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Rob Ryan, New Orleans Saints players talk about Tuesday's practice

John Jenkins, Keenan Lewis met with the media

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can you talk about Vinnie Sunseri?
"He's got a great bloodline. That's what we're expecting from him; that's what he needs to do to compete and give us a chance. We do like his progress. He takes coaching (well), obviously a coach's kid. We're excited about Vinnie."

Can you talk about having John Jenkins back? He said he wanted to get down a little bit on his weight
"I think when everything gets cleared and all of that, John is going to be a big part of our defense (this year). Anytime you can get an excellent player back, it's a good thing for us."

Can you talk about Tyrunn Walker and his development?
"He's a gamer. He shows up during the games. He did last year. The big thing is just keeping him healthy. He's battled through some injuries ever since I've been here. He has to become more available for us to use him. He's an excellent player, he's really smart, knows how to play, he knows how to rush. He's always made good plays and he's a smart player. Those are the kind we like."

How is Ronald Powell doing?
"He's a young guy that's got a lot of growing to do. That linebacker position is tough. There's a lot to it as a rookie, but we're happy with his progress."

You have to be more impressed with today's performance than yesterday's.
"I think definitely on both sides of the ball. It wasn't the short yardage anybody's used to (yesterday in terms of results out there). This was much more like it; we liked the hitting there. Obviously third and one (situational football) is a big part of football and if you're good in that situation it's huge for you. You get off the field, and that's a big deal."

New Orleans Saints Nose Tackle John Jenkins
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can you discuss your return to practice?
"I'm easing my way back in and trying to make things happen."

Was the timing of your injury frustrating because this was a big year for you to follow up on last season?
"Going through this process was a big eye opener for me and let me know my responsibility to get back here."

You have been working on the side for a while. Was it frustrating?
"Yes. The NFL is different from college. The NFL is a longer season than the college season. They don't want to push things and for me to get hurt again down the road."

How anxious were you to get back?
"I'm anxious. This is what I do for a living. I'm excited."

How do you feel about the weight you are playing at?
"I feel good. Do I look good out there? You are watching."

Is it a comfortable weight that you want to be at right now?
"I'm comfortable with it. Going down doesn't hurt. Me being a big guy and losing more weight doesn't hurt."

What are you at?

What's the most you have played at before?
"About 367 at Georgia."

What's the team's target weight for you?
"In the '40's, I'm good."

How hard is it to keep your weight down in an environment like this where it isn't as hot and humid and you are limited in what you can do because you are rehabbing as opposed to competing on the field in practice until this week?
"It's not hard. You just need to be disciplined. If you are able to move around, it's not a problem. It all depends on if you are stationary. If you're hurt and can't do anything that's the hard part, because your cardiovascular (system) is not moving (as much). Once you are able to move around and watch what you eat, it shouldn't be a problem."

In this system, you play in a system where stats can be misleading. You did not have a sack until the postseason. Everybody thought you had a strong rookie season. Can you talk about your role in this defense and what for you means you've played really well?
"My role in this defense is to free the linebackers up, take on as many blockers as I can (and) crush the pocket. You're right. A lot of the things I do are taken for granted. People don't understand the job I have to do. But at the end of the day as long as I'm doing the job I'm supposed to do and the stats as far as rushing yards and pressures against the quarterback show up, I'm happy."

Are you ready to get back to New Orleans and be in front of the hometown fans?
"Yes, there's no greater feeling than when we are leaving the hotel on gameday and seeing everybody on the side of the road screaming Who Dat. Going through that is an amazing feeling and I can't wait to get back personally."

Do you draw some strength from being back in the heat down there at practice?
"Yes, put it this way, nobody practices in that humidity and heat like we do, so we take pride in that humidity and heat and we are able to conquer it."

What did you learn here from your rookie season?
"Nothing lasts forever. That's what I've learned. I've seen things happen, I've seen people come and go. I've seen situations become big and I've seen situations become small. So, I have taken that nothing lasts forever."

Did your injury occur after the season was over?

In the weight room?
"Yes, working out."

Is it fair to say chest area?
"Yes, pec."

Who was the toughest guy you went against in your rookie year?
"It's tough because my position, I'm usually not going up against just one person. I'm going up against two, maybe three if I get a good push. I would say as a whole, San Fran had a good line as far as power rushing. I'm going to say San Francisco."

New Orleans Saints Tackle Zach Strief
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How have the coaches instilled toughness in this team through camp?
"By bringing in the right guys, guys that already have toughness. You're not taking a guy who has a weak mind and putting him in heat (situations requiring mental and physical toughness), and all of the sudden he pops out on the other side of camp as a tough player. Really he probably just complained for four weeks. They bring in the right guys. I think there's toughness on this team inherently because they brought in guys that are tough. I think that's an important thing here, and I can't say one thing negative about being here."

Has anything surprised you?
"A lot of it surprised me. I don't think anybody expected it to be as nice, as organized, as put together as it's been. It's literally like being at home. We have every comfort that we would have at home. I think today's practice is kind of a good example. It's not as late in camp as it used to be; we're not fifty practices in. We're late in camp, a couple of days from going home, and I thought that was a great practice. I think guys were running around, I think there's a lot of energy (today). You just don't see that in New Orleans. We've taken a lot of good practices out of this camp just because you can take focus into it, which isn't always the case back home."

Do you think that's a common opinion among the players? If they ask you guys, would you come back?
"Oh my gosh…I would…yes. I already told Coach (Sean) Payton that if you move from here, I don't know if I'm coming back (joking). I know we've got three years here, so I'm good for three (joking). If he decides in year four that he doesn't want to come back – which I don't think is the case. I think everybody wants to keep coming back."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Keenan Lewis
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can you talk about your race with Brandin Cooks yesterday?
"Let's get the truth out because I've been hearing about this. The guy's a real fast guy, but I said we could do a charity event (with a race) and get a whole lot of people come out."

You think you can beat him?
"What do you think? I'm going to win."

You guys have been digging into your depth at cornerback. How comfortable do you guys feel now?
"We're coming along. We still have a lot ahead of us. The guys are working well on their own and we're bringing along the young guys, letting them know that when their number's called, they have to eliminate mistakes and make big plays and cause turnovers."

Is there any concern that the entire group hasn't been able to get on the field at the same time and how long does that group need to jell?
"You might not have everybody on the field, but when we're watching the film, we're going over our plays and where we expect people to be."

Can you talk about getting Champ Bailey back today?
"We definitely need that guy. That's a guy that's been doing it forever since the league started (laughter). He's a great player, a great teammate and it's always good when you have a guy like that."

How much of a luxury has it been to not have Champ or Patrick Robinson and go with Corey White and still have the secondary perform at a high level?
"Corey's a great player. I have a feeling that Corey will always been ready. When he receives an opportunity to start, the level (of performance) doesn't go down. I like him."

Talk to us about your nickname West Bank?
"For the West Bank, I always have to pull the West Bank down. That's where I'm from. I take pride in that. I let my whole team know. Whenever they want to go look at some good high school football, they can come to the West Bank."

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