New Orleans Saints Center Brian de la Puente Conference Call with New Orleans Media Monday, September 23, 2013
**The Saints started 3-0 in 2006 and 2009. How do you all keep from getting ahead or letting 'noise' get in the way? *
"I think we just have to continue to focus on winning each week and, like Drew (Brees) says, we've got 16 single-game seasons. We are going to approach this week with Miami as a one-game season and that's all that's on our mind. If we can compartmentalize and keep focus on the task at hand, the big picture, 'the noise' as Coach Payton calls it, we won't listen to it."
Can you put a finger on exactly how much Coach Payton means to this team three games into the season?
"I think he brings back that leadership, that ultimate decision-making power for the team. I think we missed that last year. He really just brings back that leadership and that confidence that we missed last year."
Is there a certain level of confidence that he (Payton) instills?
"You come in to each week knowing that we have the best plan possible and that we know what and how and why and how we're going to do it and the reasons behind it. It makes sense. Him and Drew working together, it's a very creative process throughout the week. To have that equation back working, it makes a lot of sense and it gives us our confidence."
The offensive line has given up ten sacks this season, which is uncharacteristic of this team. What seems to be different this year?
"I don't think there is anything different. I think we just need to do a better job of protecting him (Brees). That's really what it comes down to. We just have to do a better job. That's unacceptable, and (we) take full responsibility for it because we've got to do a better job of giving him time. When he has time, he's very dangerous. We've got to do a better job of it."
You were still pretty optimistic about the run game at the end of the game yesterday. Did you see anything on film today that was particularly disappointing early on in the run game that stood out?
"There was a little bit of movement. They were stacking the box pretty heavy. Like I said last night, we adjusted on the fly. Early, you see what their plan is and you adjust accordingly. I think as the game went on we did a good job of that. When it really did count, at the end of the game, I thought we did a really good job of running the football and staying on the field and really getting that time of possession in the third quarter and finishing the game out."
Were you seeing similar fronts?
New Orleans Saints Outside Linebacker Parys Haralson Conference Call with New Orleans Media Monday, September 23, 2013
**You joined this defense pretty late into a massive rebuilding project. What have you noticed since you've joined them? Do you think they were pretty far along the way as a confident bunch, or do you think these first three games have been a boom to the confidence of this defense? *
"When I got here, I think it was a confident bunch in knowing what they had, which was a defense full of talented players. Any time you go into a situation where it's a new defensive coordinator that's installing a new defense, you always have the question of how you're prepared. I think everybody was pretty confident in what they had, in what we have here."
Do you see a contagious energy from the young guys who have stepped into big roles?
"Yeah, I think that the young guys, as far as a bunch of young talent, a bunch of guys that are very talented that probably hadn't played a lot of football at this level. It's one of those situations where the next guy has to step up, and when you lose two leaders then you have to step up, and I think the young guys and guys in general have been able to do that."
Now that you've been here for a few weeks, how do you feel the transition has gone? Do you feel comfortable now?
"I think, like I said, the first thing to get here was terminology. I think I'm picking up on the terminology. There's still a lot to learn. There's still a long way to go, but I am getting more comfortable in what they expect of me as far as my role in the defense. Those things just come with comfort, and when you start to get that experience, you start to get better with that."
It seems like the last three weeks it has been a different defensive front or different player who has stepped up. How hard is that to gameplan for when your opponent doesn't really know what Rob Ryan is going to throw at them?
"It's one of those things. I think the coaches do a great job of getting us prepared. They do a great job of mixing it up. Coach Ryan shows a bunch of different things as far as the defensive scheme. It's something that makes teams have to prepare for it. When you have to prepare for a lot of things, if there's not one thing to focus on, you really don't know what to expect."
I'm sure you know Aldon Smith from your time in San Francisco. What are your thoughts on his current personal troubles?
"As far as anybody, you hate to see a player go through that. Like I said, wish him the best and let him know that you have him in your thoughts and your prayers. That's basically all you can do."