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Quotes from Alex Anzalone and Ryan Ramczyk's conference call - Monday, November 12

New Orleans Saints Tackle Ryan Ramczyk - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Monday, November 12, 2018

How do you feel the offensive line played without Terron Armstead yesterday after we was forced to leave the game?
"I think we played really well. We were able to run the ball and sustain drives. I think we played really well, obviously it hurt having Terron go down, but Jermon (Bushrod) stepped up and he's a heck of a player too."

Do the fast starts set the tone for the rest of the game?
"I think it's huge to be able to come out there and put together a drive. That was a long drive and we just kept chipping away and ultimately it puts out a statement at the start of the game. We can move the ball at will and I think it's crucial in each game to come out and get a good first drive." 

What is it like playing with a quarterback who has thrown only one interception through nine games?
"I've only played here and only played with Drew (Brees) in the NFL. I guess I've kind of gotten used to his performance and obviously it's not like that everywhere. I am fortunate to be able to play with someone like that with elite caliber (talent), but it has been a lot of fun."

Drew (Brees) has only been sacked nine times this season. When you look at the film, do you look at some plays and realize that he could have been sacked and he just makes these plays and sort of avoids them? Do you see that a lot?
"Yeah. I mean Drew (Brees) is so good with his reads. He's so good at dropping back, stepping up, getting rid of the ball. That takes a lot of pressure off us as an o-line, but we still need to do our jobs and do them well. There'll be some plays where he can't get it to his first read and he's able to get it checked down. He's a technician when it comes to that and he's really good at doing that." 

It's only your second year in the league, but do you have any kind of sense of how unique or rare his talent is especially with avoiding sacks?
"He's a great player. There's really not that many other players that play like he plays with his style. He's got a special talent and it's definitely fun playing for him."

The team is averaging almost 37 points a game which leads the NFL. Just from your perspective playing football, both as an amateur and a pro, what do you make of that and what do you think is the main reason the offense is so proficient in scoring?
"I'd say it's a combination of a lot of different things. As an offensive line, collectively, we have been meshing really well. We continue to come out each week and improve on little things and play at high level. Obviously, there is still work we have to do. We are going to continue to watch the film and study and improve on little things, but I think just the cohesiveness upfront really helps us out. Then guys like Mark (Ingram), Alvin (Kamara), Drew, and Michael (Thomas) and all those guys around us are special athletes too and really good. I think together as an offense, when we come together, we can make a lot of great things happen."  

What do you think of that number scoring 37 (points) per game at this level? Is it hard to not be impressed with yourselves as a unit?
"Yeah. It's definitely special. It doesn't happen a lot where you're the top scoring offense, so to be a part of that is pretty cool."  

What's your thought on the capability on some of your backups when they come in to play? They don't get many chances to play, but it seems like you've had injuries and you guys have held up.
"I think we have had Josh (LeRibeus) come in, Cam (Tom) come in, (and) Jermon (Bushrod) come in and those guys are all really good offensive linemen. We are fortunate to be able to have them behind our starting guys. When someone goes down, it happens, it is football. It's imperative that someone else is able to step up and play well in that position. I think we've had a number of guys who have been able to step up and really play at a high level still."

How are you guys managing to stay in the moment each week?
"That really comes down to how you attack each week. We preach to take it week by week. That has just been ingrained in especially my head. You have to take each week like it's the biggest week and it really is. The next game is the biggest game. That is kind of what we are preached. That is really the motto that guys have embraced in this locker room and each week is the most important week. So this week is our biggest match-up and our biggest game."

What have you seen by Alex Anzalone and him overcoming the shoulder injury from last year?
"That was tough last year. He had that injury last year, but to be able to come back and fight back through that. He has been able to play really well this year. Gosh, I know that interception he had last week was a very athletic play and he is making a difference and is playing at a high-level."

Is there any type of connection you have with guys that were in your draft class?
"Yes."

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Alex Anzalone - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Monday, November 12, 2018

How much more a part of this do you feel this year than last year? Not to say that you didn't feel a part of it last year, but you were injured and you weren't able to participate obviously after the bye. Do you feel like you a lot more helpful or responsible for this now?
"Yes, I think so. Obviously, last year I was gone (on Injured Reserve) after week four. So yes, I guess the answer would be yes. I do feel a lot more part of it playing rather than sitting on the sidelines."

Especially the last few weeks, you've made some impact plays. the forced fumble, an interception last week, and a sack this week. How has that been for you?
"It's good. I just want to do my part. I think coaches do a good job putting us in good positions to make plays. I think that you just have to execute and the plays will come if you're there. So Just being (in) the right spot at the right time making the right move at the right times really when I created that too."

Which one of those plays impressed you the most out of those three plays?
"I'd probably say the interception was the one that I would be the most proud of."  

Why is that?
"Just because it's something that as linebackers we work on that all the time and the way I was able to get the ball from the position I was in and I took a step to the left and then cut back. I felt like that was what made those, out of those three plays, that's what was most impressive."  

Do you feel like it's slowed down for some and do you feel like D.A. (Dennis Allen) is able to kind of use you in more variety because of what you learned in this defense so far?
"Yeah for sure. I think I'm playing multiple positions on the defense. Last year I don't think I would be able to do that just because being a rookie, coming into a new system, coming into the NFL, it's definitely hard to do. But this year I'm able to do that and be used differently in different ways."  

Did you get any feedback from your teammates on just kind of how athletic your interception as?
"Yes, for sure. We have a lot of guys in the locker room that are very supportive and anytime anyone makes a play, we're all encouraging each other (to) have fun and you see our celebration. If someone makes the play the whole team makes a play. It's pretty cool to see."

What was the film room like today when they saw the sack?
"For me, I went unblocked, so it's hard to say that it was a crazy play but anytime anyone makes a play it's fun and exciting and to that point yesterday that was their going for it on fourth down, so it was a quick turnaround for us for getting ready for the next play."

What do you feel like is working best with this defense right now?
"Playing fundamentally sound defense. I don't think we're doing anything too crazy or playbookwise. It's just executing the technique and details of what we're asked to do and playing defense because it's not really what you play in the NFL, it's how you play it. DA preaches what we've been doing these past few weeks that we've been able to have some of our better performances."

Does the fast impact of your offense affect the opposing offenses and take them out of their gameplan a little bit?
"Some teams want to play catch up and they have to play catch because of our offense. Some teams want to go right to the throwing game and know that they have to have a fast pace, move the ball (on) offense to be able to stay in the game and sometimes that's abandon the run game and just throw the ball, but some teams do not do that. Later in the game or even throughout the game you see teams go for it on fourth down against us, like yesterday they went for it a few times because they know they have to be able to keep (up)." 

You guys have given up touchdowns on opening drives the last three games. Is it just a matter of some kind of adjustment after those opening drives, or what's your assessment of what happens on those first series?
"Like even yesterday there are just a couple – I would not say missteps, but just not being completely technique-sound. Even fundamentally with tackling and everything like that (what's important) is just getting off to a fast start. The Bengals, they came off of a fast start the past few weeks they have been playing. So I think that just getting in that right mentality for that first drive is big. I know a few times, I forget which game, so we start with a three and out and that is always big for a defense and to get the ball back to our offense. So we just have to continue to focus on doing that. It's just little details." 

You mentioned feeling more, obviously, for good reason feeling more involved this year than last year after the injury. A year ago after the injury, what was kind of your regular routine? I assume you were doing rehab at the facility but were you still going to meetings, or how closely connected or detached were you to what the team was doing?
"I'd go do rehab in the morning, go to all the meetings, and then get a lift in or whatever during practice last year. But I'd go to all the home games. Away games I wouldn't travel, but that's pretty much the extent of how much I was involved." 

What are your thoughts on hearing that the Saints are leading the league scoring 37 points a game on offense?
"One, I'm glad we don't have to play them. I think going against them in practice definitely gives you confidence. Even throughout training camp you know that they're going to be the best offense in the NFL. It gives you confidence going into the season and just gameplanwise. We do not have to be superheroes. Things aren't going to always go our way, but we just have to give our offense a chance and we've been able to do (that) the past eight games. They've been doing a great job of getting points on the board."

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