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S Jairus Byrd's and RB Tim Hightower's conference call quotes

Audio and quotes from Monday's conference calls

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New Orleans Saints Safety Jairus ByrdConference Call with Local MediaMonday, December 14, 2015

After watching the tape, is there anything that you saw out of the game that you maybe didn't see immediately postgame?

"I watched the game and some film on the plane. We played with a lot of effort. A lot of guys played with a lot of energy. We ran to the ball really well and it showed. We did a good job of controlling Doug Martin. One of our big focuses coming into the game, was to control the run game. I thought we did a pretty good job of that. Obviously, there are some exceptions to that but for the most part, we did a good job. We didn't allow the explosive pass plays and I think that that was another big thing that we came in not wanting to do. I think we were able to do that. Once we hit those things, it shows in the end result."

A couple of the veterans were saying that you still need to clean up the penalties; what's your take on that?

"Without a doubt. It's obviously just a reoccurring theme. If you notice in the game when we do start to have penalties, I don't know if it's a psyche thing or what it is but once we have a couple of penalties, it's almost like those drives normally tend to turn into points or touchdowns. It's almost like we get to a third down and if there's a penalty in that drive, it compounds itself into more and more. I think that that is definitely something that we need to clean up, and even if a penalty does come we have to be strong enough to bounce back the next play and finish off a drive. We cannot let it snowball into something bigger."

How much do drops or penalties by the opposing team help your defense execute a little better?

"It doesn't really. I mean every time someone has a drop, someone needs to be there to contest that play. I feel like that you never want to leave anything to chance. We're not in this game trying to leave anything to chance. Obviously, those are things on someone's sideline that they're trying to get corrected or see where someone could've been and what could've happened. If you look at all the teams that are doing well this year, you're going to have to have some breaks go your way. Obviously, you want them to go your way more often than not. It is not a bad thing but you are always striving to not have to rely on something bouncing your way."

What specifically are you doing differently with Dennis Allen since he took over defensive coordinator duties, as far as getting to the ball? Have there been fewer alignment mistakes?

"I think that it's just guys taking responsibility and accountability. Guys are making sure to do their job, and saying that mistakes are not okay and that the little things do matter. You can't overlook the little things and just say that it's okay. It's not and you just have to make sure that you're paying attention to the little things, because those become the big things. That's a big thing that we're focusing on right now, the small things. The bigger things will take care of themselves if we start with the fundamentals. I think it is definitely showing."

Were you able to get with your dad (Buccaneers cornerbacks coach Gill Byrd) over the weekend? Does having a dad who is a coach affect the way you think about the game as a player?

"Yes, I got to meet up with him before the game. It was my mom's birthday on Saturday when we got in so I kind of had to do a little family deal. I saw him there. As far as my thinking process, I try to think from a cerebral point but at the same time, I'm out there playing what I see. I guess the biggest advantage would be just having that coach's view after a game. If he catches a game or sees something, it's having that extra level of critique. You hold yourself to a higher standard obviously. He is going to say things that sometimes you might not want to hear but you need to hear. You're going to get to hear it from your dad or your family member."

How much does still having a chance for the playoffs affect your preparation for everything at this stage of the year?

"It is big. It is why you play the game obviously, is to have a chance, be alive and play for something. That is all you can ask for. We just have to make sure that we're taking care of business each and every day. (We have to make sure) that we're paying attention to details, doing what's asked of us and making sure we're playing complete football in all phases. If we take care of that and eliminate the things that have been hurting us, I think we'll be fine."

With regards to the locker room being together, how much of that is real and how much of that is just saying the right thing?

"That's real, that's definitely real. You talk about being individuals out there and you can't win with individuals – that starts in the locker room. Anytime guys are together, there is a camaraderie there and a brotherhood there. Guys play for each other. That's big. You can't put a price on that or downplay that. That definitely is huge, the locker room being together, the type of guys that are in there and how guys get along and vibe with each other."

What creates that? There was a large turnover from last year; did the changes to the roster help create it?

"Obviously, Coach (Sean) Payton and Mickey (Loomis) know what they are doing. We trust in the plan and the vision that they have for this team. They saw some things that had to be changed and they went out and did it. It is our job to go out and make the plays and do the things that need to be done on the field to turn it into wins."

Looking at the games that (Tim) Hightower and (Marques) Colston had yesterday, what is the moral of that story?

"It's just perseverance. You see Tim who has obviously been out for so long – when you have a driving force and you're not going to be denied, you can't stop that. I think that it's just a credit to him, his perseverance and his drive to continue to beat on the door until he just finally knocked it down. I was so proud of him yesterday. You can tell how much it meant to him. It was a big day and I am just excited to see what he does from here on out."

What are you impressions of Marques? Does it seem like he still has a lot left?

"Yes, Colston is Colston. He hasn't changed. He is still reliable and clutch. He just does what he does. Obviously, we have weapons so the ball might go different places, but Colston is Colston. There is nothing that is falling off on him or that is different that is signaling change. He is reliable and he is what he is. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be doing it for as long as he has. 71 touchdowns with him and Drew (Brees) – that's incredible. He is what he is. We have guys that are making plays. Obviously, we have Ben (Watson). You're talking about a resurgence from older guys. You have Ben making a lot of plays. You have (Brandin) Cooks, (Willie) Snead and (Brandon) Coleman. There are guys that are stepping up and making plays. Colston is Colston."

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New Orleans Saints Running Back Tim HightowerMedia Availability Monday, December 14, 2015

What has Marques Colston's impact been this season?

"He is a guy who is a proven vet and you just can't trade the time in and time invested. He has proven himself time and time again and he is reliable and is a leader. Guys look up to him and you know he has had so many clutch games. He has made so many clutch catches and just his veteran leadership is invaluable."

Does it seem strange that people asking if Colston's time's coming to an end?

"I mean I don't know that is not a decision that I make and there are many factors that go into all that. All I know is he played well yesterday and time and time again he's come through and I've seen him from afar some years, but being able to be a teammate of his I'm just appreciative to be his teammate and (and to have) learned and watched the progress he has made over his years."

What do you think your ability to produce in the running game and passing game means for the final three games of the season?

"To even think of it as a three game season would be a disservice. I really wanted to make the most of my opportunities yesterday and I treated it as a one game season and I wanted to give it all I have. Right now I'm focused on Monday night getting a win on Monday night football and that's really all my focus is I really cannot control what happens after that or the game after that or after the season. What I can control is how I prepare for this next game and when that time comes (to) do everything I can to give my team a chance to win. That's really my focus and (I) will let the other things sort out when they do."

Do you feel sore after a workload like that?

"Yes, it's always in the football world and we laugh that was an old smash mouth style kind of football game. That was fought in the trenches on both sides of the ball, but they always feel a lot better after you win I don't know what it is, but (you are) not as sore after you win. I am sure if we wouldn't have won my body would have felt a lot more of those hits. I know it was a lot but I'm in really good shape and it's something that I really worked hard in the offseason. I'm okay just happy that we got the win."

What do you think was the key to the third down success?

"I think we had a good scheme going into it. Really a tribute to our coaching staff they really worked very hard to try and put us in the best possible situation and even previous weeks in Carolina I thought we had a good game plan and even when things haven't gone well I think our third down numbers this season have been pretty good. Which is a tribute to coaches putting guys in the right places and then guys executing when their numbers are called so I think we had a good plan going into it and we played it well. I wanted to make sure that I tried to avoid negative yardage we knew if we could stay out of third and long all those guys' pressures and different looks came on third and longs. As long as we stayed productive on first and second down we could get some pretty favorable looks on third and short and I think we did that yesterday."

Do you see any difference in attitude and what does it say about the locker room?

"You know I said afterwards and I hugged every single guy I the locker room for that reason because I said yesterday after the game it's easy for guys to just come to work business as usual and go through the motions at this point in the season, but we fought every single week and had a great week of practice and I feel like the coaching staff has given their hearts in game planning and preparing us to win and it's just been positive and not a lot of pointing fingers on what we could have done or should have done. You just sense that guys want to win and guys are frustrated that we weren't winning, but we are determined to win and determined to do things the right way and for me it's beautiful to think this game is facing adversity, but collectively you get a chance to overcome that adversity as a team and build on that improvement. I'm just so thankful to be a part of this team because sometimes it's not about the championships, but it's about those memories like games yesterday and they build character and I think it will for the future and it definitely did yesterday."

Did you ever have to take a civilian job while you were unable to play?

"No, I kept myself going not necessarily for the money, but just keeping your mind sharp and keep working towards something and I definitely picked up some commercial real estate (interests). (I) Did some internships just trying to learn and stay busy. I am a worker that's what I like to do go to work so I definitely stayed as active as I could during that time."

What was the response with texts and phone calls?

"So much joy and appreciation all those people who have supported me and been on the other end of those frustrating phone calls after surgery they felt the emotion and they knew what this journey has been and they knew the significance of it and just tears of joy and it was a good feeling to work really hard and you want to make people happy and make people happy that supported you and been in your corner to be able to give them something to cheer for and be proud of it. It meant the world."

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