panthers and winning their opening playoff game.  That is good for our division.  I am jealous as we all would be.  I am not spending a lot of time thinking about where the division is.  I'm more concerned about where the New Orleans Saints are."

Where is the team's confidence level in Drew Brees?

"I don't know the answer because I can't speak for the other guys on the team.  I know my confidence level in him is very high."

When you lost the veteran guys in the locker room last year by free agency, releases and trades, was that a concern that you thought about?

"It will be on our minds (in the future).  It was on our minds before so definitely.  We pay attention to our locker room, we do.  It doesn't mean we don't make mistakes but we pay attention to what goes on in our locker room.  Obviously the leadership on your team is something that every team is concerned about including us."

Did you maybe see this as a possible transition year?

"I would not say that looked at it that way.  Our goal's to compete for a championship every year and we make the moves necessary to accomplish that.  I would not characterize it that way. I really would not.  You're going to have turnover every season, 20 to 30 percent of your team's going to turn over.  Every team is different in this era of football.  I wouldn't characterize it as that.  I think some of that notion comes from the fact that we have a quarterback that is an elite quarterback that obviously is 35 years old right now.  We don't look at it that way."

Do you see more tough personnel decisions to be made?

"I think we always have tough personnel moves to make.  I do not know that it's directly related to the salary cap in that regard.  We've been in this environment for a number of years here now.  We have had a good team, we have a high paying team so we've been in this environment of being up against the cap, being near the cap.  We're comfortable, I'm comfortable with that.  Obviously we have some decisions to make.  We have an evaluation of the roster, we have to match that to our salary cap structure.  We know how to do that and I am comfortable doing it."

Do you pay attention to the fact that the locker room has been supportive of Rob Ryan?

"I think we pay attention to everything.  We do.  We pay attention to everything."

Do you think there is anything systematic or even philosophical that can explain some of the struggles you've had on defense?

"We have to look at that.  That's a good question and it's something that we have to look at pretty seriously.  Are we scouting correctly?  Are we making the right personnel decisions?  We have to make sure we are giving our coaches what they require, what they need to be successful.  Everything is open for discussion and that is one of them."

Rob Ryan has never been in the top 10 in takeaways as a coordinator. Is that a concern?

"We certainly understand how important takeaways are.  It is a point of emphasis.  There are so many variables that come into play with takeaways.  Again, it is an area that we have to really look at closely and we will."

When you do certain long term deals, do you look at those deals, for example Drew Brees and it being five years but really after three we're going to potentially restructure.  Do you look at it that way?  Are those the mechanisms you are talking about?

"You're talking about two different things.  There are mechanisms built in place in some contracts where the player does not do anything, does not have to do anything.  That's what I'm talking about when I say there are some mechanisms in current contracts that really $26 million, $25 million that we're over right now is not really that amount.  What you are asking I think is when we look at these contracts and design them, yes we're looking out three, four and five years, hey what might be possible?  Where are we at?  What is available?  So I would say yes.  It is not specific to Drew's contract, that is the way we look at every contract that we do.  We've got a one year plan, a two year plan.  We are looking out for the length of every deal.  Every team is doing that.  That is not unique to us."

What were some of the positives that you do take away from this year?

"There was a lot of discussion about our inability to win on the road for a while and we were able to win some games on the road.  We beat three division winners in Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Carolina.  So there are some good things.  We had some individual performances, Mark Ingram comes to mind immediately.  Look we like the things we saw out of Brandin Cooks and some other players as well that made improvement (and) progress.  It is hard though to get too excited about that when you are 7-9.  That doesn't feel very good.  That is the thing that we are all focused on.  We have to do better than that.

If you went 8-8 you would have been in the playoffs, would have that have made you look at things differently or just delayed it for a couple of weeks?

"It certainly would have delayed it because we would have been in the playoffs.  But I think this, you can't get fooled by just getting into the playoffs.  Obviously that is a goal and we would be excited about that but we need to take a critical eye at everything that we are doing.  Why are we 8-8?  We don't want to be 8-8.  We want to be the number one seed and get into the playoffs and have a great chance, an increased chance at getting to the Super Bowl so 8-8 is not going to be the number one seed in the NFC."

Do you have personal conduct clauses built into any of these contracts?

"There are things in every contract that players have to adhere to.  I really don't want to get into a discussion about that because that becomes a what if scenario.  I think it is way too early to be talking about that."

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