Chicago Bears Head Coach John Fox
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Can you talk about the way Akiem Hicks has played for you so far?
"He's been impressive. I think he played well for us last year. I think he's kind of more adapted to our system now. I think he's been more productive this season. Offseason, early this season he signed a new contract, one I think he definitely earned. I think he's showing that now."
We just saw the trade for Dontrelle Inman, do you expect him to get up to speed to help this weekend?
"I just got done with our media here. It is hard to say. I have not met him yet. I know our coaches will do as soon as things are finalized, he passes his physical and all those things. I'm sure our coaches will start on that process and time will tell."
As a guy who appreciates defense, what are your thoughts right now as a you look at the Saints as they've evolved over the last month on defense?
"I've seen improvement. I know Dennis (Allen) pretty well. I'm familiar with a lot of guys on your staff, including Sean (Payton). Dennis worked for me in Denver. I watched him make the transition from a position coach to a coordinator then he moved on to the Oakland experience as the head coach. He's a fine coach. I think he has a good demeanor (and) people skills that I think are helpful when you have a big job like a coordinator does. He's an outstanding teacher. I've just seen improvement every week. They took a couple of lumps early but I saw improvement. That's what you try to do in this league, get better as you go."
What is it about Dennis's people skills that make him a good coordinator?
"I think he is a good motivator. I think players need that. Some people possess it. I think Dennis does. I think he has good knowledge of the game as far as both the fronts and the coverage (and) to be able to communicate that to all three levels of the defense, the defensive front, the linebackers, and the secondary I think's important and to your coaches. It's all teaching and a lot of it is motivating and sales."
What did you see to hire him as a coordinator back then?
"He had a great reputation there (as Saints secondary coach). Obviously Sean (Payton) and I talked, he thought highly of him. I had some other friends that knew of him. I like guys that have been in the coverage part of the defense to make that move. When I hired Jack Del Rio, he was the linebackers coach in Baltimore. I think the same thing with offense and offensive coordinators. I think they go through the quarterback and they have to understand the passing game. I was able to do that with Mike McCoy and Adam Gase, (those) are some guys that have had good success as coordinators, now even as head coaches."
What would be some of the keys of defending a fade route against a physical receiver that can jump a little bit?
"Well I think leverage obviously, awareness, and there are ways to cut that off regardless of size. We played a big guy last week (Kelvin) Benjamin for Carolina. Nothing is easy. If you're playing with a 5'2" guy it's not as good. But technically there are ways to have a vision and cut the ball off to make that play."
What are some of those things that you could do to kind of cut that off?
"I'd really like to tell you but I don't really want to give that up."
What would you say Mitchell Trubisky is at right now as you enter the midway point of the season? How has he progressed? What more would you like to see from him?"He's 2-1 as a starter. His first game as a starter was Monday Night Football against a very talented Minnesota defense. You guys have already seen them. And then he's won the last two games. I think he's learned a little bit in each one of those when you think about it. He's a 13-game starter (in) college. And then he's not even started 20 games since high school. I think it's not too big for him. (He's a) Real humble guy, he's a very smart guy who's not afraid to work hard. I think you'll just see him continue to grow."
What'd you guys think of Marshon Lattimore in the draft?"We really liked him. I would say it's fair to say, not that I was in all 32 teams' rooms but it's fair to say he's probably the number one corner in 90% of the boards in the league. He is long, he has length, he has speed. I think he's transitioned really well into the Saints defense and they're doing a good job of teaching him."
What can you see his strengths being based on how he's played so far?"Again, a lot of football is technique. I think he's adopted NFL techniques and the NFL game, and like I said that length and that speed definitely helps make that transition."
With Dennis Allen, what is the toughest part about taking a defense that has not had a lot of success the way the Saints have kind of struggled going in and kind of turning it around? What is the toughest part about getting a defense to turn around?"I think the concept of everyone doing their job. Again, it is the ultimate of team games, I do not care if you are talking about offense or defense or even at the kicking game. Those guys (are) executing their job. Typically, the other team practices and gets paid too. You're going to get beat occasionally physically. But what you don't want is to get beat mentally and that is not being in the right gap, not having the right guy in coverage, taking a wrong angle. Some of the do's and don'ts of defensive football, whether it's being in the right gap or right leverage based on the right coverage call. I think that's really every coach in the league's job is to get those guys doing it at the same time."
Primarily because of Mark Ingram II and Alvin Kamara's success with some other personnel stuff, how hard is it to project or predict when a pass or run is coming with how balanced the Saints offense has been?"If you are looking it's fairly trendy, last week we played Carolina and we had Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, even here we have Jordan Howard (and) Tarik Cohen, they are unique. It is just different styles. Most people call it a change of pace. Obviously their skillsets are different yet they're very effective. (In) Most cases a lot of people are getting them both in at the same time. This game is about matchups and you're trying to create those in your favor. Both of those guys' skillsets are very good and that seems to be a bit of a trend here in our league."