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Saints transcripts: Malcom Jenkins, Pete Werner, Alvin Kamara, Demario Davis media availability | Friday, Oct. 22

Saints players look ahead to Week 7's game against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 22, 2021

How did your purchase into the Burnley Ownership group happen?

"We had a good relationship with ALK Capital, whose Chairman is part of an American Group that bought the team recently and we've done some other business with them. We asked if there was any room in this deal? They saw value in my team to help with some of the advertising and branding here in the states, the same where the NFL is expanding (its reach) into the U.K., they're trying to expand the English Premier League's reach with its players and teams, so they found value in myself and my team of folks to add to the ownership group."

Are you a big soccer guy?

"I am now (laughter). Growing up I played as a track athlete and American football my whole life, but obviously sports is something I know very, very well. It's definitely a new venture for me, but sports is sports and I know how to build brands and obviously have done a decent job with my own personal brand in business. It was something that fit well into our portfolio."

Do you get a lot of Ted Lasso jokes now?

"Non-stop. No, I'm not going to coach."

Sean Payton's done a really good job it seems with his record in the month after a bye typically. Is there something he does differently than maybe some of the teams in Philadelphia?

"I think he trusts players a lot giving us the entire week off. Allowing us to get away from the game, get our minds and bodies back, but when we come back he's good at getting us back into the routine and keeping us focused on the here and now. So far this week, these are some of the sharpest practices we have had to date. He just does a great job. It's the culture he's built. He's stuck to the things that he knows. It's worked for him for several seasons now. It's just how he runs his program."

Is it a lot different than how it was in Philly?

"No, they would give us a lot of days off, maybe not the whole week. I think every team's different. Every team has different philosophies. Teams when they change head coaches, they change culture, they change philosophy. Obviously Sean being here as long as he has, he's believed in it with the success that he's had as a formula."

This defense wasn't waiting for it's players to come back healthy to establish an identity, but how much untapped potential is there still?

"We've been in a race to improve every game. We can look at rankings and feel like we're at a solid place. We probably felt like we've underperformed so far or haven't been as consistent as we wanted to be. So, adding players that are quality players back from injury or whatever it is always makes you better and adds more depth. We're excited for another opportunity to compete, another opportunity to get better, whoever that is on the field."

What does eventually getting players such as David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport with pass rush ability help you guys on the back end?

"The epitome of team defense is pass coverage because you need to have a rush of the passer and coverage, both of those things coincide. If you can't get to the quarterback then you're covering way too long and for us, we'll be able to see immediately what those players being inserted into the lineup mean for our defense."

How big a role culturally for example does Sean Payton play in being able to rebound from Hurricane Ida, missing as many players as you did this year, missing Drew Brees for four games last year?

"I think he also does a great job of putting the onus on the leadership and players and making sure that we also curate the culture. He makes decisions. We go to Dallas. He says we're going to focus on what we can control. That is carried out by the captains on the team which is followed by every other leader at a position. Now all of a sudden it's not abnormal because you look at your leader, he's not flinching, you look at your other captains, they don't seem they're bothered by it. Nobody trips. We just focus on what we can control, which is our preparation, how we compete week in and week out, whether it's in Dallas, whether it's here, whether we need to go on the road, nobody cares at the end of the day. It's all about how we perform on Sundays. We look to keep the main thing the main thing and it makes it a lot easier to block out those distractions and not allow yourself to make excuses for failure. It's a democratic form of ownership, it's not just my way? It's our way. Everybody feels that their role has something to do with our success as a team. We're not just playing Madden with a bunch of robots. It's a collective effort. He listens to the captains and what the players say. I think that relationship makes everything a lot easier when you talk about dealing with adversity."

New Orleans Linebacker Pete Werner
Post-Practice Press Conference with Local Media
Friday, October 22, 2021

Where is your shirt from?

"I am from the Indianapolis area. We go to the Indy 500 every year. This is brickyard and I found it at a select store visiting my brother in Bloomington. It had a bunch of throwback shirts, so I thought that was pretty cool. I'm not a huge NASCAR guy though. I can't sit around and watch cars go in circle."

What's your thoughts on how you have played through the first five weeks of the season?

"Yeah, I think like I said last week it's been a good start and a step in the right direction. I'm happy to be put in these situations to execute and step up to play when they need me to play."

Is that going to be your same mindset when Kwon Alexander returns to the lineup?

"Yeah, it'll be the same mindset. He's been out there at practice. He's a guy that compliments everyone always and brings the juice, being a juice boy. So, it's good to have him out there. We're ready to head to Seattle and again, he's a guy that compliments everyone and we're excited to have him back."

What do you think makes the Saints so good when facing adversity?

"I just think we have such strong leadership as a defense and because we're so tight as a unit, you can throw anything our way and we'll find a way to overcome it. We've faced adversity many times already this year and we've found a way to overcome that. We're going to continue to have that mindset. Because of the strong leadership with Demario, Cam, and those older guys we can overcome anything. That's kind of the thing that's kept us together along the way."

Has it been easier to come in as a rookie to a locker room with such strong leadership?

"Of course. You want to come to a great organization. I could not think of coming into a better organization that this one. They established the great culture a long time ago. I just have to continue to play my part and execute what the leaders ask for. It's been great being with an organization like this."

What makes Sean Payton embrace adversity the way he does?

"He's the head of everything. He does a great job developing the culture. Then again, it's on the players and the leaders of this team. They are the ones playing on the field with you, not the coaches. The coaches are just telling you the gameplan. We have to execute as a team. That's why we put such a high emphasis on leadership and those guys pave that path for us."

What does it mean to have a guy like Demario Davis say your play has been unbelievable this season?

"It means a lot. That's a guy everyone looks up to and is one of the biggest leaders of this defense. To have him say something like that means a lot. With that, there's always a job to do with every single player and I just have to continue to execute and do what's asked of me. Hopefully those kind words will continue to grow."

With this being the only organization you've been in, what makes you realize how great this organization is?

"I guess I'm just so grateful to be here and play the game I love. I haven't been anywhere else, but with the strong leadership like this and me having a great time playing, I'm going to continue to put this organization on a pedestal and go from there."

What was it like playing at Ohio State?

"I did come from a great organization with them in college. There's a lot of carryover there (with New Orleans). I'm definitely thankful to be a Buckeye."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara
Local Media Availability
Friday, October 22, 2021

How did the bye week feel after getting a heavy workload the first couple weeks?

"Oh yeah, it felt great! I mean you know anytime you got a bye week you just take some time (to relax). Everybody gets healthy even if you're not hurt, it's like you never realize like how much good bye week can do. It felt good just to kind of relax a little bit and then you know we are back now (and) got some guys Terron Armstead back (at practice), a couple guys back."

How much untapped potential do you think this offense still has to touch this season?

"Man we got a ton. I think we played some alright games on offense (but) we still haven't played our best game and I feel like we always say that, but I mean I know what it looked like and I know Sean (Payton) knows what he wants it to look like and a lot of these guys know what it looks from Terron (Armstead), to Erik McCoy, Andrus Peat and these guys. I think we got a lot to get better at, a lot. You know it's still early in the season, but I think my main thing always want to be like in full form like right now, but it doesn't work like that. There's some work to be done, but the good teams they found a way to be the best they can be as early as they can be."

What do the words offensive identity mean to you?

"To me I think we got our identity. I think most of us know that have been here, we know what the identity is. Now I mean you got to be that every day and sometimes I think we find ourselves out of character, whether it's penalties or not being efficient or effective on like third downs and red zone opportunities sometimes. But I think we know what our identity is as a team. l know what our identity is as an offense, as a team, but I think it's just living up to that. It is what it is, you've got to bring everybody up to that level."

How much attention to detail does Sean Payton put into the various situations you run through at practice?

"Yeah, all of you see it. He's super, super detailed, super situation driven. I mean that's why we do well on Sundays and Friday is supposed to be fast and he always slowing it down because he got to talk to every little detail, but it pays off on Sundays because we might run a play and he might have changed something during the week just something small as a split or you know, I guess just anything, just something so small and you see it happen in the game and you like, dang Sean (Payton) was right. But those small details and that time that he takes to kind of run us through things and explain and pause when we need to pause and get done what we need to get done, I mean it makes all the difference."

Is it even more important in the red zone?

"Yeah, exactly in the red zone that's when everything is magnified. Mistakes are magnified. It's points, you playing with points, it's either you get three or you get seven, so I mean it's a four point swing anyway you take it."

What do you remember about the first time Coach Payton was going through a situation with you as a player?

"I didn't know what was going on. I am not going to lie, I didn't know what was going on. I was just trying to fall in line. Like I remember it was like me and Ted Ginn (Jr.) and we came in at the same time so we were just trying to figure it out, everything was moving so fast and I'll never forget like Bcole (Brandon Coleman) and Mark (Ingram) and then Willie (Snead) there was just like pushing us which way to go. Like we call the formation and sometimes I know I'm going to be going with Bcole or me and Ted we're going opposite from each other. So we'll pull each other and kind of direct traffic. But I mean just throughout that year I kind of got to understand like why, you know, sometimes you'll see something happening and you don't know why. So you just think it's a waste of time like man, what is he doing? That's how it used to feel like early in the season with Sean (Payton), but then you know you got to game 5, 6, 7, 10 and I'm like, dang, this dude is like a mastermind, everything he's doing this for a reason. Because that's my biggest thing, I hate wasting time. Like, I hate wasting time. So once you realize the why and the what, why, when, like it's crazy to see everything come full circle."

Does adversity seem to bring out the best in Coach Payton?

"Yeah, I think he likes proving people wrong. He loves it, like he likes that aha moment, where it's like, oh, they said this, but aha, we proved them wrong. I mean, It's not for anybody other than by himself and us, he'll come up to me and be like, I told you and I'm like, well, I'm on your side. We're in this together, but I think he likes that. But I mean, he's super competitive and he's challenging everybody around him every day. He's challenging himself every day and I think as good as he does or as bad as he does, I think he's the hardest critic on himself than anybody. He don't care about the media's (criticism), he don't care about anything like that. I think he grades himself harder than anyone ever could grade him, ever."

Does Coach Payton trust his player leaders in the locker room to establish the culture here?

"Oh yeah and that's why I don't think there's ever a panic in our facility I think, because you know, like you said the leaders we all kind of get the message. We know what Sean wants, we know what it's supposed to look like so it's never a time where Sean has to just like blow up and go crazy and I guess try to get a reaction out of us. We know what it's supposed to be and sometimes it's just subtle things like, hey, this is not right you know how it's supposed to look and everybody else's fall in line, but from the top to the bottom I mean we kind of, it's like an accountability thing. It's like some certain things don't fly, like it is certain things you can do with your mom that you can't do with your dad like. I think that's like across the board. The guys that are coming in the free agents or younger guys whoever it is, you know, the guys at the top that have been here that's like your dad, you know you can't do that around them. I don't think it's ever a time where we panic, like I say everybody just kind of follows along and knows what the standard is."

Did you like the duo setup more than being the main focal point in the backfield?

"I'm cool, like it doesn't really make a difference to me. I mean maybe a couple extra minutes soaking in Epsom salts or something, but I mean it's all good. I think every game has a life of its own so I mean as the season goes on the flows will kind of switch up and maybe it might be a game where my percentage of snaps is down or higher even, I don't know, but I'm cooling. When my number is called I'm in there doing what I got to do."

Are you going to join Malcolm Jenkins and own a premier soccer team?

"I don't know, they are doing a lot with that. I think Mark (Ingram owns one in MLS) and who else I forgot who else I saw, but I don't know. I'm kind of I'm tied up right now. Yeah, Nascar and juice, all types of stuff."

How tough is that crowd in Seattle?

"Me and Terron (Armstead) we're talking about it at practice and he was like have you played there when it was full. I'm like yeah, bro, we played there two years ago he was oh, yeah. It was crazy because that was the week after Drew (Brees) got hurt and then Teddy (Bridgewater) was in there. So I think we was getting to the line and it was like five seconds left on the clock and we had to burn some timeouts and kind of settle down and get our cadence right and get our timing right, but it's a loud place, it's definitely a football environment to say the least. We got to be on point with getting to the huddle and getting the calls in and you know, execute our jobs."

Do you like playing in 40-50 degree weather?

"It's cool. I don't like rain. If it's 40 to 50 (degrees) and you know dry, I'm cool, but I mean, you know, it's an outdoor stadium so you got to deal with elements, whatever it is, we got to deal with it. But it is definitely football weather, I think that's like a southern thing I think. Because you talk to dudes on the west coast they always got perfect weather and then up north it's like it's either nice or shitty, but like the south is like, alright, you get summer and then you get that kind of it's getting fall you feel it and then get cold on the back end. But I agree with Jameis Winston (Winston) we have got football weather coming."

Does the rain force you to approach the game differently?

"I don't think it affects the game plan, but I think there's just a heightened sense of awareness and ball security and if I'm returning punts and things like that it's just a little bit more focus on securing the ball, securing catches and then if it really gets wet then Sean talks about visors and then you kind of switch up for rain weather. I mean weather gloves and stuff like that, but it don't really affect game plan, like we're not in a team meeting room, like yeah we can't run this play because it's raining, it is what it is. We get paid a lot of money to execute."

Is it artificial turf?

"Yes it's artificial turf. Sean (Payton) probably still be talking about footing. That's his thing, anytime he gets a chance to talk about feet he's going to talk about it and then he'll try and promise us like pedicures or something."

Is that the toughest stadium you've played in?

"I am not going to lie, I think the only time I really (feel) like it (crowd noise) really affects me is obviously if we get to the line and you know we got to burn a time out that's when I realize, like oh dang, it's loud, it's super loud. But I think before kickoff that's really when I hear the crowd and realize the crowd and then touchdowns, scores or change in field position or something like that. I mean, change in possession. Other than that, I'm kind of like zoned in. Crowd noise doesn't really affect me, but it's I think if we ranking it out of the stadiums in the league, it's probably there and like Minnesota loud, like got great atmosphere. Not counting us obviously, but yeah, there and Minnesota."

How excited are you to play in Minnesota?

"It's another day for me, but it I think Monday Night Football when you coming up it's like it's a big thing, but now I'm here it's just another workday. It's another opportunity, another game. Matter of fact I don't like Monday night because then we got to turn around and play on Sunday so it's a short week. So yeah I don't like Monday night. I'm happy you asked it. You lose a day."

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Demario Davis
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 22, 2021

You and Geno (Smith) played together and I know you thought highly of him there. What's it like to kind of see him now, watch him on film?

"He's had a phenomenal career. I guess it's going into what, year eight or year nine. Being in the "Not For Long League", anybody that's put together a career of that type of tenure speaks for itself. (It's) Definitely going to be a challenge for us. He is doing a great job in what he is doing in that system that he has been in for a minute. All the talent is there. I remember the plays he was able to make for us when we were in New York. And so I definitely know he's going to step into the game with a chip on his shoulder. It is super easy on a quarterback when you have the type of weapons that he's throwing to in those guys and the type of protection that their line can do. They've got a lot of weapons over there so it's going to be a challenge for us. We're going to have our hands full."

Do you see a lot of big differences in Geno then and now or is he kind of the same guy?

"I mean, a ton. This many years in the game, he was a young player. I saw him from the time he was drafted and so all the things he knows, he has learned over those years, are showing. Like I said, the talent has always been there. His arm strength, his mobility in the pocket, but now you can just see his decision making, the throws he's making inside and outside the pocket, the time he's getting the ball out. He's just doing a lot of things well. They're fortunate to have a guy that's a number two guy that can come in and play like a starter. So when you have that type of setup, it bodes well for your team and for us, it presents a great challenge."

Whether it's hurricane stuff, or injuries or whatever, Sean (Payton) is big on no one cares. No one cares about if we've got half the team hurt, we still have to show up and play so how big of a role does Sean play with that mindset of adversity happens, but we still have to keep going?

"Well, I think that's part of the game. You're going to have ups, you're going to have downs. No matter what's going on around you, one of the things Coach DA (Dennis Allen) always says is, 'Half the people don't care about your problems, and the rest of them are glad that you have got them.' So you have got to have that mentality that it's just us and that is what we always have to be focused on, how can we be better? How can we get better every single day and when the game comes, we can go out and put the best product on the field. And so each and every week, continue to perfect your process and get better and better. So that you can make the climb to be where you want to be towards the end of the year. And ever since I've been here, that has been the mindset of the culture and Sean plays a great job in leading us in that mindset and making sure everyone in the building has that mentality. And I mean, that is just what you adopt as a Saint."

Sean (Payton) has a really good record after the bye. Is there something he does you think that kind of like helps his team just reset like it does? I mean, he's like 18-2 over the first four games after the bye the past five years, but what is it about the bye you think that Sean does well that as far as getting you all ready to get back going?

"I think it's a multitude of things. Sean does a good job, he's been around the game for a long time, he's seen almost everything you can see that this game is going to present to you, whether it's the field, whether it's traveling to the west coast, whether it's different things that teams are going to throw at you. He just does a good job of making sure we're prepared for any and all of those situations. Then speaking to what was said earlier, he's created a good culture. We have a lot of veterans who know how to prepare, know how to prepare prior to a bye, after a bye. And creating that winning culture that no matter what the situation is, whether it's every game is just the next one on your schedule, and you go in and you expect to win. So I think he's just done a great job of creating that culture. Kind of making sure that that culture is perpetual. So there's a lot that kind of goes into it. Hopefully it continues to go well for us."

Not saying that any or all of them, whether that's Kwon Alexander or Marcus Davenport or Ken Crawley or I can keep going will be back this week, but how good does it feel knowing that seven of the guys on injured reserve are working their way back?

"We've got to roll with what we've got. We have a very good locker room with a lot of talented players, first string, second string, offense, defense, special teams. And so every time that we step out there no matter who it is we just try to put the best product on the field and we know we like our chances when we step out there?"

Are we making too big of a deal when it comes to the number of sacks and the lack of pressure? We've been asking Cameron Jordan that the last couple of weeks or is that something we're not seeing that you guys are actually doing when it doesn't show up on the stats?

"Yeah, I think we've been highly effective in our pressure rates and that's really what our mindset is, affect the quarterback and that has boded well for us in years when we've had a ton of sacks and we're doing that across the board. We are getting pressure on the quarterback. Now they may still get the ball out, it may not end up on the ground, but eventually they're going to try to pat it and hold it a little bit longer and not be able to throw that ball and we're going to be in position to get him to the ground. And that's why we've always finished around the top of the league in that category is because we have a good game plan, we've got players who can execute that game plan at a high level and then we'll continue to do that and so yeah we don't get as hyped up in the number of sacks because we understand it's a lot more that goes into it than just the number of sacks, right? It's actually to get a good pressure on the quarterback and we've been doing that. But our standard is just high. We want to be first in every category and so not only do we want to be up there in pressures, we eventually want to be up there in sacks too and so we're going to keep chasing. We're not bogged down about the sacks not being there like they normally are or anything like that because we're affecting the quarterback at a high rate."

As a defensive player going into a place like Seattle where the weather is what it is, man, it feels like it's always raining, it's windy, it's cold. As a defensive player, do you guys kind of like that playing in those type of football games?

"I mean, I do. Anywhere it's not crazy hot I'm happy. I sweat a lot so as long as the temperatures down and not super crazy, which we had a couple early on, so I had to prepare for those, but any time the weather is down I'm happy. It doesn't matter, the environment, you've got to come ready to play and step inside those lines. We're trying to create as much fear, havoc and inflict as much pain as possible and defend every blade of grass in the process. That's just our mentality on defense and we want to continue to do that."

How have you seen Pete Werner kind of come into his own over training camp and now the first five games of the season?

"Phenomenal. The way he's playing here as rookie has just been phenomenal and he has shown that the sky is the limit for him and so it is just going to be all about his continued progression. But he's playing light years ahead of where you expect a rookie to play. His athletic ability, his closing speed, his tenacity on his tackles, his instincts, his smarts, it all speaks for itself. Just turn the tape on and you're going to see him and so he has played absolutely phenomenal and (I am) just excited to see him continue to grow as a player."

Where did the name Stormy come from?

"My oldest daughter actually named our girl. My wife and I, we always wanted six kids or early on we wanted six kids and so we named three girls and three boys before we even had children. And so when the fourth girl (came), we did not really have a name and so our oldest is Bailey Grace, our second is Summer Joy, our third is Carly Faith. All our kids have double names and so we were looking for another biblical attribute or something (similar). So (it) ended up, we knew it was going to be Love something, but we didn't have a first name. And my oldest daughter ended up saying one day, 'We should name here Stormy Love.' My wife liked it. My mom liked it. My mother in law liked it. And so there it was."

How interesting was it that it came during Hurricane Ida?

"Then it came during the storm so we hope it's a calm storm."

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