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Quotes from Brandin Cooks and Kenny Vaccaro's Monday conference calls

Audio and quotes from WR Brandin Cooks and S Kenny Vaccaro's Monday conference calls with local media

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 17, 2016

You offense had 10 different players have a reception in the first half yesterday; what does it do for you when Drew (Brees) has the opportunity to spread it out like he does?

"For us to be able to do something like that, it is great for everyone because it opens up the offense. The defense can't key on one guy. In my situation, the more guys that make plays, the more we are all able to be involved."

Why do you think you had so much success with the deep ball yesterday?

"I think we just gameplanned pretty well with that, and just knowing who I was going to get. You have to be patient and pick the right time to call stuff. I think coach did a great job with that. The scheme just worked well and everything just seemed to fit together."

You had 143 yards in Week One (followed by) a couple of quiet games in the middle, and now 173 yards; is it sort of your lifestyle as the kind of wide receiver you are and the attention defenses pay to you (to have up and down games)? Is it hard to get used to that?

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's hard to get used to it. That's the name of the game sometimes. In those two games where I didn't have as successful of a game as you may say, I probably just wasn't being used right in my opinion. We fixed those things and watched film and just got it fixed. That is what it is all about. I just want to win and that is all that it's about."

Can you share with us your ability to set up defenders? Obviously, people know that you want to be able to get deep, and yet you are able to get deep. How much work have you put into working on the other routes, in order to be able to set them up to get deep?

"Like I said before, I do not want to be just a guy that is considered (to be just) a deep ball threat. I feel like I have other weapons in my game to be able to set that deep ball up, whether it is underneath routes so defenders don't play off. Then, we pick them apart underneath and (are) be able to take those balls and go the distance. That is where (yards after catch) comes into play. That is what I stress to coach and I think that he does a great job of figuring that out. I think we're headed in the right direction."

That is something that you address with the coaching staff? You think you guys figured out a better mix after the bye week?

"I wouldn't necessarily say that that is what I brought up. I think that this gameplan during the week, I saw that change. The coaches watch film too. With that being said, they try to do their best to put players in the right position to succeed."

Does it make a big difference when they are able to use two tight ends more, as they were able to do with Josh Hill coming back?

"Yes, because if you ever have two tight ends like that in the game, you get a lot more different looks, which is great for us. Guys that make plays like Josh Hill and Coby (Fleener), the more consistent that they are out there on the field together, the better our offense is."

Is that the celebration that you are planning on using the rest of the season?

"I don't know. I am going to still do a form of it. I'm going to continue to speak my opinion about it. Hopefully, there is a way I can get back to actually shooting the arrow. We'll find out."

Have you tried to look in to see if there is someone at the NFL office who you can appeal that to?

"I'm going to have to talk to coach (Payton) about that. I'm pretty sure he knows the direction with that. I'm going to try because of what it means to me. We'll figure it out. At the same time, I don't want to be a distraction for the team."

If someone asks how did you get so open on that 87-yard touchdown yesterday, does you answer begin with sometime way before that play even happened?

"It is just one of those things. I just feel like once again, we set that up in many different ways, whether it was from other games or whatever the case may be. It was just a perfect play call. I wouldn't necessarily say that anything else had to do with it."

So it wasn't a particular move that you put on that guy at that time? There was a bigger picture reason for it?

"There was a bigger picture, yes."

What would you say the confidence is of the passing game right now?

"It is improving. When you have success like that with everyone on the field and not just a couple of people, you definitely have to say that the passing game is improving. I feel like we weren't far off from where we are now and we still have room to grow. That is the beauty of it."

Does winning two straight games give you a lot more optimism about what lies ahead for the team?

"It gives us confidence, there's no question about it. Whether the game's close or not – I feel like it's one of those things where these close games that we've won are showing us and building us as a team to learn how to win in the fourth quarter. We have a few games where we lost close like that. Now, it seems like we're turning things around in our direction and in our favor. Now, we just have to come together as one team with an offense that's putting up a lot of points and a defense holding opposing teams to less points. I think that is where we are getting to."

Kenny Vaccaro made a comment about coming in today even though you guys were given the day off; when you hear that as an offensive player who had a very productive day, do you say to those guys don't be so hard on yourselves or good, you guys should go in?

"You definitely encourage those guys. We encourage each other. We have each other's backs. There will be games where it'll seem like the offense can put up as many points as we usually do. We'll need a defense that stops them. They'll be games where the defense just can't hold opponents so we'll need to score more points. That is what it is all about. We've got to play complimentary football. Obviously, we are all going to hold each other accountable to be able to work harder and be able to fix and figure out things. That is what it is all about. We can't be blind to the situation."

Michael Thomas seems to be growing each week; what have you seen from him that has led to this impressive start?

"Like you said, he is growing every week. I mean every week. He's working hard and asking questions. That is what you like to see from a rookie. He's always in the meetings, being attentive and asking a lot of questions. I feel like those questions that he's asking are showing up on the film. Now, he's being more consistent week in and week out."

How much do you think yesterday's game was an example of how you, him and Willie (Snead IV) can beat teams in different ways?

"I think it was a great example. The biggest challenge now is to be consistent with that. Not just one week and then here another week. We've got to come in every week like that, I feel like."

New Orleans Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 17, 2016

The quarterback hits for the defense have been way up the last two weeks. Do you feel like the pass rush is starting to get there more?

"Yeah, but I also think DA (Dennis Allen) is doing a great job of scheming up blitzes with the five-man pressures to create confusion with the offense. So guys are getting one on ones and guys are getting free."

How productive to you think the defense was today in coming in to meet as a group?

"It was good for everyone to see their mistakes as a whole and not just (as) separate groups individually. I think it is better when DA (Dennis Allen) or a position coach gets up and explains it exactly how it is supposed to be done. Especially when you have a lot of younger guys on defense. Sometimes when it is just us players we kind of skim through the game and you don't notice the corrections that you want. I think it was good for us to come in. Now we can move on to Kansas City."

Did you get full attendance from the defense or close to it?

"Everybody came."

How often has that happened in your four years in New Orleans on a Monday following a victory when they are allowed more to come in and get a workout done and watch the film on their own time?


Were you used significantly differently yesterday then you have been this season?

"Yeah, I played everything this game. I played SAM when we need three linebackers in the game. I played SAM sometime. I played WILL on third down. I played nickel on first and second down. Then I played strong safety."

What was the coaching staffs reaction to the entire defense coming in today to watch film as a group?

"I just asked coach Payton and he was all for it. He said he was fine with that. We just had to coordinate it with the staff meeting and got it done. It was not a big deal. I think it was important for us to go over tape. Sometimes with our victory Monday on Wednesday when we get back in here we go over a few plays on the game but you won't go over the full thing so it was a good deal."

How do you evaluate a game like yesterday when you have 13 Quarterback hits, 9 passes defended but you still give up 38 points?

"You take the positives from it, but you really anchor down on the negatives. There were just a lot of plays that they made that were directly related to us playing the wrong technique. It had nothing to do with talent but those guys are going to make great catches. One time you don't use your help, or play to the right leverage and you are giving up an out with a guy right in front of you that is not acceptable. If you keep doing that in the future, it is going to cost you some games. We need to get that fixed now. It is an easy thing to fix, but it needs to be fixed now."

The only time you guys locked an opponent down was the Giants game. What did you guys do so effectively that day?

"We really trusted the plan. The Giants game from the bottom to the top of the play call is, pretty much every call was played exactly how it was covered. That is what you get when you do that. They don't score any TDs. We don't give up long passes. In games that we have given up a lot of points we have done that. Guys are going to get beat sometimes on planned plays. But everyone needs understand what their role is and how to make plays accordingly."

What did make of the three pass interference calls?

"When you are going in and Cam (Newton) doesn't use his feet when he throws so some of the balls are going to be short. So all you have to do is look. Never panic. I knew on mine the ball was going to be short. I knew he was going to throw off his back foot so all I did was look and unfortunately I still got called for it. It is what it is. When the other ones, they were pass interference. Anytime you play into the guy and don't look back on the ball they are going to call it. Unfortunately on mine they still called it."

Do you see the penalties as a symptom of a mistake?

"The one with Brian (Dixon) he said if he looks back but he hit the guy. If he keeps his eyes back he picks the ball. The one with Sterling (Moore) on the reverse pass. That was just bad odds. He was already beat and that was a situation when you just don't (want to) give up a touchdown. I understand he was already beat, but if you are beat that bad we need to just to get a goal line stand at that point."

Coach Sean Payton said he hopes at some point pass interference is reviewable in instant replay. How much do you agree with it as a player?

"I do agree with it. Especially on my play. I think that changed the whole complex of that game. We get off the field on fourth down right there, I don't know how many touchdowns we were up or the score, but I know it was a couple. That could have been up being, we could have had a four touchdown lead. Our offense was quick and it could have been real detrimental for the Panthers if we get off the field. That was a huge play of the game and anytime you have a fourth and three with a penalty and they score, I don't know how many plays later they scored, but I think it could really change the outcome of the game. I think most because of the situation."

What is your feel for the game after two straight wins, knowing that four of those games were really close?

"I think it's good. I think everyone's positive and everyone understands how hard it is to win in this league. Take nothing for granted. That was a good football team regardless of their record. NFC South champs and NFC Champions. You have to take credit where it is due. San Diego Chargers just beat Denver Broncos, the Super Bowl winner, we beat them. Everyone feels good."

How much have the additions of B.W. Webb and Sterling Moore helped with those younger corners?

"They've definitely helped. There's a learning curve on our defense. Anytime you come in after training camp, you do not get all those reps, all those OTAs reps, you do not get to play with me, (Jairus) Byrd, and Vonn (Bell). I think they've done an outstanding job of what they have been asked to do. The young corners just have to keep growing. I think the big thing with our football team is our defense. I think we have to get better with situational awareness. Understand what the offense is wanting to do at certain parts of the game. Certain down and distances and certain areas of the field. That will make us a lot better defense."

Both of those defensive backs can play inside now. How much does that help you guys on defense?

"You want guys that can play multiple positions. Those players are held at the premium. Anytime you can play corner and nickel it is good for the team."

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