New Orleans Saints Linebacker Manti Te'o - 2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon - August 18, 2018
Coach said you guys played better as a group last night. Specifically, what do you think he was getting at?
"I thought we played better as a group as well. That should happen. Being in training camp every day, grinding it every day, practicing every day, getting familiar with playbook, but more importantly getting familiar with your teammates. That jelling process is bound to happen at some point so I'm glad it is happening now. A lot of things to correct, but definitely happy with how we're playing together."
What were some of the things that you'd like to see fixed?
"Just small things. I know defensively I know in the passing game we want to do things. Just pay attention to the small details. You're going to get beat on certain plays that's just how the NFL works. Limit those explosive plays and just always get better. That is what this process is all about. That's what this time was all about. It's all about going out there and competing. Going out there and learning and hopefully at the end of the day you come out with the win. At the end of the day it's all about being evaluated and going out there and doing your best."
What is the advantage of playing multiple linebacker positions?
"It puts you in that situation where you have to understand the defense as a whole. You can't just learn one position. You have to learn the different pieces and how they work and how they fit within the big puzzle. When you start understanding different pieces that allows you to play faster. Then when you play one position and you've played the others, you understand why you have to be in certain places and what the other person is looking at. It goes back to the first question of us playing together. Guys just understanding the big picture and what we want to have happen."
Joint practices against old teammates, is this anything different for you?
"Obviously, there's a lot of excitement. I have a lot of friends on that team and I'm excited for our team to go out there and to compete. It was a good time for us to go out there last year and we ended the trip the way we wanted to and hopefully we can go out there get some good work in with a good team and compete on Saturday. That's what this is all about. It's nice to compete against a different color jersey for me especially to go against a familiar faces. It's something I'm looking for."
Do you like those two days better than a preseason game?
"It's just extra days to go get somebody else. When you're going against your team it's exciting, it's fun, but we run against each other all the time. It's good to go against somebody (else). We have a scout team that tries to mimic the other team, but now when you go against another team it's the actual offense, so they know how to run their plays, they know what they want to have happen, they know the little fine details of each play so you're actually getting the exact look that you're going to get on gameday. I think it gives us an advantage to go against the team and practice against them and then play against them. Obviously, you know they're not going to show their full hand, but you can get familiar people and how they play."
Does it get tiring seeing the same plays over and over again?
"With our offense, Coach Payton and Drew (Breese) and in the offensive coaching staff, you guys have seen it long enough. It's a different offense every week. They're always drawing and trying to find the best way to match our personnel and trying to be as explosive of an offense as we can be. Whenever you're going against Drew (Brees) it never gets dull. You're going against one of the best (to) ever play the game and he keeps you on your toes. Then you have Mike (Thomas), Alvin (Kamara), Mark (Ingram). You've got all those guys back there. There's really no flat day."
Has anything stood out to you about facing Jonathan Williams in practice?
"Yes. J Will is just one of those guys where he puts his head down and he just comes to work every day. He always puts his best foot forward. He works extremely hard. What I have seen in camp is just a combination of his work he put in during OTA's and during the months of June and July. He is just a workhorse and I am happy for him. I'm happy to see the success he's had. He has had a lot of big runs and for us we see it everyday. For him to go out there on that big stage and be able to produce like he's producing, like I said, it's no surprise to me because I get to see him every day and see how he works and all of that. It's good to see him get that recognition."
New Orleans Saints Center Max Unger - 2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon - Saturday, August 18 2018
How did you think the first team offensive line did as a whole last night?
"It was good getting Andrus [Peat] out there. We have not had a ton of reps together throughout camp. He's been pretty limited so it was good to get the first group out there. I thought we ran the ball pretty well, and I thought the protection was a little spotty in some areas the first couple tries. We are working on it and getting all five [lineman] out there again."
How much time do you need with Andrus even though you guys have played together before, just to get everything back in sync for this season?
"This is his fourth year, and mine here too. It is pretty smooth. The communication we have had is pretty solid, it's just reps. I missed training camp last year, so I know it's not awesome (when missing time happens). Just getting him back out there and just going through the motions a little bit is what we need."
How long does it take to get that gel that you kind of need to have with five offensive lineman all playing together?
"A couple weeks at minimum, and that is with depth too. With guys rotating in that helps a lot, bringing the calls all together and everyone being on the same page."
How glad are you that you have actually been around for camp this year?
"Its big time. Just thinking back to this time last year, it's not awesome. Missing training camp and starting week one. This is good, I feel good, my body feels good, and I think we are going in the right direction."
What kind of sense do you have about the talent this team has at defensive tackle from going against them in practice?
"It's tough. These are the guys that we play against. Tyeler [Davison], Sheldon [Rankins], Big O [David Onyemata], those guys in the middle, it has been hard for us throwing the ball (in practice). If that is any indication of the season coming forward, we have pretty high expectations to say the least."